Centuries of reinvention and restoration pile on top of one another in Portugal’s dazzling, sun-blessed capital.
Here, time-worn trams trundle through medieval streets and the scent of freshly baked custard tarts permeates the air. Modern Portugal has emerged in this historic city, too, offering nightlife, shopping and business to rival Europe’s major capitals.
Arriving at Lisbon Portela Airport
Your journey into Lisbon’s history begins at Portugal’s busiest airport, a key connection point to Southern Europe. Getting from the airport to the city is easy, with several different bus operators running services. Taxis to the centre take around 20 minutes and cost from €15, but do agree on your fare before departing. Metro trains also link the airport to Saldanha City, one of the financial centres of Lisbon.
You can pick up a variety of tickets from the airport, including inclusive cards that cover numerous forms of transport for the duration of your stay.
For anyone wanting to travel outside of the city, it’s best to book car hire in advance.
Lisbon’s varied calendar of festivals reflects the lively culture and eclectic interests of the city. Here is just a small selection of the events worth catching.
Lisbon Fish & Flavours
Regional cuisine is, naturally, one of the focuses of many celebrations here. This festival, held around March every year, offers pop-up food stalls and cooking classes. If you can’t attend any of the scheduled events, simply wander around and sample freshly prepared local dishes.
February brings to Lisbon parades of extravagance and colour that rival those of Rio de Janeiro.
Rock in Rio – Lisboa
In May, the Brazilian city also comes to visit at this five-day music festival, with rock bands from around the world performing at one of Portugal’s biggest music events.
The true festival season begins in June. The overarching event is the Festival of Santo Antonio, the city’s patron saint, but this is used as an excuse for dozens of mini-festivals that pop up around the region. Rock music, gay pride, street parades and fado performances bring Lisbon’s long history and present-day character crashing together in a riotous month of celebration. Book early to ensure a spot at Lisbon’s month-long party.