Our hotels in Lisbon
Things to See and Do in Lisbon
From views stretching across cathedral domes and the broad estuary of the Tagus River to steep cobbled lanes lined with quaintly whitewashed houses, from the vivid blue of the traditional azulejo tiles to the yellow of the vintage trams that somehow manage to navigate steep inclines and winding streets. The vibrant Portuguese capital is a city of contrasts, its sunny climate and zestful attitude tempered by the melancholy of the traditional Fado music wafting from its bars. Looking back on an eventful history as the former centre of a global empire, nowadays it's enjoying its new role as a hub for a young and vital creative scene. Your hotel in Lisbon also places you perfectly for trips to nearby seaside resorts, beaches and national parks, and Accor offers a choice of the best accommodation to suit your needs.
Day Trips from Lisbon
We suggest beginning your walking tour of Lisbon's attractions at Praça do Comércio, the broad, regal square overlooking the Tagus, ringed by elegant, arcaded yellow buildings and centred on an imposing equestrian statue of King José I. As the water laps at the shore, soak up views stretching down the river towards the graceful Ponte 25 de Abril, a 1960s Golden Gate-like suspension bridge renamed in honour of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, and the towering Santuário de Cristo Rei monument that watches over Lisbon from the opposite bank. Passing under the Arco da Rua Augusta brings you to Baixa, the pulsating shopping heart of Lisbon. This triumphal arch symbolises the city's rebirth after the devastating earthquake, fire and tsunami that razed it in 1755. That regeneration is the reason behind the lower part of Lisbon around pedestrianised, café-lined Rua Augusta being laid out in an orderly grid, a contrast to the labyrinthine neighbourhoods of the old town. Lisbon is best explored on foot – but it can be steep! One way to avoid climbing the hills between districts is to hop aboard the cute yellow trams, or elétricos, that have been navigating the city's streets for well over a century. The most iconic route is Tram 28, starting from Praça Martim Moniz, which rattles across town passing historic bairros, imposing squares and ornate palaces. An easy way to climb from Baixa to the hilltop Chiado and Bairro Alto areas is by stepping into the Elevador de Santa Justa, a neo-Gothic, wrought-iron lift opened in 1902 and topped by a viewing platform with sweeping views over Lisbon's rooftops to the Tagus. The roofless nave of the neighbouring Carmo Convent is an evocative reminder of the 1755 earthquake, and the museum inside the former convent displays Egyptian and Roman archaeological exhibits. Bairro Alto, one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods and among the best spots to experience Lisbon at night, is a maze of narrow, hilly streets packed with restaurants and bars ranging from hipster hangouts to long-standing establishments presenting live Fado concerts. Nearby Príncipe Real is filled with grand mansions, antiques shops, stylish indie boutiques and chic global eateries – its Botanical Garden of Lisbon is a serene retreat from the urban buzz, where you can unwind in the shade of flora from around the globe. Towering over the city like a beacon, the Castelo de São Jorge (St. George's Castle) dates from the mid-11th century and features 11 towers and a museum with exhibitions recounting life during the 500 years of Moorish occupation. Views of the city and the estuary from the castle's shady park terrace, complete with roaming peacocks, are particularly stunning at sunset. Hugging the hill below the castle, Alfama is Lisbon's oldest and most traditional neighbourhood, a warren of steep lanes lined with white-painted, flower-bedecked houses, opening suddenly onto miradouros, terraced viewpoints affording ever-new perspectives on the city from above. Almost every miradouro has a kiosk, where you can grab a drink, rest your legs and soak up the views. Alfama is filled with quaint craft shops, low-key restaurants and Fado houses. Façades and interiors throughout Lisbon, from the most lavish churches and mansions to the simplest of houses, are decorated with azulejos, richly ornamental painted and glazed tiles. Blue is their most frequent colour, but you'll also find remarkable, multi-hued mosaics where different shades are combined to depict mythological or historical scenes. The city is packed full of museums, but if you can only find time for one, the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum), with 500 years of ornamental ceramic art housed in an ornate 16th-century convent, should be on your list of essential things to do in Lisbon. Down the Tagus towards the Atlantic Ocean, the evocative, Manueline-style Belém Tower was built in the early 16th century to protect Lisbon from attack at a time when it was a hub of global trade. A little way along the shore, the massive 1940 Monument to the Discoveries looks over the river like a caravel about to set sail, commemorating the Portuguese mariners who set out from Lisbon to discover the world. Stylised figures looking toward the "ship's" bow include explorers Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. Belém is loaded with museums, among them the National Archaeological Museum, housed in part of the vast Jerónimos Monastery, a lavish, UNESCO heritage-listed jewel of 16th-century Manueline architecture. The monastery's church, with its intricately carved columns and the delicate arches of the serene cloister, make joining the queues to enter more than worthwhile. A relatively new addition to Belém's repertoire of museums is MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, with innovative, thought-provoking exhibitions in a repurposed power station and a sweeping, wave-like extension right on the Tagus's banks.
Dining in Lisbon
You'll need 3 days in Lisbon at the very least to get a taste of this enchanting city, but if you have the luxury of a little more time for your visit, your Lisbon hotel makes a perfect base for exploring some of the attractions nearby. The Linha de Cascais rail line from Cais do Sodré station in Lisbon runs along the coastline to the elegant resort town of Cascais, its sheltered, sandy beaches overlooked by opulent villas and venerable hotels. Take a walk along the ocean-front cliffs to the spectacular Boca do Inferno, a natural arch formed by crashing waves. If you're looking for a beach near Lisbon for surfing, try Praia de Carcavelos, Praia da Poça or secluded Praia do Guincho, also a much-loved windsurfing spot. Less than hour by train to the west of Lisbon, Sintra, a charming hilltop town filled with fanciful palaces, was long a cool summer resort for Portuguese royalty. The multicoloured National Palace of Pena is a 19th-century Romanticist fantasy sitting atop a summit surrounded by forest, with awe-inspiring views sweeping over the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to the Atlantic.
The Best Hotels in Lisbon
Favourite for the title of Portuguese national dish, bacalhau – salted codfish – shows up on the menus of most of the best places to eat in Lisbon too. You'll find it as croquette-like pastéis de bacalhau, deliciously crispy on the outside and creamy inside, as meia desfeita de bacalhau, with potatoes and chickpeas, or bacalhau à Brás, in scrambled eggs with potato and olives. Grilled sardines, especially those from nearby Setúbal, are luscious on bread or with grilled peppers and potatoes, while preserved sardines in colourful, retro tins are a yummy souvenir. Given their country's coastal location, it's no surprise that the Portuguese love seafood – arroz de marisco, with prawns, clams and fish, prepared paella-like with vegetables in rice, is a Lisbon standard. The city's most iconic sweet delight is without doubt the pastel de nata, a crispy puff pastry tart filled with creamy egg custard. The original has been made at the Pastéis de Belém bakery near the Jerónimos Monastery since 1837 – reputedly only 3 people know the recipe at any one time – but even elsewhere in Lisbon, we've never tasted a pastel that didn't melt in the mouth. Although Portugal's wine industry is less well known than its Mediterranean neighbours, its wines are much more diverse, with literally hundreds of varieties. Some of the finest grow not far from Lisbon on the rolling hills of the Atlantic coast or in the valley of the Tagus – sample white Arinto or Malvasia, or rich reds including Ramisco and Tinta Roriz. The buzzing TimeOut Market Lisboa, a local gastronomy hotspot with around 30 stalls occupying the halls of an 1880s produce market, gives you the chance to sample dishes from some of the best Portuguese restaurants in Lisbon, all under one roof.
Getting Around Lisbon
The Accor portfolio of hotels in and around Lisbon offers you the finest selection of accommodation to match your requirements. Perfect for a romantic weekend, and one of the best luxury hotels in Lisbon, is our 5-star property right on prestigious Avenida da Liberdade in the midst of the city's high-end shopping. We also have more affordable hotels with bed and breakfast offers in the Liberdade neighbourhood, as well as in nearby Marquês de Pombal and Saldanha, all perfectly located for sightseeing close to all the best places to visit in Lisbon. If your trip is a mix of business and pleasure, we have 4-star hotels in Lisbon with meeting rooms and coworking facilities. You'd prefer a quieter holiday and are wondering where to stay? Our hotels with a pool in tranquil Setúbal or our accommodation in charming Sintra place you near lush national parks and sandy beaches, but still within easy reach of the capital.
Lisbon Airport (Aeroporto Humberto Delgado) is located in the north of the city – there's a metro station and the Aerobús express shuttle service at the airport, and the journey to the city centre takes around 20 minutes. The city's fast and efficient metro system has 4 lines; decorated with statues, murals and colourful tiles, many of the stations are works of art in themselves. The network, with an integrated ticketing system for all modes, is supplemented by trams, including the iconic yellow vintage lines, buses, ferries and funiculars (useful for climbing those steep hills). Lisbon has several train stations serving different destinations. Trains for Sintra depart from Rossio station, while those to Cascais leave from Cais do Sodré. Trains to cities in the north, including Porto, depart from Santa Apolónia station, while those to Faro and the Algarve leave from Estação do Oriente in the north-east of Lisbon.