Check out our Purple Travel guide to some of the best parties cities Europe has to offer in 2014. Don’t agree? Let us know in the comments below.
Berlin, Germany. It can be hard to choose from the best party cities Europe 2014, but Berlin is an easy one. A sprawling city where weekends usually start on Thursday evenings and last well into Monday morning, there’s a great selection of cheap hotels and cool bars. House music is easily the most popular and clubs like WaterGate on Falckensteinerstrase 49, Cookies on Friedrichstrase 158 and Weekend on Alexanderstrasse 5 are almost clubbing institutions in Berlin.
Ios Island in Greece. Not technically a city, but Ios easily tops the list of the best places to party in Europe. A longtime backpackers favourite, trust me, it’s worth the ferry trek for hot summer all night parties. Start out in the clean lines of Far Out Beach Bar, before knocking back €1 shots in Orange Bar (the Malteser ones are epic!) Slammers Bar Ios, lives up to its name – you put on a helmet and get whacked in the head with a hammer after a shot, and Sweet Irish Dream only kicks off at 3am. Phew!
Planning your next city break, but looking for something a little more unique? Lisbon is just a couple of hours away from the UK and is all about relaxing over a coffee, dancing all night, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere and eating delicious food and maybe, just maybe indulging in a few bargains. Here’s our Lisbon Destination Guide.
Lisbon’s built up on seven hills, so it’s good to get your bearings first. Head up to the Castelo de Sao Jorge, or Saint George Castle to take in the spectacular sights. The extraordinary views over the whole city and the river Tagus offers an impressive introduction to Portugal. If you fancy staying on the move, then the Lavra Funicular is a relaxed route to the beautiful Torel Gardens. Over 120 years old, it’s a bit of a city treasure and is a wonderful and romantic afternoon jaunt.
If you’re taking the kids with you, don’t miss out on the Oceanario de Lisboa, the city’s aquarium or have a go at some experiments in the Pavilhao do Conchecimento, or science museum. There’s also Lisbon Zoo with over 2,000 animals as well as live shows. We reckon you’ll find something to impress kids of all ages in the city.
Portugal has a long history of art and culture and Lisbon has no shortage of fantastic museums and galleries. Contemporary pieces can be seen in the Chiado museum and Modern Art Center. The city’s churches are packed with history and can easily be seen on foot. Sao Roque and Carmo Church are two choices. The Tile Museum and Decorative Arts Museum are popular picks – and more interesting than you might think. Remember, these are just a handful of the wonderful museums Lisbon is famous for.
The Bairro Alto neighbourhood is made for Saturday strolling in the sunshine. If you’ve arrived on a Friday and checked in, head for the great atmosphere and traditional architecture to get a feel for the city. Its winding streets, lead to open terraces where you can sip on a coffee and soak up the sunshine. As a former red light district though, despite renovation, it might not have good vibes for everyone. The lower neighbourhood of Baixa is lovely for strolling around too. The beating heart of the city, it is a haven for foodies who can choose their own fresh lobster straight from the tank, or walk hand in hand in glorious sunshine.
Bars like Visita Virtual on Rua D Pedro V reflect Lisbon’s laidback atmosphere while cocktail friendly Bairrazza Bairro Alto offers some of the best Caiprinhas in town (so we are told!) If you want something quite different for a night out, head for art and culture space Arte & Manha, a hip (dangerously so!) bar/gallery/venue and restaurant. There you’ll find everything from Fado, jazz, samba and Latin nights, offering a place to lounge until 4am most nights. If you’re after gigs in Lisbon, visit Ask Me Lisboa for the latest updates on listings.
For something completely different, you could always visit the sexiest toilet on earth! In Terrerio do Paco via the very lovely PortugalConfidential blog.
The ultimate in city breaks, of course our Lisbon Destination Guide wouldn’t be complete without checking out some cool and trendy hotels. We like the 4* Turim Alameda, or the more budget friendly 2* Duas Nacoes Hotel. Both offer excellent service and great locations. For the ultimate in luxury you could always head for the 5* Epic Sana Lisboa in upscale neighbourhood Amoreiras. Epic by name, epic by nature! Finally the 3* America Diamonds, has a top notch top floor restaurant offering great views and a modern design at decent prices.
We love the laidback cool of Lisbon, whether you’re enjoying the best in delicious desserts or sipping on a freshly brewed coffee, it’s a city of wild contrasts not least in its food choices. Check out the Goan cuisine which is super hot and spicy at Restaurante Nau do Restelo, or grab some tapas in the gorgeous Adega Victor Horta. There’s always Largo Resutarant in Baixa offering a sophisticated experience or super trendy at Manifesto in Santos. For more on how to eat like a local in Lisbon, check our foodie guide here.
If you’re a caffeine addict, you’d be best to learn the word bica, which means coffee in Lisbon (thanks to a slogan when coffee first arrived in the city). But this is not your ordinary coffee, smoother than its Italian brother; it’s roasted in a lighter way too and can be thoroughly enjoyed accompanied by a little sweet pastel de nata, a famous Portuguese pastry. Cafe Nicola and Cafe Martinho de Arcada, both downtown are both great choices while, you could soak up the great outdoors with a bica at Quiosque Galveias on Rua do Palacio.
From the best in codfish to the ultimate veggie buffet, we’ve got the low-down on the best places to eat food in Lisbon. Visit some of the best restaurants in beautiful Lisbon with Purple Travel.
Portugal’s capital Lisbon isn’t simply scenic surroundings, romantic atmosphere and livin’ it up, it’s also a foodies’ paradise. It’s where you can savour mouth -watering delicacies like fresh codfish or perfectly cooked meat.
It’s related to Mediterranean cuisine, but the traditional Portuguese gastronomy is influenced by lots of spices, a habit left over from the colonial age, when Prince Henry the Navigator ordered his ships to bring back as many exotic fruit and vegetables as possible from the New World. However you might be more familiar with the famous piri-piri flavour that permeates Portuguese dishes, as well as black pepper, cinnamon and saffron.
So, if Lisbon is planned to be your next city break, here are some top foodie picks from your friends at PurpleTravel to fascinate your palate.
Cozido a Portuguesa Even if the original recipe was once considered the rich man’s stew, people around the countryside soon discovered cheaper methods. When it comes to a stew with veggies and as many types of meat as possible, the sky and the cook’s imagination are the only limits.
Solar Dos Nunes found at Rua dos Lusiadas, 68-70, Lisbon 1350-868, has some great traditional, earthy, rural flavours and offers meaty stews, and delicious seafood, like ameijoas alentejano (clams cooked in a wine, chilli, coriander and garlic sauce with pork).
Trempe on Rua Coelho da Rocha 11/13, Estrela is a delicious restaurant with a flavour from Portugal’s biggest region, Alentejo. A rustic style eaterie, it has plenty of tasty treats like Dog fish soup and fried pork with clams.
Caldeiradais another traditional dish. It is basically a stew, with lots of fresh fish and vegetables thrown in. The secret is a little white wine and – of course – the spices. Piri-piri, black pepper, ginger, garlic, all combine to create a mouth watering flavour.
Tavares Restaurant at Rua da Misericordia, 37, Encarnacao, Lisbon 1200-270 is an excellent choice. It is said to be Lisbon’s oldest restaurant which opened back in 1784. Here your palate will be thrilled by the genuine Portuguese cuisine in grandeur style.
Veggie If all that meat sounds a little much, don’t worry, there are plenty of veggie options in Lisbon too.
Try Paladar Zen, Avenida Barbosa du Bocage 107 C, Avenidas. This is an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet, not something that you usually hear about. For €12 you can eat whatever you want from the first class cookery on offer here.
Pasteis de Nata deliciously soft, sweet, custard tarts are a cult in Lisbon. And one place is the undisputed master of making them.
Go to Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, Rua de Belem 84-92, for the ultimate in pastries. Here you’ll find heavenly, sugary treats made from eggs and cream sugar. The recipe is 170 years old and absolutely top secret, only three chefs learn it at a time. The result is a perfectly cooked taste of Lisbon.
Wine Bars in Lisbon
Whether red, white or “green”, wine is the traditional Portuguese drink. Introduced to the area by ancient civilizations, such as the Carthaginians and the Greeks, some might say that today’s Portuguese wine is the result of a centuries-old tradition. As a matter of fact, Portugal has been a major wine exporter since the Roman Empire!
So, once in Lisbon wine-lovers should take our advice and head for one of the following.
Binhoteca Rua das Padarias 16, 2710, Sintra is where you will find over 150 wines on offer. It is a great place to go wine tasting with a little help from some experts.
Bairru’s Bodega, Rua da Barroca, no. 2, Bairro Alto, this is a place where locals go to enjoy a drink or two, it’s a really relaxed cafe with great Portuguese music and friendly staff.
Miradouro’s Wine Bar Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, 1250. This might have the best view in the whole city, overlooking the Carmo convent, Castle, Cathedral and neighbourhoods of Alfama and Graca. By day, it’s calm and relaxed, at night the top bar opens with lively music, while the Wine Bar is a calmer, romantic affair.