Have you ever been to a city so calm and chill during the day and so full of energy and vibrant at night? If your answer is no then I highly recommend that you visit Lisbon, Portugal.
If you're based in Europe then you're lucky, because flights to Lisbon from major airports are fairly cheap if you are fine with flying with a low cost airline, such as EasyJet or Ryanair.
I was flying from London Luton Airport to Lisbon and my return ticket cost me only £75 ($96). Cheap & Cheerful if you ask me!
1. Getting around in Lisbon
If you are on a budget and don't want to Uber everywhere, then your best option is to get a Zapping Card and put some money on it. I loaded it with €20 and didn't even use it all up. You can get these cards in any major train or metro stations. Having this card will allow you to travel on train, metro, bud and tram.
Another great option is to buy the Lisboa Card, which will allow you to travel on Lisbon Metro subway and buses, trams, lifts of CARRIS lines, CP Train Lisboa -Sintra, Lisboa - Cais do Sodré, Lisboa - Azambuja, Fertagus Lisboa - Setúbal. It also serves as a pass to 35 different museums and it gives you a 10% to 50% discount on local services and cultural and tourist interests.
2. Where to eat in Lisbon
Lisbon is popular for its fresh seafood and Pastel de Nata. One of the must try dishes in Portugal is bacalhau, dried salted codfish. There are a number of ways to prepare this dish, but the most popular one is Bacalhau à Braz, scrambled eggs with olives and fried potatoes.
❈ O Botanista
The first restaurant that I visited was O Botanista, which is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon. I loved the concept of the restaurant and the menu. Instead of trying to recreate vegan/vegetarian versions of certain dishes, they were focusing on creating delicious meals without using any animal products.
One of the must visit places in Lisbon! This market has more than 40 spots with the leading representatives in all the food categories that help make Lisbon what it is - and tastes - all together under one roof.
It compromises of 24 restaurants some of them from very well-known Portuguese chefs, 8 bars, a dozen shops and a high-end music venue called Rive Rouge, all with the very best in Lisbon (the best steak, the best hamburger, the best sushi and the best live performances, amongst others); on the other hand, home to some of the city's best known (and longest-running) market vendors of meat, fish, fruit and flowers.
If you're looking to try the real pasteis de data, still made after the original recipe, this is the place to go to! The first pasteis de natas were made here in 1837. Right next to the store, you'll find Jerónimos Monastery, where the original recipe was developed.
There's usually a long line at the counter, but the service is quick. Finding a table though could be a challenge, since they work on a first come first serve basis.
If you get tired and hungry after walking around in Belém, pop into Os Jerónimos for some delicious seafood. We got some freshly baked bread rolls and goat cheese as an appetiser and it was way to delish for me to worry about them carbs. Service was amazing, so was the food. Definitely worth popping in when you are looking for huge portion sizes and reasonable prices.
Have a look at what we had to eat :
Did you say Instagrammable brunch spot?
I've got you!
Stumbled upon this cute little cafe on our way to our hostel and made the executive decision to have breakfast here. Not regretting it, because it was amazing.
I had an açai bowl, while my friend had a full breakfast ( even though 'he wasn't hungry' ).
I've got a recommendation from a salsa teacher to pay a visit to this restaurant. It's apparently one of his and his partner's favourite place to eat out at in the late hours of the day.
Galeto is a very interesting dining establishment. Galeto is the nearest thing to a genuine American diner, and the original mid-60s décor is a real eye opener. The long bar snakes around the entire floor with swivel stools set alongside – great for a solitary snack. The booths, meanwhile, can seat groups of four. They've been feeding the sleepless here for nearly 50 years and it remains a celebrated comfort food destination. The brusk service will never win any prizes for finesse, and the cooking and plating up is often below par for the price paid. Still, it's worth a visit just for the experience, and simple dishes like the juicy burger and French fries will keep even the hungriest mouths fuelled till dawn.
3. What to visit and do in Lisbon
❈ Belém Tower
❈ Jerónimos Monastery
❈ Bairro Alto
❈ Praça do Comércio
❈ Vasco da Gama Bridge
❈ Time Out Market Lisbon
If you know Time Out markets, you know what to expect, but maybe this one is a little better.
More than 40 spaces with the leading representatives in all the food categories that help make Lisbon what it is - and tastes - all together under one roof.
During my trip to Lisbon I was lucky enough to find out about a salsa party that gets organised every month at Time Out Market. It was amazing to dance with all the locals and make friends that I can go back and visit anytime.
❈ Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The 52-meter-high Padrão dos Descobrimentos dominates the shoreline of Belem, and from the viewing platform, are some of the finest panoramic views over the district and Tejo Estuary.
Include this in your walk or scooter ride towards the Belem Tower and enjoy the views of Tagus River. There's many bars and little restaurants along the way so if you get tired, grab a drink and soak in the views.
❈ Pink Street - Rua Cor de Rosa
Lisbon's streets are all so colourful and full of life, but this particular one will definitely stand out with its pink hue of street tarring.
This used to be Lisbon's red light district.
The street was transformed in 2011, when all businesses were closed down and spaces put up for rent by whomever was interested. It’s now an intricate part of Lisbon’s nightlife, filled with bars, restaurants and dance venues.
If you're looking to experience Fado Music the Portuguese way, head to the Pink Street or Bairro Alto and you will definitely have the best time.
❈ Ride the tram
Like San Francisco in the United States, Lisbon is a city famed for its historic, rattling tram lines.
None are more iconic than Tram 28 which has been working its way up the steep, cobbled roads and into the old Alfama district for decades.
Ride this Tram and enjoy people watching along the way.
❈ Visit Cabo da Roca
Visiting Cabo da Roca was one of the coolest experiences during my trip to Lisbon. It's only an hour and half away from Lisbon and my friends and I payed a guide to take us around Sintra and to drive us to the westernmost point of the Sintra Mountain Range, of mainland Portugal, of continental Europe.
The views are phenomenal here, but it's also very windy, so be prepared for that.
Girls, make sire you have a hair tie with you.
Cabo da Roca is the end of the Eurasian land mass, and I got to sit on the edge of this wonderful place.
This is definitely a must do if you're ever in Portugal.
❈ Visit Sintra
Sintra is easily one of the most beautiful places you need to visit in Portugal (and maybe the Algarve coast).
One thing you gotta keep in mind is that IT TAKES TIME! Allow yourself at least a whole day to be able to fully enjoy the views and explore this beautiful UNESCO World heritage site.
Exploring the site requires a lot of walking so make sure you are wearing comfy shoes.
My friends and I decided to hire a driver / tour guide to drive us around as we were short on time.
If you have a whole day to spend here, make sure you visit all the ruins as the views are unbelievable from there.
Hope this guide will help you have an amazing time in Lisbon!