With temperatures generally in the teens in the winter months, Lisbon is an ideal winter destination--and it’s quickly becoming one of the hottest weekend retreats for creative types.
Lisbon, a city built on seven hills, is an Instragrammer’s dream: with every turn of a corner comes a new adventure. Tile facades contrast hip street art, and there are plenty of creative vibes, especially at places like the Lx Factory, a hub of abandoned warehouses and factories which has been converted into a coworking space with a plethora of bookshops, cafes and designers’ studios. Another good place to pick up souvenirs, A Vida Portuguesa sells unique stationary in addition to ceramics typical of the area and other goodies.
Whether by walking the slopes or hopping on the city’s trolley system, there are plenty of expansive views giving way to the sea, with pastel buildings dotting the landscape. One of the best views can actually be found at the heights of the Alfama zone from the São Jorge Castle and its fortifications. It’s even possible to stay inside the castle village at the romantic boutique hotel Solar Do Castelo, where peacocks run around the courtyard.
A royal retreat
Just 30km from Lisbon is Sintra , a favourite for day-trippers. The area is sprinkled with castles and was historically where royals retreated. Pena National Palace--considered one of the seven wonders of Portugal (another being Belém Tower in the heart of Lisbon)--is a popular favourite, with its colourful tiles and breathtaking views.
But an equally magical palace is Quinta da Regaleira, where it’s easy to get lost in its park full of labyrinths, hidden grottoes behind waterfalls, spiral staircases leading into wells, and revolving stone doors. Many of these structures were originally linked to mysticism.