Lay of the Land
The capital Lisbon, which is located on the Atlantic coast in the middle of the country, remains the most important and populous city in Portugal. Built on seven hills, Lisbon has many faces: the party-heavy neighborhood of Bairro Alto (where evening revelers spill out of bars and onto the cobblestone streets) provides a stark contrast to the hilly district of Alfama, where Fado (the Portugueses’ melancholic music of choice) bars reign supreme. Its topography can make it a taxing city to traverse on foot so having a car handy is helpful, especially because sights are spread across the city. From Lisbon, an overnight trip to either Sintra (the fairytale-looking city where the royal family once lived) or Cascais (the chic beach town 30 minutes from the capital) is a must.
Flights arrive into Lisbon Airport, which is serviced by many carriers including TAP, which is headquartered in Lisbon. The airport is just located a short, 20-minute drive from the city center.