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We spent 3 nights in Lisbon in June 2005, our first time in Portugal. Lisbon is a nice city, situated on the banks of the River Tagus, and is an ideal place for a weekend city break.

The airport bus, Aerobus 91 runs every 20 minutes from 7am - 9pm from outside the airport into the city centre. You buy tickets from the driver and they cost €2.65*.  The bus stops close to all the major hotels and the driver will ask your hotel as you board the bus and call you when it's your stop.

If you're going to do a lot of exploring, it' s worth getting a Lisboa card at €14.85 a day for adults and €7.50 for kids or €25.50 for 2 days. It gives you unlimited train, bus and underground travel, as well as free admission to some tourist attractions.

Hotel VIP Eden
We stayed at the Hotel VIP Eden, in the centre of Lisbon in the area known as Restauradores. It is easy to get anywhere from the hotel and Restauradores metro station is straight in front of the hotel. The hotel itself was fine and although the rooms were clean, we found them a bit disappointing for a 4* hotel, and possibly in need of refurbishment. Breakfasts were served on the roof top area, next to the pool, with fabulous views over the city, and were the usual cold buffet selection. It would be hard to get a hotel in Lisbon with a better location. In the evenings the main area, Barrio Alto, can be accessed on foot or by taking the short Glória Funicular journey up the hill from the station just along from the hotel. Visit Hotel VIP Eden's website. Click here to book at room at Hotel VIP Eden, Lisbon, view photographs and read reviews from other travellers.

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Main shopping street in Braixa, Lisbon

Main shopping street in Baixa Lisbon
Room at VIP Hotel Eden Lisbon
VIP Hotel Eden
Main shopping street
in Baixa, Lisbon
Room at VIP Hotel Eden
VIP Hotel Eden
View from room at VIP Hotel Eden
Funicular Gloria to Barrio Alto
A colourful procession in Barrio Alto
View from hotel
Funicular Gloria to
Barrio Alto
A colourful procession in Barrio Alto
tram on a narrow winding street in Graca
View from Graca
View from Graca
Tram on a narrow winding street in Graça
View from Graça
View from Graça
The castle in Sintra
The castle in Sintra
View from the castle in Sintra
The castle in Sintra
The castle in Sintra
View from the castle
Lunch at Cafe Paris in Sintra
Square in Cascais
Street in Cascais
Lunch at Cafe Paris
in Sintra
Square in Cascais
Street in Cascais

Things to see and do in Lisbon


Take tram No 28 up steep winding road from the business district of Baixa up to the crumbling neighbourhood of Graça and admire the view from one of the many look-out points.


A street in Sintra

Take the train to the picturesque village of Sintra and wander around the remains of the old moorish castle, with fabulous views. The castle is quite high up and it's a serious climb and good workout to get there from town, specially in the heat, although it is cooler here than in Lisbon. If you don't feel like the walk (make sure you have water!) you can take a taxi, or a bus. The bus can't be too frequent as we only saw one when we were climbing up to the castle, and that was when we were nearly there! Back in the village, there are lots of restaurants and cafes to have lunch. We sat and chilled out in a nice little restaurant on the square called Cafe Paris Cafeteria, with a very tasty quiche and tuna salad and a most refreshing large beer and Sangria! There are some nice little winding streets to explore, with a variety of shops. Highly recommended and a really nice way to spend a day.


The seaside towns of Estoril and Cascais are also just a short train journey south of Lisbon. If you feel like a day at the beach or just some sea air, you can walk between the two places and there are some shops, cafes, beachfront restaurants, etc to visit. We wouldn't have liked to have been based there for our holiday, but it was nice to visit.


Don't leave Lisbon without sampling their speciality, the delicious pastéis de nata . These light, flaky custard tarts can be found in pastelerias all over the city - we enjoyed one with a coffee in Cafe Chave D'Ouro not far from Hotel VIP Eden.


Bars and Restaurants in Lisbon


The main area in Lisbon for bars and restaurants is the Bairro Alto area. The day we arrived we went for a long walk around the city and landed up there, knowing it was meant to be the centre of nightlife. It was deserted with boarded up buildings and hardly a soul about. We thought we must have got it wrong, but couldn't believe the transformation when we went back there at night. Don't go there during the day as everywhere is closed and there's nothing to see, and a tip for all the female visitors to Bairro Alto - don't wear heels, or you'll find it impossible to walk on the cobbled streets!


The other main area for bars is the Docas district (Docks) where there are rows of converted warehouses at the Doca de Santo Amaro.


We had a delicious meal at Cravo e Canela (Rua da Barroca) a restaurant in the Bairro Alto area with a nice ambiance and excellent food. Our Thai Chicken was delicious and had very authentic flavours.


We liked the small Portas Largas bar on Rua da Atalaia in Bairro Alto - they had very friendly staff, tasty peanuts and delicious Sangria and Caipirinhas!

Some useful sites about Lisbon:

Ask Me Lisboa Useful site with lots of information about Lisbon

Time Out Lisbon - Lots of stuff about Lisbon, including shopping, restaurants and bars and tourist information
The Guardian - Lisbon - Some useful articles from The Guardian on Lisbon
The Telegraph - Lisbon - The Telegraph's guide to Lisbon
Trip Advisor - Reviews from other travellers and a useful forum
Hotels in Lisbon - Book hotels in Lisbon, read travellers reviews of those hotels and view lots of photos


*Note: Prices quoted above were accurate in 2005