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One of the oldest cities in the world, the sun-kissed coastal capital of Portugal, Lisbon, lies between the azure blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the magic of its legend-shrouded Seven Hills. Once a stop-off on the road for Greek hero, Odysseus, its Mediterranean climate and myriad mix of Roman, Moorish and late-Gothic heritage make it irresistible to the modern traveller.
Add to the mix a late-night cocktail scene, rooftop parties galore, food markets that showcase the best of local cuisine interspersed with international gastro highlights, and plenty of little and large restaurants, you can see why Lisbon lures foodies the world over. But it’s actually wandering the lovely lanes or hopping on a rickety tram where you get a true feel for the place.
Explore its wide-ranging architecture in a city that was razed by an earthquake in 1755. From the spectacular vantage point of the lofty Castelo de São Jorge, spot the ruins of the 13th century Convento do Carmelo, a stripped back reminder of life before the quake. Visit the Se Cathedral which drips with ecclesiastical heritage, wander the narrow, cobbled streets of the Alfama, one of Lisbon’s most authentic barrios where old ladies eat sardines kerbside, chased by Lisbon’s cherry liqueur ginjinha, colourful azulejo tiles catch your eye and hidden restaurants serve garlicky clams and vino verde.
In recent years Lisbon’s culture scene has seen an explosion with visiting artists such as Ai Wei Wei holding exhibitions and the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) a spectacular structure on the banks of the River Tagus. And if the beach calls, there’s plenty to choose from including the upmarket resort of Cascais, just around the coastline. From any angle, Lisbon is undeniably a city of spectacular panoramas.
A noble Palácio of cor de rosa in the leafy Príncipe Real district dates back to 1877, a luxurious family residence that courted Lisboan high society. Aptly, this former heritage palace is a rather fabulous boutique hotel of style – it is grandeur: suitably chilled.read more