The Persian Gulf-based airline is continually extending its networks and destinations. Soon to be added to their routes is: Lisbon one of Europe’s oldest capitals, which boasts a rich history, fine art and café culture and is perfect for a European holiday by the sea.
Emirates launches its service to the Portuguese capital on July 9, with direct flights departing Dubai at 9.15am daily, enabling smooth connections with the flights leaving Harare every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday that arrive in Dubai at 6.40am, the next day.
To make the journey even smoother, Lisbon Airport is near the heart of the city, with public transport readily available, so you are only minutes from vibrant streets of Portugal’s capital. A preferred mode of travel around Lisbon, which runs through ancient areas of the city, is the tram network with cars pre-dating World War I.
However you choose to get around, it’s easy to lose yourself in the nostalgic melody of a Fadista’s song, amongst priceless works of art or within the ancient walls of a castle when travelling through Lisbon, because there’s always something to discover: from Salvador Dali masterpieces to cosy restaurants, picturesque sea views and cutting edge fashion.
Lisbon visitors will encounter iconic landmarks, like the celebrated Belém Tower, the warmth and conviviality of its sidewalk cafés and charm of historic hillside neighbourhoods.
One of the most definitive features of the Portuguese cultural landscape is Fado. And Lisbon is immersed in this long-standing musical art for, said to have originated in the early 19th Century in the streets of the city. The essence of the music is something locals call saudade, with no literal translation, it refers to nostalgia, melancholy and longing present in the tone and content of the music. Fado houses dot Lisbon; one can also see Fadistas performing in the streets. The Alfama district is home to the Fado Museum for those who wish to discover more of its musical heritage.
Historic structures and districts are also abundant, but none more renowned than Belém Tower. Almost as old as the city itself, the tower was the staging point for many a voyage during Portugal’s Age of Discovery, and is a favourite among visitors. One of the best places to see Lisbon is from a sidewalk café in one of its many bairros (districts). There are hidden gems to be discovered in the quaint alleyways of the Medieval District or along the ultra-trendy Avenida da Liberdade.
Artistic treasures nestle away in a number of impressive museums and galleries, including the Calouste Gulbenkian collection, boasting works by Rembrandt and Renoir, among others.
Fashion and entertainment options are plentiful. From international brands and local designers, to bars, cafés and Fado houses, the Bairro Alto, Chiado and Principe Real districts are known for boutiques, eateries and more.
Bairro Alto’s mix of 16th Century and bohemian charm is a favourite with writers and artists. Because of its trendy bars and avant-garde after-hours fashion shops, many consider it the epicentre of Lisbon’s vibrant nightlife. Here, a visit to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara garden terrace is highly recommended for a breathtaking view of the city.
Discerning travellers enjoy Chiado’s art nouveau jewellery, bookstores, porcelain shops and cosy cafés. This district features Tavares Rico Restaurant, established 1784, as well as an outlet for one of Portugal’s best known designers, Ana Salazar. To discover Lisbon’s interior design, antique offerings and historic architecture, Principe Real is the place to explore.
No visit to Lisbon would be complete without strolling on Avenida da Liberdade. Popular for luxury fashion brands, this leafy boulevard is also an important theatre district and home to several outstanding architectural works.
There are many festivals to be enjoyed throughout the year in Lisbon, from literary events and musical concerts to culinary celebrations and fashion expos. Lisbon Fashion Week is the main event in the northern winter, the Fish and Flavours Festival is a highlight in spring and summer features music and street festivals, including Festas de Lisboa, while the Estoril International Film Festival dominates autumn.
Being a coastal city, seafood figures highly in Lisbon’s cuisine. Fish and shellfish feature in many dishes, including the national dish, bacalhau(dried salted cod). Sardines and horse mackerel are principal ingredients in caldeira stew, and rice complements a mixture of crab, lobster, oysters and shrimp called arroz de marisco. Another popular national dish, cozida å portuguesa features a variety of meats. It’s recommended you start your foray into Portuguese fare at well-known restaurants like Lisboa å Noite or Cerevejaria Trinidade.
Follow a hearty meal with a trip to the beaches at Cascais and Estoril, small resort towns known for mild temperatures and ideal surfing conditions. For a more active excursion, visit Belém Tower, the most iconic site in Lisbon and the location from which many exploratory missions were launched since its construction in the 1500s. There are many museums housing fine art, as well as the more recent innovation, the Design and Fashion Museum.
Lisbon is surrounded by picturesque villages, including breathtaking Sintra just under an hour away. This hilly town is known for its storybook landscape boasting beautiful palaces and castles, the most famous of which is Pena Castle.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, it was built in the mid-1800s. The medieval beauty of Obidos led to its allocation as a national monument. Its romantic history makes it all the more alluring as the town itself was a wedding gift to a Queen from her King in the late 1200s. It maintains ancient charm and hosts an annual Medieval Fair during the summer.
Other attractive destinations include Setubal, popular for dolphin watching, Ericeira, another haven for surfers as well as many other palaces, historic towns and World Heritage sites that offer breathtaking examples of Portuguese heritage and life.
Emirates will fly Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from Dubai to Lisbon, with more than 600 channels of on-demand entertainment, gourmet cuisine and award-winning service. Enjoy First Class flat-bed relaxation, comfortable Business Class seating, a spacious Economy Class cabin and convenient seatback electronic communication in all classes on Emirates flights to Lisbon.