The capital city of Portugal, alluring Lisbon offers a huge range of sights, cultural attractions and activities from its hilltop location. Skillfully combining city chic with coastal living, there’s also stunning views of the River Tagus, a fascinating history spanning centuries, an impressive arts and entertainment scene and more than its fair share of eateries, bars and traditional Fado houses. Wander through the city’s cobbled streets as you soak up the friendly atmosphere, ducking into quaint cafés, gourmet restaurants and striking museums along the way, or book yourself into one of the many luxury hotels and just relax.
Couples will love Lisbon, with its plentiful history, art and culture offerings as well as the incredible architecture in the city’s imposing cathedrals and monasteries. It’s an ideal destination for food lovers too, with a restaurant catering to every taste and serving authentic Mediterranean dishes, international cuisine from sushi to pizza and delicious locally produced wines. Families can enjoy plenty of activities, from beach trips to animal antics, while groups will love the all night parties found in Barrio Alto and the converted warehouses dotted around the outskirts of the city.
Time difference from GMT: 0 hours
Flight time: Under 3 hours from the UK
Hottest months of the year: August and September, with May - July often offering pleasant warm temperatures as well
Best for: Couples, culture and history lovers, city breaks
Spend your days in Lisbon soaking up the historic atmosphere and culture of this incredible city, visiting the top sites, including Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, a beautiful historic monastery, and the Old Town area of Alfama where you can enjoy stunning views and narrow winding streets.
By evening there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy romantic rooftop panoramas and photo worthy views over the river with a huge range of some of the best restaurants, bars and cafés in Portugal. Head to top seafood restaurant Cervejaria Ramiro to mix with the locals and devour mouth-watering local catches and delicious wine. Cantinho do Avillez is a small, intimate bistro where succulent meat is served in a cosy location in the heart of Lisbon, while the local kiosks and churrascarias dotted throughout the city offer a cheaper option for local snacks, beer and cocktails.
A cosmopolitan atmosphere radiates from every corner of town and the canary-yellow trams are perfect for a traditional and fun way to explore each area.
A city that’s packed full of things to do, families won’t find themselves short of activities and attractions to enjoy in Lisbon. Family is at the heart of Portuguese life and this is reflected in a city that caters for all ages. Children will love a trip to the city’s castle, where they can learn about the history of Portuguese royalty from bygone years, and there’s always a tram ride through the city for when little legs get weary.
Jardim Zoológico de Lisboa, Lisbon’s Zoo, is a family-friendly must see, complete with elephants, giraffes, monkeys, snakes, sea lions and plenty more. The children’s farm is home to Portuguese animals, or there’s a cable car where you can enjoy view over the whole park.
Lisbon’s Oceanarium offers an insight into the magical underwater world of the sea, with sharks, tropical fish and amazing displays, while The Nations Park is right next to the river and home to lots of attractions, including the Virtual Reality Pavilion. And if sandcastles, water sports and cool glistening water are top of your list, Lisbon is ideal for that too.
For a day of sightseeing and exploration at its fullest, Lisbon’s hop on, hop off bus tour is perfect. Book your tickets and board the bus, and just sit back as you enjoy the hour and a half long tour of this attractive and fascinating city. The 24-hour bus pass allows you to hop off and back on again where you like, and takes you past all the main sites including the Praça do Minicípio and Museu de Arte Antiga.
Wine tours are another must for groups in Lisbon, with delicious locally produced bottles to taste and interesting tours and insight into the way the wine is produced.
For evening entertainment, visitors will find everything from chic and trendy bars to quaint family run establishments and quintessentially British pubs. Head to Dock’s Club for dancing into the night, or Fragil to enjoy the gay scene. Lust is difficult to get into but worth it if you do, with the rich and famous heading here to party.
A huge range of dishes and cuisine can be found in Lisbon, with an interesting mix of cultures and food from around the world ready to be devoured. For a celebratory meal you’re unlikely to ever forget, Belcanto serves a modern take on regional classics with perfect wine accompaniments. Frade dos Mares is all about freshly caught seafood dishes, succulent chicken and a fantastic array of deserts, while Wine Bar do Castelo is another must visit with drinks and cheese boards to delight the taste buds.
Lisbon may be well equipped with food and wine knowledge, but staff and locals are more than happy to help anyone not travelling with a wine buff. Food and drink is at the centre of the social scene in Portugal and it’s something that is savoured throughout the day and well into the night. Find an outside table, grab a tapas menu and embrace the al fresco, people-watching way of life.