Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, exceeded my expectations in the most stunning and simplest of ways. My friends and I could have extended our stay longer and would have not run out of things to enjoy in this beautiful city.
If you’ve read my Morocco blog post, you’ll know this was the second part of that trip and was included in the flight deal. My friends and I traveled from Casablanca, Morocco to Lisbon, Portugal in late May. This city was the perfect place to spend a couple of days in the warm weather.
As a budget-conscious traveler, I seek out bargains in each destination I visit. When searching for accommodations and food, Lisbon, less expensive than many other major Western European cities, has great deals with more quality for less money.
Lisbon offers an incredible variety of architecture landscapes, a vibrant culture and great food. This charming city also known as “The City of Seven Hills” and “Queen of the Sea,” was built on many hills and cobblestoned streets. From the gorgeous architecture and character, one does not need a lot of attractions when the city is an attraction itself.
English is also widely spoken here but it doesn’t hurt to learn a few phrases in Portuguese. Finding a fantastic view was extremely easy because we were constantly surrounded by tranquility and colors. The great atmosphere and the friendliness of Portuguese people make Lisbon special.
Where to stay:
Each neighborhood in Lisbon has a distinct character which suits a different interest. During our visit, we stayed in the Baixa neighborhood in an awesomeAirbnb apartment It is incredibly well-situated, right on a lively pedestrian shopping street. This neighborhood was filled with exquisite boutiques and cafes. We were walking distance to interesting sites, restaurants and nightlife. I could have easily spent the day wandering around.
The Baixa neighborhood is situated downtown at the base of Lisbon’s city Centre. We chose our Airbnb because of its central location and the public transportation connections all over the city. I recommend this neighborhood for first time visitors. Our stay was nothing short of stunning and memorable.
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Where to eat:
Lisbon’s food scene, offers an array of delicious inexpensive options. From fresh seafood, to amazing burgers; Lisbon has a little something for everyone. Coming from a country that prides itself on making the best burgers, Honorato Hamburgueres Artesanais does a phenomenal job. Needless to say, this burger hidden gem provides a cool variety of toppings with flavors well matched. Cocktails were great and the homemade garlic dip was out of this world. Another place I recommend is Infame. We stumbled upon this restaurant one evening and found the food to be very creative, both in taste and presentation. For fresh seafood, Ramiro is a simple traditional restaurant in central Lisbon. Another gem is Zero Zero, it is known for their wood fire pizza and a great place to enjoy an authentic meal. Although I only scratched the surface Lisbon’s cuisine, I enjoyed experiencing its culture through food. There are restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets and they are open late. From family-owned traditional eateries to high end food courts, one will not run out of options.
Lisbon has a lively nightlife, which is suitable for all adult ages. The bars vary from large to small intimate ones and some feature live music. The choice can be a little overwhelming. Bairro Alto is one neighborhood that had many bars and nightclubs within walking distance. Pink Street really comes alive at night. Young or old, does not matter, the town starts late and stays out later. A few bars my friends and I checked out were Copenhagen Bar, Club Jamaica and Sky bar.
One of Lisbon’s main transportation is the Tram system. It is an inexpensive way to see the neighborhoods when you need a break from walking. If you plan on visiting multiple attractions, purchase a Lisboa card for savings to sightseeing attractions. The card provides free or reduced admissions fee to great museums and other attractions.
The Santa Justa Lift also called Carmo Lift is an ornate metal elevator that stands out in the Centre of Lisbon. The lift is a must see site in the city, a perfect place to see the view of Lisbon. The wait can be a little long, depending on the season, but it’s definitely worth your while if you’re not in a rush. We waited approximately 30 minutes to the top. Once at the top, the views were spectacular. Here one can view the whole city and if you have the guts take the last steps up and enjoy an even more breathtaking panoramic view of the Rossio square, the Castle and the Tagus River.
Just a few blocks from the Lift, we walked over to the Arco da Rua Augusta at Praça do Comércio. This arch opens to the waterfront plaza, one of the largest squares in Europe. It was built to commemorate the reconstruction of the city after the great earthquake in 1755. My friends and I walked around taking in the magnificent breezes from the Targus River; we could not help but stand there and marvel at how beautiful things were. This was a nice area to take a break, as there were plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby. As one of the most recognizable symbols of the city, the Arco was well worth seeing, and a fantastic piece of Lisbon history. A few attractions we wanted to explore but didn’t have time were; LX Factory, Cristo Do Rei Statue and the Belem Tower.
Sailing the coastline of Lisbon was by far my favorite moment of the trip. My friends and I were able to see Lisbon from a different perspective. We booked a six hour tour with Dream Yachts to Cascais. The boat was beautiful and well suited for our 18-person group. From the very start the captain and crew were extremely hospitable and friendly. We played our own music; the food was good and the drinks were flowing. Renting a boat was well worth the money. We received a personal tour of the city, the yacht, sailing and overall living in Lisbon. The atmosphere was perfect. We ended our trip with unforgettable day sailing. I couldn’t have asked for a better last day in Lisbon.
When planning a trip to Lisbon, explore as many free tours as possible, stay in or near the Baixa neighborhood and book a yacht or boat tour. I never expected to fall in love with Lisbon and I wish we stayed longer to explore. If you want to visit a city with history, that’s inexpensive, impressive architecture, and a warm welcoming experience, Lisbon, Portugal is a winner!
Have you been to Portugal? Is Lisbon on your list?