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Lisbon Weekend Getaway: Discover the Charm of Lisbon's Enchanting Enclaves

The city of the seven hills is going through something of a resurgence right now, meaning there’s no better time to visit.

Naomi Chadderton
Naomi Chadderton
An experienced editor and journalist specialising in news and lifestyle.

With its intricate history, landmark galleries, coffee shops and flea markets on redeveloped industrial sites, Lisbon offers a unique charm that resonates particularly with older travellers. And while you could spend months there and still find something new to do, if you’ve only got time for a couple of days in the city of seven hills, we’ve created an iconic to-do list to keep you entertained.

Just bring us back a pastel de nata, por favor.

Things to Do in Lisbon:

Walk the City

By far the best way to get acquainted with a city when you only have a weekend is to strap on your trainers and get ready to get lost. Immerse yourself among Lisbon’s cobblestone lanes, flanked by beautifully tiled palaces, and dotted with shady squares lined with fragrant orange trees, bars and cafés. For the more organised among you, we love a group tour with food tasting and drinks.

Ride Tram 28

The most charming way to get around the city since 1890, the historic yellow-and-white Tram 28 is a great way to sightsee without too much effort, passing through some of Lisbon’s prettiest neighbourhoods, including Alfama and Sao Bento. Word of warning: its popularity means it’s almost always packed, so try to board early in the day at either end of the line (Praça Martim Moniz or Campo Ourique) to avoid the crowds piling on in the city centre.

Climb to the Top of the Panteão Nacional

A beautiful church that acts as the national pantheon of Portugal and the final burial location for many important Portuguese, visitors can climb to the top of the Panteão Nacional and be awarded with panoramic city views. It’s right next to another important Lisbon monument in the Alfama district, the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

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The tram works its way through Lisbon's narrow lanes.


The dome of the Panteão Nacional in Lisbon.


Eat in a Food Market

There’s no denying that Lisbon is a city made for foodies, and whether you decide to take an organised tour or simply spend your afternoons meandering its many markets, we promise you will leave extremely well fed and watered. Our top pick is the Mercado da Ribeira, where you can spend the day dining on the likes of pancakes, octopus stew, suckling pig from Michelin-starred Henrique Sà Passoa and, of course, a pastel de nata ― Portugal's traditional custard tart ― or five.

Explore the LX Factory

One of our preferred hangouts in the city, what was once Lisbon’s textiles factory is now an immense cultural complex where you’ll find a myriad of small creative businesses, as well as restaurants, bars, shops and galleries. Its Sunday flea market is a thing of legend.

Shoppers enjoying a meal at the Lisbon Mercado da Ribeira.


Visitors relaxing by a statue at the LX Factory in Lisbon.


Best Areas to Explore in Lisbon

Bairro Alto

Perhaps our favourite neighbourhood in the whole of Lisbon, this charming and buzzing bohemian district is best known for its cobbled streets, vibrantly coloured houses and fantastic bars and restaurants. While you might want to avoid it in peak season if you’re not a fan of crowds, it’s the best place to head to on a Saturday night if you want a true taste of the city.

Baixa and Rossio

Home to Lisbon’s main landmarks, downtown district Baixa is arguably the heart of the city characterised by grand buildings, historical landmarks and the unique 18th century Pombaline architecture memorialising the city’s reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. Together with the neighbouring Rossio, head here to explore the city’s largest and brightest square Praça do Comércio, the ancient ruins of Núcleo Arqueológico and the Santa Justa Lift, a historic elevator originally designed to help locals navigate Lisbon’s hilly streets, to name a few.


The oldest neighbourhoods in Lisbon, and easily the most photogenic, the hills of Alfama provide impeccable views of the city and waterside. Brimming with both history and charm, this is the place to go if you want to eat a traditional meal accompanied by equally traditional fado music.

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A street in the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon.


The Statue of Dom Pedro IV in Rossio square, Lisbon.


Best Hotels in Lisbon:

Four Seasons Ritz

The swankiest address in the whole of Lisbon, the Four Seasons Ritz was originally built in 1959 by the dictator Salazar as the city's first-ever luxury hotel, and it still more than impresses to this very day. Known for its impeccable service, five-star amenities and grand interiors (think marble floors, chandeliers and gilded furniture), guests can enjoy a world-class spa, indoor and outdoor pools and Lisbon’s best brunch. There you can dine on fresh seafood, stunning salads and classic Portuguese dishes to your heart’s content.

The Ivens

One of Lisbon’s newest hotels, you’ll find The Ivens slap bang in the middle of Barrio Alto. Inspired by the journey of Ivens and Capelo, 19th-century Portuguese explorers who visited Africa, it promises both style and substance complete with tropical plants, parrots, macaws, beetles, velvet armchairs and golden details and 87 aesthetically-pleasing rooms. Its in-house restaurant Rocco is also definitely worth visiting.

The Royal Suite at the Four Seasons Ritz, Lisbon


A detail of the exterior of the Ivens Hotel, Lisbon.


Palácio Príncipe Real

The perfect stay for those who prefer the finer things in life, this lavish hotel ― a renovation of an exquisite 1877 pastel-pink home is set around a soaring atrium where the Teixeira da Mota family once hosted legendary parties. It offers 28 bedrooms, a small spa with two treatment rooms offering massages and facials, yoga (with mats in the room) in the mornings and a heated swimming pool in the garden. The best bit? Thanks to its British owners, you can even get proper English breakfast tea.

Palácio Ludovice

Boasting prime position in central Lisbon between Principe Real and Bairro Alto, Palácio Ludovice has a colourful past. It was originally the private residence of João Frederico Ludovice, architect to King João V, and one of the few to survive the Great Earthquake that destroyed much of Lisbon in 1755, having had many lives ever since. The hotel pays homage to all that, with traditionally restored interiors, 61 unique rooms and suites, all complete with hand painted tiles and a fine-dining restaurant with a menu that represents every wine region in Portugal. Meanwhile, at its Caudalie Boutique spa, inspired by Vinothérapie, guests can treat themselves to a contouring crushed cabernet scrub. The perfect treat after a hard day enjoying everything this great city has to offer.

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Dining al fresco at the Hotel Real Palácio.


A private dining room at the Hotel Palácio Ludovice, Lisbon.