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.
Need a shopping hit? Take the metro to the Oriente stop and right across the street from the station is a vast, modern, indoor mall, the Vasco da Gama Centre. All the big names, including H&M, Zara, C&A, Pepe Jeans and Nike are here, and when you've shopped till you're ready to drop, walk out the other side and choose one of the many cafes or restaurants overlooking the Tagus (Avenida Dom João II, centrovascodagama.pt).
Tired of touristy fado dinners? If you're seeking the genuine, melancholic beauty of Portugal's traditional fado music, mark your calendar for 6 December. On this night, 33-year-old Ana Moura, the world-renowned new voice of fado, will sing at the Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval in nearby Sintra, so grab your tickets now to catch a performance of a lifetime (Praça Dr Francisco Sá Carneiro, Sintra, +21 910 7110, ccolgacadaval.pt).
On 1-9 December, the Natalis Christmas Fair will be held in Parque des Nacoes, on the north bank of the River Tagus. Boasting over 180 exhibitors, the fair offers visitors a taste of local Christmas traditions, as well as theatrical and musical performances. It's the perfect place to shop for unique, handmade Portuguese souvenirs and last-minute Christmas gifts. Open daily 3pm-11pm, entry costs €2.
Though the medieval town of Obidos is just an hour's drive from Lisbon, you'll be transported to an entirely different universe at the Christmas village known as Vila Natal. Celebrate the Christmas spirit in Portuguese style, and meet up with Santa, take a spin on the ice rink or cross a few more items off your gift-shopping list.