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Lisa Mackinnon, Senior Short Break Specialist

"One of Europe’s most picturesque capitals, Lisbon is the go-to place for iconic architecture, revered art, and trending fashion. Explore the Jeronimos Monastery, a World Heritage Monument and a symbol of Portuguese affluence during the Age of Discovery, then jump to the present at the Design and Fashion Museum where you can see the eclectic creations of top international designers."

Lisbon at a glance

A striking capital city, Lisbon rises upon seven beautiful vistas, offering impressive views of expansive harbours, terracotta roofs and whitewashed buildings. The experience of Lisbon is an indulgent one, filling the senses with a colourful landscape, a celebrated history and a dining and nightlife experience not to be missed.

Acting as the capital of Portugal since 1255, Lisbon is inseparable from its past. Known to be one of the oldest cities in the world, it claims an expansive history encompassing the rise of the Roman Empire, the epic crusades and the Age of Discovery. From the cobbled streets and compact houses inside the old Moorish castle walls, to the imposing Jéronimos Monastery in the Belém district, Lisbon’s rich heritage is tangible at every turn.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Historic attractions
  • Great food 
  • Vibrant nightlife

Getting around

Lisbon’s metro system is a great way to navigate the city, and its metro stations are an attraction unto themselves with each stop boasting its own unique contemporary art.

The city also provides a tram line, bus network and train service.

Dining in Lisbon

From fresh seafood and tinned sardines to tapas, snails and suckling pig – Lisbon offers a smorgasbord of indulgent food options in a variety of settings from smart restaurants with castle views to cosy tavernas and park kiosks.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Cozido – a stew made with different meats and vegetables
  • Bacalhau – dried, salted cod often served with potatoes
  • Pastel de Nata – a flaky pastry case filled with sweet custard


Lisbon is home to a wide variety of discos, clubs and bars but for a real taste of Portuguese culture, head to a Fado house where live performances of the Portuguese ‘songs of sorrow’ usually accompanies traditional food and drink.


The upmarket branded boutiques are located in the Chiado district, and the Avenida da Liberdade is the tree-line one mile avenue of luxury designer stores, fountains and cafés for those much needed breaks. Also, head to the winding atmospheric streets of Bairro Alto for late night shopping and for authentic Portuguese shops.

Osprey Holidays top tips

Quit the city for the day and head to Sintra, 16 miles north west of Lisbon this enchanting town once described by Lord Byron as 'a glorious Eden' is a wonderful haven of old summer palaces and stately homes. Don't leave Sintra without buying a packet of queijadas, delightful miniature cheesecakes which taste delicious!

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Lisbon designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Lisbon hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Customer reviews
Judith, March 2014

We had a lovely time in Lisbon. The hotel was very nice, staff were very friendly and the rooms were spotless. It is a family-run hotel. The breakfast was very good with all the usual stuff. We ate in two nights and the meals were lovely.

Important information
Population 474,697
Languages Portuguese
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Take a vintage tram for a scenic ride from the city centre up through the narrow streets to St George's Castle.

Distance from airports
Lisbon 7 km
Railway stations
Oriente Station

Things to do in Lisbon

  • St George’s Castle: On the top of the highest hill in Lisbon sits this ancient Moorish castle.
  • Alfama District: Particularly charming and historic area of the city, with its maze of cobbled streets, churches and pretty squares.
  • Monastery of St Jerome: 16th century monastery housing the tomb of explorer Vasco de Gama.
  • Oceanarium: Beautifully laid out and modern aquarium, with fascinating displays of aquatic life.
  • Feria da Ladra: Lisbon’s flea market is held beside the impressive Santa Engracia church and boasts a great variety of clothes and trinket stalls.

Tours and Excursions

City Highlights Guided Walking Tour

Discover the tight cobbled lanes of Lisbon’s atmospheric Alfama quarter, admire the architecture of the Baixa district and stroll through the elegant Chiado neighbourhood.   You will pass notable landmarks, such Rossio Square, Lisbon Cathedral and the Elevador de Santa Justa and enjoy views across Lisbon and the Tagus River. There will also be time to sample the famous Pastel de nata pastry.

Sintra & Cascais Day Trip

This small-group day tour takes you to beautiful Sintra where you will visit Pena Park, Pena National Palace, located at the top of Sintra Mountain, and enjoy some free time in the historical centre of Sintra. Stop for a photo opportunity at Roca Cape, the westernmost point of Europe, visit Guincho Beach and pass the cliff at Hell’s before stopping at Cascais bay for a wander around this former fishing village.

Gourmet Food & Wine Tour

Wind your way through Lisbon’s beautiful streets visiting bakeries, delicatessens and traditional cafes. Sample gourmet cuisine and local wines and get advice from your guide on where to eat for the rest of your trip. You will stop at an atmospheric wine bar in the Bairro Alto for tapas and wine, and finish the evening with a light meal in a local venue.

Sunset River Cruise

Admire the sights along Lisbon’s Tagus River at the most atmospheric time of day. Enjoy a welcome drink as you sail beneath the 25th of April Bridge and relax as the crew point out highlights including Belém tower, Christ the King monument and the UNESCO-listed Jerónimos Monastery. A maximum of 16 people on board ensures a personalised experience and blankets are provided for those chillier evenings.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.