I could tell you places to visit in Portugal, but would you Lisbon?
Portugal is a gorgeous country blessed with endless sandy beaches, rugged coastline, cosmopolitan and architecturally stunning cities and incredible weather. Throw in great food, lots of wine and cheap prices and bam, you get the perfect holiday spot. While Portugal is located on the tip of Europe and not centrally-connected as other countries, not a lot of people visit this underrated country. Because of this, you’re more likely to have a local experience with fewer crowds.
Side note: Lisbon being the final destination of our Southwestern Europe trip was a great way to relax and breathe after our sleepless nights in Ibiza and Barcelona.
I got a lot of feedback from people saying they loved how I wrote my last post, so I’ll format this one the same way and get a little more personal with the Great, Good and Ugly (kinda) of Lisbon, Portugal. With that being said…Welcome to Lisbon, a city of explorers, sardines, fado music and delicious Belém pastries.
TimeOut Market Lisboa is a must-do destination for foodies—you’ll find 35 semi-permanent kiosks offering everything from regional specialties to trendy treats. Whether you’re craving authentic Portuguese seafood, four-cheese pizza or pad thai (my favorite), they have it all. The best thing about this gourmet food circus is that it’s open late…perfect for drunchies.
Another great hotspot is the Red Frog Speakeasy, we thought the prohibition era was long gone but say hello to the 1920’s again! This bar sits behind a closed door with no signage with just a bell for you to ring. After a few moments, the door opens to a sophisticated lounge with expert bartenders shaking and stirring signature cocktails. These cocktails are anything but ordinary—so creative/over-the-top and up to 35% of alcohol in one drink.
Another must-do in Potugal is to visit the beautiful town of Sintra. It’s quite a trek to get here so our friends recommended taking a Go 2 Lisbon Tour. The Sintra Amazing Daily Tour took us to admire the extravagant architecture of Pena Palace, check out the beaches and discover the unique Devil’s Mouth of Cascais, and tour through Cabo de Roca. Only downside of this tour is that it starts really early and is 8 hours long, so make sure to be well-rested because the Instagram pics are so worth it.
Note: We literally fell asleep every time the tour bus was on the road only to wake up for the photos.
All the places in Lisbon can basically be reached by foot for those that enjoy and are capable of a good walk. Believe me when I say every day is leg day when you choose walking as your mode of transportation. The streets are full of uneven cobbles, manholes and steep hills, I made the mistake of wearing Tory Burch sandals to tour the city and ended up spraining my ankle slightly (damn you designer shoes!) So definitely wear comfortable shoes.
Tips for People Traveling:
Bairro Alto is one of the most popular and characterful neighborhoods in Lisbon, this is where our Airbnb resided. If you’re planning on visiting Lisbon anytime soon, I recommend staying in this area because it’s the heart of the city and super touristy.
Another thing, the best place to go out at night is “Pink Street”, hard to miss because the floor of this street is literally pink for a mile. Most bars/clubs reside on both sides of the pinkness and the street starts filling up at around midnight.
One thing I didn’t get to do that I’d love to do the next time around is ride the entire 28 tram route. This is a great way to see the city and it gives you San Francisco cable car vibes. To be honest, this whole city gave me San Francisco vibes—they have a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge called 25 de Abril Bridge.
All in all, Lisbon is the lively capital of Portugal oozing with contagious energy and loads of character. Ending our 10-day vacation here was a good decision as we had time to recuperate before going back to our responsibilities the next day. Many people have asked me to rate the cities I’ve visited from best to worst – while I wouldn’t consider any “the worst,” I would have to say Barcelona, Ibiza and then Portugal. I just can’t compare anything to Barcelona because I fell in love with the culture, environment and people there—I would go back in a heart beat.
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