With undulating hills covered in colourful houses and fairy tale castles, narrow streets filled with cosy wine bars, and incredible ocean views, Lisbon is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. After spending a few hours in this picturesque city, it’s impossible not to get swept up in its whimsical charm. From live Portuguese Fado music to Lisbon river cruises and tours of palaces in Sintra, here’s how to get the most out of romantic Lisbon during a lovers’ weekend away.
With its medieval alleys, striking architecture and scenic ocean views, it’s no surprise that Alfama continues to capture the imagination of poets, novelists and musicians alike. Explore its narrow streets to discover tiny squares, quaint houses covered in blue and white Portuguese azulejos, and lively restaurants and bars. Overlooking this romantic Lisbon district is the hilltop São Jorge Castle, or Saint George’s Castle. Take a tour of the fortified castle complex, parts of which date back to the 6th century, relax alongside the resident peacocks in the landscaped garden, or climb the tower turrets for views of Lisbon that will take your breath away.
The National Palace of Queluz is one of the easiest palaces to reach from Lisbon, and also one of the most romantic. Built as the summer home of King Pedro III of Portugal and Queen Maria, the 18th century palace features opulent architecture and landscaped gardens where visitors can take romantic walks. If you have the time, it’s also worth visiting Sintra. A hilltop town just outside of Lisbon, there are many grandiose palaces in Sintra, such as the National Palace of Pena and the National Palace of Sintra, which look like they’ve been lifted out of the pages of a fairy tale.
Head out on the water for an alternative view of Lisbon and enjoy a romantic, peaceful cruise on the Tagus River. Many local companies offer cruises that pass close to famous Lisbon sites such as the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge, The Monument to the Discoveries, and Belém Tower. Lisbon river cruises are particularly special at sunset, when the fading light creates a striking silhouette of the towering city against a colourful sky.
As the city begins to get dark, the beautiful sound of Fado music starts to drift from the doors of many Lisbon bars and restaurants. The Portuguese folk music is the soul of the city and beautiful melodic songs spinning stories of love and heartbreak can be heard across Barrio Alto and Alfama. To catch a performance by big-name Fado performers visit Casa De Linhares or Parreirinha de Alfama, for a more intimate setting get a table for two at Senhor Vinho, or for a full evening of entertainment secure a space at Páteo de Alfama.
Bring a day in romantic Lisbon to a close with an indulgent nightcap. From rooftop bars like Silk Club, overlooking the river, to Chafariz do Vinho, a wine bar located on an eye-catching 18th century aqueduct, there are myriad venues to choose from. To get a real taste of Portugal, why not sample a glass of Portuguese port? As you sit back and take in the scenic vistas, local port in hand, you’ll quickly discover why Lisbon is a city for lovers.