Located on Europe’s west coast by the Atlantic Ocean and with the River Tagus as a backdrop, Lisbon is the ideal destination for an escape. Portugal’s cosmopolitan capital city offers visitors plenty of history, culture and beach life close by. The best way to immerse into the city is by staying at a boutique historic hotel in one of Lisbon’s central neighbourhoods.
Photo by Sven Hornburg
Lisbon Heritage Hotels (lisbonheritagehotels.com) are located in iconic Lisbon locations including on the banks of the river in Santos, in Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood Alfama or on Lisbon’s main tree-lined boulevard Avenida da Liberdade. Each hotel has its own distinct personality and history to share.
Just off this tree-lined boulevard on Rua Rodrigues Sampaio sits Hotel Britania. This 1940s Art Deco building was part of a project by illustrious Portuguese architect Cassiano Branco. The unique and impressive door is like nowhere else and opens to an equally unique interior. Guests will encounter marble columns, vaults and frescoes all in the striking lobby. The 33 bedroom hotel is also home to a library and bar. This is just one of the groups options but we believe it provides the perfect backdrop after exploring this historic city outdoors.
With more hours of sunshine than most European cites, Lisbon can be explored outdoors throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy 10 outdoor moments across the city, all easy to reach from Lisbon Heritage Hotels:
Parque Eduardo VII offers the most impressive views of the centre of Lisbon. From this manicured park, visitors enjoy views of the river and all of the Avenida da Liberdade. At the very top sits the Amalia Rodrigues garden where visitors can enjoy a post-walk drink on the Linha D’Agua terrace.
Photo by Michiel Annaert
A riverside walk to Lisbon’s coolest and modern art gallery MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) takes in a large part of the pedestrianised riverfront before arriving at the museum which covers an area of 38,000 square metres.
Photo by Kit Suman
Slightly further away, a visit to the first botanical garden ever created in Portugal dating back to 1768, is worth the visit. Jardim Botânico da Ajuda showcases over 5,000 species of plants with magical views of the river in the distance. These are some of Portugal’s finest gardens.
Head to the beaches which surround the city. The stretch from Lisbon to Cascais is served by frequent train in just 25 minutes and on the other side of the river, reached by car is the Costa da Caparica, a vast beach of golden sand with plenty of space and alfresco dining spots.
Cross the famous Ponte 25 de Abril bridge which extends for 2.2km by taxi and climb the famous Cristo- Rei statue for stunning, front row uninterrupted views of Lisbon from above, then enjoy a meal by the river facing Lisbon.
Jardim da Estrela is located in the heart of Lisbon and is the ideal place to take a book. Enjoy a drink at one of the kiosks before exploring the jacarandas, dragon trees, araucarias and a pond home to ducks and geese. Peacocks also call this park home. The park gently fills with locals as it sits by various neighbourhoods.
The Tapada das Necessidades (Park of Necessidades) is one of the best parks in Lisbon to read, enjoy a picnic or take in some sunshine. The extensive grassy areas are surrounded by exotic plants, statues and abandoned historic buildings. This was once Queen Maria II’s home and is centrally located.
Take the metro to Oriente station and walk by the river exploring ‘new’ Lisbon at the Parque das Nações which was regenerated for the 1998 World Expo. There are various gardens to visit and unique buildings including Álvaro Siza Vieira’s epic award-winning Pavilhão de Portugal featuring a huge concrete roof weighing 1,400 tonnes.
Discover Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood Alfama, to the sound of fado. This is Lisbon’s most traditional neighbourhood with cobbled, tight alleys across various inclines all with rewarding views of old Lisbon. There are many traditional restaurants to experience. This song also inspired Madonna during her Lisbon stay and recent album.
Stroll to a Miradouro and enjoy a sunset view. Lisbon is full of viewpoints across its hills and one of the most famous is Miradouro de S. Pedro de Alcântara, an ideal point of discovery of the city facing the castle and looking down on Avenida da Liberdade.
Be charmed by tradition in Lisbon at the five boutique Lisbon Heritage Hotels.
Which is your favourite European capital?
We’d love to know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org