The Portuguese Capital, Lisbon is a prime example of a city on the coast that manages to keep its charm regardless of being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. No matter what it is that inspires you to take a holiday in Portugal, Lisbon has it; sun, sea, culture, history and of course the cuisine. Lisbon has scorching summers and even in the winter the temperature rarely drops below 15 degrees. Portugal is also one of the cheaper locations in Europe and one can often find themselves pleasantly surprised at the quality and price of eating and drinking out in the country’s capital city. p>
A holiday to Lisbon can mean anything; it can mean an exciting holiday of adventure and parties, or it can be a relaxing holiday in one of the most bohemian capital cities in all of Europe. The fact that Lisbon is located a short drive away from some great beaches means that surfers and sun bathers will always have something to keep themselves engaged, however most will find it difficult to pry themselves away from the city limits as there is so much on offer. Be it wandering around the city’s narrow streets of Alfama, sampling the local bacalhau or finding the city’s awe inspiring monuments, it is hard to get bored in Lisbon.
Amongst Lisbon’s top tourist attractions is São Jorge Castle, a medieval, Moorish castle located in a dominating position on top of a tall hill. The castle itself is amazingly preserved and a fantastic tourist destination; however, the real joy of São Jorge Castle is the views from the top of its walls. From the vantage point, most of Lisbon can be seen and the panoramic view from the top is an attraction within itself.
When back on level ground, there are numerous buildings and monuments to explore. Jerónimos Monastery, a vast Gothic building in Belém area of Lisbon is not only amazing to look at, but also houses both the Maritime Museum and the National Archaeology Museum. Then find the Rua Augusta Arch which because of its size, might be difficult to miss. This colossal arch is over 100 feet tall and was built in 1755 when the city of Lisbon was rebuilt after an earthquake and tsunami that destroyed most of the town.
The national dish of Portugal is called bacalhau which is essential salt cod and is served in most restaurants in the city. There is allegedly 365 ways to cook this fish, so that gives one method for each day of the year. This dish is so popular in Portugal that it is often also served on Christmas day. Potentially the second most important dish in Lisbon is the Caldo Verde which is a broth made of cabbage, onions and potatoes.
Portugal’s national music is a kind of blues or folk which is characterised by a soulful almost melancholic style. Fado can be experienced alongside the country’s national food at restaurants called Casa de Fado where Caldo Verde is often served. The music originated from the working-class area of Alfama and so the most authentic Fado can be there but it is also hugely popular in the Barrirro Alto district.
A holiday in Lisbon is guaranteed to be both enlightening and enjoyable; discover one of Europe’s hidden gems in Portugal.