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Why Lisbon is the perfect destination for your next city break

Lisbon is the city of the moment. Bursting with cultural experiences, stunning views and delicious cuisine, this is the city for everyone. As a trendy and modern metropolis, Lisbon is a favourite among OROKO Travel Specialists. Perfect for a weekend break or a longer stay, the city is the ideal spot for your next getaway. Lisbon city-breaks offer everything from buzzing nightlife to fascinating museums. Today, our Travel Specialists are sharing their top things to do in Lisbon.

Indulge in a traditional Pastel de Nata

A trip to Lisbon is incomplete without trying an authentic Pastel de Nata, the official Portuguese desert. A delicious sweet treat consisting of a creamy egg custard baked in a flaky puff pastry crust, the Pastel de Nata is undoubtedly a national treasure. There are bakeries on nearly every corner throughout the city, but we suggest trying the original product before any others. Pastéis de Belém created the original pastel back in 1837 and have been serving the iconic sweet treat ever since. The recipe is a closely guarded secret and only found at Pastéis de Belém which is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

Step back in time in the Alfama District

The medieval old quarter of Lisbon is a stunning collection of cobbled streets, red rooftops and tiny squares. Full of old buildings, churches and monuments, the town is perfect for history enthusiasts. Be sure to stop by the Cathedral, Lisbon’s oldest building or study the story of traditional Portuguese music at the Fado Museum to get the full cultural experience. The biggest attraction of the area is without a doubt Saint George’s Castle, an imposing structure overlooking the city. Climb the towers for some of the most spectacular views of Lisbon. If the hilly terrain becomes too much, hop on the famous funicular number 28 to get to the top of the town.

Dine in style at Belcanto

As Lisbon’s only two Michelin starred restaurant, Belcanto is the epitome of fine dining in Lisbon. The interiors feel chic and luxurious with muted colour tones and bistro-style seating. With an innovative menu that has influenced fine dining in Europe since its opening, Belcanto is an important foothold of Portuguese cuisine. Creative dishes centre on showcasing the beauty of simple ingredients and there is a story behind each dish. One famous dessert takes the shape of a reconstructed mandarin orange, filled with sorbet and custard, the colourful dish is based on the Chef’s childhood memory of orange picking.

Experience traditional art at the National Tile Museum

Housed in an ancient convent, The National Tile Museum is a stunning representation of the ancient tradition of azulejos, blue painted tiles, native to Portugal. The exhibition covers five centuries of the ceramic tile tradition. Encounter wall after wall of beautiful tile displays, each more beautiful and fascinating than the last. Be sure to visit the chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony, one of the most opulent and ornately decorated locations in Europe. Situated just a slight distance from the main attractions, the museum is an often-overlooked cultural experience that is not to be missed.

Enjoy a feast for the senses at the Mercado de Ribeira

Mercado de Ribiera is the largest and most diverse market in Lisbon and occupies a stately building with a large domed roof, visible all over the city. Inside you will find some of the best fresh produce and food stalls Lisbon has to offer. Traditional local products are for sale as well as high-class gourmet offerings. A lively cultural hub, the upper floor of the building even houses a concert hall and an art gallery. With so many different stalls to try, you can easily spend an afternoon wandering around the massive food-hall. We recommend trying Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa’s offerings, as a two-time Michelin star awardee, an impressive lunch is guaranteed.

Feel like royalty at the Palace of the Marquises

Possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of European architecture, the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira is a must-see. The edifice is privately owned; however, sections are open for public viewing. Be amazed by the stunning tiles and artwork that adorn the walls or admire the exquisitely landscaped gardens. Situated in Saõ Domingo de Benefica, the palace is an impressive monument of art and culture that is the perfect place to brush up on your Portuguese history as well as your photography skills.

Take advantage of the nightlife

As well as being a cultural hub, Lisbon is also home to a buzzing nightlife with everything from grungy speakeasies to upscale cocktail bars. For a unique night out, Pavilhao Chinês tops the list. Set in a former grocery store, this quirky bar is floor-to-ceiling filled with antiques dating back to the 1700s. With a pool room, over 100 cocktails and plenty of teas to choose from, a great night out is guaranteed. For something more upscale, we love Double 9, a chic bar designed around the ancient Portuguese tea trade. 18 (Double 9) tea-based cocktails dominate the drinks menu, with the house special being particularly delicious.

Take a day trip to the fairytale town of Sintra

Resembling a picture in a storybook, the enchanting town of Sintra is a royal fortress perched on top of the Sintra Mountains. Undulating hills surround the pastel-coloured pinnacle which is a listed World Heritage Site. Visit Quinta da Regaleira, a stunning palace filled with Manueline style masonry complete with a series of underground tunnels to explore. The real star of the show is Pena Palace, an iconic Disney-like castle that is visible from all over Sintra. One of the grandest buildings of romantic architecture ever built, the palace is one of the seven wonders of Portugal. Spend a half day here and you won’t regret it.

Charter a boat on the Tagus River

A sailing trip along the beautiful Tagus River is one of the best ways to take in the sights of the city. Charter a boat and spend a romantic evening or a sunny afternoon gliding past the Monastery of Saint Jerome, Belém Tower and more without having to wait in lines or pay entry. Your private guide will take you through the most interesting facts about each landmark you pass, ensuring you don’t miss out. This is the perfect tour for those who wish to see the sites at their own pace. What could be better than enjoying drinks and snacks on a private boat while the sun sets?

Follow the pink brick road

From seedy origins as Lisbon’s red-light district, Pink street has become a buzzing hub for nightlife in the city. The street itself has been painted bright magenta to match the fun and bubbly atmosphere that takes over every evening. Instagram friendly during the day, head to Pink street early in the morning for the best photos. For nightclubs, bars and discotheques, Pink Street is the number one party district in the city. The nightclubs get going after midnight, but there are plenty of restaurants along the street for dinner before you head out to dance the night away.

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