If you’re looking for a slow paced holiday this summer – head to Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal for a spot of culture and sightseeing. With its gothic cathedrals, quaint museums and narrow backstreet lanes – Lisbon is the perfect laid back travel destination, read on to find out why…
Things to do in Lisbon
- Take a slow walk along the Rua Augusta. Rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake, the main shopping district of Baixa hosts wide avenues and pedestrianised streets which are a great place to shop and have coffee.
- Ride the Elevador de Santa Justa. The area’s highlight is the wrought-iron neogothic style lift which offers an easy ride up to the Bairro Alto area. Treat yourself to a drink at the rooftop cafe and enjoy the amazing views.
- The Castelo de São Jorge is located on one of the highest hills in Lisbon and stands on the riverside with spectacular landscape views across the city. The oldest remnants found in the castle date back to the Iron Age!
- Take a day trip to Belém a UNESCO World Heritage site and just a short tram ride away from central Lisbon. Belém is famous as the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery.
- Stop by the famous 160-year-old pastry shop on Belém’s main street Rua de Belém and sample a pastel de Belém – a custard tart made with flaky pastry…yum!
- Admire the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). A 52m high concrete monument to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator who was responsible for the beginning of the European worldwide explorations.
- A visit to Belém would not be complete without a look inside the famous fort Torre de Belém. Navigate your way through the winding staircases to the top of the tower for some great views across the Tagus River.
- The town of Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and about an hour away from central Lisbon. Attractions include the picturesque Pena Palace which can be seen from Lisbon on a clear day and the Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) with a breath-taking view of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
Lisbon is built on 7 hills, so trams are the ideal way to get around although slow and creaky, they have a certain charm to them and are a great way to see Lisbon. You can buy a 3-day Lisbon card from tourist information centres which entitles you to free transport on the tube trains and trams, plus discounted or sometimes even free access into many of the museums and attractions around the city and surrounding area.
One of the great highlights of Lisbon is that you don’t have to travel a lot. Everything is within very short distance and easy to reach. For a great night out, visit Docas. The lively atmosphere is filled with bars and restaurants – a perfect way to spend your evening with excellent views over the River Tagus.
Finally, don’t forget your holiday insurance!
If after reading this blog you like the sound of Lisbon, make sure you take out travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip. Buying direct from the travel insurance provider is certainly cheaper than from your travel agent.
You can purchase great value travel insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 3-day break in Europe, it will cost you just £5.32* – a small price to pay to really relax and enjoy your Lisbon holiday all the more!
*Premium £5.32 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 55 taking out a Standard Single-trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 3 days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (June 2009) and are subject to change.