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Until quite recently, Cais do Sodré has had a bad rep for sailors stepping straight off their ships and into its many dens of iniquity, to mingle with the shadier characters of Lisbon’s underworld. But this once-salubrious part of town has had a revamp and, while there’s still a whiff of mischief about, Rua Nova do Carvalho or the ‘Pink Street’, for its rose-coloured tarmac, now draws a very different kind of visitor...


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Lisbon city guide





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Turn your city break into a microadventure

Lisbon: Cliffside camping in Sintra Cascais

The mission is simply to go to sleep, but to sleep wild at the western tip of Europe on the cliffs of Sintra Cascais above the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The 417 bus from Lisbon takes just 45 minutes to Cascais. Then the bus to Sintra (403) will drop you off on the way. According to your preference, there's lush woodland to sleep in, or smoothy grassy heathland looking out over the sun setting into the Atlantic.

Next stop across that ocean lies New York - you'll really feel that you are at the edge of a continent. Take enough food and water for your visit, as it is pretty quiet out there. You can also visit the Cabo da Roca lighthouse for great views and nice cliftop walks.

Level of Difficulty: Easy - the activity is sleeping. What to pack: Suitable clothes (check the weather forecast, and remember it gets cold and windy by the sea!), woolly hat, headtorch, raingear, sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag.

Best time to go: May

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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. 

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easyJet holidays to Lisbon

Your easyJet experience doesn’t need to end when you arrive in Lisbon. easyJet holidays offers great value package holidays, so you can explore the variety that this city has to offer with confidence. Whether it’s climbing up one of the seven hills that make up the heart of the city, with the most spectacular city views in Europe, or venturing out to some of the beautiful beaches that line this coastal capital – we can help make Lisbon your perfect city break destination. As well as getting you there for a great deal, we can offer you the perfect package to explore your Lisbon holiday.

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Shopping


The sleek riverside roof of the amazing MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) building has become the place to hang out at sundown. It also hosts the Utopia/Distopia exhibition looking at the influence of Thomas More's work on artists on the 500th anniversary of the publication of Utopia. https://www.maat.pt/en


Visit the small Museu de Água Princípe Real under Praça do Água Princípe for a glimpse into the importance fresh water had for Lisbon in the past. Ask about their tours, which take you down an eerie underground tunnel way below the Bairro Alto. www.epal.pt


Hop on the Tagus-hugging rail line to the seaside suburb of Carcavelos, which not only has the nearest surf beach to the capital, but also boasts one of the region's best flea markets, a rambling affair by the rail tracks every Thursday morning.


The Arco da Rua Augusta arch is one of Lisbon's most impressive buildings, marking the entrance to the Praça do Comérçio. You can take a lift and stairs to the top for fantastic views over the Baixa and riverfront.


Take the Cascais train line to the suburb of Carcavelos, which hosts one of the city's biggest and best flea markets every Thursday morning. Straggling along the railway tracks you'll find stalls selling an enormous array of inexpensive clothes, towels, ceramics and shoes. Don't miss Carcavelos beach either, which is popular with surfers.


Take the famous tram 28 to the Basilica de Estrela, one of Lisbon's most impressive churches. You can climb stairs to the roof for fine views across the western suburbs, and peer down from the top of the distinctive white dome into the church below.

Sightseeing


The Portuguese football league peaks in May, with Sporting hoping to catch Benfica at the top. Key fixtures in the capital are the Lisbon derby Sporting v Belenenses (7 May), Benfica v Vitória Guimarães (14th May) and Sporting v Chaves (21st May).


The Peixe em Lisboa (Fish in Lisbon) festival brings together top chefs from around the world, who showcase their talents with fish and seafood dishes that you can sample, along with wine tastings and ‘best pastel de nata' competition. Pátio da Galé, Terreiro do Paço, Lisbon's main square. Until 9 April.


Lisbon's half marathon first heads across the impressive Ponte 25 Abril and continues along the Tagus riverfront before ending opposite the Jeronimos Monastery in Belém. 19 March.


The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) is a stunning new addition to Lisbon's museum scene, in a spaceship-like building right by the river in Belém. Designed by British architect Amanda Levete, the new museum merges with an early twentieth-century electricity generating station to host various exhibitions. https://www.maat.pt/en


Lisbon has several fabulous viewpoints and the modern Amoreiras Shopping Centre has just added another: five euros will take you to the rooftop of the modernist building for views right across the city and the Tagus beyond. Avenida Engeneiro Duarte Pacheco, 1070-103.


In December, the historic walled village of

Key Areas


Lisbon's biggest street party takes place on 12-13 June to celebrate its adopted saint, Santo António, when the Alfama and other neighbourhoods are decked out with stalls selling grilled sardines. This is the highlight of the month-long programme of festivals and events known as the Festas de Lisboa.


Not for vertigo sufferers, but the walk over the top of the towering Aqueduto das Águas Livres is a memorable experience. Accessed from the suburb of Campolide, the 65-metre high eighteenth-century aqueduct marches across the Alcantara valley for just over a kilometre.


The attractive Tagus-side town of Golegã shows off rural Portugal at its best during the Feira Nacional do Cavalo. This ten-day horse extravaganza features show jumping, dressage, equestrian displays, live music and a wondrous array of local characters, 4-13 November.

Day Trips


It's an easy bus ride to the stunning surf-battered waves of Caparica, the Lisboetas' favourite beach resort, filled with fine fish restaurants and with miles of golden sands.


January often sees great waves at the nearby beaches, and the suburb of Carcavelos (train from Cais do Sodré) is the surfers' favourite: head to the east end of the beach, next to the fort, for the best breaks.


It may be winter, but on a sunny day you can't beat a blowy walk along the miles of sandy beach at Caparica, just south of the city.


Fátima, 90 minutes north of Lisbon, is one of Europe's most important pilgrimage sites and on 12-13 October thousands visit to celebrate the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917.

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*Prices shown are per person based on two people flying on the same booking. Fees & charges may apply. Min 4 seats available per flight, one way inc. taxes.