Lisbon was the next stop on our mini Portuguese adventure, with Porto having been the first. An easy three hour train journey from Porto takes you to the heart of Lisbon. Again, we opted to use Airbnb, and stayed in a lovely one bedroom apartment in a quiet central area of the city.
Lisbon is a bit like Porto, with a lot of steep hills, but that’s fine; if you can’t be bothered to walk there are trams that take you up and down these hills! perfect! Or you can ride the ‘Elevadores’ an on-street elevator built in olden times to ensure the wealthy would not exhaust themselves by having to climb loads of steps!
Lisbon is another great place just to wander around, with lots of narrow streets and different neighbourhoods, its great a place for exploring. There is also the number 28 ‘tourist’ tram which whizzes through all these neighbourhoods. In the Alfama district it rattles along streets not much wider than the tram and its a bit of a rollercoaster ride all over the city hills.
All over Lisbon are ‘Miradouro’ or viewpoints, which provide a prime spot for watching the sunset and for enjoying a walk in the evening, these usually take the form of a garden with some sort of cafe or bar, so people can gather and socialise while taking in a great view.
‘Suburb’ Freguesia (Civil Parish) of Lisbon is Belem, and this is worthy of a trip. With a massive and ornate Monastery, the Belem Tower, Monument to the Discoveries and most importantly, the home of the Pasteis de Belem or Portuguese Custard Tart to you and me! We took a local train out to Belem, it takes around 20 mins with a further 10 minute walk to the Cathedral and the tower (oh and custard tart heaven). The Cathedral is well worth a look, as is the Belem Tower, where you can go inside and up the very narrow staircase to the top, which gives great views out over the river. As you walk along the riverside back towards the centre of Lisbon you can also see the Monument to the Discoveries, a memorial to Henry the Navigator. Finally, you have to visit Pasteis de Belem, for a straight out of the oven Pasteis de Nata – they are heavenly!
Another day trip, recommended by our Airbnb hosts is to a place called Sintra, which is about one hour by train from Rossio Station. Sintra boasts a wealth of magnificent houses and castles and in general is a lovely little village and a refreshing break from the city. Our day started out bright and sunny, but sadly didn’t end that way, so we didn’t get to take in as much as we would have liked. However we did manage the Royal Palace, the colourful though slightly misty National Palace of Pena and the mysterious Quinta de Regaleira. We abandoned a visit to the Palace de Montserrat halfway there, on the basis we couldn’t see anything because of the fog. I am pretty sure on a sunny day it would be beautiful! That said, Sintra is definitely worth a visit!
Lisbon, like Porto was an easy place to get around with lots to do and see as well as many great places to eat! We were fortunate to be there at the end of the annual Sardine Festival! So the streets came alive at night with locals BBQ’ing Sardines and partying the night away!
I would definitely recommend a short break in Lisbon, especially if you fancy a few days away from our current dreary weather!
We Travelled: By Easyjet direct from Edinburgh
We Stayed: A one-bedroom apartment near the Avenida de Liberadade via Airbnb
We Ate and Drank:
Restaurant Pharmacia: Housed in a building next to the Pharmacy Museum, great food in a tapas style.
Casanova Pizzeria: Off the beaten track down near Santa Alponia Station. Worth the trek for the pizza and great views if you can get a seat outside
Noobai Cafe: Across the street from Restaurant Pharmacia. Great views and good food.
Honorato Burger: In a residential area and you probably wouldn’t be able to find it if you didn’t know about it. Really popular, but good cocktails and burgers!
If you haven’t seen enough of my photos from Lisbon you can check the rest of them out here!