If you follow me over on Instagram, you will have seen Danny and I were in Lisbon for a weekend. We wanted to escape London for a few days and so we chose Lisbon to visit. I have seen so many beautiful images and videos of Lisbon recently, so I was very much looking forward to going. It did not disappoint.
Lisbon as a city is so pretty, everything is very colourful, imagine yellow, pink and blue houses with orange rooftops as well as buildings decorated with picturesque patterned tiles. The weather was warm and sunny, hitting around 34 degrees celsius – definitely better than London at the moment, so it was a perfect break away in the sunshine.
Before we headed to Lisbon I did a little research into what to see and where to go, but we didn’t stick to too much of an itinerary and decided to take it slowly and see where the cobbled hilly streets took us. We stayed at the H10 Duque de Loule, it was such a lovely hotel with an amazing rooftop bar, which we frequented most evenings. It’s in a great area, located near Avenida da Liberdade, which is a little like the Champs Elysee in Paris and within walking or public transport distance from the major spots. Apart from the building being pink, what I liked about it was the friendly staff, the lovely rooms but also the fact it was in a slightly quieter area. I would definitely recommend staying here.
If you are planning a weekend break, then here are my top ideas for things to do in Lisbon.
Take In The View
One of the best viewpoints over Lisbon I found was Miradouro da Senhora do Monte or Lady of the Mt. Located in a churchyard the viewpoint gives a spectacular view over the city. We visited during the day and we took an Uber there as this is a very high hill to climb. You can see across Lisbon and you get some fantastic views of the Castle, the sea and other parts of Lisbon. It’s really one worth heading to for an amazing view and those all important photographs.
Belém is a district of Lisbon that’s probably one of the main tourist attractions. Admittedly we came here to see the Torre de Belem, a small castle in the sea, but we quickly realised what a beautiful area of Lisbon this was. Near the castle you will also find the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the monastery where the story of the monk that invented the original recipe for the Portuguese tart comes from and if you wander a little further you will find Pasteis de Belém, the popular pastry shop that serves up the original recipe. There was quite a queue for the tarts, but it went down really quickly and we left with two of our very own, complete with sugar and cinnamon to top them up with. Were they worth it? Definitely! The best I tasted on our trip.
In Belém there are also a whole host of museums, we never visited any as it was such a sunny day, but maybe a good option for visiting in the colder months or if you have a longer trip. We stopped by at the CCB, a contemporary art centre where we sat in the gardens and had a drink in the sun. Also look out for the Belém Palace where you can watch the changing of the guards.
Time Out Market
The Time Out market is located near the waterfront and is an easy choice for a quick bite to eat. Inside you will find lots of different street food style vendors with varied eating options, as well as plenty of wine and beer. It was very busy when we visited so we just stopped by for an ice-cream and it also was very warm inside as it was so busy, so I was glad to not stay too long. It’s definitely a great place to stop by especially if you are in a group and haven’t booked anywhere or can’t decide what type of food to go and eat. It’s open till 2am on weekends and midnight on other days.
Castlelo de S.Jorge
We visited the main castle in Lisbon on our last day and we unfortunately hadn’t been able to book tickets online as the website wasn’t working. However we got an Uber to the castle, he dropped us just at the bottom of the hill – he took us as far as he could, because this is a very hilly walk up, so I would recommend taking a taxi and we were surprised to see a short queue moving very quickly. We visited on a Monday afternoon, so maybe it was slightly quieter, but it seemed to move quickly. Entrance to the castle is €8.50 each and it’s open in the summer till 9pm, with last admission 30 minutes before closing.
We spent a couple of hours here, looking round the ruins and going up the towers, which have some very steep stairs so definitely one thing to note. They gave a lovely view over the city and it was good to see it from such a high view-point. Round about the castle you will also get an amazing panoramic view. The castle has a couple of restaurants and also a cafe, where you will run into a few peacocks casually walking around.
After our visit to the Castle, we strolled down to Alfama, the oldest district in Lisbon. This area has lots of winding roads and streets, my advice is just get lost here and see where you end up. You will find the cutest little lanes and shops. We came across a cocktail bar called Maruto, it was a great find. They served tapas dishes but it was lunchtime so we had a toasted sandwich and the cocktails were lovely but also not expensive either. It’s definitely hidden away but had great service and food so would recommend it if you are in the area.
Lisbon has plenty shops to explore. Where we were staying we were very near El Corte Ingles department store, which was absolutely huge. I actually had to pick up a memory card for my camera here as I forgot mine. Inside was so many different departments as well as Sephora. There is also Sephora – very important, for all you beauty addicts like me in the centre of town. This area you will also find lots of high street shops like Mango, H&M and Pull & Bear. Nearer our hotel on Avenida da Liberdade is where you will find all the designer shops. If shopping is your thing, then there are definitely plenty places to do just that.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the LX Factory at all, but when I visited I was pleasantly surprised. It’s an old factory turned into little shops and also market stalls. A few cafes and restaurants are also on the line up. One of the highlights was Ler Devagar, the bookshop cafe. This bookshop has so many books, they line the walls and you can climb up the steps and check out all the old printing machines they have. Given the books are in Portuguese so I wasn’t reading any, but a great sight to see. I also came across a very cool clothes shop I loved, some very cool hidden gems here.
Try All The Wine
I’m not familiar with Portuguese wine at all, but we went to a really lovely restaurant called Sommelier. The menu is pretty varied, to give you an idea we had Iberico ham and veal and oxtail croquettes to start, followed by mains of steak and lamb and some really delicious desserts to end. The best thing about this restaurant however is the wine. The restaurant offers every wine by the glass, so you could opt for something simple or go for something a little more elaborate. Danny got to try a Portuguese red wine that would be around £500 a bottle, but was able to sample this by the glass. They only make a few hundred bottles a year of this wine, so it was really great to sample it. If you aren’t sure what you want to have, the waiter will suggest a few and you can try them. A really great one if you love wine and would like to sample some Portuguese options on your trip.
Walk Along The Seafront
Take a walk along the seafront for sure. There is so much to see here, lots of little stands selling food and drinks. We found one serving flavoured lemonade cocktails, so we sat with one of these just taking in the amazing view. You can see the Christ statue in the distance and also the red bridge. You can walk quite far along and it’s just nice to stroll along and enjoy the view. You never know what you mind find, we came across an array of painted sculptures on stones with faces.
A few places I found or were recommended that I really wanted to try but I didn’t have time for food and drink were; Clube de Journalistes, Kais, A Cevicheria, Cervejaria Ramiro and Cafe de Rio. I’d also recommend Bistro 100 Maneiras which we really liked, we stopped here for a cocktail as they were fully booked for dinner, so definitely book ahead.
Have you got any things to do or places in Lisbon you would recommend?