Elegant boulevards, ancient barrios and new-fangled districts forged in modern glass and steel: Lisbon has all the eye candy today’s style-savvy weekenders require. Add to that vibrant restaurants and a bar scene that buzzes till late, and you’ll need all the stamina you can muster if you’re to do this magic capital of Portugal justice. But city breaks are also about relaxing, remember. When you need to cool your cobble-challenged heels, Lisbon has plenty of hotels with peace-inducing pools. Follow our drift, book into one of these great pads, and your stay will go swimmingly.
Check in at this slick urban hotel, and you can pick the view you want from your minimal-modish room: the striking city or the outdoor pool, trimmed with wooden decking, smart loungers and a vibrant vertical garden. Explore more, and you’ll find an indoor pool in the sleek spa, which is also home to a sauna and gym. Just off the Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s cobblestoned main boulevard, you’ve got high-end shops to browse for gifts – or maybe an outfit for dinner, if you’re tempted by the perfectly presented Portuguese cod in the hotel’s Restaurante Luz.
There’s water, water everywhere, at this very-now tower hotel, with its sculptural sail, wowing guests with an envy-inducing location on the shores of the wide River Tagus. Through glass walls, the 176 red-and-black-toned rooms and suites let in that view or glimpses of the nearby Parque das Nações. Head up to the top-floor wellness centre to splash in the indoor pool, admiring the river, or switch off in the hammam, massage chairs and whirlpool beds. Your excuse for gorging on those Portuguese breakfast pastries? A long water’s-edge walk afterwards, taking in restaurants, hotels and local life.
Soothing, light-filled rooms in shades of silvery greys and white are the seduction at this funky little check-in in Praça Duque de Saldanha, a 5-minute walk from Avenida da Liberdade, with its luxury-label stores. (On which note, if you’re here for a splurge of a weekend, consider booking the two-storey Duplex Suite, which has a kitchenette and sleeps three.) Up on the roof, there’s a striking slimline swimming pool with views over Lisbon to take in as you breaststroke, working out your day’s sightseeing route. Even if you’re stuffed after your buffet breakfast, be sure to call by the landmark Versailles pastry shop, in a 1920s mansion, for a creamy-sweet pastéis de nata or two.
On a hillside overlooking the cinematic sweep of the city is this modern, box-shaped boutique hotel – a must-book for anyone keen to discover the well-heeled residential district of Príncipe Real. Rooms mirror the exterior materials (white render, oak cladding) with posh Bang & Olufsen TVs and Hermès unguents for cosy evenings. The hotel really comes into its own in warmer seasons: after you’ve breakfasted on cured meats and ambrosial miniature custard tarts, you can dip in the sliver of outdoor swimming pool running alongside the restaurant. Here, if only once during your stay, book a table to dine on delicious shredded stone crab.
Right by Avenida da Liberdade, the swishest avenue in Lisbon, this boutique hotel is more of an urban resort, from its naturally lit gym to its indoor pool (your cue to power-off the pastries.) There’s a lovely spa with a sauna, a turkish steam bath and treatment rooms for two – although bedrooms are relaxation cocoons in themselves, bathed golden by clever lighting and colours. While you’ll want to step out in such a fine neighbourhood, may we suggest you dine in once or twice? The bistro serves inventive “bistronomy”: black scabbardfish fillet (with a crust of tomato, onion, olive and cornbread and with a white butter sauce and potato trio crisps) is a mouthful in more ways than one.
In the Portuguese capital, the cool Corinthia brand delivers a ceiling-beamed, light and airy indoor heated pool space; it shares the limelight with an enormous spa that’ll pamper you rotten. Its aqua circuit, based on ancient hot and cold bathing rituals, offers a host of aquatic experiences, including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory showers and an ice fountain. It’s the perfect conclusion to a steamy gym session – and a prelude to evening cocktails at the al fresco Soul Garden restaurant and bar. That just leaves a night of comfy slumber in your room with a city or leafy park view, depending on which of the 23 floors you’re on.
The city’s once-unloved Parque das Nações area has come up in the world, with funky, futuristic glass-and-steel architecture, bars and restaurants now gracing the banks of the Tagus. This place underlines that fact, with its smart blue- or red-hued rooms and checkerboard headboards. The indoor pool with a hot tub soothes feet needing some TLC after pounding the cobbles of Lisbon. Call the lift to the hotel’s Sky Bar for snap-worthy views over a beer or cocktail. And, when you step out next time, take the tram – perhaps up to the castle overlooking the city for more photogenic moments.
We love the gentle blue mood to this restored 18th-century pile: from the powder-blue façade to the shades of the subterranean swimming pool with jets, backed by a vintage-style mural of Victorian bathers and loungers. Contemporary enters as sleek modern lines amid period fittings and photos. Wood-panelled and -floored rooms ooze chocolate tones, and Juliet balconies reveal the stretch of tree-lined Avenida da Liberdade. There’s no restaurant, but – before you head out for dinner – complimentary port is offered at the bar. Breakfasts are banquets, where you’ll find fresh pastries, fruits, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs waiting for you.
This contemporary hotel has youthful stylings: urban art, cool lighting and a 24/7 restaurant doing fusion treats a la cod risotto. The location couldn’t be better: it’s near historic central Marquês de Pombal Square, handy for the metro or walking itineraries. The 129 rooms come in two categories: Cool and Super Cool, with statement walls, sky blue or as yellow as a Portuguese custard tart. Tablets control lights, curtains and temperatures, and opening hours are utterly guest-centric: the fitness centre, pool, steam room and sauna (with city views) and sensation showers are open round the clock.
The heated pool at this slinky modern hotel might be inside, but it’s light and airy given its glass cocoon and lounger-lined sun terrace. It’s no after-thought either – easily long enough for luxurious lengths. Saluting the contemporary agenda, rooms (some with city-view balconies) roll out groovy greys, blacks and creams, alongside polished wooden floors, white-linen beds and tall cream headboards. The central Avenida de Liberdade, with endless bars and restaurants, is a tourist attraction in itself – but head out to the bohemian Bairro Alto for a different vibe.
For more great stays in Lisbon, check into one of the best Airbnbs and holiday apartments in the capital – bookable on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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