Portugal’s capital city is spread across the hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, and offers gothic cathedrals, majestic Moorish castles and quaint museums. Although it has all the cultural offerings you’d expect, Lisbon remains scandalously cheap; you can book a room in a hotel such as the beautifully restored ex-convent York House at a fraction of the price you’d expect. Or stay at one of the many pensoes in downtown Baixa, a grid-like network of lovely backstreets.

Start the day with a pastel de nata (custard-filled pastry) and espresso in Belem, and end it in the hilltop district of Bairro Alto, where the streets are lined with restaurants and bars packed with friendly locals. The eastern waterfront has been revamped in recent years, and now boasts an oceanarium and great seafood restaurants.

Stay: York House is a modern, chic boutique hotel in a 17th-century converted convent. It’s just 10 minutes from downtown Lisbon.
Rooms from Dhs303-Dhs1,000. (+351 213 962 435).