Lisbon short break day one, morning
Start your Lisbon short break with a rickety spin of the sights aboard century-old tram 28. For the price of a ticket, you’ll take in the Estrela Basilica’s graceful dome, Baixa’s monumental plazas and Romanesque Sé Cathedral. The tram crests the hill at Largo das Portas do Sol, where you can hop off for views over Alfama’s mosaic rooftops to the glittering Tagus River. Standing sentinel above whole Lisbon on a nearby hill is St George’s Castle, whose mighty ramparts mirror the city’s turbulent history: from fifth-century Visigoths to Crusaders.
Start: Estrela Basilica
Nearest tram stop: Estrela.
Slightly downhill from the castle is the Moorish Alfama’s tangle of narrow alleys and pastel-washed townhouses. A family-run tavern is an inviting spot for a pitcher of wine, grilled sardines and perhaps some impromptu fado vadio (amateur fado) by local singers. Work off lunch exploring the Alfama’s labyrinth of sun-dappled squares and winding lanes full of neighbourly gossip and open-air barbecues. A few minutes’ stroll west, Baixa’s idiosyncratic shops tempt with everything from kitsch cockerels to vintage fashion.
Nearest tram stop: Largo das Portas do Sol
Sidling up to Baixa, Rossio square is magical at twilight when its dancing fountains and stately buildings are illuminated. Lisboetas from all walks of life squeeze into tiny A Ginjinha for a shot of its famous ginjinha (sour cherry liqueur). Follow lantern-lit streets east to Alfama to dine in the dimly lit vaults of Clube de Fado, filled with tremulous, melancholic fado song.
Nearest metro: Rossio.