Cheap flights to Lisbon
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.
The Baixa looks at its best in the lead up to Christmas, the grid of streets strung with decorations and a giant tree in the centre of Praça de Figueira. Cafes and pastelarias stock up on bolo rei ("king cake"), a crown-shaped fruit cake with a fava bean secreted inside: tradition states you pay for the cake next year if you find it.
Some of Portugal's most beautiful handicrafts can be found at A Arte da Terra, inside the former stables of a bishop's palace and opposite Sé Cathedral. Jewellery, embroidery, clothes and kids toys would all make great Christmas gifts (40 Rua Augusto Rosa).
Head up the Tagus to the village of Golegã. Attractive at any time of year, you can sample rural Portugal at its best during the Feira Nacional do Cavalo, on 7-16 November. This 10-day horse extravaganza features show jumping, dressage, equestrian displays, live music and a wondrous array of local characters. fnc.cm-golega.pt
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