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Lisbon with the locals
So for Lisbon, that means crashing at Mi Casa En Lisboa, www.micasaenlisboa.com/en, which is not a hotel, but the home of design journalist María Ulecia and her dog Lola, who share their house with guests. A stunning pad, perched on a hill in the Graça district overlooking the river Tagus and the tumbledown buildings and exquisite churches that cover the city. Inside, it is a symphony of vintage furniture, and María is always on hand to give good recommendations – including her local restaurant Pitéu da Graça (Largo da Graça, 95) and its delicious grilled sole.
Then take yourself off to the LX Factory, www.lxfactory.com, as recommended by illustrator José Mendes. LX is a vast spread of warehouses which used to be a printing press, but in 2007 was turned into a sort of creative mini-city. It’s now home to design companies, galleries and artist's studios. Visitors are free to roam and rub shoulders with the artistes.
There is an impeccably cool-looking cafe called Cantina where it’s appropriate to pose with a lofty tome, and a fantastic bookshop, Ler Devagar, which holds regular gigs and readings where everyone gives out free drinks and plays music!
TAP- www. flytap.com, flies from Heathrow and Gatwick to Lisbon from £104 return including tax.