Just over the river from Lisbon is the Setubal Peninsula. Take a full day there, and head to the Arrabida Natural Park area. It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the region, Portinho da Arrabida, where green hillsides drop dramatically down to white sandy beaches. As it is protected by the curve of the Sado estuary, the water is warmer and much calmer than the Atlantic coast, perfect for sunbathing and swimming. There are also plenty of activities - diving, sea-kayaking, walking - all in the middle of the natural beauty of the Park. Have some of the best seafood in Portugal by detouring for lunch in Setubal, where there are dozens of low key restaurants dotted around local squares, and finally visit the quaint village of Azeitao for a wine-tasting at the Jose Maria de Fonseca quinta, including the regional sweet wine, Muscatel.
Portinho da Arrabida - www.getportugal.com/en/poi-praia-do-portinho-da-arrabida-14032
Outdoor activities - www.vertentenatural.com/index_lang.php
Winetasting - www.jmf.pt
The Convento de Cristo in Tomar is probably one of the most spectacular places in Portugal. founded by the Knights Templar its a beautiful, mysterious and magical place. Just a wonderful place to discover and enjoy. Tomar is a bit of a trek from Lisbon and an overnight stay would be even better.
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.
This tiny, idyllic 16th century Franciscan Monastery in the Sintra Hills was built entirely from natural materials. It becomes part of the surroundings with boulders forming parts of the walls, and the small, sparse monks cells are designed so that it is impossible to lie down at full stretch. The only concession to comfort is the cork lining for some of the walls, hence its name. There are beautiful fountains and fascinating naturally sourced art works.
From Lisbon take the train to Sintra, and then catch the bus 'Turistico Monserrate and Capuchos'.
Estrada dos Capuchos, 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
+351 219 237 300
Google map: bit.ly/18b8x4p
An enterprise that turned the underground, the arcades and what nots of the vintage bull fight arena, into a self called leisure center. The indoor venue was already known for rock shows. Also a place for some quality time, on weekends. People riding on top of sightseeing bus will always hold their cameras up.
The eastern, Indian, moorish, whatever. Since the fascist tests on Tibet, it can all be, in a nut shell, trendy. So everybody can be inspired by the lifestyle, whether in the shopping center or in the museum, near Lisbon's founding castle outskirts and gothic monastery surroundings.
If in Lisbon take a boat trip across the Tagus from Cais do Sodre up to Lisbon's Christ the Redeemer Statue. You can take a lift up the tower to the base of the statue. From here you get fantastic views across the river to the city of Lisbon and to Belem
Across the Tagus from Lisbon
Red Tour electric vehicles equiped with a GPS talking guide are perfect to drive around Lisbon and discover some hidden gems. I tried the Alfama Segway Tour and it was so much fun.
Next time i will try Belem tours in one of their silent buggies.
Rua dos Fanqueiros nº18 next to Praça do Comércio.
The 28 tram is THE iconic method of transport in Lisbon and a great way to see some of the major sights of this gorgeous city: the Se, Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Baixa and more.
However, it can get really crowded with tourists during the summer months and around the middle of the day. Many visitors often appear not to realise that this is not a tourist tram specifically for them but an integral part of the city's transport system used by many old grannies and locals with little children etc.
A tip for getting a seat is to take the green metro line (LInha Caravela) from Baixa-Chiado or Rossio to the Martim Moniz stop. From here you can jump on board the 28 tram at the start and be assured of a seat - and a fantastic view, unless there's a giant bottom in your face - all the way through town to the terminus at the other end by the Cemiterio dos Prazeres.
Be sure to give up your seat for a grannie, though!
Martim Moniz metro stop (Green line - Linha Caravela)
Tram No. 28
One of the best views in Lisbon. The newly renovated gardens have two levels with views across to Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Tagus, Alfama, Rossio, Avenida de Liberdade etc. It's an oasis of calm which is lit up by the sunset each evening.
An azulejo (tile) map shows you what's what.
Rua Sao Pedro de Alcantara (at the top of the Elavador da Gloria)
A buzzing outdoor terrace, quality coffee, history and that atmospheric, cavernous interior – damn the critics, this Brazilian lady is a Lisbon classic.
Address: Rua Garrett No. 120, Largo do Chiado.
Telephone: (351) 213469541.
Situated in Colares Velho, overlooking the church square and bandstand is a beautifully restored 18th century grocery store converted into a restaurant and tea room (Salão de chá).
A great place for a romantic dinner. We had a wonderful meal, the staff were so friendly and with Fredo playing the guitar, what more could you ask for?
Take the ferry from Cais do Sodre for the ten-minute crossing to Cacilhas (€1.25), avoid the street traders at the exit and turn sharp right to walk along the quay. There are wonderful old industrial buildings and eventually, the maritime museum and an elevador or a steep series of steps up to the small town of Almada and the Cristo Rei statue, from where there is a great view back across the Tejo as far as Sintra.
Magnificent 19th century botanical gardens on a dense and sloping site, a haven of peace away from the busy streets, full of character and an absolute bargain at the €1.50 fee. Interesting buildings, a pond, and information boards on the way round.
The entrance can be tricky to find as it isn't obvious - through wide entrance gates opposite Rua de Sao Marcal and 100m straight on.
Rua Escola Politecnica, www.jb.vi.pt
In 1798, the remains of Lisbon's Roman amphitheatre were discovered dug into the side of the hill, in what must once have been a very dramatic location just uphill from the Sé. It's been excavated and turned into a simple but very attractive museum.
Pátio do Aljube, 5 (off Rua Augusto Rosa) or Rua da Saudade; tel: 21 75 13 200;
What is happening to Parque Mayer? This atmospheric hodge-podge of theatres, music halls, restaurants and cinemas just off the Avenide da Liberdade has been slowly crumbling away for years, and plans were announced to tear down the lot and replace it with a Frank Gehry-designed complex. Those plans seem to have been abandoned and the beautiful art deco Teatro Capitólio, despite a local campaign and listing by World Monuments Watch, is still being left to rot. Go for a wander around while you can: it's like being on a David Lynch film set.
Parque Mayer, Travessa do Salitre;
This place, in the Estrela area of the city, should be on the itinerary of any tourist. I love it because it is wonderful just to go for a walk around and feel at peace in the midst of the city. It is utterly beautiful, very peaceful and extremely well-kept. If you are able to, go into the church, because it is gorgeous as well.
Henry Fielding the novelist and Philip Doddridge the writer of hymns, are among those buried in the cemetery. If you visit when there is a service on you will be made very welcome by the expat community. There are also some decent and relatively cheap eating places in the area.
Rua de Sao Jorge, Estrela;
Metro: Rato, or catch tram 28;
Walk straight through the gardens until you see a large wall opposite. Cross the zebra crossing, bear left and half way up the hill is the church gate. For more information, or to arrange a visit, see www.lisbonanglicans.org
Ruined church right in Chiado in Lisbon's centre. Wonderful, relaxing and quiet place to escape the heat. Great museum also inside with some weird and wonderful exhibits. In a nice shady square too. Go in early spring to get the jacarandas in bloom. Closed on Sundays (whereas most museums close on a Monday). You can get a look in if you go up the Elevador da Santa Justa - which also has fabulous views over Baixa.
Largo do Carmo;
tel: 21 346 0473
Come out of the top exit of Baixa-Chiado metro, walk down the hill (past cafe Brasileira) and turn left up any street – which will be steep. It's at the top in the shade.
take a trip to the castle - the view from the top is outstanding and is well worth the climb up the streets to reach it. Take plenty of water though, as you will need it on a hot day!
Largo do Chão da Feira, in the Alfama district;
tel: 21 887 7244
Opposite the Jardim da Estrela, near the end of the 28 tram route, is the walled English Cemetery - an extraordinary, overgrown jumble of graves, trees and stories. Not just English ones: all sorts of expats, adventurers, drifters and romantics ended up here. So did Henry Fielding, who came to Lisbon for his health, hated it and died. It feels like walking into a secret history of old Europe.
Rua de Sao Jorge, Estrela;
Metro: Rato, or catch tram 28
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org