Lisbon, where do I start – I honestly think it’s now my favourite European city! My Aunt and Uncle used to live on the south coast of Portugal, in a small fishing village called Carveriou, so growing up we used to spend almost the entirety of each summer staying with them – and so for me up until last summer, I truly thought I had experienced the best of what Portugal had to offer – oh, I was so so wrong!
We arrived at the Capital Friday early evening and made our way to our AirBNB – we didn’t go for anything special, just €50 a night, for B & I, whilst it’s nice to splash out and stay somewhere nice, we want to spend as much time as possible exploring the city and soaking up the culture and would rather devote the majority of our budget on the local cusine. As I mentioned Lisbon hadn’t been on my radar, but after hearing about all our friends travels to the city, B really wanted to go and explore for himself. On first impressions it’s as beautiful, if not more so, than most major European cities. Cobbled streets and amazing architecture, but in Lisbon the colours are next level, oranges, deep yellows and blues, it’s one of those places where you could post an image on the hour, every hour.
We were staying a stones throw away from the Baixa-Chiado metro station, in what turned out to be the centre of the tourist nightlife scene, but 5 floors up we slept like a dream and the views from our balcony were incredible. On the first night we ate at a place called The Artis a traditional Portuguese tapas bar a couple of minutes walk from where we were staying. It honestly set us with high expectations for the rest of the trip, the food was amazing, and the mixture of locals and torists made for some interesting people watching. Our first morning in the city we awoke and went in search of some Pastel De Natas – for those of you who have never been to Portugal, it’s those amazing little custard tarts – and found ourselves at a place called Manteigaria, literally all they sold was Natas and coffee – you know a place does it well when the stick to just the one thing! This place then became our go to every morning – from there we wandered through to the Bellafisa Elevator for great views and a quick cocktail in the terrace bar just below. From there we walked up hill – if you don’t like hills Lisbon is not the one for you – to the castle and then grabbed the highly recommended E28 tram back down the hill to soak up the sites – FYI if you want to guarantee yourself a seat make sure you get on at Martim Moniz. The tram takes around 30 minutes and we decided to hop off at the Gondella and walk down to the time out food market – if I’m honest the food market was good but absolutely rammed, and in Lisbon there are so many good local restaurants that I’d almost recommend by-passing the market and searching out something a little more authentic.
Of all the little eateries/bars in Lisbon, mine and B’s favourite by far was Sol E Pesca; it’s a wine bar right down in the centre of the city, on pink street. literally all they sell is booze and tinned fish – doesn’t sound appealing right – but honestly give it a go, they have all different kinds of seafood, there was over 30 varieties of tinned tuna alone! It’s served up with olives and fresh bread, B and I have been proper tinned fish converts ever since we got back.
Whilst there I made a point of pinning every location we thought worth visiting, and so click through here for our map to the city.
On our second day we caught the 714 bus out to Belém, just west of the capital, sampled some of the famous Pastel de Belém (more Natas), chilled for a while in the ornamental tropical gardens and then headed back to the city, stopping off at the LX Factory, an old industrial site teaming with independent restaurants and home interior shops – also home to one of the most impressive bookshop come libraries I’ve ever been too. Well worth spending an afternoon here and from what I’ve heard it’s pretty good in the evening too.
Later on that afternoon we headed to the older, eastern part of the city, everything’s terraced and cramped together, with tiny little alleys and cobbled streets, perfect if you want to experience some of the local Fazza music – essentially different locals get up and serenade you whilst your eating, absolutely hilarious/great if you want to soak up the culture of the city.
On our third day in Lisbon we decided to catch a train out to Sintra, a tiny town/village, it’s about a 40 minute ride, and was the summer retreat for the old aristocracy of the capital. If in Lisbon for a few days I would 100% reccomend making this trip, the architecture was amazing, and its a completely different experience – I came away with what I thought were some great images, so much so, I created a brief photo-story post here. On our arrival back to Lisbon we headed for another recommendation, Cantinho do Avillez, very similar to our first night at The Artist, great local tapas and an even better selection of wines.
On our last evening, after a day trip to the Oceanarium – which I highly recommend – we went to a restaurant we had been turned away from for two nights running due to the queues, it’s called Taberna da Ru dad Flores, it was hands down our best meal throughout the entire trip, we sat outside for an hour and a half with a bottle of rose before we could be seated, but it was oh so worth it. We had 5 courses, starting with a sheep cheese salad, then onto the soft shell crab, then cod frittas, traditionally cooked beef and finished off with the best chocolate most I have ever tasted – if your in the city, you MUST stop by here!
Again if you want the link to my map pinning all the locations we stopped by on our trip, as well as the recommended ones we didn’t, please click here
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, even if it has been ridiculously long. As always, thanks for reading