For a perfect combination of city and beach at any time of year, you can’t beat a visit to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The sun-kissed city boasts all the unfussy class and rustic charm you would expect from one of Europe’s most refined vintages.
Wander the baroque streets of the Baixa district with its traditional haberdashers and herbalists. Take a stroll up to the Moorish neighbourhood of Alfama to take in astonishing views and explore its maze of medieval alleyways. And of course, don’t forget to explore the historical Belém waterfront, where countless monuments and statues stand proud before the azure blue of the Atlantic.
Take the tram to see the best of the city
There’s plenty to amuse you on your trip to Lisbon. And a good way to start getting your bearings is with a trip on Tram 28. Setting off from the base of Bairro Alto, this old-fashioned wooden tram trundles its way through some of the city’s most historic streets. Along the way it takes in the shopping districts of Chiado and Baixa, as well as the medieval cobbles of Alfama and Graça.
Sights and delights aplenty
Home to some of the greatest explorers of all time, it’s no surprise Lisbon boasts so many impressive historical sights.
In fact, you’ll find one of these explorers at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India, this impressive 15th century monastery is also the resting place of the great explorer himself. Today it stands as perhaps the finest symbol of wealth and power during Portugal’s Age of Discovery.
Meanwhile, another symbol of the Age Of Discovery guards the entrance to Lisbon’s Harbour. The fortress-like Belem Tower is listed as a World Heritage monument by UNESCO, and it’s easy to see why as you explore the many sculptures adorning its walls. Bonus points to the first person to spot the rhinoceros.
Wine and cuisine in Lisbon
Most of the wines produced around Lisbon come from vineyards on the hills to the west and north of Lisbon. Here, in the region formerly known as Estremadura, the vines are cooled by the fresh sea breezes blowing in from the Atlantic and produce a wide range of excellent wines.
Indeed, the Vinho Regional Lisboa area has more DOCs than any other Vinho Regional area in Portugal, with wines generally made from such grape varieties as Arinto, Castelão, Fernão Pires, Malvasia Rei, Seara Nova, Santarém and Vital
In terms of cuisine, Lisbon is famed for its rustic classics. Drop by one of the city’s many tascas and tabernas and you can’t fail to fall in love with the local Bacalhau salt cod and Pasteis de Belem custard tarts.
But it’s not all about the tried and tested. Throughout areas like Bairro Alto, Chiado, Principe Real, São Bento and Campo de Ourique, you’ll find plenty more modern eateries doing wonderful things with petiscos – the Portuguese version of tapas – and harnessing pure culinary magic out of the humble tinned sardine.
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