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Things to do in Lisbon

Climb the tower of the Belém Tower

Situated on Tagus estuary, the UNESCO-listed Belém Tower (+351 21 362 0034; www.torrebelem.pt) was erected as part of the city's 16th century defences. For the views alone, the spiral steps up the tower are worth the exertion, but keep eyes keen and try to spot a rhinoceros in the stonework.

Ride the lift from street to sky

A steep city, Lisbon has some stylish ways to reach its summit. An evocative ride in an old-fashioned white and yellow tram will prevent any aching calves, but the beautiful wrought iron elevator, Santa Justa (www.carris.pt/pt/ascensores-e-elevador), shouldn’t be missed either. Designated a national monument, its wonderful skyline views are unrivalled.

Seek out the secret to the city's superb custard tarts

The humble custard tart should be a simple treat - not in the hands of Pastéis de Belém (+351 21 363 7423; www.pasteisdebelem.pt), Lisbon's finest purveyors of pastéis de nata. Though the insightful tour doesn't reveal their secret recipe, it does conclude with a tasty tart or two.

Take a trip to a hospital

For unloved toys, the Doll Hospital is a lifesaver (tel: +351 21 342 8574; www.hospitaldebonecas.com). Its glass cabinets are chockfull with a cacophony of spare arms, legs and heads. The curious and those with a camera should visit their museum of scary, dead-eyed dolls. To think: these are the ones they've saved.

Tour the trendiest treasures in the capital

Amassed by sharp-eyed collector Francisco Capelo, MuDe (tel: +351 21 888 6117; www.mude.pt) is a celebration of 20th century fashion and object design. Curated over three sections (Luxury, Pop and Cool), the stripped back interior of the exhibition space also makes MuDe one the most stylish museums in the city.

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City Highlight: Lisbon

With its colourful tiles, cobbled streets and crystal-clear skies, Portugal’s capital Lisbon enchants - and don’t forget to try its famous custard tart

Featured Hotels

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Inspira Santa Marta

Sleep with a clear mind and conscience at this Feng Shui designed spa hotel, a tranquil oasis close to Lisbon’s grand boulevard Avenida da Liberdade. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices are showcased on the Mediterranean menu and the environmentally-friendly hotel is built from sustainable materials and supports green projects around the globe.

Memmo Principe Real

The latest hotel in Lisbon's three-strong Memmo stable blends contemporary style with traditional touches such as hand-painted tiles and hand-blown bedside lights in the 41 rooms. Guests can get their bearings on a free daily walking tour of the local area, including the leafy Principe Real gardens.

Hotel Florida

This quirky hotel offers rooms inspired by 1950s cinema, some of which have terraces. Its crowning jewel is the retro-themed Great American Disaster Restaurant offering a diner-style vinyl booths and a global menu. Close to the shopping and entertainment district of Bairro Alto, it's also a saunter from the historical neighbourhood of Alfama.

Hotel Borges Chiado

Located in the central district of Chiado, with views of the Tagus River, this budget hotel offers 96 simple rooms that are both comfortable and clean. All rooms come with air-conditioning, TVs and free Wi-Fi. You'd be hard pushed to find somewhere bettered placed for the Museum of Chiado and Bairro Alto too.

Hotel Lisboa Plaza

Designed predominantly by interior idealist Graca Viterbo, this centrally located 4-star hotel has followed a programme of renovation that has kept it looking fresh whilst retaining its unique character. Though it offers 94 classically finished rooms and 12 suites, it feels much smaller with a cosy lobby and friendly service.

Internacional Design Hotel

Overlooking the historic Rossio Square, the interior of this hotel belies its traditional façade. The 55 rooms are split into cool 'concepts' (urban, tribal, zen and pop), with interiors reflecting the themes, such as graffiti artwork, zebra prints and fresh grass aromas, chill-out music or bubble gum colours.