The Portuguese capital Lisbon is the perfect spot for a winter city break, combining that mild southern European weather with a wealth of history, culture, cuisine and amazing sights.
The local tourism promotions agency, Turismo de Lisboa, is on record recently as promising visitors a chance to experience the city’s “unique atmosphere,” which is pretty close to the truth.
Lisbon is unlike its close neighbour Spain, yet still recognisably Latin in style, with some quirky features of its very own. It also has some oddly British aspects, such as the eccentric “British Bar” on the Rua Bernardino Costa, a holdover from the historic links between the two countries stemming from the 1386 Treaty of Windsor – the world’s oldest ongoing diplomatic alliance. To this day, Portugal operates under Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
A historic overview of Lisbon starts in 1755 when the city was almost entirely razed to the ground by a massive earthquake – force 9 on the Richter scale. This disaster was turned into an opportunity by the forward-thinking prime minister Sebastião de Melo, who began rebuilding within a year. The beautiful, well-planned city of Lisbon that today’s visitors see on cheap holidays to the capital is the result of that, with attractive 18th century buildings designed as the world’s first earthquake-resistant structures. Various experimental models were tried, and architects simulated earth tremors by marching soldiers around the trial buildings!
Cheap holidays in Lisbon are a great choice for a romantic getaway, aficionados of European history, anyone who appreciates beautiful culture and architecture, or anyone who appreciates the life and rhythm of a vibrant city. Take in a traditional fado music show while eating some of Lisbon’s delicious seafood, or wander round some of its churches, monuments and museums before taking a tram to its steep hilltops to admire the spectacular views.