Short Breaks - Lisbon
PUBLISHED: 17:28 08 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:41 20 February 2013
Janet Reeder imbibes cafe culture of the Portuguese capital Pictures: Paul Morgans
This was the perfect city break. Lisbon is one of those places Id always intended to visit and never got around to booking, but now there was simply no excuse because BMI Baby is doing flights directly from Manchester.
The Portuguese capital is around three and a half hours away yet the climate a world apart from the grey and rain wed left behind in Blighty. Temperatures soared to almost 30 degrees and strolling down the Avenida Da Liberdade, the citys equivalent to Pariss Champs Elysees, lined with trees and designer shops was proving thirsty work.
This was so totally an excuse to immerse ourselves in Lisbons cafe culture so we took ourselves off to the Chiado, the elegant neigbourhood where everyone meets for coffee and shopping before hitting the bars in the Bairro Alto.
Here we found the best cafe in Lisbon. A Brasileira, a beautifully preserved fin de sicle gem that served the best coffee
and fantastic pastries. Because of the heat we sat outside and enjoyed the bustle of the city, the quaint trams rattling by, the people stepping out to the smart shops. It had to be done!
Wed invested in a 48 hour Lisboa card, which meant we could travel anywhere by bus, train or tram, or gain entrance into load of museums and galleries. This was good too, as our comfy Hotel Zenit Lisboa; with its prettily tiled facade was in the north of the city a couple of miles from the historic centre but with frequent and plentiful buses into town everything felt like an adventure.
We loved drinking Vinho Verde on the gorgeous roof garden at the chic Terrao Bairro Alto Hotel where we could see over the citys red tiled roofs beyond to the River Tagus, shimmering in the sunshine and found an old cafe for dinner, with big wooden tables and a local menu.
It was packed with Portuguese locals and we knew they were regulars because when we went back the following night the same old codgers were in there. Dinner included fish cooked by a lady we could see bustling about in the kitchen.
Day two involved a trip by bus to the famous Geronimo Monastery, which is impressively huge, though not my favourite part of the weekend.
We took the train and half an hour later had relocated to the seaside at Cascais, wandering around the beautiful Paula Rego art gallery and soaking up rays at beachside cafes. It was great to have a break where it was really so easy to combine city fun with the relaxation of a beach holiday too. The shopping at Cascais is great and there are lots of bars and restaurants to enjoy. We chose a rooftop one that had just opened.
They must have done something right because we didnt get back to our hotel until 4am.
Lisbon is around three hours flying time from Manchester. We flew BMI Baby from Manchester to Lisbon. Flights are priced from 38.99 and are twice a week until October. For more information visit www.bmibaby.com
We stayed at Zenit Lisboa Hotel Av. 5 de Outubro, 11 - Lisboa Contact: +351 213 102 200 www.zenithoteles.com