Traveling around the U.S. is fun, but sometimes you want to venture outside of the borders to find a new culture to explore. Lisbon, Portugal combines the warmer weather of a beach town with the class and charm of a European city. There is plenty to eat, drink and see in Europe’s westernmost capital.
What to do
According to World Atlas, Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with experts estimating that it was founded in 1200 B.C. The ancient heft of the city means that there are plenty of museums, architectural marvels and other attractions to take in during your visit.
The National Tile Museum, housed in the Madre de Deus Convent built in 1509, is a unique showcase for the country’s most traditional art form. Azulejos, or tiles, adorn buildings, walkways and other flat surfaces throughout Lisbon, but this museum brings several mosaic styles into one place.
If you prefer to get to know a city by walking all over it, Lisbon has plenty of hills to wear you out. There are several old fortifications you can climb around, like the Torre de Belem where the Tagus River merges with the Atlantic Ocean. The Jeronimos Monastery and Sao Jorge Castle are great places to learn about history by seeing where events took place. After a long day of roaming through castles and old neighborhoods, head over to Rossio Square for restaurants and bars that cater to tourists and residents alike.
When you’re ready to kick back and relax, consider traveling to nearby towns to visit sandy beaches. GoLisbon.com recommends hopping on the train connecting Lisbon to Cascais for nearby stretches of coastline. While these shores are reportedly not as warm as those farther south, the area is full of tourists in the summer looking to escape the heat. For long stretches of beach, head out to Costa da Caparica. If you prefer sharing with as few people as possible, Adraga is a more secluded option in the region.
Where to stay
The Rossio Square is not just a popular place to relax after a long day, but a great place to find a hotel. The My Story Hotel Rossio is an affordable option right off the square with 46 unique rooms and the Cafe Portugal for quick meals. For a more upscale experience, the nearby Internacional Design Hotel offers large rooms arranged in four environments, each with their own design aesthetic and smell.
If you’re coming to Lisbon to relax more than explore, the region has several luxury hotels ready to cater to your every whim. In the nearby resort town of Praia de Luz, the Vila Valerde offers accommodations in a remodeled 19th-century manor house. Each of the 15 rooms offers terraces with views of the ocean and underfloor heating, and there are three pools and a sauna onsite. Back in Lisbon, the Palacio Belmonte inside the walls of Sao Jorge Castle counts celebrities like Christian Louboutin as its fans. Its drawing rooms are covered in detailed stonework and 18th-century azulejo tiles, and each suite maintains its antique charm. There are also large spaces for parties and weddings in the palace.
If you’re ready to explore an ancient city and enjoy its modern amenities, consider a trip to Lisbon, Portugal.
This article is presented by BMW of Cincinnati North in Cincinnati, Ohio.