Deeran works for SWISS in the social media marketing field. He spends much of his working day travelling around the World Wide Web. However, outside the office, he loves exploring other countries and cities. One city for which he has a particularly soft spot is Lisbon. This is mainly due to a six-month exchange that he spent in the Portuguese capital. “Lisbon is very dynamic and diverse!” SWISS flies to Lisbon (LIS) daily from Zurich (ZRH) and Geneva (GVA).
The sunshine city of Lisbon records some 300 annual days of sunshine and is great to explore at any time of year. Temperatures can reach up to 37°C in the summer, although evenings are pleasantly cooler. “Besides its fantastic beaches with their laid-back beach clubs, Lisbon is also home to some remarkably beautiful architecture and historic buildings.”
No sightseeing tour of Lisbon would be complete without the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This statue is dedicated to Prince Henry the Navigator, who led the 15th century expeditions along the West African coast. “The top of the monument is accessible and provides a wonderful view of the Ponte 25 de Abril."
The traditional pastries, pasteis de nata, are guaranteed to keep hunger pangs at bay. The delicious puff pastry cakes filled with egg custard are simply divine. Dee recommends sampling these sweet treats in the Manteigaria Fábrica de Pasteis de Nata. “These small cakes can be enjoyed over a leisurely cup of tea or coffee in this café. Those with an even sweeter tooth can also sprinkle the pasteis de nata with cinnamon or icing sugar.”
After recharging the batteries, it’s time to explore on foot. The Castelo dos Mouros, a ruined fortress, is a 30-minute drive away from Lisbon. “The short walk up to the top of the mountain is certainly worth it. The fabulous view from the top looks out over Parque e Palacio Nacional da Pena. The palace was built on the top of a rocky peak and incorporates a diverse range of architectural styles.” This place has everything – history, architecture and a sea view.
Back to the city and it’s time to freshen up first – and the best place for this is at Figaro’s Barbershop. “The atmosphere here is amazing – it’s a traditional barber’s! There’s also a free beer whilst you wait, to keep you entertained as you queue. The wait’s well worth it though!"
The Praça do Comercio – Commerce Square – lies right at the heart of Lisbon. It is located between the Tajo River and the wonderful Old Town, Baixa-Chiado “This is where skaters, buskers and tourists gather. I love strolling around here!"
“The best place in the city to get in the mood in an evening is the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara / Bairro Alto.” There’s one bar after another here, which is why it attracts a young crowd. “I’ve met many interesting people here. This area is definitely the place to be and a hip quarter for going out.”
Those who love seafood definitely won’t be disappointed in the Cervejara Ramiro. “This traditional Portuguese restaurant is hugely popular for its fresh cuisine – don’t be surprised if you have to wait!” My insider tip: “Be sure to order a small portion of lamb and bread after the main course. It’s not on the menu but it’s absolutely delicious!”
Those who prefer a good piece of meat over seafood must definitely pay a visit to the Sala de Corte. “The meat is out of this world – and the portions are very generous. Food overdose guaranteed!”
The Cais da Favorita is a wonderful place to enjoy the sunset. “An old boat, which is now on terra firma, has been converted into a trendy bar. What better place to relax on a sun lounger, sip a cocktail and admire the fabulous views of the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge?”
Another place to enjoy the sunset is the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. This vantage point is fantastic! “You can look out over the entire city. The square is also very popular.” Buskers and the occasional small flea market create a magical atmosphere here. “This is the perfect place for winding down at the end of an action-packed day.”