Portugal’s coastal capital sits on the Tagus River with the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge linking its banks. Cobbled roads, symmetrically laid Portuguese pavements and brightly painted buildings with viewpoints revealing layers of terracotta rooftops add to the allure.
Among the many landmarks is São Jorge Castle, reachable by foot, or on the famous Tram No. 28 that faithfully winds up one of the city’s seven hills to the 11th-century attraction. The historic Alfama district alongside the river is one of Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods known for its narrow streets lined with cafés and traditional stores. In trendy Belem, find the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT). Visit the Museu do Aljube, which showcases Portugal under dictatorship and the country's subsequent struggle for freedom and democracy. An interesting visit is to the Maritime Museum.
A regenerated creative island that’s home to fashion, food, art and music, is the LX Factory. The street-art enthusiast will appreciate the rich offerings and the photographer will delight in the colourful trams that rattle at full speed down busy streets. The lookout point at the top of Elevador de Santa Justa in the heart of the city rewards greatly and each evening on the popular Praça do Comércio crowds gather under the Rua Augusta Arch, a historical building and visitor attraction built to commemorate the city's reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. Pasteis de Nata was born here in the 18th century by monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Santa Maria de Belem, and daily you’ll find a queue outside the popular pastry shop.
Beyond the city, a string of Atlantic beaches from Cascais to Estoril, and further inland the charming royal sanctuary resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains – Sintra. You would be forgiven for losing your heart to this European city with its effortless blend of traditional heritage, modern design, and progressive thinking.
The BusinessClass.com guide to the best hotels in Lisbon:
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon - 9/10
The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon next to Park Eduardo VII is perched atop one of Lisbon's seven hills. Built by the dictator Salazar in the 1950s, its since had millions of euros poured into a substantial renovation with the addition of a spa and swimming pool. Inside, an art-deco theme mingles with the updated Louis XVI style. In the vast lobby, chandeliers cast light over hand-woven rugs, antique collectables and local art. There are a total of 282 rooms spread over 10 floors, all are luxurious and spacious, most have large balconies overlooking the park, all with private bathrooms with L’Occitane toiletries.
Take in a Michelin-starred meal at CURA restaurant. The Veranda restaurant offers views of the park and the city. The Ritz Bar is decked out in red and black and serves everything from espressos and champagne to light meals and snacks. The velvet-upholstered cocktail lounge has an undeniable aura of sophistication. The hotel features a fitness centre on the 11th floor with an outdoor running track overlooking the city, and also an on-site spa with saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, a superb indoor lap pool and treatment rooms.
Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel - 9/10
The Olissippo Lapa Palace was built in the 19th-century. A luxurious 5-star hotel in the city's diplomatic quarter surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the Tagus River. Each of the 109 rooms and suites has a different style. You’ll find art deco, Algarvian and Neo-Classic styles spread across the Palace Wing, Garden Wing and Villa Lapa. All rooms feature beautiful Portuguese Vista Alegre porcelain. They are bright and airy and include a lounge area and a marble bathroom. Most have a balcony with river views. Serving Mediterranean cuisine with a distinct Italian flair, the Lapa Restaurant is in an elegant dining room with an open-air terrace.
A draw at the hotel is Rio Tejo Bar, arguably one of the best spots in the city for a casual drink with classic Lisbon views. During winter, the hotel’s afternoon tea serves a range of 30 different teas from India, China, Vietnam and Japan. The outdoor pool is in a tranquil garden with ornamental fountains and water features – it’s heated from May to September so don’t miss it. For relaxation between sightseeing, the Lapa Palace Spa has a sauna and Turkish bath, and the modern gym is well equipped.
Verride Palácio Santa Catarina - 9/10
Verride Palácio Santa Catarina boutique hotel in a lovingly restored 18th-century palace houses 19 luxury rooms and suites, each embellished with intricate original stucco. Blending vintage with modern detail and located in the heart of Lisbon, staying here means you wake up in one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. All rooms have large windows bringing in plenty of natural light and loads of custom Portuguese finishings. Some rooms have balconies. The Arch Suite and the King’s Suite are favourites, as is the Queen’s Suite for its romantic white-and-blue bathroom with tiles dating back to 1901. The warm reception rooms have imported chandeliers, silk-lined walls and art pieces on display.
Suba restaurant provides a fine dining experience with a modern take on classic Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine. It is light and bright and decorated with pale marble and wooden flooring. The rooftop bar is another jewel in the hotel’s crown with its 360-degree views of the city, river and ocean beyond. Verride Palácio has a small swimming pool area and is pet-friendly. The property is right next to Santa Catarina Belvedere and just 300 metres from Chiado.
Bairro Alto Hotel - 9/10
The Bairro Alto Hotel stands on one of Lisbon’s most famous squares, the Praça de Camões with a statue of Luís de Camões, Portugal’s greatest poet at its centre. It's in the vibrant Bairro Alto neighbourhood, long frequented by artists and writers and just steps from Chiado with its excellent shops and restaurants. Well recognised on Lisbon’s hotel scene, Bairro Alto Hotel underwent a major expansion under the guidance of architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Housing 87 rooms, the original rooms have the best views over the square and are charming with their hand-painted birds on the walls. The newer rooms and suites are bolder in colour, yet still keep with the theme of the hotel.
Celebrated Chef Nuno Mendes launched his first restaurant in Lisbon here – BAHR, with chef Bruno Rocha at the stove. On the fifth floor and extending to a Cocktail Bar with a sharing menu, the open kitchen serves dishes that pay homage to the country’s cuisine. The Patisserie on the ground floor is popular for its selection of sweet and savoury pastries freshly made in the hotel. There is a wellness centre equipped with a Technogym and a kinesis wall, sauna, sensory shower and massage room.
Lumiares Hotel & Spa - 9/10
The five star Lumiares Hotel & Spa in Bairro Alto is home to 47 apartment-style suites that combine the luxury of a hotel with all the home comforts. Each spacious apartment has a fully equipped kitchen with Smeg appliances and a fridge stocked with wine and beer. The interiors are super modern, the bedrooms decorated in splashes of pink, cool greys and brass. Other distinct touches are the geometric patterns, Portuguese tiles in the bathroom and handmade tapestry cushions.
The Lumi Rooftop Bar & Restaurant is headed up by Chef João Silva and serves elegant Portuguese dishes with international flair. The rooftop bar on the 5th floor serves high quality, locally sourced, seasonal food – with a strong focus on fresh ingredients. Ask for a room on the upper floors for views of Castelo de São Jorge and the terracotta rooftops. Tucked away in the hotel’s basement is a spa haven with four treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room and a gym. There’s no pool here but the sister hotel, The Vintage, caters to those who want a refreshing dip. The hotel is located near the city’s botanical garden.
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Poussade de Lisboa Hotel - 9/10
The Poussade de Lisboa Hotel is located on the Tejo River in Baixa in the centre of Lisbo. It sits ideally positioned for discovering the city. Once a house of kings and a forum for ministries, the hotel has been completely restored to offer an indoor swimming pool with a private sunbathing deck, a fully equipped fitness centre and a spa where you can enjoy Magic Spa massages and treatments. The rooms are sophisticated, each with its own private bathroom and fully equipped with a flat-screen television, air conditioning and soundproofing. Some have views of the Terreiro do Paço, while others overlook the tiled roofs of the Baixa Pombalina neighbourhood.
Enjoy a glass of champagne and a meal at the trendy Esplanada do RIB, the hotel's restaurant. Nearby is the pedestrian Augusta Street, with its high-end shops and cafés as well as the Castelo de São Jorge, with the best views of the city. Guests can reach the iconic Rossio Square, situated 600 metres away and can then reach the lively Bairro Alto district with its various bars. Other services available include car and bicycle rental.
Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel - 8/10
The intimate Santiago de Alfama is located in the oldest part of Lisbon. A family-run boutique hotel housed in a fully restored 15th-century palace, the hotel is tucked between St George’s Castle and the beautiful Santa Luzia lookout point. Acclaimed architect Luís Rebelo de Andrade worked with the owners for almost six years to bring the building back to life, whilst preserving original walls and taking into account the demands of a luxury modern hotel. The rooms vary in shape and size. The Santiago Suite on the fourth floor has the best views over Alfama and the river. There are two spacious and bright Junior Suites too.
The sixteen Classic Bedrooms are cosy and bright, the Superior King Bedrooms have a little more space, one with access to the courtyard. Their colours vary from bright blues to muted golds and warm beiges, with Portuguese cotton-clad beds and good working desks. Focussing on local ingredients, Café Audrey opens onto the cobbled street, allowing the light to dapple on the beautiful tiled floor. The Beauty Bar is the in-house salon on the lower ground floor, an urban retreat with highly trained therapists and a holistic approach to wellbeing. The hotel is particularly popular with celebrities who are able to slip under the radar here.
Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection - 8/10
With a prime location on the Avenida Liberdade near Rossio Square and the Baixa District, the Fontecruz Lisbon Hotel is a chic landmark in the heart of the city's financial district. Its 72 rooms are divided into standard, deluxe, balcony and terrace rooms, with two spacious suites on the top floor. They feature contemporary art pieces, soundproof windows and fine furniture and all enjoy plenty of natural light All are decorated similarly with black and white the dominant colours. Large images of old Lisbon hang above the beds, there are glossy oval basins and the room numbers are made from mismatched tiles. In the lobby, bright red oversized chairs sit on the black marble floor.
Its individuality makes it a perfect fit for the Marriot Autograph collection. Unwind with a glass of wine on our terrace while savouring farm-to-table cuisine at Bistrôa where the beautiful restaurant serves carefully-presented dishes. There is a good wine list with some of the best wines from Portugal and Spain. The hotel borders Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade, a magnificent 19th-century, tree-lined boulevard and one of the main thoroughfares through the capital.
Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa - 8/10
With over 80 years of history and located on Lisbon's prestigious Avenida da Liberdade, Hotel Tivoli has been delivering exceptional hospitality since 1933. The hotel was completely revised under acclaimed architect Pardal Monteiro in the 1950s and again with its integration into Minor Hotels – which saw a reduction in numbers and an increase in size. The 285 rooms all have good working desks, soft carpets and signature bed linen. Bathrooms are marble and suites have both baths and walk-in showers, Bulgari or Hermès products. The hotel’s most famous resident is Beatriz Costa, an actress from Portugal’s golden age of cinema who lived there for 30 years and has a suite named after her.
Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa has two restaurants; SEEN Lisboa and Cervejaria Liberdade, as well as two bars, the Sky Bar and the Lobby Bar. The top-floor restaurant serves international cuisine, a wine list with over 300 selections, and those panoramic views. Cervejaria Liberdade serves predominantly seafood from the coast of Portugal. There’s a warm swimming pool in the garden. The Anantara Spa combines therapies with Portuguese rituals. Use the sauna, fitness facilities and changing rooms with ease.
Memmo Príncipe Real - 8/10
Found at the end of a narrow cobbled street, Memmo Príncipe Real is the flagship property of the small Memmo Hotels collection. Designed by architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho, the hotel’s character is rooted in Portuguese heritage. The use of local materials such as limestone and old hand-painted tiles as well as modern art by local artists means the property has an undeniably timeless style. Nearly all of the 41 rooms overlook the city, some rooms have balconies, others terraces, and two outdoor fires. Varying in size and shape yet with similar wooden floors, plush rugs and white linen-covered beds, the bedside lights are made of hand-blown glass that sends warm tones through the rooms. Premium Rooms come with oval tubs as well as rain showers. Amenities are Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermés.
Café Príncipe Real is located in a central part of the hotel with a beautiful terrace overlooking the city. Here you will find traditional local cuisine complemented by Mediterranean and international flavours. Memmo Príncipe Real has an outdoor pool and lounge area. Bairro Alto and Avenida da Liberdade are both within a 10-minute walk away. Surrounded by new concept stores and restaurants, Praҁa do Comércio is within easy walking distance.
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