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Draped over 7 soft hills on the edge of the wide Tagus River estuary, Lisbon is surely up there with Europe's most enchanting capitals. In the warren of cobbled lanes and steep staircases that is the Alfama district, sizzling sardine kitchens sit alongside resplendent houses that are adorned all over with trademark Azulejo tilework. In the Bairro Alto, the blocks pulse with energy, trams rattle up the steep streets and locals sit sipping beers while watching the sunsets over the sea. Throw in cool art galleries, open-air clubs, fascinating monuments to the Age of Exploration, and verdant urban gardens aplenty, and it's easy to see why Lisbon holiday rentals are in such demand.
You can really get to grips with this enthralling city and live like a local if you opt to book one of the holiday rentals in Lisbon, instead of a traditional hotel. Armed with self-catering facilities, lounge spaces, and even the occasional rooftop garden, they’ll let you stay in popular districts like the ancient Alfama, or even more off-beat areas like the spice-scented reaches of Indian-influenced Mouraria. And there are even more options. You'll be able to seek out properties that pepper the outer areas of the metropolis, perhaps with sea views over the surf-washed sands of Cascais town, or over the Tagus on the rustic fishing piers of Cova do Vapor.
Every list of things to do in Lisbon starts with a visit to the atmospheric Alfama district, where the labyrinth of tight-knit lanes and alleyways is packed with open-air sangria bars and sizzling seafood eateries. A ride on historic Tram 28 will transport you from there to the other historic kernel of the capital: Bairro Alto. Here, bars and cafés spill down the hills to meet the Tagus River, and it's just a short hop to reach the iconic monument of Belem Tower – a welcome sight for many a returning explorer back in the 16th century. And talking of exploration, there's also the enthralling Navy Museum, which will whisk you through the most turbulent and thrilling years of the nation’s colonial past.
Most holiday apartments in Lisbon are close to excellent public transport connections to the top attractions in the Portuguese capital. Famed for its tram network, the city touts the iconic number 28 line, which wiggles its way up the hillside districts from central Martim Moniz to the Art Nouveau monuments of Campo de Ourique. You'll be able to reach most of the main sights en route. For jaunts further afield, it's possible to ride the efficient metro system, with its various lines shooting out to the main neighbourhoods in the north. Meanwhile, hiring a car is the perfect choice if you're looking to visit the surfing beaches of Peniche, Cascais and the forested terrain of Sintra up in the mountains.