Jim’s Travel Shorts: A Quick Look at Lovely Lisbon

Virtuoso says Lisbon is one of the top cities Canadians want to visit in 2024. Jim Byers Photo

Lisbon is built on a series of small hills, so you’ll find great views almost everywhere you look. There are tons of terrific cafes, many of them situated in parks overlooking the city below. You’ll also get fab views from the top of the arch in the main Comercio Square near the Tagus River. Be sure to take the city’s famous No. 28 tram, which rattles up and down steep streets and swoops around corners in a way Canadian streetcars don’t get a chance to do.

Folks swear by the cafes in the Chiado District, and they’re lovely. But I preferred my morning walks through the Alfama area and on up the winding streets to Fort Sao Jorge, where you’ll find commanding views of the city and the river. Be sure to stop at a cafe for the famous Pasteis de Nata egg tarts that go down way too easily. Pasteis de Belem is the most famous spot to try them. The 25 de Abril Bridge is definitely worth checking out (nearly a dead ringer for the Golden Gate in San Francisco), as is the Belem waterfront, site of the famous Monument to the Discoveries.

They use the Euro here, but you can still get a nice meal for $10 to $15 at a family restaurant, and good bottles of wine can be found for less than $10. The four-star Hotel Portugal is in a fun, lively part of town and has nice rooms for around $200. The Mundial Hotel has a fantastic rooftop patio.

Bonus: there are excellent beaches and lively beachfront cafes just 20 minutes from town. You won't find many locals swimming there in winter, but it's often warm enough for the Canadians to go for a dip.

DON’T MISS: The hilltop castles and villages of Sintra are less than an hour away from the city. They’re very romantic and beautiful, with lush, Mediterranean gardens. wildly colourful architecture and fantastic views.

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