Flight and hotel Lisbon
In the neighbourhood of Belém, one of Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods, a monument to the Portuguese discoveries looks out across the Tagus River leading to the sea. It’s from this point that ships set out to explore the world, and where the great Portuguese Empire began. Located in the south of Europe, Lisbon is both vibrant and traditional. This fairly compact city is an excellent choice for a trip spent sightseeing, bar hopping or simply lounging at the beach.
What to know before visiting Lisbon
Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) serves the city and is conveniently just a 10-to-15-minute taxi ride to the very centre of the city. Check flights from Dublin or Cork. Portugal is an EU member, and the local currency is the euro. The timezone is the same as in the UK and Ireland. The local language is Portuguese, although Spanish and English are widely spoken, particularly among service workers and younger citizens. Lisbon city breaks make for relaxed and pleasant holidays.
When is the best time to visit Lisbon?
Even in winter, temperatures in Lisbon are mild and usually above 10°C. From spring, the thermometer pushes into the 20s, and summers bring ideal beach conditions, with long, sunny days and balmy nights. There’s no best time for Lisbon package holidays, although the period between June to September is great for hitting the nearby coast.
Visit just before or after this time for fewer crowds and great walking weather. The city has many great elevated spots for taking photos, so you’ll want to bring your walking shoes. Alternatively, take a leisurely tram ride to the hilltop parks and castles. The markets and festivities around Christmas in this traditionally Catholic country make winter breaks here special.
What to do in Lisbon
A weekend in Lisbon can be whatever you want it to be – you won’t be far from excellent surfing beaches, and you can easily join the throngs of sunbathers and kick back with a cocktail by the sea. A favourite day trip destination is nearby Queluz. Dubbed the ‘Versailles of Portugal’, it features a magnificent former royal palace. Another favourite is Sintra, which houses fairytale castles, forest walks and delicious locally made cheese pastries called queijadas.
Cycling along the coast, catching a football game at the Stadium of Light or lounging with a book and sipping strong cups of bica (Portuguese espresso) are other favourite pastimes for visitors. A short train ride will take you along the coast, where you can hop off at Estoril beach, which is beautiful and calm, or Cascais, the most popular and great for its vibrant ambience. Another local favourite is Parede – whereas it's often overlooked by visitors because it's small and quieter, it's excellent for sunbathing amid beautiful surroundings.
What to see when you visit Lisbon
- Visit the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, one of the world's finest examples of Manueline architecture.
- See the nearby Belém Tower, which has earned the area its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Climb the hill or take the tram to São Jorge Castle, which boasts superb views over Old Lisbon.
- Stroll the narrow streets of Bairro Alto by day for great coffee or by night for buzzing bars.
- Take the family to the Lisbon Oceanarium, in the attractive and modern Park of Nations district.
- See the ruins of the haunting Carmo Convent, partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
- Snap a photo of the Vasco de Gama Bridge, which resembles San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
What to eat when you visit Lisbon
Lisbon package holidays are a chance to gorge on amazing food. Portuguese cuisine is similar to most Southern European cooking, with a twist. Try codfish, one of the country’s most beloved foods – there are over 1,000 different ways to prepare it! Shellfish, duck served with rice, and steak and chips with mushroom sauce are other great Portuguese dishes to try on Lisbon city breaks.
Vegetarians and vegans need not fret, as there are plenty of meat-free restaurants in the capital. The local wine is both amazingly affordable and excellent – make sure to try the semi-sparkling and light vinho verde, which is simply delicious with fish. A Lisbon weekend is a treat for the taste buds.
What souvenirs can you bring back home from Lisbon?
Book your Lisbon flight and hotel and you can start planning your trips to the markets and enormous shopping centres throughout town. If you’re looking for a locally made souvenir, you’ll find several shops selling tiles, cork goods and textiles. The day you leave, grab some pastéis de nata (custard tarts) as a present for loved ones back home. A bottle of port also makes for a great gift for those who like an after-dinner tipple.