In any relationship it’s important to take time for just the two of you to remember what made you first fall in love and strengthen those bonds, but perhaps never more important than when you have young children.
You can sometimes feel as though a little bit of your personality is lost when you become solely mum, or solely dad. Escaping to a different country, even for just a weekend is a great opportunity to remind yourself of all the wonderful things about both you and your partner.
Lisbon is our choice for this weekend away as not only is it just a couple of hours flight from London, it’s staggeringly beautiful. Gazing over the Atlantic ocean, the cobbled streets of old Lisbon feel somehow more exotic than anywhere else in Europe.
There are plenty of things to do in Lisbon. There are cute hidden away restaurants, stunning rooftop cocktail bas, swanky hotels and endless culture to soak up. If we’ve tickled your fancy, then read on for our insider’s guide on spending a weekend in Portugal’s capital.
Play at the Birthplace of James Bond
If you’re arriving into Lisbon a little late than there’s one place that will always be happy to see you and that’s the Casino Estoril.
Although it’s technically situated just outside of Lisbon in Cascais, it’s a short tram ride from town and well worth a visit, partly for the gaming and partly for the incredible history of the place.
If you’re more interested in the gaming then getting in a little bit of practice online isn’t a bad idea.
Giving yourself a refresher on how to play Bovada blackjack will help you to keep your cool at the card tables, whilst a crash course in roulette odds will mean you aren’t placing crazy bets.
With that out of the way you can stride into the Casino Estoril feeling cool and confident.
The History of The Casino Estoril
For those who are more interested in the history, it doesn’t get much more exciting than the Casino Estoril.
It was built in 1916 with the first stone being laid by the Portuguese president at the time. It quickly became known as one of Portugal’s foremost luxury resorts, with rooms and a casino that the rich and famous could be found in.
Whilst many famous guests have graced the doors, perhaps the most important is Ian Fleming. He stayed at the Casino Estoril in 1953 and this was where he dreamed up the famous character that we now known as James Bond.
Crediting the Casino Estoril with so much of the source material for his character, Fleming insisted that it be used in the filming of several of the James Bond films and the filming cast even stayed here during the shooting of Casino Royale. So, if you want to walk in the footsteps of a true icon, this is the place to do it.
Stay at the Casa Balthazar
Once you’ve played the night away in Cascais, it’s time to head back to Chiado in Lisbon to check in to an incredibly special hotel. The Casa balthazar is known in Lisbon as being one of the oldest family-owned hotels in the downtown area.
It’s been in the same family’s capable hands for more than five generations and provides a comfortable and classy retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
History of the Hotel
Named after and owned by Balthazar who founded the patisserie around the corner in 1882, the hotel still buys its pasteis de nata (and other pastries) from the same spot, incidentally, the city’s oldest patisserie.
The views from here could rival anything that the Algarve could offer, with some terraces looking out onto the Castle and others looking out to Rossio.
The decor is understated with white washed walls and dark wooden furniture. You can’t help but feel the history in every area of the hotel, but a trip down to the outdoor pool and jacuzzi will bring you right back to the modern day.
Dine at From The Vine
For your big romantic evening meal there’s maybe nothing more special than a spot of wine tasting. From the Vine is the first all-Portuguese wine tasting bar in Portugal, meaning it’s the kind of experience you can get nowhere else.
You can choose a wine tasting flight, where you’ll get to discover unusual wines from all of Portugal’s varying regions.
Pair this with the selection of local cheeses and charcuterie and you’ll be in gastronomic heaven. Plus, it’s always good to have something extra cheesy to distract from the quality of your chat up lines!
The wine expert is on hand to answer any of the questions that you may have and also to offer you the chance to buy a bottle to recreate the evening at home.