Lisbon city breaks will take you to the sun-soaked coastal capital of Portugal. This city is famously tucked away in the middle of seven hills, which seems to be a bit of a theme with ancient cities so you can expect stunning views from the miradouro (lookout points). The higher you climb, the better they’ll be. Take your time wandering through the charming cobbled streets, exploring the art galleries, and soaking up the sunshine. You won’t want to leave without sampling the traditional pastelarias. Within half an hour of the city centre you’ll find sandy beaches, including the cosmopolitan resort of Cascais. Whatever you want from Lisbon city breaks, the possibilities are practically endless, and you’re sure to leave with a smile on your face.
Things to do
Lisbon city breaks strike the perfect balance between old-world charm and a lively atmosphere, so there’s something for everyone. Don’t leave without finding your favourite viewing point, exploring the art galleries, and taking a trip beyond the city. Let’s take a closer look at things to do during Lisbon city breaks.
Enjoy the views
It’s worth bearing in mind that Lisbon is hilly, so you can expect to climb steep landmarks as well as enjoy plenty of opportunities for amazing views over the city. To make it easier to navigate the city’s various levels, there’s the historic Elevador de Santa Justa, a vertical street lift. Dating back to the 19th century, it travels from the lower streets of Baixa to the heights of Carmo Square, and all you need to ride it is a standard ticket; it’s part of the city transportation network. Jump on board one of Lisbon’s beautiful trams and make your way to the Moorish São Jorge Castle. It’s perched on top of the hill, and beyond the walls you’ll enjoy breath-taking views over the Tagus River and the Christ the King statue.
Soak up the culture
If culture is your passion, then Lisbon city breaks are just the ticket. Art lovers will adore the magnificent Berardo Museum, which houses one of the world’s finest modern art collections; you’ll find works by Warhol, Picasso, Dali and many others here. You’ve also got the Gulbenkian Museum, which features a spectacular collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art. If you fancy listening to some beautiful Portuguese music, then you’ll want to make your way to the Fado Museum in Alfama; it’s the place to discover the history of the Portuguese guitar and the city’s famous ‘Fado Houses’.
If you’re looking to explore beyond the city limits, you’ll be spoilt for choice for daytrips. The delightful Sintra village (just 18 miles away) should be first on your list. It lies at the bottom of the hills of the Serra de Sintra, where you’ll discover exotic gardens, lush forests and the amazing, 19th-century Pena Palace; this place is like something out of a fairy tale. Elsewhere, around 20 miles west of Lisbon, you’ll find the lively coastal resort of Cascais, which boasts a cosmopolitan atmosphere. It’s grand historic buildings (like the Palácio da Cidadela, the town's 17th-century waterfront fortress), charming fishermen’s cottages and pretty beach to boot.
Culture lovers: This city is home to a thriving art scene, offering everything from big galleries to independent art scenes. Even the Metro stations are a work of art; why not see how many colourful paintings and tiled murals you can spot?
Foodies: If you’re into food and drink, Lisbon city breaks are sure to satisfy. Try local craft beer at Duque Brewpub, coffee at Montana Lisboa Café, and sweet pastries at Fábrica Lisboa. For the ultimate taste of Portuguese cuisine, head for dinner at Solar dos Presuntos and Sinal Vermelho.
Couples: Stroll hand in hand down the cobbled streets, admire the beautiful views from the miradouros (lookouts) tucked away in the city’s seven hills, and enjoy the charming architecture. Don’t forget to take a ride on the vintage trams and snap the perfect shot of your other half.
Currency: Euro (€)
Local time: Same as GTM/UK time
Fly to: Lisbon International Airport (LIS), around 20 minutes from the city centre
Flight time from UK: 3 hours
Tourist information: Further Portugal tourist information can be found at www.visitportugal.com/en.
Visa & health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal for recommendations and advice on visas and health for Lisbon city breaks.
Best time to visit: Summer’s a beautiful time of year from Lisbon city breaks; visit in June for hot sunshine (with highs of 23°C) without the big crowds. Sit back and relax on the beach before cooling down in the sea.
Summers are hot and winters are mild here. August is the busiest time of year, when the beaches tend to be crowded and temperatures can hit as high as 35°C. If you want to feel like a local, visit in autumn when it’s much quieter but still warm and sunny.
Metro: You’ll find four colour-coded metro lines covering the central and business districts, and you can enjoy beautiful murals and sculptures at the stations.
Bus: The city has a total of 78 bus lines, running daily from 5am to midnight. If you’re out late, there are 12 night lines. You can pick up a map at a tourist office.
Trams: Five tram lines runs throughout the city, and riding them is a really brilliant way to see the city. Line 28 is one of the favourite lines for sightseeing.
Nos Alive: This popular music event marks the beginning of the summer festival season in the city, welcoming international artists and music fans from all over the world.
San Antonio Festival: On 12 June every year, the city celebrates Portugal’s patron saint with colourful parades and street parties. The atmosphere is amazing, and it’s a great chance to learn about Portuguese history.
Jazz em Agosto: Established in 2007, this exciting jazz festival takes place every July/August, with talented musicians from all over Europe and beyond playing in venues throughout the city.