The capital of Portugal is blessed with rich history, beautiful architecture, gorgeous and varied coastlines, weather as fine as its wine, and lip-smacking cuisine to match. It’s also less than 3 hours away by aeroplane – no wonder UK winter sun seekers are heading there at this time of year! Here are some must-dos for your literary on a city break to Lisbon.
The national drink of Lisbon may be Port, but Ginjinha is a unique experience not to be missed during your visit. It is a sweet, and strong, cherry liqueur; and comes either served with a piece of fruit in a shot glass, or in a small chocolate cup. Yum!
Eat the Seafood
Lisbon is THE place to be if you like seafood. Oysters, shrimps, clams, mussels, crabs, octopus, wreckfish, grouper, red mullet… just some of the tasty morsels that locals favour. If you are feeling adventurous seek out percebes, also known as goose neck barnacles – a delicacy in the many seafood restaurants in the city.
Ride a Tram
Tram 28 to be precise. This route will take your past all the main sights of Lisbon and offer up some of the many fantastic vistas this city is known for. It’ll also save your legs a LOT of work.
Top tip for visiting Lisbon: Take some comfy shoes! Lisbon is small enough to explore on foot, indeed there are many walking tours of the city – but it is also spread across seven hills, so make sure you’ve packed suitable footwear.
Listen to Fado
Fado is the deeply moving and passionate traditional music of Portugal, originating in the early 1800s. The melancholy vocals and accompanying string instruments of Fado emanate from pubs, bars, cafes and clubs around Lisbon.
Head to a Beach
Lisbon has four varied coastlines, with plenty of sandy beaches to find. Do your research to find your perfect spot before you go as there are so many to choose from, with some being much bigger, some more crowded, and some taking over an hour to get to. Bear in mind that even in the height of summer the water is really quite cool here.
Photograph Street Art
The city is awash with some of the best street art in the world, but contrary to popular consensus, graffiti isn’t actually legal outside of specially provided outdoor gallery spaces. This means, to see some of the best street art, you need to explore the city and find some of the less-policed areas where artists are less likely to be disturbed.
Fun Fact: In Lisbon many street artists ask permission of the landowners to create their masterpieces. This is where you’ll find some of the more prominent and elaborate artworks in the city!
Seek out Miradouros
There are loads of viewing platforms and terraces, known locally as miradouros, to discover in Lisbon. Some of the best are high up the seven hills that make up the city, some have restaurants, cafes, or bars where you can refuel after your hilly excursion. What they all have in common are panoramic views that should not be missed on your visit.
Don’t forget your travel insurance! While your EHIC (EU Health Insurance card) will entitle you to state provided medical treatment, it won’t help if your belongings are lost or stolen, or if there is a problem with your flights or accommodation.