Four sunny days in Lisbon, Portugal
|Streets of Barrio Alto|
Here are some of the things I loved about my first trip to Lisboa that I definitely recommend:
1) Tram 28 – the perfect way to see the city
Lisbon has a network of trams running all over the city but Tram 28 is special.
It goes through all the different areas, from the winding, narrow streets of Alfama, past the San Jorge Castle, down through the main streets of Baxia, through the shopping district of Chiado and streets of Barrio Alto, the scene for bar hopping on most nights.
It’s an unofficial tour guide that is cheap and fun and at times feels like an amusement park ride when you’re speeding down the slopes and whizzing past buildings.
You can buy all-day ticket at any metro station that lets you get on the tram/bus/metro. It’s a fun, easy way to get to know the city and and I urge you to do this first on your trip – you can get on and off at any stop that catches your fancy.
2) Go to Belem to see the Jerinomos Monastery
No trip to Lisbon is complete without going to Belem. You can hop on to Tram 15 and soon you’re at the famous Jerinomos Monastery in Belem. The Monastry is a World Heritage site with Vasco da Gama’s tomb.
Right next to the monastery, is the Confeitaria da Belem – a pastry shop whose custard tarts are legendary. In all my excitement, I forgot to take a picture of the actual Pasteis de Nata! That’s another thing I really enjoyed in Lisbon – all the different pastries – delicate puffy sweet delights with light fresh cream inside. Heaven.
Along the river is the Discoveries Monument - the landmark where all the boats used to the depart in the 16th century and futher along is the Tower of Belem
3) Head to one of the Miradouras for a panoramic view of the city.
|Miradouro de Porto do Sol|
Lisbon is city built over seven hills, so spread across the city are beautiful viewing points where you can sit back, relax and take in the gorgeous view. We went to Miradouro de Porto do Sol in Alfama which is right next to the St. George Castle and Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara in Barrio Alto.
|Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara|
4) Have dinner at one of the seafood restaurants in Docas
Head down to Docas de Santo Amaro for a lovely seafood dinner. There are a bunch of restaurants on the docks with tables outside overlooking the 25 de Abril Bridge (which looks a lot like the
in Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco). We ended up at 5 Oceanos and the fish we had was amazing.
It sounds a bit strange but I loved our hotel Gat Rossio (Rua Do Jardim do Regedor). It’s a quirky chain of hotels called Gat that are also in Barcelona and Berlin.
The location in Lisbon was brilliant – central, just right off the Rossio Square next to the Restauradores metro stop. The rooms was clean and minimalistic with the occasional random cat design and neon green colour scheme. They served an awesome breakfast in the morning and were really helpful. I used booking.com and got a pretty good deal in terms of prices.
6) Listen to Fado Music
One night, my friend Bea, who is from Lisbon, took us to lovely wine and tapas bar called Venha Vinho (84, Rua das Janelas Verdes) that was playing Fado music. It’s utterly tragic and melancholic and I instantly loved it. And the bar owner, Francisco was a host of local information. When I noticed a lot of people having oysters, he informed me that Portugal is supplier of oysters. Apparently France gets 90% of its oysters from Portugal. I was quite surprised as I had never see oysters on the menu or linked them in my mind to Portuguese cuisine
Francisco also does customized tours of Lisbon – I wish I had found out about his Lisboa Food & Wine tour earlier in the trip! Here are his details if you’re interested: AuthenticLisboa.com
After Lisbon, we took a train down to Faro so that we could spend the rest of our trip in Algarve. We picked Vilamoura and pretty much spent all our time on the beach or by the pool. *Bliss*