Affordable, beautiful and boasting one of the world’s most temperate climates, Lisbon, Portugal, “The City of Seven Hills,” quickly is becoming a top destination for European travel. Here’s a quick guide to seeing the most of this vibrant city.

The Basics
One of the best aspects of Lisbon is that it’s easy to get around as a tourist. Public transport – buses, trams, inclined railways and the Metro– is inexpensive and reliable. The city’s airport is only five miles away, and you can spend most of your time walking to and from locations once you get to the city center.

The official language is Portuguese, but there are more fluent English speakers in Portugal than any other southern European country. Nonetheless, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basic phrases and greetings. Hello – Olá; How are you? – Como você está?

Keep your eyes to the pavement as you walk through the city. Portuguese paving, calçada portuguesa, is one of Lisbon’s trademarks and oldest features. Limestone cubes were designed and placed by hand by skillful craftsmen throughout the city. There’s even a museum dedicated to this unique art form.

Must-see spots
Lisbon includes everything from cathedrals to castles to charming districts. The Elevator de Santa Justa is the place to go for spectacular city views. French architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard – an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel – designed the elevator in 1901 for the commuting public. Today, curious tourists can climb aboard two wood-paneled cabins and take a ride to the top of the city.
Alfama is Lisbon’s most iconic district and a photographer’s or foot-traveler’s dream. Charming cobblestoned streets and medieval alleys transport visitors back in time and depict the authentic soul of Lisbon. Check out this self-guided walking tour to find the most picturesque corners of the neighborhood.

Walk up from Alfama or take a bus to St. George’s Castle. While its oldest parts date back to the sixth century, a large portion of the castle was damaged severely by the Great Earthquake in 1755. Visitors can still walk the perimeter of the castle and tour 18 towers.

Seafood Kingdom
Portugal is the place for seafood lovers and serves its national dish – salted cod – in nearly 365 different ways. Sardines also are a fan favorite and can be found on menus all over the city. Don’t be discouraged by the canned, American version, these sardines are caught daily and served fresh (the fatter the better).

Also, be sure to try Lisbon’s famous pastries (pasteis de nata) that resemble a custard tart and are often dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. These tiny, sweet bites go great with a cup of coffee.

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