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As cities go you can’t get much more original than Lisbon. Portugal’s capital is an ancient city with a very modern vibe and a perfect destination for that city break you’ve been longing for.
Lisbon is full of contrasts with activities for every kind of traveller, from tourist guide wielding culture buffs, to beach bums and families. But the first thing you’ll notice about Lisbon is its outstanding architecture, which is hardly surprising given the legacy of this place – it was the capital of the once mighty Portuguese Empire after all. A surviving array of Moorish, Romanesque and Neoclassical buildings will simply blow you away. As will the city’s hills – all seven of them!
But before you start to think about packing some hiking gear, don’t worry, as Lisbon’s charming old-style trams will get you to the peaks with the minimum of effort. Make sure you take a camera though, because the panoramic view from the top will take your breath away. And the narrow, winding and cobbled streets and lanes below will do the same, so put those feet up and grab a beer at one of Lisbon’s many grand squares.
Lisbon's charming parks and historical plazas become host to a variety of folk, indie, rock and jazz musicians every Friday and Sunday from May through September with the Meo Out Jazz performances. Bring snacks and drinks and spend a lazy afternoon soaking up the sun and the sounds of Lisbon.
June in Lisbon means party time! The highly anticipated Santo Antonio festival transforms the city streets into a month-long celebration of grilled sardines and sangria, baby basil plants, a mass wedding at Se Catedral and a huge, not-to-be-missed parade, during which each city district struts their stuff. Head to the neighbourhood of Alfama for the biggest bash in town. visitlisboa.com
May in Portugal is a flurry of festivals. Discover local and international authors at the open-air Lisbon Book Fair in Eduardo VII Park on 23 May - 10 June (feiradolivrodelisboa.pt), observe and participate in ancient fishing events in the nearby fishing village of Nazare (Saturdays in May and June), or wander around the highly anticipated annual Soup Festival in nearby Tomar (4 May).
Spring has sprung, and it's the perfect time to stroll, bike or rollerblade through the city's refreshing Green Corridor. Beginning at Parque Eduardo VII, the tidy, 2km-long path meanders far from traffic, through sunny gardens and stunning viewpoints, until you arrive at Europe's largest urban forest, Parque Florestal de Monsanto.