City Breaks in Lisbon
Stay active as you explore Lisbon - climb to the top of Cristo Rei for some of the best views of Lisbon, enjoy the entertainment excesses of Barrio Alto, and spend some time in the historic Alfama district.
Enjoy vibrant nightlife, tasty pastries, stunning views and fairy-tale castles on a Lisbon getaway.
Lisbon is a hilly place. Whichever part of town you stay during your city break you’re likely to encounter steep inclines leading to impressive viewpoints. They’ve even built an elevator to navigate the city’s changing levels. The Elevador de Santa Justa is Lisbon’s historic vertical street lift. Built in the 19th century, it connects the lower streets of Baixa with the higher Carmo Square. And, there’s no expensive tourist fee to take the ride as the elevator is part of the metro system, so you use your city transportation ticket. Hop on one of Lisbon’s iconic trams to the Moorish São Jorge Castle, which sits in a commanding position at the top of a hill. From the walls you’ll look out across the Tagus River and see the Christ the King statue in the distance.
A day trip to Sintra is a great option on a city break to Lisbon. Its exotic gardens, thick forests and the 19th century Pena Palace all add to Sintra’s fairy-tale charm. You can grab lunch in Sintra village and head up the hill to see the palace bathed in afternoon light. You’ll also be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding lush forests and gardens.
Join the vibrant atmosphere in the Bairro Alto district where, in good weather, revelers spill out of bars on to the streets making for a vibrant atmosphere. Head here for a bit of bar-hopping. You might find yourself sipping Portuguese beer in retro bar Maria Caxuxa or sampling the local cherry brandy at A Ginjinha. If cocktails are more your thing, head to Lisbon’s rooftop bars. At Silk in Chiado (the shopping district) you’ll enjoy 360° views of the city, while the Sky Bar at the top of the Tivoli Lisboa Hotel gives you great views of the castle and river.
If you’re looking to include a bit of culture on your Lisbon city break there are plenty of options. Tune in to traditional Portuguese music by visiting the Fado Museum in Alfama. Learn about the development of Portuguese guitar and the ‘Fado Houses’ as well as major singers and composers of the scene. Meanwhile, the Berardo Museum houses one of the best modern art collections in the world including works by Warhol, Picasso and Dali. Another cultural hub is the Gulbenkian Museum which holds a wonderful collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art.
When you need a pit stop, you’ll find a café on every corner in Lisbon. From pavement cafés and hilltop kiosks to Art Deco coffeehouses and traditional pastelarias. We recommend trying the traditional tasty pastry, pasteis de nata (custard tarts) before you leave.
Lisbon is also featured in our guide to Where's Hot in July.
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