Are you the kind of person that never goes twice to the same destination ?
I used to say that too but Lisbon got me 7 years ago. This time was my second time there and let me tell you that I keep on loving it more and more every time ! so it won’t be the last ! 😉
Whether you’re going solo, in couple or with a friend, this destination is for you !
City vibe, beach escape, food delights, shopping, art, music, architecture, and other cultural activities… Lisbon has it all ! And for a creative (and beauty lover) like me, it is an over-satisfying destination. The colours of the tiles and walls on every single house, the musicians improvising a song on top of a mirador, the warm bright light from the sun, the blue-turquoise shades of the ocean … ❤ ❤ ❤ LOOOVE !!!!
First advice: plan on spending 5 days in Lisbon ! No less. You might be tempted to say ‘let’s do 2 in Lisbon and 3 in Porto…’ Bad idea ! You need a good 5 days to really understand what Lisbon is about !
Advice n°2: pack a pair of good comfy sneakers because you’re going to walk a lot !
Advice n°3: download the App ‘CityMap2Go’ before you leave and download the map of Lisbon. this is a great app that You can use offline, pinpoints places you want to keep, and see recommendations from other travellers.
Now, without further a due, here is a little share of my personal experience, in images.
DAY 1: CASCAIS & ESTORIL
The ‘playa’ vibe. We went there the day of our arrival as it was +30 degrees. Too hot to be in the city… the beach was perfect for a breeze !
To get there: easy! Go to the Cais do Sodré take a train for about 30minutes.
DAY 2: BELEM – LX FACTORY
You could spend the day visiting the Belem’s surroundings ( the Torre de Belém, the museo de arqueologia, de Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Jardim ultramar, …).
To go to Belem, take a train from Cais do Sodre.
We decided that we were happy with what we saw from the outside (in other words: not tempted to line up with a ton of other tourists !!!) and combined the day with a visit of the LX Factory on our way back to the city. It was Perfect!
- LX Factory
ART ART ART!
On your way back, stop at Alcantara and ask your way to the LX Factory! Fun day ahead !!!!!
DAY 3: SINTRA
Recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, Sintra’s monuments and historical buildings are absolutely stunning and worth the trip !
Do not plan anything else that day. Go to Sintra and be a Princess !
To get there, Take a train from the Estaçao do Rossio. It’s about an hour journey.
Then take the bus 454 that takes you to the PALACIO DE PENA. Beautiful !!!
Once you’ve seen the PALACIO, go for a walk and visit the Castle. Get ready for some sweat and put on some good sports shoes !
No pictures unfortunately – I lost them 😦 But take my word for it and GO !
DAY 4: ALFAMA
This time we found a little hostel in the Alfama. Great location ! Next to the Pois Café (perfect place to relax in the couch, amongst other international travellers)
By day: walk walk walk ! up and down the streets …
- See the Lisbon Cathedral
- Go up the Miradouro de Santa Luiza (there is always someone playing music and/or singing)
- visit the Castelo Sao Jorge (10€ entry/pp.). I don’t know about you but ruins move me. They do! They bring images to my mind and emotions
- On Saturdays and Tuesdays, there is a lovely market taking place on the Campo the Santa Clara. Nice and local! On your way there, visit the Church of Santa Engracia and the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora
- And if your legs allow you: walk the streets up to the Miradouro Noss senhora do Monte and on your way there; stop at the Belvedere of Sophia de Mello Breyner Anderson. The garden below is lovely and you might be lucky and find some hidden street art gems 😉
Don’t forget to get lost! Cute little facades are only a few steps away
‘Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation’ – Elizabeth Gilbert
By night: restaurants and fados are all around !
From the Cathedral da Lisboa to Graça: Discover graffitis on the walls in little hidden streets, get spellbound by a singing voice coming from an apartment up your head, or by a ‘fado’ (typical Portuguese music) at a restaurant, … that’s the magic of Lisbon…
Some lovely addresses to eat out:
- In Calçada dos Casteiros, ‘as madras’ is a modern restaurant offering ‘international’ food. Small menu and vegetarian option. Simple, cheap and good!
- In Rua de Sao Vicente; the restaurant ‘Gato Pardo’ is also a hidden gem. Offering a small french-Portuguese menu and delicious deserts.
- in Rua de Graça 22, ‘O cardoso do estuarial de Ouro’ is a restaurant well loved by its locals for the quality of the food and affordable prices.
DAY 5: BAIRRO ALTO & CHIADO- BAIXA & ROSSIO
Keep the shopping session for the last day! You’ll need to be clever about your purchases if you don’t wanna have to pay extra luggage on the plane 😉
- Bairro Alto
Best described as the bohemian centre of Lisbon and also known for its vibrant nightlife.
Go to the Elevador da Bica (funicular), look at the colourful trams coming up and down and the view on the bay.
Get lost around in the Santa Catarina’s neighbourhood, in Bairro Alto. It is right in the historic heart of the city. Narrow streets, clothes hanging off the windows, traditional markets mixed with newer trendy stores,…
Also, Visit the Principe real neighbourhood to find antique shops, gay bars and beautiful lush squares.
Very Parisian Chic, Belle Epoque inspired
Lisbon downtown. From Rossio Square down to Praça do Comerco (next to the Tage), the area is full of shops, cafés, pigeons, tourists, … so be ready for a last day spent intensively in the city.
voila! I hope you enjoyed this article and that it makes it easier for you to organise your next city trip! 😉
If you’re a fan of doors and tiles, you’re like us and you will love Lisbon!
Photo credits: Axelle & Caroline Aimé