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Lisbon is perhaps best described as a wonderfully picturesque city made up of many small charms rather than major landmarks in the style of Paris or Rome (in part because of the massive 18th century earthquake which destroyed most of what was then considered by many to be Europe's grandest city).
Nevertheless, it still boasts the 16th Century Jerónimos Monastery (a must see), the Torre de Belém (again a must see), the Monument to the Discoveries, which has great views from the top, the tropical Garden Museum, Naval and Coach Museums, the Belém Cultural Centre, which holds the Berardo Collection of Modern Art and even the Gulbenkian Planetarium. All these places are located in Lisbon's elegant Belém district.
Whilst there and if you want to put on a bit of weight, then we heartily recommend a trip to the “Pastel de Nata” bakery. It is impossible to have just one of their delicious custard tarts, the recipe of which remains a secret even to this day. (Allegedly, only 3 living persons at a time are thought to hold the recipe).
Other great neighborhoods include Alfama, the oldest area of Lisbon, going from the walls of the Castelo São Jorge down to the Tagus River.
High above the city centre to the west of the Baixa is the so called Bairro Alto. This is the natural place to wind up at night though it is also well worth a morning or afternoon stroll to explore.
Downtown Lisbon, or the "Baixa" is actually Europe's first example of Neoclassical design and urban planning. The lower town is very much the heart of the city and main shopping area.
The Parque das Nações, the former EXPO area, is still worth a visit.
Also don't miss the famous Flea Market, Feira da Ladra, which fills the Campo de Santa Clara, at the eastern edge of Alfama on Tuesdays and Saturdays (07:00 -18:00).
Outside Lisbon there is also a lot more to see:
Sintra, a world heritage site, has all the charm of a fairy tale town and was once described by Lord Byron as "the glorious Eden". Sintra has beautiful palaces old residences to visit, particularly the Palácio da Pena, Castelo dos Mouros, Convento dos Capuchos, Palácio da Vila and luxuriant gardens of Monserrate.
Estoril and Cascais can be reached within 30 minutes from the city. Estoril was once known as the "Portuguese Rivieira" with grandiose villas and luxury hotels whereas Cascais was an old fishing village with pretty houses by the sea, is now a major resort. They are connected by a beautiful promenade along the coast.
"Praia do Guincho" is a beautiful beach and a superb spot for surfing and windsurfing. Located just outside Cascais, a car is required to get there.
Boutique Hotels and Places to Stay in Lisbon
- The Apartment Estrela 2 Rooms
- As Janelas Verdes
- Baixa House
- Casa Balthazar
- Casa Costa do Castelo
- Casa das Janelas com Vista
- Casa das Merceeiras
- Dear Lisbon
- Hotel Bairro Alto
- House 4BA
- Jerónimos 8
- Les Suites du Bairro Alto
- Lisboa Boutique Hotel
- My Suite Lisbon
- Palacete Chafariz del Rei
- Palácio Belmonte
- Palácio Ramalhete
- Pestana Palace Hotel & National Monument *****
- Quinta do Tagus Village
- Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel
- Solar do Castelo
- The Apartment Estrela 3 Rooms
- The Ritz Lisbon
Romantic & boutique hotels by city in Lisbon
Places to stay in Lisbon
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