Lisbon: the highlights

Why visit Lisbon for your weekend away

Lisbon is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular city breaks, known for its fresh seafood, breathtaking views and epic nightlife. The city is an exciting combination of Arabic and Roman influences mixed with Portuguese traditions, making it the destination to get cultured and have a good time all at the same.

Summers in Lisbon are warm and balmy making it ideal for rooftop bars and partying in the sun. Temperatures hit the high 20s and you’ll never get a lack of the sun here. Even in the winter, temperatures average around 16 degrees, so you’ll still get that Mediterranean feel even if you visit off season.

So whether you’ve got a laid back crew looking for some culture or just want to party hard until the early hours of the morning, this is the European destination to visit. Plus, it’s only a 2 hour flight from London, result!

Explore the city

The oldest neighbourhood

The Alfama is the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon and is listed as one of the top things to do in Lisbon. Its narrow alleys and cobbled streets are filled with tiny cafes and eclectic restaurants. You’ll also find a favourite Portuguese pastime here, listening to Fado, a uniquely Portuguese genre of soul music.

Sangria Biking

Perhaps you’re looking for a new way to explore the city. This sangria/beer bike takes you to all the right places in Lisbon as your help yourself to your own bar on wheels. All you need is the pedal power and some teamwork.

Enjoy the views

It's not called the city on seven hills for no reason. Miradouros are lookout points around the city and provide excellent views from a bird's eye perspective. From these high points, enjoy charming views of Lisbon, the river and towards major landmarks like the Castle of São Jorge and the city’s iconic bridges.

Enjoy the local wine

Often overshadowed by expensive Italian and Spanish wine imports, Portuguese wines are some the best in the region. Visit a winery to sample cheeky vintage ports or ask your friendly waiter for some of the best produce the Douro has to offer.

A boat tour

While many may have heard to the Douro in Northern Portugal, its sister the Tagus river flows through Lisbon. Catch stunning views of the city when you book a sunset cruise down the river while enjoying a glass of bubbly or an ice cold beer.

Nightlife hotspots

Lisbon has a top notch nightlife scene and has a bit of everything, from stylish rooftop bars to buzzing nightclubs. For an unforgettable night, head straight to the Bairo Alto, here you’ll find many of the city’s nightlife making it perfect for a guided bar crawl.

The Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is Lisbon’s liveliest and bohemian-friendly ‘upper neighbourhood,’ jam-packed with vibrant bars and quirky pubs. During busy hours, both locals and tourist alike tend to spill into the narrow cobbled streets of the Bairro. It is also very popular with students, so prices are kept ‘competitive’.

Pink Street

Once the party stops in Barrio at midnight, the party starts at Pink Street. If you ancy jams, beats and drinks from dusk to dawn, then is perfect for you. Its name is quite literal too, so it's not surprising to find a street that is fully pink.

Bars with a view

Some of Lisbon’s nightlife venues offer spectacular views of the city. Entretanto is situated at the top of Hotel Chiando and serves up some of the best cocktails. There’s also ‘Park bar’ which is on the top of a 5 storey car park. It doesn't sound all that grim and grey once the affordable drinks start flowing and the sun puts on a spectacular display as it sets in a distance.

Bolero Lisboa

Situated in the Port of Lisboa, this electric club is popular with both locals and tourists. With an impressive sound system and psychedelic light displays, you can expect a good time all around.

Eat like a local

Food options are varied and plenty in Lisbon.They range from little cafes, takeways and high quality restaurants. While the food is predominantly seafood based, you’ll be able to find many options that cater to your taste and preferences.

Baixa

Filled with cafes and restaurants, this is a no frills Lisbon destination for a gourmet experience. Besides the Alfama, this is a great place to indulge yourself with traditional Portuguese dishes such Octopus rice and Bacalhau (salted cod).

Seafood

The seafood in Lisbon is fresh, cheap and mind blowingly good. Sardines are the most popular type of seafood in Lisbon but there is a daily offering of prawns, lobsters, shellfish, shrimps and oysters too. A tip to consider when dining out, is to only eat at restaurants closer to the water, as it’s both fresher and cheaper.

Pastel de Nata

You must try a Pastel de Nata (egg custard pastry) if you visit Lisbon. A staple offering in almost every traditional Portuguese restaurant, it’ll be hard to resist this layer of puff pastry and dollops of set custard.

Accommodation

There are plenty of accommodation options in Lisbon. If you are travelling on a tight budget or just looking to save up on accommodation, there are many options you can consider ranging from dorms to budget hotels in the city. Alternatively, if you are splurging on that cash, there are equally as many stylish hotels, apartments and air bnb’s within the city that you could book.

Local guide

Exploring the Downtown

Also known as the Baixa in Portuguese, this is a great starting point if you’d like to mix in some shopping and sightseeing. Built to purpose after an earthquake destroyed everything in 1799, you’ll find that each street here is devoted to a specific business (shoemakers, jewellers etc).

The heart of the city.

The Chiado is the heart of the city filled with elegant restaurants, luxurious cafes and its main theatres. Here’s you’ll also find multinational stores and high streets brands.

Get cultured.

The Alfama and Se districts are the oldest parts of Lisbon. You’ll see that in its architecture with a mixture of Arabic and Roman influences blending in with the Lisbon traditions all around.

Getting About

Public transport in Lisbon is reliable and of good value. The transport network includes buses, trams, funiculars and lifts as well as the Metro. Suburban railways complement these networks and some passes are also valid on the cross city rail line.

Possibly the cheapest and easiest way to get about is to buy a 'Via Viagem'' pre paid card available from the Metro and other ticket offices. This is similar to London's 'Oyster' card with an initial cost of 0.50 cents plus cash value loaded up 15 euros. It can be used on Lisbon buses, trams. ferryboats and Metro. Each trip currently costs 1.25 euros using the card.

Alternatively, you can also get the Lisboa Card from €15. This is good for most tourist sights as well as unlimited travel onbus, tram, funicular and metro.

Staying safe

Lisbon is a fairly safe city however it will not hurt to take a few extra precautions. Minor theft such a pickpocketing occur in almost every crowded tourist area. Therefore it is advisable to carry a money belt and only carry a limited amount of cash on you. Most hotels also have a safe these days, so why not leave your passport and other precious belonging behind.

Basic Phrases

Hello - Olá Where is the bathroom? - Onde fica a casa de banho? Thank You - Obrigado/a One espresso, please. - Uma bica, por favor. I want the house wine. - Quero o vinho da casa. Do you speak English? - Fala inglês?