Portugal's capital is excellent to explore all year round. The city is built on seven hills just like Rome and similarly to Rome, Lisbon has a deep and interesting history. Here are the top five things you must do while there:
1- Take a guided tour around the downtown districts
Lisbon has so much to offer and there is nothing better than getting a local to show you around. From Chiado down the Santa Justa lift to Baixa through to Commercial Square and beyond, learn about Lisbon's unique history and the earthquake that changed everything.
These custard tarts are sold all over Lisbon and they are delicious! Eat one in downtown and then try one in Belém and compare the difference. People from Belém say theirs are the best but you should eat loads and decide for yourself.
3- Get lost in Alfama
The oldest part of Lisbon was never destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 and remains to this day, one of the most beautiful parts of the city. This used to be the Moorish part of the city but later became housing for fishermen and their families. The narrow streets are where the neighbourhood comes alive, it's almost like watching a soap opera sometimes, the way people shout of their windows at one another!
Walking through Alfama was described to me as like "walking though people's homes" as the residents use the street to socialise and cook meals for everyone. The best time of year to go is in June around St Anthony's day when Alfama parties all day and night long.
4- Drink a G&T
If you want a gin and tonic done right, you need to have one in Portugal. There's nothing better than sipping on a giant refreshing goblet in the sun while watching the activity on the Tagus river.
5- Hear Fado for the first time
Fado is the sound of Alfama. This melancholic music tells tales of lost loved ones at sea or lonely hearts, dates back to the 1800s. The lyrics are poetic in nature backed by classical guitar picks and strums. You can hear Fado all over Lisbon but the best Fado bars are in Alfama. Experience Fado with a meal and lose yourself in the culture for an evening you won't forget.