Newstalk Goes to Lisbon for Travel Thursday

Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It’s one of the most vibrant cities in Europe and popular for a city break as there is so much to see and do with culture, history, sandy beaches close by and fun nightlife. Two huge suspension bridges straddle the Tagus River – Ponte 25th April (2.2km) and Ponte Vasco de Gama(12km long) (you’ll hear a lot about this guy as you travel around the city – famous as one of the great navigators of the seas finding the first route from Europe to India in the 15th century)

Lisbon has hot dry summers, pleasant springs and autumns, and mild, but possibly wet winters. The best time of year to visit Lisbon is in the late spring (May-June) when the days are bright and sunny, but the temperatures are not so high.

The city is built on hills, some steep, so I recommend good walking shoes to take you through your time there. Plan your sight-seeing one neighbourhood at a time to make the most of your time and three days should be enough to see much of the city.

Portuguese language

Make an effort to speak to the locals and they will appreciate it

Bom Dia is good day

por favor is please

Obrigado Thank you

How to get there?

From Dublin there are three flight options to Lisbon –

Ryanair offers the cheapest fares to Lisbon overall with a lead in fare of €19.99 and double service daily.

Aer Lingus offer a Cork to Dublin service as well as daily and double daily flights from Dublin.

There is a new service with TAP which is based on the old fashioned model of providing drinks and food and baggage allowance plus connections to south america.


Avg Fare % Diff v FR
Ryanair       62.59
Aer Lingus       81.40 30%
TAP       96.28 54%


Airport shuttle is €4 from the airport to the city centre

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For more information on what to do in Lisbon please visit the website

Get Your Bearing with The Lisboa Card

Get a city pass Travel for free and enjoy free access to Lisbon’s best museums and attractions with the Lisboa Card. The card includes free admission to the Torre de Belem, Jeronimos Monastery and the Santa Justa Elevator among others.

 Free travel

Unlimited free travel by bus, metro, tram and elevadores.

 Free entry

Visit Lisbon´s best museums and attractions free of charge.

 Deals & discounts

Save money on transport, attractions and tours.

 Free guidebook –Complimentary tourist guide full of helpful city info.
 Convenience – No need to buy seperate tickets for each attraction.
 Free day trips – Free travel by train to Sintra and Cascais.

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Travel by bike

Looking for the best way to discover Lisbon in just a few hours? Consider a Lisbon bike tour!  During this bike tour you will get to know the highlights and hidden secrets of Lisbon while biking through its beautiful landscape.

Beginning at 9.30 am cycle from the heart of historical Lisbon towards the river side, learning about the past, present and future of the city. The English-speaking guided Lisbon Bike Tour starts at the top of Parque Eduardo VII (near El Corte Inglês) and finishes near the river Tagus in Torre de Belém. In between you bike through Praça Marquês do Pombal, Restauradores, Rossio, Praça da Figueira, Praça do Comércio and the Docas Area.

Further information:

  • Child seats: Yes: 1-3 years and up to 22 kg. Booking needed.
  • Children’s bikes: Yes: 20 and 24 inch – 5 to 11 years.

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Seafood is a speciality and you wont beat Sardines and calamari. Chicken Piri Piri is worth tasting with african flavours and being a quintessentially Portuguese dish.

Bacalhau à brás

Bacalhau a bras is Portugal’s favourite fish. Despite the long list of choices in restaurants, most restaurants have Bacalhau à brás on their menu, which is shredded codfish with fried potato, onion and scrambled eggs. The dish is topped with a sprinkle of black olives and chopped parsley. If you walk through The Alfama district you will find plenty of restaurants that list Bacalhau à brás as a special.

Dont forget to taste the Vinho Verde which is a white wine. Food is inexpensive, especially if you wander off to one of the side roads where the locals eat. You can get lunch with wine for €5

Bairro do Avillez

Looking for somewhere to eat?

Right in the hustle and bustle of Chiado, in Lisbon, in an ample and bright place of 1000 m2, José Avillez, one of the most praised Portuguese chefs, created the most atypical of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods and combined different, yet complementary concepts. Here, there’s a Mercearia (gourmet deli) stocked with irresistible delicacies, a wonderful Taberna for those who like hearty food, a Páteo where seafood and fish are king, and Beco – Cabaret Gourmet, the most cosmopolitan corner of this neighbourhood, where an internationally-inspired menu is accompanied by a cabaret sho

In June, Lisbon celebrates Festivity, Music and Sardines in the city’s historic neighbourhoods Street entertainment, concerts and shows, folk festivals are held throughout the city.

Year after year, during the month of June, Lisboa’s most charming districts (Alfama, Bica, Bairro Alto, Castelo & Mouraria) follow the party tradition, with music on the streets to celebrate St. Anthony.

And, as tradition dictates, grilled sardines, “caldo verde” kale soup, bread with sausage, basil, beer, red wine, great music and entertainment are all in plentiful supply.

The festival’s highlight is the parade on Avenida da Liberdade where the various districts of the city are represented in a competition for best folk parade and the St. Anthony’s Brides, a ceremony featuring several weddings at Lisboa’s Sé Cathedral. |


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If this is your first visit to Lisbon choose a base close to the historic centre; this covers the districts of Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, Alfama and the Avenida da Liberdade. These areas are popular with tourists and are within walking distance of the main sights and attractions. Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodre are the nightlife districts and are ideal if you wish to party.

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I usually recommend a hop on hop off bus tour to get your bearings in a new city but in Lisbon just hop on Tram 28

Ride on Tram 28

The delightful Remodelado trams date from the 1930s, and in any other city they would be housed in a museum, but in Lisbon, they are an integral part of the public transport network. These historic trams are still in use, as the 28 route is completely unsuitable for modern trams, due to its numerous tight turns and steep gradients.

A ride along the entire 28 tram route provides one of the best tours of the capital and is often a highlight of any holiday to Lisbon. This article will provide an introduction to the number 28 tram, and includes fares, tourist advice and popular tourist attractions along the route.


Quick Tips to get the most from the number 28 tram

  • Ride the tram early (or late) in the day, to avoid the crowds.
    • Board at Martim Moniz (or Campo Ourique) as there is a better chance of getting a seat.
    • Always be wary of pickpockets
    • Get the 24-hour public transport ticket from any metro station.
    • Ride the entire route as there is so much to see.
    • If standing, hang on very tight as the brakes are very sharp!
  • Alfama District

    Alfama is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon, and is a delightful maze of narrow cobbled streets and ancient houses, which lead up the steep hill from the Tejo Estuary to the castle. Contained within this diverse and charismatic district are many historic buildings including the Se Cathedral, the Castle, the National Pantheon and Saint Anthony’s Church.

    Top things to See and Do
    • Explore the ancient castle of Lisbon
    • Admire the views over the haphazard roofs from the Portas do Sol viewpoint
    • Ride the quaint number 28 tram as it screeches and rattles through the streets

     The Castelo de Sao Jorge

    Lisbon castle, the Castelo de Sao Jorge, stands majestically above central Lisbon and was the ancient seat of power for Portugal for over 400 years. Much of the present castle dates from the 1920s when a significant restoration project was undertaken but this does not detract from the allure of the castle.

    Lisbon castle

    The view from Lisbon castle over the Baixa district

    The battlements of Castelo de Sao Jorge provides fantastic views of the Baixa district and the Rio Tejo (River Tagus) while the fortified citadel is steeped in history. The walk to the castle can be draining during the summer but Lisbon castle is one of the best tourist attractions of the capital.

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The Baixa district is the heart of Lisbon and comprises of magnificent plazas, grand avenues and boutique shopping boulevards. The district is popular with tourists, as contained within Baixa are many of Lisbon’s major tourist attractions, along with a huge variety of restaurants and many excellent hotels. Baixa has a lively and vibrant atmosphere, and is where most tourists should start their tour of Lisbon.

Baixa has not always been so magnificent, on the 11th November 1755, one of the world’s strongest recorded earthquakes devastated the district and, along with the massive Tsunami, killed thousands. The rebuilding of the ruined district was assigned to the Marquis of Pombal, who disregarded the original city layout of narrow streets, and created the first city plan that followed a grid pattern. The buildings of Baixa were constructed in a magnificent neoclassical style but more importantly incorporated the earliest examples of Earthquake resistant architecture.

Top things to see and do in Baixa
• A ride on Elevador Santa Justa lift, a wrought-iron industrial marvel.
• Admire the view from the top of the Arco da Rua Augusta
• A relaxed stroll down the Rua da Augusta Lisbon’s grandest avenue.
• Appreciate the magnificence of Praça do Comércio, the ceremonial entrance to Lisbon and Portugal
• Lunch or drink in Rossio Square, the traditional heart of Lisbon
• A designer shopping trip in the boutique shops of the Avenida da Liberdade, a pretty tree lined boulevard.


Visit the Pilar7 – Bridge Experience.

A new cultural attraction in Lisbon! April 25th bridge

Located in Alcântara (Avenida da Índia), this interactive centre allows all visitors to have an unique experience of the bridge – considered one of the prettiest in the world – via a tour that takes in the exterior areas of this key pillar and the sensory experience of visiting its interior.

It is a trip through the history of its construction and ends with an elevator ride up to a panoramic viewing point that provides an unrivalled view of the city and the river.

Making use of modern multimedia devices, your visit ends with an immersive virtualreality experience of parts of the bridge that are inaccessible and a call at the PhotoBooth so you can record this unforgettable moment.

Belem District


Panoramic tour passing by:

  • Jerónimos Monastery (related to the Portuguese Discoveries, it was built during the 16th century, it belongs to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list).
  • Belem’s Tower (built in 1515, this former fortress belongs as well to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list).
  • Discoveries Monument (built in 1960 to in honour to the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death). Here you will get a great view of the two bridges that straddle the Tagus River
  • Stop off or a pasteis de Belem in the famous bakery that gave these little cakes their name

Pass by Lx Factory: a creative island occupied by corporations and professionals of the industry, serves also as stage for diverse set of events related to fashion, publicity, communication, fine arts, architecture, music, etc. You also find a mixture of restaurants and alternative shops.

Insider tip: To escape the crowds head to the Jardim Botânico (Tropical Gardens) or visit the contemporary art of the Coleção Berardo Museum.
Money Saving Tip: For a waterside view of Belem, instead of joining one of the expensive boat tours, take a ride on the Belem ferry as it crosses to Porto Brandao on the southern side of the Tejo

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• Museu Nacional do Azulejo – Museum dedicated to the traditional craft of Azulejo tile painting

• Lisbon Oceanarium – A wonderful saltwater aquarium, which is regarded as Europe’s best Oceanarium

The Lisboa Story Centre details the history of Lisbon via interactive displays and an audio guide. The museum provides an overview of the city and offers context to many of the historical sights which will be seen during your holiday. This museum is best visited before you start sightseeing.
Official website:

The Museu de Marinha commemorates the maritime history of Portugal. The first section of the museum is within the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and displays maritime memorabilia and replica models of the Portuguese ships. The second wing contains royal barges and early seaplanes.
Official website:

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  • Includes flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions with expert local guides
  • Panoramic city tour where you will see famous Lisbon sights such as the Bélem Tower, Jerónimos Church and the Monument to the Discoveries
  • Walking tour of your base for this holiday, the beautiful seaside town of Nazaré
  • Full day guided excursion to Coimbra, site of the country’s oldest and greatest university for the past five centuries and medieval capital of Portugal for over a hundred years
  • A full day tour to the Monastery of Alcobaca and the Monastery of Batalha, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • A visit to Fátima, the renowned religious centre and pilgrimage place where Our Lady appeared in 1917
  • Three full days of leisure time to explore, relax, sample the local food or do some shopping at your own pace. Your guide will be happy to recommend places/activities of interest


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Outside the centre of Lisbon but well worth visiting are Obidos, a walled city set high on a hill north of the city and Setubal a quaint fishing port to the south. but if it’s your first time exploring outside of the city then these two places are a must.

Sintra is a Unesco Heritage Site 

Sintra is a picturesque town that lies 25km to the west of Lisbon. Sintra is nestled within the hills of the Serra de Sintra, and contained within the town are grand palaces, ruinous castles and opulent 19th-century mansions. The Serra de Sintra provides great hiking or cycling routes, while the rugged coastline (10km to the west of Sintra town) comprises of vast beaches and powerful seas.

There are so many outstanding tourist attractions in Sintra, that it requires at least two days to be fully explored. The first day to visit the National Palace, the Moors castle and the beautiful Pena Palace, and the second day for the Quinta da Regaleira, the Seteais Palace, the Monserrate Palace and the Pena Park. The Serra de Sintra, the Sintra coastline and the Cabo da Roca requires a third day and a rental car. Sintra is a fantastic day trip, and is connected to Lisbon by a direct and inexpensive train. Entry to the Pena Palace is €14  per adult and €49 for a family of 4 open from 9.30 to 6.30 daily


Cascais is an historic fishing port and one of the most popular resort towns of the Lisbon coastline. Historically, Cascais was the summer retreat for the Portuguese nobility, and today the town is an elegant blend of grand mansions, historic buildings and modern hotel complexes.

Cascais has an interesting shoreline which includes a fishing harbour, two glorious beaches and a restored fort, while the town offers carefully maintained parks and series of impressive museums. From Cascais, there are two enjoyable short walks: one to the Boca do Inferno cliff and another along the beachfront promenade to the trendy resort of Estoril. During the summer, Cascais has a vibrant holiday atmosphere, with an extensive selection of bars and restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. Cascais is a popular holiday destination but is equally suited for a day trip, as it’s connected to Lisbon by a regular train.

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