Defined by a Moorish castle and built over seven hills, Lisbon is a romantic city that’s often overlooked in favour of other European capitals. With a culture steeped in seafaring history, the city that launched a thousand ships remains a destination to be discovered.
Admire the Manueline architecture of Belém Tower, built to commemorate explorer Vasco da Gama’s 1498 expedition to India, and the Monastery of the Hieronymites, together a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore Portugal’s maritime history at the Maritime Museum and gaze out to sea alongside a statue of Prince Henry the Navigator, known for launching the country’s golden age of seafaring exploration, at the Monument to the Discoveries.
Dine with the locals at João do Grão, where the grilled cod melts in your mouth, on Rua dos Correeiros in Baixa, the lower town (351-213-424-757) or head to O Mastro (351-213-543-167) off Avenida da Liberdade for Brazilian-style barbecue. Rub elbows with the intelligentsia at Café Nicola at Praça Dom Pedro IV, a cobblestoned square.
Catch Tram 28, one of five tramlines crisscrossing downtown Lisbon, and climb to the splendid Castelo de Sao Jorge in Alfama to explore the 11th-century castle’s ramparts and panoramic vistas.
Drink in the view from the terrace of Largo das Portas do Sol, one of the gateways to the old city, and people-watch to the infectious rhythms of Cape Verdean street musicians. Descend on foot to the lower town with a stop at Sé de Lisboa, the beloved Romanesque cathedral of Lisbon.
Take the Elevador da Glória, a cabled railcar, from Praça dos Restauradores up to Bairro Alto for the most romantic views of the city from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a stately garden overlooking the city.
Head to Pavilhão Chinês Bar (351-213-424-729) for a cocktail before catching some fado, Portuguese folk music, at A Tasca do Chico (351-213-431-040).