Lisbon city guide



I had a lovely citytrip in Lisbon in April. It is months ago now and life has been pretty hectic and eventful since, but I am still thriving on the great time I had there. The best holidays are the ones that stay in your head forever. Going to Lisbon was also a little pilgrimage for me. I was finally seeing the birthplace of my favourite pastry: the pasteis de Belem! 
I so loved the colours of this city: azure blue sky and the most beautifully designed tiles in blue, yellow, green shades, the sunflower yellow trams decorating the street view and the glimmering Tagus river surrounding it.
I loved also the small alleyways with laundry floating in the breeze and the grand majestic plazas with white and black mosaic designs. 

Before I left I had made a list of things I really wanted to see and do and of course I wasn't able to do them all. Lisbon in Autumn is really nice too I heard...

Here are my 9 places you definitely must visit when you are in Lisbon:

Tram 28: Taking tram 28 is a nice way to discover the city on your first day. This iconic tram number takes you along streets with Portugese tiled and pastel faded buildings but also the buzzing shopping areas and cosmopolitan squares. It is a great angle to get a feeling of the old and new vibes in the city. Just make sure you board the tram at the very beginning, 'Jardim da Estrela'. From stop two it is packed and then it gets even more packed with tourists and locals. It is still great but just be aware that Lisbon is built on seven hills, some stops you are tilted so much you feel like you are sitting on a rollercoaster going up. 

Conserveira: What a find! This is a tiny little shop stocked floor to ceiling with tins of sardines, tuna, octopus... any great seafood you can imagine. I fell in love with the original artwork on the packaging. I had plenty of time to see all the different designs because I had to wait forever there was a group of French men before me and they tried to outdo themselves with the amount of sardines they could carry. All orders are carefully wrapped in brown paper by the ever-friendly shop assistant. Don't make the mistake that I made: I only had handluggage so unfortunately I had to leave three of the tins I bought at customs in the airport, silly me: only the ones that were under 100ml could go in my handluggage of course. I really hope someone has eaten them because the one I did mange to bring back was so good!

The lookout points: first thing you pack for Lisbon are good walking shoes! Go and climb those cobble stoned hills and get carried away by the view of rusty orange rooftops and the beautiful Tagus around it. If you really don't like the hike, get on a tuk tuk, they are everywhere (annoyingly sometimes).

Walk along the Tejo, the Tagus river-edge glimmering in the sunlight. The river is so overwhelming here, it is meeting the Atlantic ocean only a short distance away. Walk through the monumental arch in Rua Agusta and you arrive at Comercia square opening up to the Tagus river, from there you turn right and follow the boulevard along the river ending up at this foodie place:

Ribeira/Time Out market: Since 1982 Mercado da Ribeira has been Lisbon's biggest food market. In 2014 it was taken over by Time magazine who turned it into a food court where you can taste a myriad of Portugese deilcacies and get introduced to the latest food trends. You find food stalls from top chefs and local products, that you can eat at the communal tables in the middle. This is the place for all foodies visiting Lisbon.

A cevicheria: see the full blogpost for this amazing Peruvian-Portuguese food experience!

Rooftop bar Barrio Alto Hotel: this rooftop bar of a five star hotel is supposed to have the best view of the city and is in the lists of best rooftop bars in the world. It looks indeed amazing to see the majestic Tejo with a glass of Douro wine in your hand. Unfortunately there were two huge cranes in front of the terrace when I visited... The seating area is rather small, you might need to put your name on the waiting list and wait in the basement bar first. Don't be too disappointed, the bar man there welcomed me with a perfect five star smile and service.

Pasteis de Belem: the birthplace of the pasteis de nata. Everybody who knows me knows I have a real sweet tooth. However I am not such a creamy cake person, except for this delicious dessert: pasteis de nata! Waffer-thin crispy pastry that surrounds silky smooth custard cream. Don't wait in the line for the bakery in the front but walk straight through the door like a local, heading for the never ending rooms at the back. There you can sit and savour this delicacy at ease, surrounded by blue tiled walls and shaking powdered sugar and cinnamon from silver containers on your nata. YUM!

Lx Factory: Under the famous red bridge, lies an old factory site that is turned into a relaxed hipster heaven. It houses cute shops and eateries and one of the most famous bookshops in the world. Definitely go and see the cyclist up in the air and feel the love for books at Livraria Ler Devagar. Read more on my visit here.






One tip for eating out in Lisbon: Patience is a good virtue when you want to go to a restaurant in Lisbon. Most restaurants are small which gives them a certain charm but also a small amount of tables. There are several shifts during the evening, you give your name at the door and when a table is ready you get in. Unfortunately there are some restaurants that are so popular that the waiting line is long. I went to a restaurant I had read great reviews about and waited in a line of impatient hungry tourists for more than half an hour when I gave up, too stressful. It took me another hour before I found a place to eat. Everywhere it was the same situation, you can give your name but there is a long line waiting in front of you. Luckily most restaurants are open all day, so from then on I just went to eat at an earlier time and then usually had the place and all attention of staff for myself and I had longer for the after dinner drinks! 

 


Lisbon has so much to offer, three days were not enough. There definitely will be a next time and then I hope to visit these places too: 

The Parking bar
Punto Final BBQ restaurant
MAAT museum
Pink Street
Eduardo VII Park
The Design & Fashion museum
Sintra

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