Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. We spent 3 days in this beautiful city, it was a quick trip but a fun one. Below is a list of things not to miss in Lisbon, but also around it.
But if you are planning to stay more then you should definitely go on a road trip, I hear it is beautiful. You can even reach Algarve, the place where Europe ends. In fact, people living there during medieval times believed that the most south-westerly point of the area was the place where the world ended.
Day one in Lisbon
On our first day we decided to take the Sandemans walking tour. It’s a 2.5 hours’ tour, that takes you around Lisboa and shows you what you need to see.
We had dinner at Cervejaria Ramiro, which was recommended by friends, and also by a taxi driver. To be honest, we didn’t understand what the hype was all about. First of all, it’s very crowded, we were a big group so they gave us a private room which was nice. Second, the food wasn’t that impressive at all, it’s a seafood restaurant, but it was very average. I know you will hear about it, but if I were you I wouldn’t bother visiting.
Afterwards we headed out to Barrio Alto, it’s the only district in Lisbon that transforms drastically and is unrecognizable between day and night.
Hidden gems of Lisbon:
Check out Pavilhão Chinês, Lisbon’s oldest bar, it’s a crazy place with 100+ years activity, the oddest collections, smokey rooms and snooker tables.
Walk to Sé de Lisboa, and up the hill of Mouraria to see the castle of São Jorge,
When you leave the Castle, pay a visit to Chapitô, a super nice restaurant which is also a circus school. You can just have some appetizers or wine if you want, they have a café area.
Walk down to Alfama and enter some of the tiny bars and restaurants. If you stay for the night, chances are you will see some Fado acts.
Not to be missed in Lisbon: My favorite bar / rooftop in Lisboa that I totally recommend is called Park! Don’t miss it, it’s a rooftop in an actual parking garage with great cheap cocktails!
I also recommend a restaurant called MiniBar by Jose Avillez, for a complete experience, order the Tasting Menu, believe me you won’t regret it!
Belem in what not to miss in Lisbon
Reserve a day, or at least half a day for Belem, it’s the delightful district to the west of central Lisbon. It’s also the setting for many of the capital’s most iconic and important tourist attractions.
You can get there either by public transportation or by taxi. You can take the subway to Cais de Sodre; (there’s a market there where some of the best chefs in Lisbon sell food in market stands, it’s called Mercado da Riberia). And then you will need to take tram number 15 to Belem.
In Belem, you need to see the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, and it’s chapel. Also check out the Centro Cultural de Belem, Padrao dos Descobrimentos. And last but not least Torre de Belem.
Do not miss: Before you leave Belém, make sure you go to Pastéis de Belém and indulge, it’s just too good!
We were recommended two restaurants for lunch time, but we didn’t try them. If you are a grilled fish lover, then you should try the ANL restaurant or Doca de Pedroucos, they are close to the river, and apparently delicious. Also addresses not to miss in Lisbon and around Lisbon.
Sintra is another gem around Lisbon
Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon and is a fascinating town with a variety of historic monuments, lavish palaces and challenging hiking trails.
Historically, Sintra was the summer retreat for the Portuguese nobility. They constructed extravagant palaces and grand residences that are set amidst the cooling hills of the Serra de Sintra.
Sintra is known for its many 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, which has resulted in its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We went to Sintra on a day trip, we took the cheap train from Rossio train station in central Baixa to Sintra. The ride is about 40 minutes. As soon as we arrived we walked around a little, and had brunch at Café Saudade. Some energy before heading out on our mission, to see the Pena Palace. We took a taxi to there then walked uphill to the Castle. Be ready to walk a lot, also if in summer get a light jacket, as it can get cold around there.
The Pena Palace was designed by the artistic King Fernando II and the palace is an extravagant mixture of vivid colors and fine stone carvings.
As soon as you get to the palace, you will feel like you are walking in a dream. The setting above the clouds, and the colors of the Palace are just incredible, it’s just super dreamy, you’ll see!
Enjoy it, and if you want more tips and recommendations regarding what not to miss in Lisbon and around Lisbon, drop me a line!