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See the sights, savour the tastes, and then hit the beach - this city offers everything you could need for a break in the sun...
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 around, no matter where you are staying, and there are many easily accessible attractions.
Discover the areas of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, to decide where you will base your break...
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, cafés 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 fairy tale. 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 those in the Costa da Caparica area are both close enough to enable 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.
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.
Discover the bits that shouldn't be missed in scenic, captivating Lisbon...
The scenery of Lisbon will have you mesmerised as you tour easily on foot, but don't forget to tick off these highlights.
Top five attractions
Just sit a while in this magnificent place and note the hours that must have been lovingly given to the tiniest of details in the elaborate cloisters, the refectory and the church itself.
Castelo da Sao Jorge
Centuries-old St George's Castle stands like a sentry overlooking this lovely city. Hear the peacocks cry as you climb the towers and drink in the views of Lisbon and the Tagus.
Another commanding building in Lisbon, this medieval convent was ripped apart by an 18th century earthquake. The roofless nave is worth the look, as is the archaeological museum.
Families love this attraction as children explore - and learn about - the world's oceans and the creatures within in a safe and interactive environment.
Looking like something from a movie set, the striking Belem Tower was built in the 15th century and has stood firm as a defensive post for centuries. It is an architectural jewel of Lisbon and simply must be seen.
Lisbon puts on a fine line up of annual events. Find out what's on when you visit...
The calibre of events in Lisbon is high. If you're in the city when any of these events take place you should make an effort to join in, you'll be warmly welcomed.
Lisbon Fish and Flavours; April: Taste the freshest flavours of Lisbon and see how it's done thanks to cookery demonstrations and special events around the city during this celebration of gastronomy.
Festas de Lisboa; June: There are numerous events that take place under the umbrella of the festas. From street performances and parades to folk dancing and traditional Fado music, the city's historical quarters host most of the activities and the street parties that follow.
Oceans Festival; July/August: Make your way down to the waterfront areas of Lisbon where a variety of events take place. There are displays in the water, parades, concerts and many museums open at night. Find out what's on when after arriving at your Lisbon hotel and make sure you don't miss out.