The coastal capital in the centre of Portugal offers exquisite year-round weather, fresh food, and a range of activities that won’t break the bank.
HOW TO GET THERE
Currently Emirates is the only airline offering direct flights from the UAE, departing from Dubai and landing in Lisbon after 8h15m. All other carriers have a minimum of one stop.
EU citizens do not require a visa to enter Portugal. Portugal is also a signatory to the 1995 Schengen Agreement. For any further queries, contact the Portuguese Embassy in Abu Dhabi (02 650 5541).
AED1 = EUR0.24
Compared to other European cities, your euro will go a lot further in Lisbon, making it ideal for budget travel.
Weather and Climate
Lisbon’s weather is moderate with warm summers and cooler, wetter winters. Average high temperatures from June-August range from 25-30 degrees Celsius, with daytime temperatures from December to February averaging around 13 degrees, while being wetter than other times of the year. Spring and autumn are beautiful seasons with sunny days and average temperatures of 22-26 degrees Celsius.
One of the most popular ways of point A to point B travelling around Lisbon is on board one of the city’s famous yellow trams. Tourists should look for the #28 tram as it passes several of Lisbon’s most popular sights. However, it can get crowded and wait times to board can extend to over an hour. Given the number of tourists who use it, #28 has become a favourite spot for pickpockets as well, so do take care of your belongings. If you’d like to have a bit more privacy, you can call an Uber.
WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO
Oceanario de Lisboa
The aquarium is worth a visit with kids where they can enjoy the enormous main underwater tank as well as the opportunity to see penguins and sea otters at some of the ground-level exhibits.
Watch the sunset
Look out for a sign leading the way to a miraduoro (viewing point) and follow it to see where it goes. These viewing points can be found throughout Lisbon and offer breathtaking views overlooking the city. Bring a jacket or hoodie because these vantage points can get windy.
Walk along the promenade at Costa de Caparica
Experience the gorgeous, easily accessible beach away from the noise of the city. Cafés, restaurants and stores close by offer excellent choices of food and chances to shop, and the locals are friendly and helpful. Early birds can walk down at dawn and watch the local fishermen.
Stroll through the city
Lisbon offers a great opportunity for walks through the city, while stopping off at a café for a coffee or lunch. However, while the sidewalk mosaic tiles are beautiful, they can be slick. Wear good walking shoes with sufficient tread to avoid falling. Like Rome, Lisbon has seven hills and no matter which way you walk, it feels like going uphill. If it gets too much, try taking a tram or the elevator in the middle of the city.
FOOD TO TRY
Arroz de Marisco
Portugal’s two staples are seafood and rice and this dish is the perfect combination of the two. Prawns, clams and other seafood are all cooked beautifully with rice, vegetables and herbs in a dish that’s similar to a Spanish paella. The seafood is always fresh.
Pasteis de Nata
Possibly the most famous food in Lisbon, Pasteis de Nata are golden puff pastry circles with a barely firm rich egg custard in the middle. The Clarinha family, heirs to the original bakers, have a copyright on the centuries-old recipe, which apparently only a handful of people know!
No, not Nando’s, but the extra-famous piri-piri pepper comes from Portugal’s former colonies in Africa, namely Mozambique and Angola. There are lots of restaurants that offer this popular dish of spicy spatchcock chicken at reasonable prices.