Ah, the beloved open-jaw ticket to Europe – one of travel’s great airfare deals.
For anyone that has the western part of northern Europe circled on a map, Air Canada’s perfect two-city offering will have you touching down in dynamic London, and returning from the brilliant Portuguese capital, Lisbon, leaving the route you take between the two totally up to you.
The trip can be done in a week, a month or longer, can incorporate a guided tour, a cruise or the flexibility of a rail pass or car rental, and just happens to be our amazing Fare of the Month.
Remember, the flight between London and Lisbon is not included in the fare for maximum flexibility, so to help you plan your itinerary and mode of transport, we’ve broken down some options based on how long you may have.
London to Lisbon in a Week
Don’t let the constrains of time keep you from this value-packed ticket. If you’re not sure if a week is enough, it is. If you’ve always had a thing for London and are curious about Lisbon, they won’t disappoint. Make your trip about London and Lisbon only. Besides, the flight from England to Portugal is just over three hours.
Being two of Europe’s great capitals, there is more than enough to hold anyone’s interest and keep a tourist busy. By spending a few days in both cities, being as different as they are, you almost automatically get the feeling of an elongated holiday. Both cities are good year-round destinations too, with something always going on.
Add a central hotel, an authentic apartment or a cozy bed & breakfast and take in the sights. Guided day tours provide the perfect introduction for any first-time visitor and go a long way in getting you familiar with the ebb and flow of a city. By exploring a few different districts, tours help you get your bearings and show you just enough to make you want to return to an area you liked. Hop on, hop off bus tours can also help here.
To get between London and Lisbon, considering your limited time, it’s best to grab a quick flight. Besides British Airways and the Portuguese national carrier, Tap, there are various discount airlines running the route. Both Ryanair and easyJet offer non-stop, one-way tickets for as low as $50CAD* that can be easily booked online. It’s best to secure your seat before getting to Europe though, as it’s often a busy route – especially in the summer time.
*rate based on low-season travel, before taxes, subject to availability and change.
London to Lisbon in a Month
For anyone even remotely interested in sampling some of Europe’s best cuisine, the route between London and Lisbon can easily be tailored to have you visiting some of the top foodie destinations on the continent.
London has become quite the haven for epicurean aspirations, and can accommodate just about every palate. From some of the world’s best curry shops and iconic fish n’ chips joints to fresh markets and trendy new eateries redefining British fare, eating around London is a thrill.
With a month’s worth of time, flying between England and Portugal isn’t necessary. If trains are your thing, hop on the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam, Brussels or Paris. Add a Eurail Select Pass to get to Portugal, but take your time, there is a lot to see (and taste!) along the way.
Of course, a car rental would work just as well, if not better. If driving is more you, make sure to check on one-way drop fees, if you’re thinking of taking the car between countries.
Once on the mainland, French cities like Lyon, Bordeaux, Dijon and Paris, all synonymous with exceptional cuisine, are within easy reach, separated by the quaint French countryside and magical Provence. Quality meals don’t have to break the bank here, and besides a bevy of 2 and 3-Michelin Star restaurants (Paris alone has 97!), Bordeaux offers three BIB Gourmand bistros, serving up top-shelf dishes at moderate prices.
Crossing the Pyrenees into northern Spain, you’d be remiss not to stop in San Sebastian. Spain’s Basque region has a long history of gastronomic pride and is one of the most delicious European destinations. Pintxos-hopping (tapas) is an absolute art form here. The city sits on a beautiful crescent beach that explodes in the summers and should be a stop on everyone’s itinerary. Heading west, check out Bilbao’s spectacular Guggenheim Museum, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry.
Coming into Portugal from the north, you’ll find many modest beach towns and charming fishing villages to stroll through before stopping and staying in pretty Porto. Explore nearby Douro Valley as you continue south to some of Europe’s best surf in Nazare. Up and down the entire coast, seafood is cheap, plentiful and jaw-dropping good. Continue down to Lisbon, and if time allows, perhaps some beach time in and around Faro and the Algarve.
With all your senses satisfied, make your way back up to Lisbon for your Air Canada flight home.
London to Lisbon in Three Months
The possibilities are endless. With three months to do as you please, your trip can very well take you all over Europe, across to the breathtaking Azores, and even into Northern Africa (Morocco, anyone?). Grab a car for the ultimate European road trip, or take to the seas on a cruise.
European cruises can be taken around the British Isles, Scandinavia or the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, but they can also be done on Europe’s great waterways. The region’s rivers provide a totally different vantage point and include stops in cities and towns less visited, making room for more authentic experiences.
If boats don’t do it for you and you’d like someone else to do the driving, hop on an escorted tour. Tours come in many shapes and sizes, from small-group travel to full-on motor coach trips, lasting from a week to 3 weeks, and even longer. They can focus on a specific theme (food, religion, etc.) or be all-encompassing panoramas. While choosing the right tour isn’t always easy, taking the perfect tour is. Maximize your time away by seeing what you’ve come to see, not planning once you’re there. On an escorted tour, guests simply sit back and enjoy the ride!