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  Lisbon British Airways fr £60
  Lisbon Air France fr £55
  Lisbon KLM Airlines fr £55
  Lisbon Air Portugal fr £60
  Lisbon Alitalia Airlines fr £59
Lisbon is the city for fado , funiculars, feasting and frolicking.

Lisbon's position on seven low hills beside a river once lured traders and settlers, and it's still a stunning site. Add to that its cultural diversity, laid-back feel and architectural time warp, and you have one of the most enjoyable cities in Europe - and also one of the most economical.

At Lisbon's heart are wide, tree-lined avenues graced by Art Nouveau buildings, mosaic pavements and street cafes. Seen from the river - one of the city's many great viewpoints - Lisbon is an impressionist picture of low-rise ochre and pastel, punctuated by church towers and domes.


Lisbon lies in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean climatic zones, thereby enjoying a pleasantly temperate climate year-round. Its mean annual temperature is 17°C (63°F), with average temperatures in winter of 13°C (55°F) and 27°C (80°F) in summer. Even when summer temperatures reach the mid-30s, the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean insures some cooling breezes. July and August are the hottest, driest months, while November to February are the wettest and coldest. The granite Serra de Sintra hosts a series of climatic phenomena that results in considerably cooler, damper conditions than in Lisbon, with frequent mists that occur even in midsummer.

If you've come to lie on the beach any month will do, but keep in mind a bit of heat is good to complement the brisk Atlantic Ocean beaches. Carnaval, in February or March, is a draw card - but most places know it and prices rise accordingly, until it's much like the later mid-June to August peak season. Unless you're a football fan or a 'when in Rome' kind of person it's best to check when EFC games are held, as hordes of boisterous supporters descend on the city for various matches.

A Top Day in Lisbon

It's June and I am up to catch the earliest part of morning; the sunlight is the best thing about Lisbon even if it's left me sunburned in odd places after a clothing-optional day on one of the southern beaches. The sun is shining into the Baixa cafe where I stand taking my pão (bread) and café com leite . A handwritten sign behind the bar advises patrons that snails are now available, while outside, the city's distinctive trams rumble through the tight grid of 18th-century streets. Soon I am hopping on Tram 28, which heads uphill, glancing past Lisbon's Romanesque cathedral with its fortress-like walls, and then slicing through the Alfama - the maze of streets and stairways that, since Arab times, has cascaded down the hill toward the Rio Tejo. Farther up looms Castelo São Jorge, whose crenulated walls and towers are shorthand for the city itself. Now we're passing a series of plazas, some with glittering views of the river, and several crowned by grand Baroque monasteries paid for with Brazilian gold.

I get off at Largo da Graça and head back down hill, spending the rest of the day exploring all the places I've just passed. Lunch is a picnic on the walls of the Castelo (followed by a nap in its orchard-like garden). The sun and sky have a Mediterranean clarity, and yet the breeze, off the Atlantic, carries an open-ocean coolness. As afternoon stretches past 20:00 , I head to the statue of Fernando Pessoa in the Chiado, the city's favoured meeting point. Friends arrive in dribs and drabs and we eventually stroll down to the Miradouro Santa Catarina to watch river, sky and city turn rosy, then purple. There is still colour in the sky when, after 22:00 , we sit down for beer and seafood at Trinidade.

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