You’ve probably already read that Lisbon is Europe’s sunniest capital (and this weekend’s weather forecast sure does prove that, as illustrated above). But even during those darker, rainy weekends, Lisbon is the best choice in Europe for a quick city break. Not only do most of the low-cost airlines connect the Portuguese capital to most other major European cities, but as it was revealed earlier this year, Lisbon has the cheapest average hotel rates in Western Europe and its hostels rank among the best reviewed by guests. Also, where else can you see Picasso, Warhol, Bosch, or Rembrandt for free?
Until the end of this year the Berardo Museum’s acclaimed modern art collection is free to see every day of the week, while every Sunday morning (until 2PM), most of Lisbon’s museums (including the Gulbenkian and the Ancient Art Museum) offer free entrance to their permanent exhibitions.
If you’re also looking to party, you won’t find a bigger bar hop than in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto neighborhood, where every Friday and Saturday night there is a street party with all kinds of tribes going from bar to bar and standing outside their doors with a caipirinha or a beer in hand. From there most move on to a riverside club, until the sun rises and it’s time for brunch at one of more recent cafes in the city, be it Deli Delux, Pois Café, Kaffeehaus, or Royale Café (see our cafes page for more details about them).
We don’t recommend it for these autumn and winter months, but from about late April until October you can always sleep for the rest of the day at the beach before returning to your hotel to shower, pack, and head back to the airport.
Really, do you know of any other European capital that offers free culture, such affordable accommodation, a contagiously vibrant nightlife, has a better climate, such a beautiful riverside setting, vast sandy beaches so close by, and such a variety of attractions to be enjoyed over one weekend?