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Suitcase Magazine have a beautiful website where travel and fashion stories are collated for their devoted readers. They commissioned me to write a mini guide to Lisbon.

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Lisbon: The Perfect City Guide

It’s hard not to be charmed by Lisbon. Sprinkled over seven hills on the bank of the River Tagus, the city, one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful, vibrates to the echoes of history while at the same time thrusting forward with infectious optimism.

The hills, trams, thriving gay scene and bridge designed by the same architect earn comparisons with San Francisco, but Lisbon’s soul is uniquely Portuguese. A stroll will take you from medieval ramparts; through cobbled alleyways lined with family-run restaurants and drinking dens; past crumbling buildings adorned with street art three storeys high; onto Praça do Comércio, the size of five football pitches and ringed with monumental architecture; and finally to riverside clubs where revellers dance all night, energised by the prospect of a prosperous future.

Portugal’s battered economy is bouncing back from the Eurozone crisis and Lisbon is leading the way: renovating rundown areas, supporting local businesses and attracting entrepreneurship – a forward-looking mentality that is allowing creativity to flourish.

Doubtless Lisbon’s contemporary culture is inspired by Portugal’s colonial past, with Angolan, Brazilian, Goan and Mozambican influences meshing in this cosmopolitan capital. Whether you want to eat kulyachem tonak (Goan crab curry), rave all night to kudoro (high-speed Angolan dance music), or sip ginjinha (cherry liqueur) from a hole-in-the-wall bar, curious senses will be satisfied.

Exploration is a pleasure as the sun shines more often than not here on the edge of Europe (a Lisboeta would say the centre), illuminating vistas from rooftop bars and miradouros (public viewpoints), encouraging dining, drinking and dancing outside, and warmly nudging you to peak around just one more corner.

What you find may reveal the sense of the Portuguese word saudade. There is no direct translation but its essence is of a bittersweet longing, like that of a woman who marries a man who goes to sea. Whatever you’re yearning for, Lisbon is a good place to come and find it, or, have so much fun that you’ll forget.

Here is a selection of my favourite places to stay, eat, drink/dance and things to see and do…

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