Having visited Lisbon twice in the past 9 months, firstly with friends last Summer and most recently with family this Easter, I can firmly say it is one of my favourite cities. The coastal capital of Portugal is known for its cafe culture and gothic glamour. The pretty city is relatively cheap compared to other capital city destinations, which is probably why it’s become so popular. in recent years. The city is so welcoming and vibrant, and I feel right at home the moment I step off the plane!
There is an endless list of things do in the city itself and the outskirts, be it with friends or family. I’ve put together a little guide to some of my favourite things to do in this incredible city and I hope you find it useful!
1. Photograph Elevador de Bica
Lisbon is scattered with extremely steep streets due to it’s 7 hills. Luckily there are various modes of transport to help you get around without passing out, including the Elevador de Bica, which is classed as a national monument.
Shop the look…
The iconic yellow and white trams pass 200 metres up the funicular through the streets near Bairro Alto, presenting sweeping views of the Tagus River while getting up close and personal with the graffiti-covered walls of Rua da Bica. I just love this area!
Once you’ve taken the tram ride to the top, you will be overwhelmed with all the incredible photo opportunities as you take a stroll back down along the pretty side streets.
2. Ride the Tram 28
This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the iconic 1930’s beauty, tram 28. The enjoyable ride will take you to many of Lisbon’s finest districts, including Baixa, Graça, Alfama and Estrela, but it’s mostly used for climbing the steep hill from Baixa to the castle and Alfama (both of which I recommend!). For great value for money, make sure you purchase a 24 hour-travel pass for €6.00 which covers the tram, buses and metro.
There are numerous viewpoints near the castle with stunning views of the city. The above picture was taken at my favourite viewpoint in the area, Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
3. Snap all the tiles
Lisbon is swamped with beautiful tiles so be prepared to take quite a few hundred photos (if you’re anything like me!)! You will find tile-covered buildings with windows and doors that complement their colours fabulously. Every corner belongs on Instagram!
Shop the look…
4. Eat Gelato from Nanerella
My daughter Lilah is the biggest gelato lover, she even loves it more than me! So our Easter trip was pretty much planned around where and when we could get our next fix of the good stuff. We tried quite a few spots and our favourite was undoubtedly Naneralla.
Once we’d tried it, we didn’t want gelato from anywhere else! They even sell large tubs including any flavours of your choice, so we bought a litre tub to keep in our apartment (much to Lilah’s delight).
5. Devour Brunch at Fauna & Flora
The best brunch I had in Lisbon was without question at Fauna & Flora and it just so happens, it’s the most instagrammable café too due to its trailing plants scattered in every direction and quirky lighting…win-win!
It also makes for a healthier alternative to all the custard tarts you’ve probably indulged in during your trip! Our favourites were the eggs with beef teriyaki and the banana pancakes with berries and condensed milk.
6. Explore Alfama
Delve into the cobbled streets of the old town of Alfama and discover the eye-catching boutiques, patio restaurants and lamp-lit old quarters.
The area has real rustic charm and makes for the perfect slow afternoon of pretty street strolling and people watching. Don’t forget to head up to see the famous Castelo de S. Jorge, there is also a park nearby if you’re taking little ones.
7. Eat Pasteis de Nata
A trip to Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the famous Pastéis de Belém. With a recipe dating back to 1837, the bakery in Belém has perfected the most delicious Nata pastries (known to most of us as those custard tarts from Nandos!). I’d expect from a Lisbon Nata, a squidgy, buttery and crispy lump of deliciousness.
8. Eat dinner at Time Out Market
If you love a buzzing atmosphere while you eat and drink, then you will love the Time Out Market. The indoor market located down the road from Cais de Sodre station, encompasses dozens of eateries offering delicious foods from Sushi to Tapas. There’s lots of seating in the centre of the market for you to eat and drink to your heart’s content but do try to get there pre-7pm so you’re not waiting around trying to find a seat as it does get busy in the evenings.
9. Take a trip to the fairy-tale land of Sintra
The reason I call it fairy-tale is because it literally is a magical land of castles and palaces that make you feel like you’ve been transported into a real-life Disney film!
There is so much to see in the picturesque town of Sintra (10 national monuments!) that you would need a couple of days to see it all. Therefore, I recommend choosing two or three highlights to focus on so you can enjoy it all at a more leisurely pace as there’s quite a lot of walking to be done.
When visiting with friends last summer, we opted to visit the town, the insta-famous Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace) and Castelo dos Mouros, all of which I loved and can be reached on the 434 tourist bus which you can catch from Sintra station, and hop on and off at your leisure.
Sintra can be reached by catching a train from Rossio station in Lisbon town centre which takes around 45minutes.
10. Cocktails with a View
There are some incredible views to be seen in Lisbon, so why not enjoy them while sipping a cocktail at one of their incredible rooftop bars!
There are so many to choose from but one of my favourites is Park Park which is hidden away on the top of a carpark.
Another great bar to check out is TOPO, located 6 floors up in the commercial area of Martim Moniz. Enjoy the sights while perched on multi-level wooden seating spaces, sipping on delicious cocktails and nibbling on a snack or light meal from TOPO’s enticing menu.
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