The Baixa district in downtown Lisbon (and when we say downtown we mean it quite literally, snugly situated between the city’s steep hills as it is) lies at the heart of the Portuguese capital. Affectionately deemed the first sample of urban planning in Europe, Baixa is bound together by a series of elegant squares, pedestrian pavements and neoclassical architecture. The most popular of the squares is Rossio Square, jam-packed with restaurants, galleries and institutions of historical significance. Looming over it, the ruins of the Carmo Convent sit high up on the surrounding hillside and is one of the most enchanting remnants of the 1755 earthquake. Rua Augusta, a central pedestrian strip, is a little piece of heaven for coffee-lovers. It’s filled with umbrella cafes serving top-notch delicacies, where you can watch the world go by and taste some of the best traditional custard tarts in Lisbon. The Rua Augusta strip is flanked by Rossio Square at one end and the river and Arco Triumfal da Rua Augusta, an imposing triumphal arch, at the other. There are many quainter, quieter streets to be found if you explore the neighbourhoods’ hilly terrain, which is peppered with little independent bistros, fashion shops and perfumeries.