Portugal’s electric capital stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Madrid and Barcelona. You’ll find clusters of cocktail lounges in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood. In Chiado, meanwhile, lies the world’s oldest book store. The old town showcases a cosmopolitan café culture, with locals gathering in sun-dappled plazas to gossip over an espresso or ‘bica’.
• Stroll through tram-clattering cobbled streets taking in gems like Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower, an ancient castle guarding Lisbon’s harbour.
• Fall in love with the town of Sintra. Loved by Portuguese royalty and English nobility, its thick forests and surrealist architecture are a refreshing contrast from urban Lisbon.
• Make a beeline for Alfama, the ancient Arab quarter, and haggle for take-home trinkets in its atmospheric Thieves Market.
SHORE EXCURSIONS► View all EXCURSIONS
If you want to enjoy Lisbon’s sights from the comfort of a coach, this is the trip for you. It’s a full sightseeing tour that doesn’t involve any legwork. First up is the Belem Tower, a Medieval turret that’s become a symbol of Portugal. Perched on the banks of the Tagus River, its fairytale looks disguise its original role as a fort. Moving on, you’ll stop for photos at the Discoveries Monument, created in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. Next, you’ll head for the spectacular Jeronimos Monastery, next, where you can capture its beautiful exteriors on camera. From here, your journey will take you past the manicured Edward VII Park and the tree-shaded Avenida da Liberdade, before you stop for a breather at the fountain-speckled Rossio Square. The final stop of the day is the enormous riverside plaza, Comercio Square. Check out its beautiful arcades, triumphal arch and statue of King Jose I before you head back to ship.
Sintra & Cascais►
If you make only one trip from Lisbon, Sintra should be top of your list. Portuguese royalty and English nobility have long had a love affair with the place, and the thick forests and surrealist architecture are a real contrast from urban Lisbon. Your first stop is Cascais, a traditional fishing port and a bustling holiday resort. You’ll stop briefly to take some photos, before carrying on to Sintra. Take a look at the Sintra National Palace, the summer home of the Kings of Portugal for six centuries. Then, wander round the ceramic and embroidery shops that you’ll find dotted here and there. Or just pick a pretty pavement café and enjoy a cool drink in the hot sun.
Obidos - Land of Portuguese Queens►
This one will appeal to the romantic in you. Known as the wedding city, Obidos has got a heart-warming past. It was freed from Moorish domination back in 1148, after which the first king of Portugal embarked on a mammoth restoration project. Towers were rebuilt, the little white houses were refurbished and soon the whole place was transformed. It certainly impressed King Dinis when he visited in 1282. He presented it to his new wife, Queen Isabel, as a wedding gift. And in the centuries that followed, countless other monarchs did the same. Today, it’s one of the prettiest towns in Portugal. Its chunky Medieval walls are topped off with towers and when you step inside, you feel as if time stopped ticking centuries ago. Ancient narrow streets are lined with white-washed houses. Bougainvillea and honeysuckle drench the place in colour and scent. And tiny little shops sell all sorts of traditional crafts. Some lovely churches and chapels line your path but the real must-see is the castle. From the top, the view is phenomenal. Think proud hills and sweeping valleys freckled with the occasional windmill. We’ll take you on a guided walking tour of this romantic city, then you’ll get some free time to explore for yourself. You’ll soon see that as wedding gifts go, Obidos takes some beating.