The Travelettes Guide to Lisbon
Some cities just stick with you, they find a place in your heart – you could go back every year and yet discover new things every time. Lisbon is that city to me, and I could probably write a “Travelettes guidebook to Lisbon” filled with curious little details. What to eat, where to buy the best high heels, on which cobbled hills you should rather wear your sneakers and where to enjoy a refreshing beer while enjoying the sunset over Tagus river. This is the short version of that list, enjoy!
Eat and drink
If there is one thing the portuguese cannot live without it is bacalhau, this salted and dried codfish is celebrated as the most important thing in the portuguese cuisine. Although the fish is mostly imported from Norway or Iceland, the Portuguese have perfected the art of cooking it. You’ll find a dish for every day of the year, but my personal favorites are bacalhau à brás (onions, potatoes and codfish in a bound of scrambled eggs) and bacalhau à lagareiro (codfish with tiny potatoes and warm olive oil).
In 100 Maneiras (Rua do Texeira 35) you get a 10 course meal with fusion/Portuguese food. The chef Ljubomir Stanisic is originally from Belgrade, but is known to be one of the best chefs in Lisbon. This place is a must-do for fellow foodies!
Senhora Mãe (Largo de São Martinho 6) is another one of my favorites – located in Alfama, a historic area in the city, this place is perfect for a romantic dinner. This part of town is also the best if you’re looking for a place to listen to Fado, the melancholic and traditional music from Portugal. Walk around in the streets and see if you can hear singing from one of the local bars. Cruzes Credo is a great café to stop by for a refreshment or snack while you’re doing sightseeing during the day or for a drink at night.
Casa do Alentejo (R. Portas Santo Antão 58) looks like a normal building from the outside, but inside it has fantastic decorations and a quite neat restaurant. Even if you’re not planning on eating it’s worth going inside just to have a look at the interior.
Stop by Ginjinha or the competitor Ginja sem rival at Rossio Square for a tiny cup of traditional cherry liquor. Be aware of all the surrounding “tourist traps” to avoid getting tricked into eating at an overpriced café or restaurant. For my other liquor favorites in Lisbon, check out this post.
For lunch together with the locals, go to Principe de Calhariz (Calcada de Combro 28/39). The portions are generous and it’s very popular among people working in the area. For brunch with a view I really enjoy Noobai at Miradouro de Santa Catarina (also known as Adamastor). The viewpoint is also the perfect spot if you wanna sit down and enjoy a cold beer while watching the sunset.
If you need a break from your shopping, stop by Fábulas (Calçada Nova de São Francisco 14). The Gaspacho is fab! This is also one of my Sunday brunch favorites.
Last, but not least, DO NOT MISS OUT on Pasteís de Natas and other Portuguese sweets. Check out my favorites here.
If you want to buy typical Portuguese things, stop by A Vida Portuguesa (Rua Ancheta 11). On Saturdays there is also a cute bookmarket in this street.
Shoes and purses in Portugal are normally quite affordable and have amazing quality, I always go shoe shopping when I’m there. My favorite shoes can be found in the Eureka shoe store (Rua Nova do Almada, 26-28). Or if you need some urban accessories like cool watches or maybe new sunglasses, make sure you stop by Moov (Calçada do Combro 56). For cool portuguese designer clothes and accessories, stop by Galeria de Exclusivos (Rua da Rosa 195/197).
Looking for second hand treasures? A outra face de lua (Av. Almirante Reis 94a) has the best selection in Lisbon. In Bairro Alto you can also find cute small stores. The Feira de Ladra flea market is a must on Tuesdays and Saturdays. LX Factory, an abandoned factory area turned into a creative melting pot hosts a second hand market on Sundays.
Rua Augusta is the main shopping street in the city centre.
- Go to Belém, enjoy the historic monuments and eat Pasteís de Natas at Pasteís de Belém (it is worth the wait).
- Enjoy the historical part of town, Alfama, it is wonderful to walk around in the narrow alleys looking at people hanging out their underwear to dry out of the windows of 300 year-old buildings.
Sick of walking? Take tram 28, but be aware of pickpockets. Consider visiting the castle for a great view.
- Visit all the great viewpoints of Lisbon. Sit down. Drink beer. Enjoy. I particularly enjoy Adamastor, S. Pedro de Alcantara and Jardim do Torel.
- Lisbon is a fantastic city if you’re into streetart! Check out my post on cutting edge street art in Lisbon to figure out the best places to spot it.
- If it is too warm to be in the city, head to the beaches of Carcavelo or Costa de Caparica just outside Lisbon. Fantastic surf spots like Baleal/Peniche (the best in Europe), Guincho and Ericeira are also not far away if you have a bit more time to spare.
Bairro Alto is the main part of town to go if you want to party or have a drink. The streets are full of life and with people enjoying their Caipirinhas or beer that they bought in one of the plenty of bars in this area. Start your night here. Or grab a beer over at Adamastor first.
Move down to Bica after Bairro Alto, and in the end of the night you can go to one of the clubs down at Caís de Sondré or to my favorite club in Lisbon – Lux Frágil.
For some live jazz music in Lisbon’s parks, check out Outjazz. This is hosted every Sunday at daytime, for where and when check out the website.
If you’re planning to go to Lisbon in June, don’t miss out on the parties around Santo António. This is when the whole of Lisbon turns into one big fiesta.
Do you have some favorite things to do when you’re in Lisbon?
She loves cities with imperfect facades, photography, traveling by bike, vintage hunting, and everything that comes with cheese. Follow her visual diary at anchoredpaperplane.com.