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Guide to Lisbon

By Irvina Lew

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.

Lisbon’s delights are best seen from the maze of cobblestone streets in the ancient Alfama district, where Islamic towers dating from the Moorish invasion of 711 top the ancient Roman walls surrounding the medieval São Jorge castle. Here, red-tile-roofed buildings fronted with hand-painted, blue-and-white azulejo tiles line the steep streets that wind down to the waterfront. The city’s Christian history presents itself with Romanesque churches, Gothic monasteries and cloistered convents. Mosaic-tiled sidewalks border buildings filled with homes, shops and restaurants in Chiado, and tiny cafes and wine bars stud the narrow cobblestoned streets of Bairro Alto. In the area constructed after the earthquake that destroyed much of the city in 1755, the jacaranda-bordered Edouardo VII park sits alongside hotels and splendid Belle Époque buildings with wrought iron balconies that line the Avenida da Liberdade. This landscaped pedestrian promenade hosts apartments and hotels with chic designer shops and restaurants. Lisbon, a cultured, sophisticated and safe city enjoys balmy weather, fabulously fresh local foods and regional wines, all served in fine restaurants where the prices are as welcoming as the English-speaking staff.

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