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Travel to Lisbon

Flying to Lisbon

Airlines offering direct flights to Lisbon from the UK include British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and TAP Air Portugal. If you book well in advance, you can usually find cheap deals, although prices tend to rise in July and August and over Christmas. TAP Air Portugal and United operate direct flights from the USA.

Flight times

From London - 2 hours 40 minutes; New York - 7 hours; Los Angeles - 14 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 9 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 25 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Traffic drives on the right in Portugal and the minimum age for driving is 18 years. Speed limits are 120kph (75mph) or 100kph (62mph) on motorways, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (30mph) in towns.

Both International Driving Permits and national driving licences are accepted. Third-party insurance is compulsory (a Green Card is recommended, though not obligatory for EU travellers), as are a warning triangle and reflective vest.

In general, road conditions in Lisbon are quite good. However, the overall standard of driving is poor, with many reckless speeding motorists who contribute to one of the worst road safety records in Europe.

The national motoring association is Automóvel Club de Portugal (ACP) (tel: +351 808 222 222; www.acp.pt, Portuguese only), which can offer assistance to motorists belonging to an automobile club with whom the ACP has a reciprocal agreement.

Emergency breakdown services

ACP (tel: +351 808 222 222).

Routes

The A1, Auto-estrada do Norte, extends from Porto to Lisbon and the A8 arrives from destinations to the north and west of the city. The A9 bypasses Lisbon, connecting the A1 and A8, as well as the A5, which links Lisbon with Cascais and the beaches. The A2, Auto-estrada do Sul, arrives from Faro and the Algarve via Almada and the Ponte 25 de Abril. The A2 also links to the A6, which continues on for connections to Madrid. The A12 crosses the Ponte Vasco da Gama, offering a less congested route into the city.

Coaches

The main bus terminal is the Terminal Rodoviário de Sete Rios, Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado, Estrada das Laranjeiras.

Eva Transportes (tel: +351 707 223 344; www.eva-bus.com) and Rede Nacional de Expressos (tel: +351 707 223 344; www.rede-expressos.pt) provide coach services from hundreds of Portuguese destinations. They work with other operators, such as Eurolines (tel: +44 871 781 8177, in the UK; www.eurolines.com), on pan-European routes, though some of these operate from Gare do Oriente.

Time to city

From Porto - 3 hours; Faro and the Algarve - 2 hours 30 minutes; Madrid - 6 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

Lisbon is served by five major railway stations, as well as a number of suburban stations.

Santa Apolónia, Avenida Infante D Henrique, serves an ever-decreasing number of routes. The gleaming modern Oriente station, at the Parque das Nações, on the city's eastern approach, has become an increasingly important long-distance railway station.

Rossio, between Praça dos Restauradores and Rossio, serves Sintra, while Cais do Sodré, near the Praça Duque da Terceira, serves Cascais and Estoril. The Barreiro station, on the south bank of the River Tagus, serves the south, though direct high-speed trains to Faro depart from Oriente station.

Operators

Comboios de Portugal - CP (tel: +351 707 210 220; www.cp.pt) is the Portuguese national rail service provider. Over the last decade or so, CP's reputation has improved, with more efficient, modern, high-speed train services introduced on the Porto-Lisbon-Faro service.

Intercity trains connect Lisbon to almost all of Portugal's major cities. Comfortable high-speed Alfa services connect Lisbon with both Porto and Faro. There are also overnight trains to and from Madrid and Hendaye in southwest France.

Journey times

From Porto - 2 hours 30 minutes; Faro - 3 hours.

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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.

Residencial Florescente

Right in the centre of the city, charming Residencial Florescente makes the most of its former townhouse pedigree with lovely, individually decorated rooms that let in plenty of light. Each comes with a flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms, while the onsite restaurant punches above its weight as well.

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.