There are some great deals to Lisbon in the off-peak months
Portugal’s capital city enjoys a climate which is strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream with mild winters and very warm summers. It’s a fascinating city to wander around and the weather in the off peak months from November to March can make it an ideal destination for a short city break.
Lisbon has a lot to offer the tourist who enjoys a mixture of history and culture. Sections of the old town survive in the winding alleys of the medieval and Moorish district, known as the Alfama. Lisbon is, however, primarily a city of 18th Century architecture as large areas of the city were razed to the ground by the earthquake of 1755. After the earthquake the city was largely rebuilt following the plans of the Prime Minister the Marques of Pombal. The fascinating City Museum tells the story of Lisbon’s long history through prehistoric, Roman, Visigothic, Moorish, and medieval remains. It is located in the 18th century Pimenta Palace, built as a gift for King João V’s mistress.
A sight worth seeing is the Belem Tower, a short distance out of town in the district of Belem. Built in 1515 as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbour, the Belem Tower is a monument to Portugal’s Age of Discovery. It was the starting point for many voyages to far distant lands, and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland. Reached via a walkway raised out of the water on timbers, the tower is filled with intricate stonework and has wonderful views towards the Atlantic Ocean.
Lisbon also makes a perfect base for a trip out towards the Atlantic coast, often more enjoyable in the winter months than in the very hot and busy summer season. A day trip to Sintra makes an ideal outing. The aristocratic hill town to the west of Lisbon is a Neverland of fairytale palaces, manicured floral gardens and wild woodlands. The train to Sintra departs from Rossio station every 20 minutes, takes about 40 minutes and costs €1.95.
The neighbouring beach towns of Cascais and Estoril are the best of the city’s seaside suburbs. Lovely coves filled with fine sand line the coast between the two towns which are linked by a seaside promenade. From Cais do Sodré station, the coastal train to Cascais and Estoril leaves every 20 minutes, takes about 40 minutes and costs €1.95.