Built on a series of hills that offer panoramic views in every direction, Lisbon is the second-oldest capital city in Europe. A visit here allows you to explore some spectacular sights, such as the Praca do Comercio, Castelo da Sao Jorge and the Carmo Convent, while also offering a great base from which to explore the surrounding country.
Lisbon is a compact city so it is easy to get round no matter where you are staying and there are many easily accessible attractions. For those who just want to steep themselves in the history of this ancient city, choose a hotel in the Baixa or Chiado areas of the city. From there you can easily explore the shores of the Tagus River and the Praca do Comercio, one of the city's most beautiful squares.
Home to one of the most-visited attractions in Lisbon, the Carmo Convent and Museum, Baixa is in the heart of the city and, having been rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1755, is an exceptional example of the uniformity of neoclassical buildings. If you choose a hotel here you will be perfectly positioned to discover all that Lisbon has to offer due to the central location and excellent transport links.
Chiado is the traditional shopping district of Lisbon and is a perfect place to stay if you fancy relaxed afternoons shopping and exploring. From here you can easily access the centre of the city and many Lisbon hotels are located in this area. Pedestrian precincts and winding pathways play host to numerous shops, cafes and bars here so it is a great place to acclimatise to the culture and feel of the city.
If you are definitely planning on some retail therapy while you are away and also wish to treat yourself, you may try stepping over to Avenida da Liberdade and the Marques de Pombal. Here you will find a wide range of high-end shopping opportunities as well as some of the more luxurious hotels in Lisbon.
From anywhere in the city you will see the Castelo da Sao Jorge, a Moorish citadel which dates from medieval times. Located on the highest hill in the city, the castle imposes itself on the skyline while also being very much a part of the tapestry. This is one of the most popular destinations in Lisbon so most Lisbon hotels have transport links to the castle. Close to this important site you will find mainstream, affordable accommodation in Saldanha and Estefânia, where there is a tranquil atmosphere as well as transport links to the rest of the city.
While in Lisbon, you will want to make sure you make time to visit the city's most monumental and historic area, Belem. From here, Magellan, Prince Henry the Navigator and da Gama set out to explore and map the world. Columbus stopped here after discovering the New World and the riches from these explorations marked this area. You will find wonders such as the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery and the Ajuda Palace. Belem is one of the most popular areas to visit so if you want a hotel nearby you should book in advance.
For history buffs, another must-see is the small town of Sintra. Sintra is known as 'Europe's most romantic town' due to the incredible array of 19th-century Romantic architecture. The town is also adorned by several royal estates, castles and buildings dating from the 8th and 9th centuries and is often likened to stepping into a fairytale. Sintra is easily reached from many of Lisbon's neighbourhoods, or you can choose to book accommodation here for the night to truly take in this unique town.
Sun lovers can book a hotel close to Oeiras, the nearest beach resort to Lisbon. Here there are several beaches offering a wide range of activities as well as historic sites, popular restaurants and a relaxed atmosphere. Another option is to visit the Oceanario, one of the world's largest aquariums, which exhibits a wide variety of ocean life, from the Antarctic tank containing penguins to the Pacific tank where you can watch otters play.
The beach resorts of Estoril and Costa da Caparica are both close enough to travel into Lisbon for a day trip. Estoril is the choice for those looking to treat themselves as it was home to King Juan Carlos and there is an air of luxury and grandeur. Several five-star hotels are located here amidst a wide range of upmarket restaurants and a casino.
South of Lisbon, you will find the less expensive resorts of the Costa da Caparica, offering miles of golden sandy beaches as well as good hotels. The beaches are zoned for particular interests, from surfing to nudism, so be sure to choose the right one. Nearby you can explore the Serra da Arrabida nature reserves and the Albufeira lake area.
With such a variety of things to see and do, it is no wonder that Lisbon has become an incredibly popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year. As a holiday hotspot you will find the city well equipped for tourists, with hotels available in all price ranges, from hostels and B&Bs to five-star luxury properties and everything in between.
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