As planes approach Lisbon, they follow the winding course of the River Tagus across the estuary named by the Phoenecians, Alis Ubbo, from which Lisbon gets its name. As the river merges into the Atlantic you can make out the historical pattern of building spreading back over the seven hills that Lisbon is built on. The terracotta tangle of medieval streets, the neo-classical lines of the Baixa and the grand avenues of Belem, built in Portugal’s golden age.
Lisbon is a lovely city to get lost in. It’s full of unexpected pleasures – ducking down a cobbled passageway in moorish Alfama to find an ornate pastelarias, or stepping out from the labyrinthian lanes below Castelo de Jorge into a leafy square, where old men play cards and the soft sun glints off tiled walls and glasses of tinto. Park yourself on the cracked leather seat of a funicular as it trundles up to the Bairro Alto and peruse the magnificent churches and museums. Linger until dark when it is transformed into a mass of neon lights and pounding Brazilian music as raucous, young Lisboas take to its clubs and bars.
Despite its old world charm, Lisbon has an undeniable energy. Its unique modern architecture, innovative restaurants and embrace of urban art has put it at the forefront of cutting edge European design and any night out here will reveal the youthful heart beating within its beautiful old walls.