Nothing like a girl’s trip to clear the head and recharge the battery! I had a little taste of Lisbon a while back, and always said I’d like to go back for a proper visit to really discover its beauty. And who better to do that with than 2 of my favorite girls :)
In case you’re planning a trip to this beautiful city of hills, azulejos and fado music, here are 11 things you might like to do, see and taste (if our experience is anything to go by…):
1. Breakfast at a pasteleria or brunch at Kaffee house
For me, one of the great things of being on holiday is to actually be able to take the time and enjoy a nice breakfast (without simultaneously trying to comb my hair and put on my shoes). Lisbon is filled with pastelarias, often in beautiful old buildings, where you can start the day with a yummy pastry and a bica (espresso). Rather fancy a healthy brunch? Definitely stop by Kaffee house, to fuel up for a day of climbing Lisbon’s hills with their yummy “Vital-Brunch”.
2. A Pancho Tour
A fun (and budget-friendly!) way to get introduced to a new city is to join one of the free walking tours that are organized in most of Europe’s major cities. Stories, cultural highlights and tips by locals: a perfect kick-start to your stay. We joined a walk organized by Pancho Tours (check out the proof here :p) and I can definitely recommend it!
3. A ride on tram 28
When you say Lisbon, you say trams. Taking the authentic 28 tram isn’t only a great way to discover the city, it’s a unique experience. This vintage yellow tram criss-crosses Lisbon’s wide esplanades and narrow streets from Campo de Ourique to Alfama. Golden tip: select the timing of your trip in this vintage vehicle carefully (think: early in the morning or at lunchtime, preferably on a weekday).
4. A trip to Belém & Cascais
Need some down-time but don’t want to spend an entire day lounging about? (City trip time is precious!) Head to Lisbon’s beautiful coastline (easily reachable by train) to start the day with a visit to Belém (the Belém Tower, Monument to the Discoveries and Jerónimos Monastery are definitely worth the trip) and end it with a relaxing afternoon on the beach in Cascais on the Praia de Cascais.
5. The Feira da Ladra flea market
Want to find a unique souvenir and not scared off by a little rummaging? Go check out Lisbon’s famous flea market Feira da Ladra (every Tuesday and Saturday at Campo de Santa Clara), which offers a little bit of everything: from antiques over souvenirs, second hand clothing and artisanal products to … actual rummage.
6. A Vida Portuguesa
For a vintage souvenir without the rummaging (laziness is permitted from time to time, after all you are on holiday): pay a visit to A Vida Portuguesa ( ‘Portuguese life’) a beautiful little shop in the middle of the Chiado neighborhood with authentic and unique Portuguese products. A true vintage treasure house!
7. Sneakers Delight
Sore feet from tramping Lisbon’s hilly streets? (I feel ya!) Treat them to a new pair of kicks at Sneakers Delight (Rua do Norte 30-32). With its great selection (limited editions for the win!) a must-see for all you fellow sneaker lovers.
8. A taste of pastel de nata or bacalhau
To have the full Lisbon experience, you just have to try a pastel de nata (typical Portuguese pastry with vanilla cream and a caramel crème brulée-like topping) or some bacalhau (salted codfish). Whether you’ll actually like it or not is more a matter of personal taste, but I bet you’ll be happy to have tried 2 of the local specialties :)
9. A night at Chapitô
For a night out in an authentic bohemian atmosphere, head to the Chapitô cultural center (1-7 Costa do Castelo). This former prison (according to our Pancho tour guide!) now serves as a circus school during the day and treats you to theatre, music and an amazing view to philosophically stare at while having a drink by night.
10. A Bairro Alto Wine Bar
Sipping a nice glass of wine in one of Lisbon’s many great wine bars is a perfect way to end the day! You’ll find plenty of cozy ones in Bairro Alto, a popular neighborhood that comes to life at night with its numerous bars, restaurants and fadocafés.
11. A stay at João’s
I’m a big fan of Airbnbn and our stay in Lisbon has once again reinforced that opinion. Centrally located, comfortable, beautifully decorated and with a nice little terrace (hello rooftop view!): this apartment was everything we could have wished for. So if you’re looking for a nice place to stay, I would say it’s definitely an option worth considering!
Happy travels :)