Just a short train ride from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre station is Cascais where sun lovers can enjoy the beach but for those seeking something more energetic pick up one of the free bikes for hire at the BiCas scheme located close to the station. You will need to show ID card or passport before heading off on the dedicated 16k cycle path out of town and down the coast. Perhaps purchase a picnic first, store it in the handy bike basket and stop off at Guincho beach, beloved of surfers. On the way back make a short and worthwhile detour to Museum Casa Historias das Paula Rego, Avenida de Republica 300, where entry is free. Here you will dazzled by the largest collection of paintings, drawings and etchings from the vivid imagination of Paula Rego, Portugal’s finest living artist.
A day trip to Sintra is a must - don't forget to take a torch and visit the gardens at the Quinta de Regaleira.The first time I went I didn't take a torch and cut my nose on the wall of a cave much to my husband's amusement. It is a magical labyrinth of caves and tunnels that make you feel like you are in a fairytale grotto. If you have time you can climb the hill to the Pena Palace which is a fabulous, brightly coloured castle with extensive gardens to explore.
Even for non-football fans, a trip to one or other of Lisbon’s two sporting cathedrals is a must. The Estadio da Luz is a legendary arena that has hosted great Benfica teams through the years and was once lit up by a youthful George Best. The Estadio Alvalade is altogether different. Built for the Euro 2004 tournament and home to Sporting Club de Portugal (aka Sporting Lisbon), it is a colourful modern, art-deco delight. However the venues have plenty in common - above all a passionate, warm atmosphere that draws you in. Buy your scarf outside and enter for a slice of Lisbon life.
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the stadia, at kiosks outside, or in advance at the ABEP kiosk on Praca Restauradores.
Getting there: For the Estadio da Luz, take the metro to either Alto dos Moinhos or Colegio Militar/Luz; for the Estadio Alvalade, take the metro to Campo Grande.
Website: www.portugoal.net has fixtures and other information.
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