Lisbon

Lisbon Tram

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!

Inside the old tramTramElevadores

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.

Tram No 28LisbonLisbonLisbonLisbon

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.

View from the MiradouroMiradouro Cafe

A ‘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!

San Jeroninos MonasteryMonument to the DiscoveriesPasteis de NataBelem TowerWhere the Pasteis de Nata was born!

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!

SintraPena ParkNational Palace of PenaSintraQuinta de Regaleiros

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!

Houses Decorated for the Sardine FestivalSardine Street PartySardine Street PartySardine Street PartyHouses Decorated for the Sardine Festival

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!

3 Replies to “Lisbon”

    1. Hi – thanks for you comment. I thought ‘suburb’ was an appropriate term for Belem’s relative location, but clearly not! I’ve updated now.

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  1. Hi,

    You have updated correctly.

    The city of Lisbon is geographically limited by law and is divided in several historical parishes, for administrative purposes (you know, each one have their own budget for running a slice of the city in terms of everyday life, like cleaning the streets, managing local fairs, streets, green areas and so on).

    So each parish is then equally represented in the city hall, where there’s a mayor and an assembly which runs the city with larger powers (like urban planning, big scale events and so).

    The location of the parish in Lisbon is irrelevant in terms of what it means to the city, being it geographically in the center, in the west or in the northeast, they are all the same.

    The city of Lisbon is thus the combination of those parishes.

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