Staff Review

A city break in Lisbon


1 Aug 2018

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

Lisbon has recently rocketed in popularity as a short break destination. This is partly due to increasing accessibility as airlines open up new routes from an ever-growing number of regional UK airports, and partly due to a wider public acknowledgement of the city as a fantastic value alternative to the more established short break cities. Programs by respected television personalities including Michael Portillo and Rick Stein have projected Portugal into living rooms all over the country, and this boost in visibility has brought Lisbon to the forefront of the minds of many discerning travellers.

I have recently returned from Lisbon for the second time – and could go back again, and again. The city might be a little busier than it once was but it has lost none of its distinctly Portuguese charm. Swirling black and white patterns adorn the intricately cobbled pavements along the bustling Avenida Liberdade, which divides the city neatly in two, while the older parts of the city snake up the valley on either side. There is colour everywhere you look. The steepness of the topography lends itself to panoramic photo opportunities over the sprawling rooftops, where the calm yellows and pinks are splashed with bursts of green in this surprisingly verdant city. I was lucky enough to catch the brief flowering period of the Jacaranda trees (a South American import, and a reminder of Portugal’s once global empire), which sprinkled the vista with pockets of soft lilac. A closer look at the sun-bleached buildings which line the streets reveals that no two neighbours look the same; each has its own signature in the form of a brightly painted façade, a set of elaborate wrought-iron balconies, or of course beautifully decorated Portuguese tiles.

All tailor-made Kirker holidays to Lisbon include a complimentary Lisbon Card, which gives you either complimentary or discounted entrance into most of the major attractions throughout Lisbon and beyond. This includes the Moorish castle which crowns the city at its highest point, the fabulous Gulbenkian art collection, and the famous Belém watchtower (to be enjoyed after a custard tart from the equally famous Pateis de Belém bakery). The card is also valid for free use of the public transport system as far as Cascais (for a day by the beach) or even Sintra, where several ornate palaces and another spectacular mediaeval castle lie in wait.

My first trip to Lisbon was in winter, and even the occasional rainstorm could not dampen the appeal – it simply meant that we spent more time indoors, enjoying wonderfully fresh seafood and local wine. This is a city so full of life all year round – and I cannot wait to start planning my next trip back.

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