The capital of Portugal is situated on the river Tagus and the city and its surrounds (the triangle of Sintra, Cascais and Estoril) have much to offer. Lisbon can be described as contemporary and buzzing, yet in a slow and relaxed pace, with a zest for living reflected in an insatiable appetite for music and nightlife.
Many of Lisbon’s buildings and monuments showcase the country’s maritime past of exploration and discoveries. But there is also a great blend of modern architecture and ancient buildings, whilst clanking trams take you around the quaint old quarters of the city.
Described by Lord Byron as “this glorious Eden”, the mountain range of Sintra has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 because of its outstanding natural beauty and historic interest. It is peppered with extravagant palaces and opulent mansions, with the ruins of the Castelo dos Mouros (castle) and the Palacio de Monserrate (palace and gardens) above all topping the must-visit list.
The Portuguese Riviera of Cascais and Estoril sits where the River Tagus meets the Atlantic Ocean. Once a quaint old fishing port, Cascais is now a glamorous seaside resort with a wide range of restaurants, shops and a world-class marina. Estoril also noteworthy hosts one of the biggest casinos in Europe, and is famous for inspiring Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale and the James Bond thrillers. The Riviera was a renowned den of spies during World War II as well the playground of many exiled royal families. Much of the romance and glamour still clings to its old buildings. But in contrast to that era, today’s patrons are more Hollywood film stars and champions of world sports than ex-kings and queens.
Lisbon and its surrounds also have many family-friendly beaches to choose from, plus a wide range of sports amenities available such as golf, tennis, horse riding, surfing, kite-surfing, paddle boarding and sailing amongst others.
Excellent motorways heading north-west and north from Lisbon, plus two great bridges (old and new) link the city to another motorway all the way south to the Algarve and make the capital an easy starting point for your holiday.