There are more reasons to visit Lisbon than any travel guide could possibly cover. Not least of all the maze of mosaic streets that tumble down the city's seven hills dotted with bakeries and antique stores. Then there's the bustling harbour front where fresh seafood restaurants and ambient lounge bars abound. It's the perfect melody of modern and old, set to a slow pace of life and a calendar of sunny days. No trip to Lisbon is complete without a trip to Sao Jorge Castle and the National Tile Museum, but if it's just one activity you have time for make sure it's a trip to Belém's famed pastry shop, Fábrica de Pastéis, for the nation's favourite sweet treat of pastel de nata. Crawl your way through Portugal's capital in a rickety 1930's tram, before ambling about on foot and casting many glances up to catch romantic Juliet balconies, ornate building facades, and the smiling faces of the elderly hanging their washing out. For a unique window into the city time your trip with a festival, such as Lisbon Fish & Flavours or the biannual Rock in Rio held in Bela Vista Park. If a 5-day session of alternative and reggae music sounds like your holiday calling, you best drift a little further south to MEO Sudoeste. Which every way you choose to tackle Lisbon you're sure to be left enamoured, this is not a city that knows how to disappoint. Clear a few weeks of your calendar a book a flight to Portugal's capital, here's our pick of what to do in Lisbon.
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Time Zone: GMT
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Though Portugal boasts a mild, sunny climate through most months of the year, it still comes alive during the summer when it comes to festivals. Lisbon is home to a diverse curation of events, with music and gastronomy at the calendar’s core.
As exotic as bacalhau sounds it is actually just cod fish, a much-adored staple in Portugal. It’s served up in numerous fashions such as ‘à Lagareiro’ with potatoes and oil, and can also be picked up from local markets, dried and doused in salt.
Roughly cut pork steak seasoned and sandwiched in bread, the bifana is really that simple. Nevertheless, variations exist of this nationally loved snack, occasionally with added spice or mustard and unique meat preparations. It’s best tasted at the truly local O Trevo, a cheap and authentic experience despite the Bairro Alto address.
Best eaten at– O Trevo, Praça Luís de Camões 48
Cozido is a family favourite stew consisting of various meats and vegetables that create a rich and varied flavour. Though the greatest cozido is said to be found on the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores naturally slow-cooked in volcanic geysers, a close second is served at Restaurante Os Courenses on Rua Jose Duro.
Best eaten at - Restaurante Os Courenses, Rua Jose Duro 27
If you’ve dubbed Spanish paella a little tasteless and dry, the soupy seafood dish of arroz de marisco might be calling your name. This Portuguese specialty usually boasts clams, mussels, prawns and fish, simmered with vegetables in a broth of wine, paprika, garlic and onion. The seaside restaurant of Farol has this dish mastered to an art form.
Best eaten at – Restaurante Farol, Largo Alfredo Dinis 1, Almada 2800-252