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Lisbon Overview

Cultural holidays: Lisbon holidays 2019 boast a staggering array of historic buildings and fascinating museums to visit. But there’s more to Lisbon holidays than just beautiful architecture. You’ll enjoy the electric atmosphere just wandering around the densely packed streets of this capital city, stopping off at charming restaurants and welcoming bars. Or maybe you’d prefer the relaxing, natural delights of the botanical gardens dotted around Lisbon as oases of green.

Shopping holidays: Lisbon holidays also offer lots of shopping bliss. Within a relatively small space you’ll come across myriad malls and department stores, as well as some thriving shopping streets which buzz with life.

Attractions in Lisbon

Cristo Rei: Taking its inspiration from the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, this huge monument stands around 100m tall. Much of it is taken up by an extremely long base (around 82m), and fantastically you can take an elevator up for amazing views at the observation deck. You’ll see an incredible panoramic skyline of all of Lisbon from here. It’s certainly an opportunity to take some great photographs on your Lisbon holidays!

Castle de Sao Jorge: Lisbon is one of many cities across the world that was built on the site of seven hills. On the highest hill you’ll see that the Castle de Sao Jorge still stands proudly today. It’s in remarkably good condition for a Moorish castle which dates back to 1147. However, it has undergone several renovations, so maybe that explains the impressive stonework you’ll still see on Lisbon holidays today.

Belem Tower: Based (perhaps unsurprisingly) in Belem, a famous district well worth visiting on Lisbon holidays, Belem Tower is an enchanting example of Gothic architecture, dating from the 16th century. Sitting by the sea, the tower was used extensively for military and naval battles, and is even considered so historically important it has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Activities in Lisbon

Belem Cultural Centre: The Belem Cultural Centre (also known as the CCB) is the largest cultural centre in Portugal, with many different halls for exhibitions and education. Although the main draw for tourists is the permanent modern art exhibition which includes works by Picasso, Duchamp and Dali. It’s well worth stopping off here during your Lisbon holidays to see all the modern masterpieces on display.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum: Founded according to the will of a wealthy Armenian man named Calouste Gulbenkian this museum exhibits both ancient art and contemporary pieces. Despite not being particularly well-known outside of Portugal, the museum actually has a staggering array of pieces by famous artists including Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet and Turner.

Botanic Gardens: There are actually two lush botanical gardens to enjoy on your Lisbon holidays. The Botanical Garden of Ajuda was actually created in 1858, as part of a programme to build a new palace for the Portuguese royal family after the first one was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. Then there’s the Jardim Botanico, which was landscaped over three hundred years ago. These gardens have a real eclectic, exotic mix of plant life, including unusual trees which have been grafted together!

Beaches in Lisbon

Tamariz: Lisbon holidays have a surprisingly good choice of sandy beaches nearby. Tamariz is one of the closest, located in Estoril around 30km to the west of the city. It’s a very pleasant spot, consisting of a long stretch of dusky golden sand leading into crystalline waters. It can get pretty busy in the summer, but there’s plenty of space and its well supported by local bars and restaurants.

Costa da Caparica: This gorgeous golden beach is just to the south of Lisbon holidays, across the bridge through Almada. It’s actually less than 20km away, so it’s not too far a drive to reach there. Incredibly, Costa da Caparica is over 30km in length, spread across a long coastline divided into several beaches.

Guincho Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches you’ll see on Lisbon holidays, Gunicho Beach rose to fame after being filmed on the James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. It’s not surprising it was chosen as a cinematic location as its golden sandy shores are backed with dramatic rocky cliffs, providing the perfect backdrop to your sunbathing during Lisbon holidays. It’s also a popular spot for windsurfing holidays as the strong breezes and wavy seas make great conditions for the water sport.

Restaurants in Lisbon

Bocca: The quirky, sleek styling of this contemporary restaurant only serves to enhance your eating experience during holidays in Lisbon. Food is a classy, modern affair with dishes creatively presented such as braised pork cheek and sweet potato soup.

Cafe de Sao Bento: Offering very much a gastropub experience with perhaps more variety to the drinks than the food, Cafe de Sao Bento is nevertheless one of the best places to eat on Lisbon holidays. The meat dishes here are of particularly high quality, especially the tender beef steaks and succulent pork.

Assinatura: Decked out in pristine white with daring splashes of red, this contemporary restaurant is another example of fine dining to enjoy on Lisbon holidays. The dishes here are amazingly creative (and also delicious) including breaded cheese with green tomato jam, sea bass with pumpkin soup, and chestnut pudding.

Nightlife in Lisbon

All action nightlife: Lisbon holidays are known for glitzy nightlife which offers a range of nightspots to suit all types of people. The Bairro Alto is a popular place, and the entire district seems to come alive as the sun starts to set. It’s packed with narrow cobbled streets where people overflow from the bars to enjoy the warm evenings. In particular, great bars spread across the city of Lisbon include Garrafeira Alfaia, the wine bar Chafariz de Vinho, Kubo Bar, Lux Club and Queens. But if you’d prefer to just head to a neighbourhood and discover the best bars for yourself, then Santos and Alcantara are both great places to start.

Shopping in Lisbon

Huge shopping centres: On Lisbon holidays you’ll come across a staggering array of massive malls that will cater to your every shopping need. In particular, the Centro Commercial Columbo is considered to be one of the largest shopping malls in Europe – it even includes a funfair and a go-kart track, making it a fully-fledged entertainment destination! Aside from this huge shopping centre, there’s also Armazens de Chiado, Centro Commercial Amoreiras and Dolce Vita Tejo. All of them are highly regarded for offering a large selection of shops featuring local Portuguese labels and international brands.

Shopping streets: If you’d prefer to wander in the open-air, visiting a variety of famous shops, then you could always head to the many major shopping streets dotted around the centre of Lisbon. Baixa is the most popular (and tourist-focused) as it features well-known brands like Zara and H&M. There’s also Chiado and Avenida da Liberdade which offer an upmarket experience boasting glamorous boutiques like Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Luis Vuitton.

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