Lisbon, Portugal: the good, bad and ugly sides

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Clean air, stunning city views, value for money
Lisbon, Portugal: the good, bad and ugly sides to one of Europe’s hottest, hippest cities
Clean air, stunning city views, value for money and those egg tarts are just some of the reasons the city won big at the World Travel Awards
The accolades will doubtless boost the number of visitors to a city whose residents are already exasperated by the volume of tourists.
The view of Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood and Tagus river from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol observation deck.The view of Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood and Tagus river from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol observation deck.
The view of Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood and Tmagus river from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol observation deck.
The Good
Portugal won an impressive 39 prizes at the 2019 World Travel Awards. Lisbon led the way in the European category, winning Best Cruise Port, Leading Business Hotel and Leading City Tourist Board. But perhaps the most impressive feat of all was being named Europe’s Leading City Break Destination for the third year running. That’s some achievement when you consider the competition.
The Portuguese capital sits on seven hills, which is handy if you’re trying to get your bearings. Miradouro means “viewpoint” and there are lots of landscaped lookouts around the city, usually with a cafe or restaurant, chairs and tables positioned to take advantage of the lofty location.
The postcard photographer’s favourite, Miradouro das Portas do Sol, overlooks the terracotta rooftops of Alfama, the ancient Moorish quarter, which tumbles down to the Tagus river. And far above, the honey-hued ramparts of Castelo Sao Jorge provide views that extend into the heat-hazed hinterland.
After a pastry and coffee pick-me-up, hop on a tram. Part public transport, part fairground ride and part national treasure, the clanking canary-yellow electricos snake their way up and down the steep, narrow streets. The number 28 carries passengers past many of Lisbon’s best-known sights as well as plenty of fascinating nooks and crannies that don’t rate a mention in any guidebook. The trams lurch within centimetres of parked cars, pedestrians and laundry billowing on balconies. Lean out of the window to get a better view and you might never lean back in again.

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