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Pousada de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal [In-depth Review]

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Daniel Ross
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Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

656 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Lisbon is one of my favorite places for a city break in Europe. It’s fairly temperate most of the year, the city is steeped in culture, I speak the language, and, best of all, you can find amazing espresso for around 60 cents.

To make a trip to Portugal happen, I booked a $59 one-way flight (including checked baggage) to Lisbon (LIS) departing soon after I would arrive in Madrid (MAD) on a review flight of BA’s rare A380 Club Europe/World experience from London (LHR).

When looking for somewhere to stay, I wanted something a little different. I’d never stayed in a Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), so I checked to see if there were any properties in Lisbon. Lo and behold, I found the Pousada de Lisboa in a perfect location. This would be my first boutique hotel stay in a long while and I was very much looking forward to it.

Small Luxury Hotels is a collection of 520 hotels in 90 countries around the world. The brand prides itself on providing unique, luxury, and, most importantly, non-chain experiences for its guests. While I am now partial to a chain hotel for the points and status benefits, I’d nearly always stay in smaller boutique hotels for their charm and the more personable experience given smaller guest occupancies.

I also invited my brother-from-another-mother, Jonny, along for the ride with me to celebrate his birthday.

The hotel is owned by Pestana — a Portuguese hotel group that specializes, amongst other things, in hotels in converted historic buildings or monuments. According to the hotel’s website, the Pousada de Lisboa is indeed one of those properties with a rich history, having been used as a house for kings and a forum for ministries in years gone by.

Here’s how I found my first experience staying at Small Luxury Hotels of the World property.

Hotel Location

The Pousada de Lisboa is right in the heart and soul of the city.

Looking onto the Praça do Comércio and just 1 block back from the banks of the river Tagus, the hotel’s location was an ideal base for a few days of exploring the Portuguese capital.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World outside front of hotel
The view onto Praça do Comércio from outside the hotel.

The old-school trams that are emblematic of the city pass right by the entrance of the hotel.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World tram outside hotel
The iconic Lisbon tram.

The hotel itself is housed in a striking yellow building that takes up the whole block.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel facade
Yellow certainly beats boring beige.

Getting to the Hotel

In my experience, getting from Lisbon Airport to the city is one of the cheapest in all of Europe. While I’m an advocate for getting public transport where possible, I’ve paid as little as just €6 (~$7) for an Uber right to the city.

There is a reliable Metro, but I’ve always either hired a car or taken an Uber, so I can’t speak to how convenient that journey would be.

Booking

I wanted to try something new for my visit to Lisbon. I’d never stayed at a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property before, so I looked forward to finding out what it was like.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World sign
A Small Luxury Hotel of the World.

Deciding how to book my stay wasn’t easy, as I had 3 possible options:

  • Booking through the World Of Hyatt program
  • Booking directly with Small Luxury Hotels of the World
  • Booking using the AmexTravel.com service

Here are the pros and cons of each:

World of Hyatt

At the time of booking, for the dates that I wanted, booking through the World of Hyatt program would have cost me an average of €295 a night (a total of ~$980).

World of Hyatt Pricing
Price when booking through Hyatt.

Even though I have no Hyatt status, booking through the hotel chain would have netted me a slew of benefits including:

  • Complimentary continental breakfast for 2
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Early check-in (subject to availability)
  • Early checkout (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

I’d also earn World of Hyatt points, as well as elite night credits. As I’m not at all part of the program, nor do I intend to start using it, this wasn’t a particular benefit for me, so I checked out the other options.

Booking Directly Through Small Luxury Hotels

When possible, I always book direct through a hotel chain or individual property’s website. This avoids third-party complications and is appreciated by the hotel as this means all the money you spend on the booking goes directly to them.

Booking this way also ensures that your elite status (should you have it) is honored and that you’re awarded the correct number of points and award nights for your stay.

In this instance, booking directly through Small Luxury Hotels of the World would have cost me a total of £579 (~$763) — that’s a savings of $217 over a Hyatt-based booking!

The only benefit of booking this rate would have been the free continental breakfast.

Pousada de Lisboa pricing
Image Credit: SLH

At this point, I was certainly most tempted to book through Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Using AmexTravel.com

I’d also never previously booked a hotel through the AmexTravel.com portal.

My experience didn’t get off to a great start, as the website told me there was no availability for my dates even though I’d just found availability directly through the SLH website.

Amex Travel no availability
Computer says no. Image Credit: AmexTravel.com

No matter. I called up and the agent was able to find the availability for me and lock in a total price of €844 (~$979) — almost identical to the Hyatt price.

When booking via Amex’s The Hotel Collection (available to specific Amex cardholders — including my U.K. version of The Platinum Card® from American Express), I’d also get similar additional perks to booking with Hyatt:

  • Daily breakfast for 2 people
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Noon check-in (subject to availability)
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout
  • $100 Experience Credit (to use at the spa or on food and beverage)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

The guaranteed late checkout and $100 of room credit made this offer more appealing than Hyatt. However, even with the $100 room credit, booking this way was still $117 more expensive than going direct with SLH.

For me, though, the thrill of getting upgraded on check-in was worth the risk — and it paid off.

Bottom Line: The Amex Platinum card is a favorite of many a frequent traveler. It boasts tons of benefits worth over $5,000 in value!!

I ended up booking through AmexTravel.com for the $100 room credit and the chance of an upgrade. At the time of my stay (late November 2021), travel was still far from being back to normal, so I was quietly confident that the upgrade would clear.

Pousada de Lisboa booking confirmation
Booking confirmed. Image Credit: AmexTravel.com

Not only was the room available way before the allotted check-in time, but we had also indeed been upgraded to a superior corner room, which likely wouldn’t have happened had I booked through SLH.

I was very happy with how it all turned out.

Hot Tip: Sometimes it’s easy to be swayed by the lowest price you see. When you look a little deeper into what you’re getting for your money, the cheapest price might not give you the best value. Sometimes paying a little more can give you a far better experience that’s more than worth the extra money.

Checking In

You know you’re somewhere fancy when there’s a luggage cart.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel entrance
The luggage cart at the hotel entrance.

And as for first impressions, the decor and furnishings in the lobby area instantly made me feel like I was somewhere luxurious, steeped in history and culture. Though a very different vibe from minimalist and modern hotels I’m more used to, the Pousada de Lisboa was a refreshing and welcome change.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World entrance room
Tell me you’re staying somewhere fancy without telling me you’re staying somewhere fancy.

I arrived at the hotel bright and early at 8 a.m. on the off chance that my room would be ready. To my surprise, even at such an early hour, my room was prepared and waiting for me.

I felt confident from the first impressions of the property and the pleasant and professional interactions I had with the check-in staff on shift that day that I was going to have a very enjoyable stay.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World reception
The reception and concierge desks.

Amenities

Bring your resistance bands when staying at the Pousada de Lisboa if you like to keep up with your fitness routine while you’re away.

The gym was, well, basic.

The treadmill, cross-trainer, and bike were there for some cardio training.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World gym cardio equipment
Cardio machines for getting your sweat on.

While a solitary bench…

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World gym bench
The weights bench.

…and a set of dumbbells with a maximum weight of 20 kilograms was all I had available for weight training.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World gym weights
20 kilograms is better than nothing, I guess.

On the same floor as the gym was the Magic Spa Pousada de Lisboa. For once, I wasn’t actually tempted to get a treatment, though I could have booked from a selection of the usual massage treatments if I so wished.

There was nobody at reception the 2 times we visited…

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World spa entrance
The spa reception.

…and nobody using the entire place, for that matter.

The pool was quite small — definitely a pool for splashing around or cooling off rather than doing some morning laps.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World spa pool
The pool zone.

That said, the area would make for a nice place to relax, and it had a sauna, too.

A spiral staircase led up to the roof…

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World spa relax area
Aaaaand, relax.

…where there was a small terrace.

It was a bit too cold to make the most of it during our stay, but I can imagine it’s a toasty sun trap in the height of summer.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World roof terrace
The roof terrace.

I, of course, managed to find the time to test out the pool. I can confirm it was chilly, but worth it once I got in.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World in the pool
All smiles in the pool.

We had a little wander around the hotel before our visit to the pool and discovered a whole host of quirky and interesting sights.

First was a second and rather grand entrance that takes you out onto a street perpendicular to the Praça do Comercio.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World second entrance
The hotel’s second entrance.

We encountered an eclectic assortment of statues and art pieces throughout the hotel, including this modestly dressed lady…

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel decor female statue
No caption needed.

…and this religious fellow; the rope at his feet hints at the strong maritime history of Lisbon.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World hotel decor male statue
A nod to the maritime history of the city.

And one final piece I thought I’d show you is this rather striking statue of a horse being ridden, presumably into some kind of battle.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World decor horse statue
The horse and soldier statue is just outside of the breakfast dining area.

The Room

The room was more suite-sized than the Superior Room that it was advertised as.

The door opened up into a small space that was home to a sofa bed, small table, and desk, as well as a second TV.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom entrance
Welcome to the room.

I used to think I’d make use of hotel desks, but in my recent digital nomad travels, I’ve discovered that I much prefer to set up camp in local cafés.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom desk area
The fit-for-purpose desk.

The decor of the main bedroom area was in keeping with the luxurious feel of the hotel.

The soft color palette of greens and creams gave the room a royal edge.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom bed and tv
Home for a few nights.

The bed was huge! Don’t be fooled by the 2 single bed frames side-by-side because they were topped by 1 giant, extremely comfortable mattress.

Jonny struggles to sleep at the best of times, but he had zero issues getting a good night of rest here.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom bed
I miss this bed.

Even more comfort came in the way of the 3 gigantic, marshmallow-esque pillows that we each had.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom pillows
The comfiest bed just got 3 times more comfortable.

The room was so light thanks to the 4 huge windows.

The all-important luggage rack was tucked away neatly in one of the room’s alcoves.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom luggage rack and windows
All of the light.

Despite the brightness by day, the floor-to-ceiling blackout curtains made sure the room fell into pitch darkness by night.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom curtains
Total darkness for sleeping is a huge tick in my book.

I can’t remember the room being advertised for 4 people, but the sofa bed would have been perfect for a family with young kids.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom sofabed
Ugly, yet practical.

The sofa could easily be turned into a bed.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom sofabed in action
A pullout bed was hidden within the sofa.

Our room was on the opposite side of the hotel to the Praça do Comércio and looked out onto Rua do Comércio and the beautiful Lisbon Cathedral that glowed orange in the light of the setting sun.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom balcony view
Golden hour.

The middle window with the door open is the balcony to our room and could be seen from Rua do Comércio.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom from outside
I spy with my little eye…

The balcony wasn’t huge, but nonetheless a welcome addition thanks to our room upgrade, and it was the perfect spot to have a pre-dinner appetizer.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom balcony with Port cheers
Cheers to the Pousada de Lisboa and Portugal (and Port).

Amenities

The room had everything we could have wished for during our short 3-night stay.

Storage would have been more than enough had we decided to not live out of our suitcases.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom wardrobe storage
Inside the wardrobe.

I was happy to see an espresso machine complete with cute little espresso cups.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom coffee maker
No hotel room is complete without a coffee machine.

Capsules were by Nespresso, which I’d say is the case 80% of the time when staying at hotels.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom Nespresso
Nespresso coffee pods.

The minibar fridge was stocked with soft drinks, a couple of beers, and some snacks. Pringles in the fridge was a first.

As usual, the minibar items were chargeable. We drank the beer and a couple of bottles of water and were only charged around €12 ($13.60) for the lot.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom mini bar
Inside the minibar fridge.

The Bathroom

The bathroom was located in the middle of the room, accessed via a sliding door between the entrance area and the bed.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bedroom full length
The bathroom was located pretty much in the middle of the room.

You could see right into the shower from the bed — a design I come across frequently in more luxury hotels (which I like).

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bathroom to bedroom view
Personally, I liked the design.

If you prefer privacy, a curtain could be pulled across.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bathroom sink
The bathroom sink.

The miniature bathroom amenities were by the Portuguese beauty brand Portus Cale.

The packaging was a still a little plastic-heavy for my liking, even though some cardboard was used.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bathroom amenities close up
Bathroom amenities by Portus Cale.

These old-school hairdryer units that are attached to the wall are a questionable trait for a luxury hotel. They have about as much power as a hand-held fan.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bathroom hairdryer
Every long-haired person’s nightmare.

Back to the shower — the rainfall showerhead was a dream.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bathroom rainfall shower
Rainfall shower.

Points lost for the plastic packaging were soon regained for the refillable shampoo and body wash in the shower.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World bathroom shower amenities
Refillable shower amenities are a huge tick in my book.

They were also both by Portus Cale.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World shower amenities refill
It’s always nice to see hotels using local brands.

Food and Beverage

The hotel had 2 eateries — the RIB Beef & Wine restaurant and the breakfast buffet area.

For breakfast, guests are invited to dine in a beautiful inside courtyard.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World restaurant from above
The cutest courtyard for breakfast.

The glass ceiling 4 floors above lets in so much light that the experience could be mistaken for eating outside on a terrace.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World restaurant ceiling
The more light, the better.

The hotel’s main restaurant was RIB Beef & Wine. Open to both guests and non-guests, food could be ordered throughout the day while the main dinner menu was served in the evening.

The setting was reminiscent of a wine cellar, which made for a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World dinner restaurant
Restaurant RIB Beef & Wine by night.

Breakfast

As breakfast buffets go, Pousada de Lisboa’s was up there with one of the best I’ve had, not just because of the selection of options available, but for the quality of the food and unique extras that you don’t find at a standard hotel buffet.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World restaurant breakfast set up
Sitting here for breakfast each morning was a lovely start to the day.

I was shown to my table each morning and asked immediately if I’d like coffee. Coffee culture is big in Portugal and for that reason, I’ve yet to have a bad one.

The buffet started with a make-it-yourself hot breakfast station, with mushrooms, sausages, mixed vegetables, beans, and what I could only imagine were a Portuguese version of hash browns.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast hot buffet
The hot buffet selection.

A choice of scrambled or fried eggs was offered.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast eggs
Eggs are the most essential breakfast buffet item.

There were 5 types of meat, 4 types of cheese, and tomato mozzarella salad.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast cold cuts
Cold cuts.

Carb-lovers could indulge in 6 types of bread and 2 types of pastries.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast breads
Bread and pastries.

Sweet treats included the Portuguese favorite pastel de nata (egg custard tart), slices of cake, pancakes, and mini doughnuts.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast sweet treats
Plenty of choices for those with a sweet tooth.

A small selection of cereals, dried fruit, and nuts was available.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast dried nuts and fruit and cereal
Cereals and dried fruit and nuts.

A variety of jellies were on offer.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast jams
Assortment of jellies.

I’m not sure what you’d even call this contraption, but it was the first time I’d ever seen one, let alone at a hotel buffet. I didn’t use it, but the ability to scrape fresh honey from this honeycomb contraption was a nice thing to have.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast fresh honey
The freshest honey you ever did see.

By way of liquid refreshments, we could choose from:

  • Coffee your way
  • An assortment of breakfast juices
  • Still or sparkling water
  • Half-fat, low-fat, or soy milk

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast milk
Milk selection.

I even had the option to make myself a breakfast cocktail.

Had I been staying over a weekend, I’d have probably partaken in a breakfast bellini tipple, but given my early morning weekday starts I gave it a miss this time.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast Bellini station
Sparkling wine and fresh juices to make a bellini.

A bloody mary station was also set up for assembly.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary ingredients.

You’ll be absolutely shocked to know that despite the delicious options to tempt me otherwise, I went for my classic breakfast starter of fruit…

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast fruit
Fresh fruit to start the day.

…and eggs, ham, and cheese. One day I will mix it up a little at a breakfast buffet… maybe.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World breakfast choice
Toast with cheese, ham, and fried eggs.

Dinner

Given the quality of the breakfast buffet, I had high hopes that dinner would be equally as impressive.

To kick things off, we ordered some wine — we were in Portugal after all.

Our waiter brought the bottle over for us to take a look at the label before he served it.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World dinner service
“Will this do, sir?”

Soon after we’d ordered and a different server had taken our order, a portion of the freshest, warmest, most indulgent bread arrived at our table with a side of oil for dipping.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World dinner bread
It wouldn’t be a meal in Europe without a side of bread.

I went for a classic Portuguese dish: bacalhão. It’s made up of shredded salted cod, onions, and very thinly diced potatoes finished off by being mixed with eggs.

Jonny decided on the steak with a side of fries, green beans, and a tomato salad to balance things out.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World dinner
Dinner is served.

Jonny’s steak was cooked to his liking and could be dipped in the accompanying 4 different salts of varying flavors and spiciness. It was also accompanied by a peeled and grilled red pepper.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World dinner red meat
Steak + salt for dipping.

The cod dish was right up my alley: flavorsome, hearty, and filling. So filling, in fact, I couldn’t quite finish.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World dinner fish dish
Not eating bacalhão in Portugal would be a crime (unless you don’t eat meat or fish, then you’re off the hook).

Our bill came to just over €110 (~$120). We thought that was more than a great value, given we had 2 main courses (one of which was a steak), 3 side dishes, and a mid-range bottle of wine.

The best part is, once our $100 hotel experience money (courtesy of American Express) was deducted, it meant we got the whole thing for just $20.

Service

We were very well taken care of during our stay at the Pousada de Lisboa — particularly by Sonia and Ricardo.

Sonia was the hostess with the mostest at the breakfast buffet every morning. She would be over in an instant to greet me with a smile and immediately take my coffee order.

Each day before the breakfast buffet was cleared away, Sonia would come over to make sure there was nothing else we wanted to eat. It’s a small touch, but it made me smile and feel appreciated as a guest.

The ever-attentive server, Ricardo, was also always on hand at breakfast for anything we should need.

I must also mention the very kind welcome gift of a small bottle of port and 2 traditional Portuguese pastel de nata (custard tarts) that were waiting for us after we’d been for a wander on our first afternoon.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World welcome gift and letter
Welcome gift.

I’d usually not expect a turn-down service unless at a luxury 5-star hotel, so on our first night returning to the room, I was surprised to find we had indeed received a turndown service.

There were slippers on each side of the bed…

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World turn down service
Turndown slippers.

…as well as pillow mist and a bookmark each in between the pillows.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World turn down service pillow spray and book markers
Pillow mist spray and bookmarks.

Final Thoughts

I’ve visited Lisbon many times before, but my most recent trip will stand out from the rest thanks to my time staying at the Pousada de Lisboa.

Given that it was my first time experiencing Small Luxury Hotels of the World hospitality, I went into my stay with an open mind.

I loved the boutique and historic feel of the hotel. As far as breakfast buffets go, the selection at the Pousada de Lisboa was in a higher class than what I’d usually expect. And, it goes without saying, that dining at RIB Beef & Wine — the hotel’s restaurant — is an absolute must, even if you’re not staying at the hotel.

If my experience is a precedent for the brand’s other hotels, I have definitely missed out by not staying with this brand sooner.

Given the perks I can get from my American Express card, I’ll be adding SLH to the top of my search list when planning trips from now on.

Muito obrigado, Pousada de Lisboa.

I will be back.

Pousada de Lisboa Small Luxury Hotels of the World view from front of hotel
The beautiful sunset I was greeted with after checking out at 6 a.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of breakfast is served at Pousada de Lisboa?

A plentiful continental and hot buffet breakfast is served each morning.

Does Pousada de Lisboa have a restaurant on-site?

Yes, aside from where breakfast is served in the morning, there is a second restaurant called RIB Beef & Wine.

Is there parking at the Pousada de Lisboa hotel?

The hotel does not have its own parking garage, but there is a 24-hour underground garage on the next block.

Is the Pousada de Lisboa well-located?

The Pousada de Lisboa is in an optimal location for exploring all parts of Lisbon.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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