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Seven cinematic hillsides overlooking the Rio Tejo cradle Lisbon’s postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals – a captivating recipe crafted over centuries.
Miradouro Mania: Scenic City Views
Lisbon’s trademark seven hills are peppered across the cityscape like lofty guardians of colour and history. Capped by a collection of terraces known as miradouros (viewpoints), a must-see web of no-filter-necessary views over Lisbon, the Tejo and beyond is formed. Our favourite miradouros – Portas do Sol, São Pedro de Alcântara, da Graça, da Nossa Senhora do Monte, Santa Luzia and, of course, Castelo de São Jorge – all offer stunning spots to get your bearings and while away afternoons overs bicas (espresso), elegant glasses of Touriga Nacional or refreshing pitchers of sangria, while rubbernecking the city’s stupendous horizons.
Beyond Bacalhau: Lisbon for Foodies
Dining in Lisbon is far more dynamic than navigating countless preparations of Portugal’s beloved bacalhau (dried and salted cod fish; 365 recipes and counting!). While bacalhau à Brás (shredded cod with onions, eggs and potatoes; a Bairro Alto original) is never far, Lisbon’s strategic seaside position on Europe’s doorstep means a bounty of fresh seafood (octopus, tuna, monkfish, shrimp, sardines, clams, snails) rules the city’s kitchens, from Michelin-starred restaurants to gourmet-food markets to countless corner tascas (taverns). Top-grade Alentejan beef beckons with juicy steaks and gourmet burgers; and you’ll find everything from tantalising Indian curries to authentic Moroccan couscous in-between.
Last Call Lisbon!
The absence of open-container laws and cheap booze means Lisbon loves a night on the town! Don’t be fooled by Bairro’s Alto’s sleepy daytime feel – by night, these narrow cobbled lanes transform into one of Europe’s most raucous drinking addresses. Student dives, traditional fado houses, upscale wine bars and LGBT hotspots merrily coexist among the muddled mess. In Cais do Sodré, ‘Pink Street’ and environs are home to some of the city’s classic nightclubs and best cocktail bars, while trendier megaclubs stretch along the waterfront from Santos to Santa Apolónia. Last call? Sunrise!
The Great Lisbon Earthquake
You couldn’t blame your average lisboêta for thinking of the apocalypse when the ground gave way just before 10am on 1 November, 1755. What followed was up to eight astonishing minutes of city-shattering shaking spread across three tremors, followed 40 minutes later by a massive, city-engulfing tsunami, culminating in a week-long firestorm that incinerated what little was initially spared. Lisbon was decimated. Today, the modern city is shaped by that cataclysmic day – nearly everything is defined as before or after the earthquake – and the Pombaline architecture that defined post-quake Lisbon reconstruction counts as some of the first seismically protected constructions in Europe.