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Lisbon City Breaks

Reference WW60778
City Break Holidays To Lisbon

Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city making it one of the most charismatic and vibrant city break holidays to take in Europe.

Lisbon has somewhat rediscovered itself in recent years, reclaiming its rightful place as the 'golden city' of southern Europe. Much of this is due to the officials of Lisbon having elected to rejuvenate the city during the 1990s. This ongoing focus on the future has meant making the most of the attractions, both old and new.

One day can span centuries as visitors move between the picturesque medieval section of the Alfama district and historic São Jorge castle to being amazed by the spectacle of the futuristic Oceanarium of Lisboa.

If tourists really want to see the city in style, they must be sure not to miss a ride on the famous Tram 28, which winds its way through the oldest parts of the city and give visitors a feel of the history and rich culture which Lisbon has to offer.

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO

Visit the Tower of Belém a medieval landmark offering amazing views of the city
Taste some of the delicious local cuisine
Enjoy one of the cities many boat tours. it is an ideal way to view the beautiful city
Hang out at Praça do Comércio, a waterside public plaza with a notable arch & statue, lined with outdoor cafes & shopping venues
As this city is oozing in history, why not visit some of the cities many museums

LOCATION

WHEN TO VISIT

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Currency Euro (€)
  • Flying time from the UK Flights from London to Lisbon are around 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Language Pourtuguese
  • Passport & Visas If you are a British passport holder you do not need a visa to enter Portugal & your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.
Getting Around

Public transport in Lisbon is inexpensive and useful for negotiating the hills between attractions. The fastest way to get around is by metro, which covers most of the city. Complementing this is a network of trams, buses, funiculars and a vertical elevator to connect the high and low areas of the city. There is also a modern electric train that links the city to all the towns along the Portuguese Riviera, and ferries across the Tagus River.

Trams and buses are very inexpensive and the old trams have become a big tourist attraction. It is best to avoid public transport during rush hours though, as the crowded conditions are the perfect cover for pickpockets. Metered taxis are plentiful and affordable, and a popular means of transportation, but beware of drivers taking long, indirect routes. A car is not recommended for use around the city.

Nightlife

Lisbon has a very active nightlife, offering everything from clubs and bars to traditional Fado music, international concerts to fantastic theatre. The Bairro Alto area is considered the entertainment centre but there are various other party destinations. The guide Follow Me Lisboa lists all the major events and venues in the city. A good way to start the evening would be to have some late afternoon cocktails in a café in the Chiado square, before going to one of Bairro Alto's various nightclubs. These venues can be followed by pre-dawn partying and relaxing at the docks of Alcântara and in the Santos district, with various bars open until sunrise.

For the more discerning visitor, classical music can be enjoyed at venues including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Culturgest, while theatres such as Dona Maria II National Theatre offer contemporary works and classical plays. Additionally, there is a good opera held at São Carlos Theatre.

Fado is popular in Alfama and Lapa, with many excellent venues scattered across the area. Furthermore, concerts are held at Atlantic Pavillion and Coliseu dos Recreios, featuring famous bands and artists from around Portugal and abroad.

Shopping

Shopping in Lisbon is an all-day affair with plenty of major shopping malls, including two of Europe's largest, namely Centro Colombo and the Amoreiras Shopping Centre. Some of Lisbon's smaller independent shops can be found downtown in the Baixa quarter and strolling through these streets, visitors can marvel at the unique exteriors of shops lining the pavement.

The most famous market in Lisbon has to be the Feira da Ladra, held every Tuesday and Saturday on the Campo de Santa Clara. Here, bargain hunters can sift through clothing, hand-made goods, CDs, books, antiques, furniture and second-hand bits and pieces. It's a must when shopping in Lisbon but tourists should beware of pickpockets.

Shops in Lisbon are generally open from 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm, Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, shopping hours are from 9am to 7pm and many of the larger shopping malls stay open until midnight.

Visitors should look into obtaining a Lisboa Shopping Card, which is available from tourist offices and provides discounts for tourists at more than 200 participating stores.

There is a sales tax of 23% included in general prices and part of this tax can be reclaimed by non-EU visitors when leaving the EU. Visitors wanting to reclaim this tax should ask for a refund cheque at the point of purchase for more expensive buys. This is then stamped by a customs official on departure and is only offered by participating stores in Lisbon.

Sight Seeing

Perched on the coast of Portugal and steeped in a rich and diverse maritime history, it's no wonder that many of Lisbon's attractions are of the aquatic variety. Visitors will have a grand time exploring the many sights this exciting city has to offer. Visit the Lisbon Oceanarium, which is marketed as the second-best aquarium in the world and boasting a 1.3-million gallon (5-million litre) and a wonderful array of marine life, or for a slightly more historical look at the sea, the Maritime Museum is one of Europe's best and a must for history buffs. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Tower of Belem, stroll through the streets of the charming Alfama, Lisbon's old quarter, visit the São Jorge Castle and take a stroll through the Jeronimos Monastery, a World Heritage Site and the resting place of Vasco de Gama. Visitors wanting to see the sights in Lisbon should look into purchasing a Lisboa Card, which grants the bearer free admission or 50 per cent off of admission fees to most attractions as well as free access to public transport. The card costs €19, is valid for 24 hours and is available from tourist offices throughout the city.

Restaurants

With hundreds of restaurants on offer, eating out in Lisbon is a taste sensation and an experience not to be missed. With an emphasis on seafood and traditional Portuguese fare, this city has a love of spices, especially cinnamon and vanilla. This can be seen in their love of pastries, especially of the custard variety, such as the, a small custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon. small fiery peppers, saffron and black pepper, are all popular spices that are commonly used in Portuguese cooking. Try the with potato, shredded cabbage and chunks of spicy chorizo sausage, or authentic Portuguese sardines, grilled as Head to the city centre where all the trendiest and most popular Lisbon restaurants can be found, while the Bairro Alto is a good place to sample Indian cuisine. The area of Lapa is known for cosy and well-established restaurants while Estoril and Cascal's restaurants come with breathtaking ocean views. When in Portugal, many choose to have a lengthy and drawn out lunch, pushing dinner later into the night. Visitors will have to adapt to this.

Kids Attractions

Lisbon has many things for kids on holiday to see and do, including museums, planetariums, zoos and aquariums. There are also great shopping centres and amusement parks for families to enjoy while on holiday in Lisbon. Another plus is that the weather in Portugal is warm most of the year, and the local culture is family-oriented so the people are welcoming towards kids.