Planning a Portuguese holiday in Lisbon

By Bert K. from Roermond, Netherlands (The rooftops of Lisbon) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. Thousands of people flock there every summer to soak up the sun. But if you ask some people, it’s Spain’s neighbour Portugal that’s really the place to be. Its capital of Lisbon offers all the sun and sand that you’ll find in many places in Spain, with the addition of sightseeing and the subtraction of a lot of screaming children. Why languish in a resort on the Costa del Sol, when you could be enjoying a cultural break in Lisbon? Here are some of the key things to consider if you’re planning your next holiday there.


Just like anywhere else in Europe, there are plenty of backpacker hostels for a cheap stay. But when you have a bit more cash in your pocket, there’s no need to suffer the discomfort of a ten-bed dormitory. Lisbon offers a range of accommodation for travellers, from hotels to something more private. If you want a break from cooking for yourself during your stay, using sites like to find a hotel room is a perfect solution. From 5-star hotels like The Corinthia to budget-friendly Residencial Florescente, you’ll find somewhere suitable. If you would prefer not to live off room service and restaurants, there are hundreds of self-catered apartments to choose from, as well as villas with pools.

Getting Around

One of the biggest concerns when you visit a new city is how to get around. Hiring a car is one solution, but if you’re in the city centre, it can be more trouble than it’s worth. Luckily, Lisbon has plenty of public transport, and there are always taxis if you don’t want to mingle with the masses. You can travel by tram, bus, metro, ferry and even cable car, if it takes your fancy. And, of course, you can wander the city centre on foot.

Arts and Culture

When you’re not too busy eating, drinking and spending time on the beach, you can squeeze in some culture and sightseeing. Like any capital city, Lisbon has its museums and galleries, and there are enough that you would struggle to fit them into one trip. Try the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and the Centre de Arte Moderna to start you off. If you’re a music lover, you’ll find it everywhere, and especially in bars and restaurants, where they hold live music in the evenings.

Active Outings

If you’re not one for sightseeing, Lisbon is a great place to get active in too. You could cycle through the city, go for a jog or take a hilly hike. You can even take a kayak tour and combine it with a walk for an interesting way to explore. If you want to find more to do, it may be easier to hire a car and go outside of Lisbon a little. You won’t run out of things to do in Portugal’s capital. And if you don’t want to be active all the time, there’s no shame in lying by the pool or on the beach for a week.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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