Fall in love with Lisbon
The beautiful Portuguese capital, descending from a cluster of hills to the gleaming River Tagus, is rich in history, culture and character.
Where to start with Lisbon’s many charms? Is it the easy combination of cobbled alleyways, imposing squares and shady courtyards, along with the imposing architecture and ancient ruins? Or is it the stunning coastline that offers up a range of beautiful Lisbon beaches that sets it apart from so many other European cities?
Perched at the mouth of the River Tagus where it meets the Atlantic, the city is cradled within seven hills, each one topped with a ‘miradouros’ – the terraces from which you can take in the mesmerising views.
It’s hard to imagine that the picture-perfect Lisbon we see today has been shaped by a trio of devastating events: an earthquake, tsunami and raging fire all happened sequentially in 1755, taking most of the city in its wake. Post earthquake, the timeless Pombaline architecture that now defines much of the city is not only elegant, but is among the first seismically protected in Europe.
Cunard offers a range of tours and excursions to ensure our guests get the very most from their Lisbon city break. An undoubted highlight on your cruise – and a fun way to catch the ‘old city’ in all its glory – is a ride on one of the famous yellow trams, which clatter along at speed (especially as both port and pastries are served on board!). For a more relaxing and comprehensive overview, take in Lisbon’s highlights by coach, or you can spend time exploring some of the city’s most fascinating districts on foot.
"Not every city can pull off the “quaint little bakery hidden down a lane” thing, but Lisbon is world class at it."Joana Mateus, Urban Adventures Manager, Lisbon
Top things to do in Lisbon
Tick off the following which commemorates Henry the Navigator and Portugal’s incredible voyages of exploration:
- Jerónimos Monastery
- The Tower of Belém
- The Monument of Discoveries
Make your Portugal holiday even more memorable by venturing beyond the city on a tour that includes the fairytale-like village of Sintra with its spectacular view of the old Royal Palace; the delightful Cascais, once an old Portuguese fishing village, and known for its beautiful early 20th-century houses. Not least, take in the spectacular vista from the most westerly point in Europe – the windswept cliffs of Cabo da Roca (traffic permitting of course).
Back in town, be sure to sample one of the city’s greatest treats: the Pastel de Nata, or Portuguese custard tart from the famous Pastéis de Belém bakery where it originated – you won’t need to go too far to find them piled up on counters everywhere. And if you choose to go a little more off-grid for the day with an Urban Adventures small group tour, you’ll also get to try other delicious treats, including local cheese partnered with tangy marmalade and wine, as your expert guide leads you through vibrant, multicultural neighbourhoods.
Wherever you go on your Lisbon holiday, listen out for the haunting strains of Fado, the folk music that drifts from corners throughout the city. Lilting and melancholic, it is in complete contrast to this warm, friendly city – and every bit as memorable.