Lisbon’s star has risen exponentially in recent years: the Portuguese capital can now easily claim to be one of the world’s coolest cities, with classical architecture and a rich history as esteemed as the thrumming nightlife and ascendent food scene.
It’s also a truly beautiful place: set across seven lofty hills overlooking the mouth of the Tagus river, its cobbled, compact streets have something to offer travellers of every ilk.
The adjacent districts of Barrio Alto and Chaida are as bohemian as Portugal comes, full of fine restaurants, cosmopolitan cafés and theatres. Waterside Belém is more serene, and home to both the ornately stubby Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, as well as the city’s most feted custard tart at Pastéis de Belém; while Alfama, to the east of the vibey central district of Baixa, is Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood and the birthplace of fado, loomed over by the castle of Sao Jorge and miraculously intact after the 1755 earthquake that flattened most of Lisbon. Factor other iconic sights like the city’s colourful Museu Nacional do Azulejo tile museum, the steampunk Santa Justa Lift and its proximity to Sintra, and you’ll start to see what the relentless buzz is all about.