Lisbon, Portugal's capital city, is hugely popular with visitors from all over Europe. It's a city particularly favoured for weekend city breaks. You can see why - Lisbon is a city that offers numerous attractions including a host of museums and art galleries, a bustling waterfront, chic bars, cafes, restaurants and shops in almost every Lisbon district, two huge soccer stadiums on its outskirts, one of the best public transport networks and metro systems in the world, and a fascinating if somewhat haunting history. Lisbon was obliterated by an earthquake in 1755, so much of what you see in the city today was rebuilt after that date.
The waterfronts of the Tagus and Tejo bustle with tourist boat trips, and monuments and historic sights are almost everywhere you look. Cultural hotspots include Belem to the west and Gulbenkian cluster of art galleries to the north near Eduardo VII Park. Checkout the fado music scene in Alfama, ring those bells and soak up the Bairro Alto nightlife, wear yourself out climbing upto the castle, take an open top bus sightseeing tour from Praco do Comercio in central Baixa or just chill and watch the world go by in one of Lisbon's many cafes and bars. Lisbon Airport is centrally placed in the city too, so you're straight off the plane and into the action.
There's a huge choice of Lisbon city centre luxury hotels and budget hostels on iknow-Portugal (see Lisbon accommodation links for details). You're fairly flexible with where you locate yourself in Lisbon city centre, as public transport including buses, trams, mainline rail and the superb Lisbon Metro make exploring this museum rich city easy. Practically all of the Lisbon hotels and hostels on this website are positioned near public transport links, particularly Lisbon Metro links.
If you're heading for the big Lisbon football stadiums to the north, choose more north Lisbon accommodation for quicker Lisbon Metro link times. If you want to be in the hub of Lisbon city centre, choose the Barrio Alto, Baixa or Belem areas. Many luxury Lisbon hotels on this website offer superb luxury leisure facilities such as indoor swimming pools, spa and various sports. Many have perks like free airport pick-up (well worth taking advantage of as taxis are not cheap!).
For budget Lisbon accommodation look to the hostels, which all provide quality budget usually en-suite and airconditioned accommodation, conveniently placed near Lisbon metro links.
The Lisbon Guide on this website is meant only as an introduction to Lisbon, assisting you with advice on Lisbon Transport links particularly, and getting out and about in Lisbon. Further reading is recommended, and two of the best Lisbon Guides by far are the Rough Guide's mini 'Lisbon Directions' written and researched by Matthew Hancock. This one's a superb introduction to Lisbon, with excellent maps and a good thematic approach ideal for visitors completely new to Lisbon. For a more indepth look at both Portugal and Lisbon look to Lonely Planet, and Time Out's specfic guide to Lisbon. Read around too, and pick up a copy of Voltaire's 'Candide' (see the Lisbon Earthquake pages on this website).
Lisbon is sprawling city, made all the more exciting by the particular themes and individual characters of its regions - fado and Alfama, Belem, Barrio Alto and its nightlife, Rossio and its bustling cafes and commercial district, and hilly Graca for great views from its peak, the highest in Lisbon. Do a little research before you go, as Lisbon has numerous reasons so it pays to be prepared, picking out the museums and historic sights that interest you most, and planning how to get to them.
Check the Lisbon Metro, Carris for Trams, buses, lifts and funiculars and Lisbon rail weblinks right for assistance - all these weblinks have up-to-date timetables and route planners on them.
Two big sights in Lisbon, pushing towards the historic Alfama District, are Lisbon Cathedral and Lisbon Castle. Both buildings are post the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, but you'll discover that excavations at the Lisbon Se is revealing both Roman and Moorish remains - hints at the fact that others were here first before the Christians.
Getting around Lisbon is made easy primarily by the excellent Lisbon Metro which can whisk you swiftly and efficiently between Lisbon Districts. That's not all though on the Lisbon Public transport front - you've excellent rail links into Lisbon from its immediate suburbs like Setubal to the South and Cascais to the West, and longer rail routes upto Porto. You've also Lisbon's atmospheric trams and funicular elevators which criss-cross the city.
Take an open top bus sightseeing tour (usually from central Praca do Comercio), a great way to get your bearings in Lisbon. There's also a choice of walking tours and boat tours on the water. If you want to save money, pick up a great value pass or Bilhete Turistico at the Elevador Santa Justa just down from Rossio. This pass allows you unlimited travel on buses, trams, elevadores and the metro for one day (usually around 3 euros). Alternatively pick up longer 2, 3 or 5 day passes. Check with the welcome centre on Praca do Comercio for details. Intensive Cartao Lisboa passes are available from most tourist info offices as well as Lisbon Airport.
Topping this, you can also hook into tourist boat trips and ferries taking you on scenic cruises up the River Tejo, or across to the Sul do Tejo area. You've no particularly need to be driving around Lisbon, unless you're coming in from other locations in Portugal. In fact, you're well advised to avoide driving in Lisbon, which is basically a nightmare - this is a city where public transport reign's supreme, and three cheers to that. See weblinks right for the Lisbon Metro, Lisbon rail links, Lisbon trams and ferries and pre-plan your weekend city break in Lisbon or your longer holiday there. All public transport is cheap here, including rail journies out to historic hotspots like Sintra in the Lisbon suburbs!
Cheap flights to Lisbon choice is superb, and you can hop on direct flights to Lisbon from London Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton, and Dublin Airports. From other airports around the UK and Ireland you'll have to first fly to a connecting airport, eg. Heathrow or even another European Airport such as Munich. Contact Iknow Holidays booking line direct for the best cheap flight deals and connector flight deals to Lisbon. We can identify the cheapest flights to Lisbon for the period you want to travel.
The Gulbenkian complex just to the north of Eduardo VII Park is a superb collection of art galleries, gardens and museums. Wander around the beautiful gardens here (you won't believe you're in the middle of a bustling city!) and visit the many museums including the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian with its focus on ancient Eastern and Western Art and the superb Centro de Arte Moderna Jose Azeredo Perdigao with its superb selection of work by Paula Rego particularly. See Henry Moore sculptures within the garden areas. It's a perfect spot for an outdoor lunch, and the area has a choice of cafes connected to the various museums.
The Belem area of Lisbon city centre, to the West of Baixa is a Lisbon cultural centre indeed, with a huge cluster of art galleries, museums and pretty gardens all positioned close together. Many museums sit within the Centro Cultural do Belem including the renowned Design Museum. You need to hop on a train from Cais do Sodre to get to Belem, or hop on the number 15 tram. Belem is also crammed with historic sights and buildings, including the striking Torre de Belem fort right on the waterfront, which prior to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake sat right in the middle of the Tagus.
To the North East of Lisbon city centre on the waterfront, and easily accessible via the Lisbon Metro hopping off at Oriente, sits the superb Parque das Nacoes (Park of Nations) complex.
This little mini entertainment rich village is well worth a visit - spending a day here is perfectly feasible. Take a cruise along the River Tejo from the Olivais dock area, or try a spot of canoeing, sailing or windsurfing with the Nautical Centre. You'll spot the huge Pavilhao de Portugal designed by Alvaro Siza Vieira. A huge 3 floor shopping centre and a cutting edge oceanarium are here in Parque dos Nacoes.
Two of Portugal's mammoth super football stadiums are in Lisbon - Estadio Jose Alvalade, home to big team Sporting Clube de Portugal and Estadio da Luz, home to legendary Portugal soccer team SL Benfica. Both of these Lisbon soccer stadiums are two the north of Lisbon city centre, and both have capacity seating over 60,000. It's easiest to get to them via nearby Lisbon Metro links.
Smaller Football Stadiums in Lisbon are to the west of the city centre. Estadio Nacional is home to National Portugese football, whilst Estadio do Restelo is home to footbal team CF Belenenses. Both these have capacity seating around 30,000 which is still pretty big. Reach them via road links, or Lisbon mainline rail links.
Lisbon Welcome Centre, Comercio Square, Baixa. Tel: 351 210 312810. Open Daily in both Winter and Summer from 9am to 8pm.
Artesanato do Tejo, Arsenal Street 25, Lisbon. Tel: 351 210 312820. Open 10am to 6pm.
Lisbon Airport Tourist Information Centre, Situated in Arrivals. Tel: 351 218 450 660. Open 7am to 12pm daily. Pick up your good Lisbon city centre map from here when you arrive, and indeed the Lisboa Card. See also Santa Apolonia Station, Estacion de Ferrocarril de Sta Apolonia, Terminal Internacional, Lisbon. Tel: 351 218 821 606. Open 8am to 1pm.
Palacio Foz Tourist Information Point, Restauradores Square, Lisbon Tel: 351 213 463 314. Open 9am to 8pm. Also there's a Tourist info kiosk at Calle August. Tel: 351 213 259 131. And if you're in Belem there's a tourist info kiosk point there at Monasterio de los Jeronimos. Tel: 351 213 658 435. Open 10am to 1pm, and 2pm to 6pm.