Pastel perfection … Lisbon skyline at Alfama, one of the city’s older districts. Photograph: Alamy
Assemble a city-break destination from a wishlist of components and you get Lisbon: a wide glittering river, limpid skies, steep cobbled streets, palaces, churches (and a castle, of course), tiles in pink, mint and indigo, and cheap, fresh, grilled sardines to eat outside a tasca (bar) in the sun. It’s a place so beautiful you can’t believe people are using it to live in. And Lisbon is decidedly lively. Every year it seems there is more to do, more to eat and more distance to cover.