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Europe's Smallest Capital, the City of Seven Hills
Europe's smallest capital contains areas that have been described as ‘Paris in miniature’ and sits at the point where the River Tagus feeds into the Atlantic, just about as far west as you can go without getting your feet wet. The City of Seven Hills has recently gone through a phase of new construction & restoration of existing historical facades due to hosting Euro 2004. Portugal may have been the runners-up, but Lisbon emerged a winner.
The winding alleys of the Arab Quarter - Alfama - still retain an old world charm and Estoril, only 15 miles west of Lisbon, is easily accessible by train and offers long sandy beaches and a wide choice of dining options - ideal for a day trip !
The downtown area, Baixa, is a grid-like formation and is flanked by two squares: the riverside Praça do Comércio, framed by arcades and dominated by a triumphal arch and, at the northern end, Praça Dom Perdo IV (Rossio). The Elevador de Santa Justa, an outdoor cast-iron lift that first opened in 1901, offers a panoramic view of the streets in between.
The Portuguese eat a lot of fish and we suggest that you join them in this tradition.
• Terreiro do Paco, Praca do Comercio, Lisboa Welcome Center, Lisbon. The restaurant occupies part of the Royal Palace of Ribeira and overlooks one of the most impressive squares in the world, so while the setting is wonderful, the food compliments the location brilliantly. Emailterreirodopaco@quintadaslagrimas.pt for reservations.
• Bica do Sapato, Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Santa Apolonia, Lisbon. The ambiance is great and the food’s not bad either! A great spot to start the night off.
• Casa da Comida, Travessa das Amoreiras, Lisbon 1250-025. We got this recommendation from a client who raved about this restaurant - and having looked at the the reviews online it looks like it's one worth visiting.
Nightlife in Lisbon really only takes off around eleven o’clock so don’t start the evening off too early.
• Bar do Rio, Cais do Sodre Armazem, Lisbon. Miniature spaceships, trains and drums make up the bizarre décor in the Bar do Rio, but for a chilled out and most enjoyable night you won’t really find better in all of Lisbon.
• Café a Brasileira, Rua Garrett 120, Lisbon. One of the city’s oldest bars, the Brasileira is nearly always crowded with tourists, but the wooden booths, mirrored walls and a long oak-panelled bar make it a ‘must’.
Lisbon is Western Europe’s least expensive capital, so it may be worth your while having a bit of extra spending money as you’ll be able to buy much more than you could normally afford.
Avenida da Liberdade is where you’ll find the international high-fashion names while the Portuguese designers are found in the Bairro Alto and Chiado districts.
Colombo, one of the largest shopping malls in Europe, is worth the visit if only to oogle at the size of the place.
The Aerobus departs from just outside the Arrivals Hall in Lisbon Airport to the city centre every 20 minutes. Taxis are also available for hire at the airport for transfer to your hotel.