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.


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.