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 reputation as one of Europe’s best nightlife destinations grows every year. Hidden behind the medieval stone walls of the city centre is a clubbing community that brings in revellers from around the world. Bairro Alto, one of the hotspots, is a sleepy historic neighbourhood by day that transforms into party central once the sun’s gone down. Cheap drinks, popular DJs and crowds spilling out onto the streets make it an infectiously energetic district to explore at night.
Head to the waterfront for Lisbon’s superclubs, which attract thousands with themed nights, plenty of space and riverside locations. Pick up a cocktail and head to the roof for views of the city lit up at night or to watch as dawn slowly arrives.
For a more traditional experience of Lisbon’s nightlife, find a fado house. Fado is Portugal’s national folk music, involving traditional guitars and melancholic lyrics. You can enjoy this time-honoured musical tradition while feasting on a seafood dish at several fado houses around the whole city, but many of the best are found in Alfama.