5 Reasons to Love Lisbon
5 Reasons to Love Lisbon
1 August 2017
Everyone is talking about Portugal as the new European hotspot. Here’s why you should visit its beautiful and vibrant capital.
ONE - THE ARCHITECTURE IS ASTOUNDING
Take a walk around Lisbon and admire the many architectural styles scattered around the city. Check out Sao Jorge Castle, a Moorish castle perched on one of Lisbon’s seven hills. In Belem, the UNESCO World Heritage- listed Belem Tower and the nearby Jeronimos Monastery are shining examples of the Portuguese architectural style known as Manueline. Of course, there are plenty of churches (you’re in Europe, after all), monuments and mansions decked out in those beautiful, intricate Portuguese tiles.
TWO - DID SOMEONE SAY PORTUGUESE TARTS?
Portugal is famous for its delightful egg custard tart – the pastel de nata. The people of Lisbon are crazy for them – justly so, as they are downright delicious. Pastelarias are on almost every street corner but the best pasteis de nata are found at Pasteis de Belem, a short walk from Jeronimos Monastery. There’ll be a queue... just line up and thank us later. Get table service and eat inside to watch pastry chefs concoct the famous delicacies. Or grab a takeaway pastry (or the much more appealing pack of six) and head over the road to picnic in the park.
THREE - RIDE THE TRAM
Plenty of trams weave their way around
the hilly city, but you want to get on number 28. In Lisbon there are still a number of classic Remodelado trams traversing their way up and down the cobblestone hills (no other trams can manage the tricky routes). Tram number 28 runs the longest course in town, making its way through the neighbourhoods of Baixa, Graca, Alfama, Estrela and Campo de Ourique.
It’s worth jumping on board and snagging a window seat for the whole loop.
FOUR - THE NIGHT LIFE BUZZES
Traditionally, locals don’t start thinking about dinner until 8pm or 9pm, and dining is slow
and relaxed. Great restaurants around Lisbon include Solar dos Nunes and Crisfama. If you want to add the entertainment factor in, a fado performance (the traditional music in this part of the country) will elevate any evening. The Alfama district has the most authentic shows. Afterwards, go to Bairro Alto and join the cool cats chatting, laughing and drinking deep into the night.
FIVE - PLENTY TO SEE WITHIN AN HOUR'S DRIVE
Lisbon’s proximity to many other incredible sites is another plus, with day trips easy to organise. Sintra is one of the most popular, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with beautiful historical buildings, most famously the National Palace of Sintra – Portugal’s best- preserved medieval royal palace. For a more relaxed jaunt, coastal Cascais is charming and a delight to explore – eat fresh fish, amble along the seaside promenade and swim (if in season).
Fly to Lisbon via Dubai with Qantas (qantas.com).
Back-Roads Touring (backroadstouring.com) has a seven- day Discover Portugal tour that starts in Lisbon, with outings to Sintra and Cascais included, from $3329.