Built on a series of steep hills on the banks of the Rio Tejo, Portugal’s capital offers myriad dazzling views, a fabulous blend of architectural styles and a year-round mild, sun-kissed climate. Fly to Lisbon from Glasgow Airport to explore character-filled historic neighbourhoods and then head down to one of a string of nearby beaches to relax and escape the throng of the city centre.
Discover your favourite bairro
Travelling by century-old wooden tram or funicular is a fun way to scale the city’s different heights, and each bairro (neighbourhood) has a distinct feel. Baixa is the commercial heart of the city, with its plazas, boulevards and grand 18th-century buildings, and the bohemian Bairro Alto district is the place to find lively restaurants and bars. Wander the medieval alleyways of the Alfama district and discover ancient churches, tiny squares and whitewashed houses, and bars themed around the country’s distinctive folk music, fado.
Landmarks to treasure
The mid-11th century hilltop fortification Castelo de Sao Jorge (Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo) towers dramatically over the city, and the 15th-century ornate Torre de Belem (Avenida Brasilia) built originally to safeguard the harbour, is a symbol of the country’s remarkable maritime history. Two heavyweight museums worth checking out are the Calouste Gulbekian Museum (Avenida de Berna 45A) with works from around the world, and the Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Praça do Império).
Take a day trip
A popular day trip destination is Sintra, a summer retreat of Portugal’s nobility in times gone past that boasts grand 19th-century residences and fairytale castles with exquisite gardens. A railway line links the city to Cascais and offers a variety of beaches, from busy family spots with calm waters to the wild surfer’s paradise of Guincho Beach. To the north, the historic walled town of Obidos offers picturesque cobbled streets and traditional houses.