Ah Lisbon! This place fills me with many happy and sunny feelings – it’s a place that truly captured my heart during my brief love affair with the city a few months ago. When I went in September, I managed to catch some sweet sweltering heat before the summer bid a sad farewell. The city in all it’s hot splendour imprinted it’s shabby chic architecture, tiled walls and fresh seafood into my senses, leaving me clutching my bosom and swooning on my flight home.


In a nutshell, Lisbon romanced the heck out of me and it wasn’t just for its quaint pretty nature – I’m a cheap date and Lisbon did not disappoint me. The fact that I could head out to such a gorgeous city that is very popular with tourists, but not have to burn a serious hole in my wallet was amazing! I could flounce about one of the most beautiful European cities on a budget and it didn’t limit my experience of the city at all.

sophie saint travelettes lisbon

Oh Lisbon… I’m counting down the months until the weather warms up and I can come play again, but for now, I’ll reminisce about the most romantic dates to have in Lisbon.

5 Romantic dates to have in Lisbon

1. Sun soak beside the water

Lisbon doesn’t have a beach, however its coastline does line the banks of the grand Tagus River. The wide swell of water fills the distance between Portugal and Spain, before it spills out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s pretty hard to go for a swim here/we do not recommend it – so if you wish to go for a dip, you’d best be heading down to the beachy town Cascais which is a 45 minute train ride out of Lisbon.

lisbon cocktails by the river

river tagus lisbon

However, when you’re loved up in Lisbon, nothing beats sitting on the steps overlooking the river on the edges of Pombaline Lower Town. These steps attract many who wish to sit and soak up the suns warmth and with a romantic partner in tow, it’s a lovely place to get soppy. Have a chilled romantic date on these steps; people watching and taking in the view of the sparkling water. A little tipple can sweeten the moment so watch out for the mobile cocktail stall, Pitcher Cocktails, where you can buy takeaway drinks and sip on a mason jar of delicious mojito.

pitcher perfect cocktails by river tagus lisbon

2. Get lost in Alfama

Once the midday sun has slipped away, head to the oldest district of Lisbon as nothing quite beats taking your time exploring these streets out of the heat of the sun. Wind around the stunning medieval streets of Alfama that twist and turn you through whitewashed buildings set into bedrock.

alfarma lisbon

Alfama spreads out below the grand Castle of São Jorge which has the best view of Lisbon, so hike up to the top and take in the most picturesque view in Europe. Be ready to climb endless rolling streets as Lisbon is said to have been built on seven hills, and make sure that your shoes have a good grip as these cobblestones can easily send you falling head over heels… literally.

romantic dates in lisbon

lisbon exploring

lisbon tiles shopping

Meander past cute coffee shops and locals reclining in the shade. Follow the narrow streets and dodge the trundling trams, or grab one if you want to get around a touch faster! Trust me, these vintage yellow 1930’s trams can navigate the ridiculously steep streets perfectly and I’d recommend taking a ride on the number 26 tram. Grab the trundling tram in Alfama and it will take you along the popular loop through Baixa, Graca and Estrela, but it’s best to take it early in the morning or early evening to dodge the crowds. Tickets are bought off the driver and a single is only a few euros – a cheap sightseeing date indeed!

vintage trams in lisbon

3. Enjoy an al fresco dinner

If you like tasty food that’s full of fresh ingredients and packed full of salads and seafood, then you’ll not struggle finding a good eatery in Lisbon. Popular places that are rated highly by both locals and tourists may require booking, especially on weekends, but if you miss out on dining where you originally planned you should definitely not despair. Romantic Lisbon won’t fail you and will go out of its way to ensure your dinner date is saved!

romantic lisbon

al fresco dining in lisbon

Wander the streets in the evenings and you’ll find plenty of al fresco dining areas. Chairs and tables are laid out on the cobblestones with a buzzing atmosphere, but you can always find a quiet table lit by candlelight so you can gaze into your partner’s eyes… or discreetly steal some of their food. You’re likely to hear the traditional melancholy Portuguese music, Fado, or buskers will wander past your table playing gorgeous music on lilting guitars. Sip on the local Green Wine, indulge in octopus and grilled sardines, nibble on olives and pesticos (Portuguese Tapas) and finish with some Port Wine.

lisbon food

Venture out of the winding streets and head down to the riverside for an alternative dining experience. With the fresh air whipping off the river (that can easily fool all into thinking it’s the sea), kick back on the deck chairs of TMN Ao Vivo in Cais Sodre (the outside restaurant, not the live music venue) and enjoy a deep plate of octopus or smoked salmon salad.

seaside dining in lisbon

restaurants in lisbon

With a full belly (portions are generally pretty generous!), wander the cobbled streets hand-in-hand, soaking up the architecture and the pastel houses in the backstreets with laundry drying off the balconies. The city is alive late into the night, so you can take your time and decide whether its time to head home or to continue revelling with the others scattered in the streets.

lisbon architecture

4. Dance till dawn

When the sun slips away, get lost in Barrio Alto where the streets come alive at night! This Bohemian quarter of Lisbon has narrow criss-crossing streets lined with small bars that are pumping with music. Wander past the cracked walls that are tagged with vibrant graffiti, duck through doorways to dim drinking holes, and get hot and sweaty as you bar hop the night away!

drinks in lisbon

A cocktail bar that you must check out in the vibrant Cais do Sodre district is the sultry Pensao Amor.  Full of chandeliers, marbled table tops, velvet armchairs and a plethora of gilded mirrors, you’ll feel very seductive in these sumptuous surroundings. It shouldn’t surprise you that it used to be a brothel, but they’ve embraced this colourful past in their décor and transformed it into a hip and happening place for great cocktails, pumping music and friendly people. If you like to party with your boo, then this ‘house of love’ will give you plenty of opportunities to shake your thang on the dance floor.

pensao amor lisbon cocktails

If you’re in Lisbon in June, you’ll be able to catch the festa of Santo António – a national holiday that showcases parades, sangria, traditional Pimba music and general fantastic street parties!

wine in lisbon

5. Catch a glorious sunset

Lisbon seems to have created the romantic cobbled street, and it really shines through around sunset. In the build-up to sundown, pop into the tiny bakeries nestled into the walls of the different districts and pick up a sweet treat. A lovely custard tart or pastry from Pastéis de Belém coffee shop is the perfect nibble to give you the energy to walk Lisbon to find the top sunset spot.

sunset in lisbon

dessert in lisbon

Find a cup of Gelato at kiosks perched on street corners, such as Santini, and let the rich flavours takeover your senses. Then when the sun begins to gently set, the golden rays light up the vivid buildings and sparkle against the cobblestones. Head to a good sunset spot whilst peeping into the hidden courtyards and gardens of elaborate houses on the way.

hidden courtyards in lisbon

When the golden hour hits, you should already be at Park Bar with a refreshing G&T in hand. Perched at the top of a nondescript multi-storey car park, you’ll be searching for a while for the concealed entrance to Park Bar unless you have precise directions. The building on Calcada do Combro in Barrio Alto has a stairway inside on the left – head up to the very top and you’ll find yourself at the cool rooftop bar. This elevated garden terrace is the perfect place to relax away from the bustling streets and take in the brilliant view, especially at sunset. Also, be sure to check out Noo Bai Café for another great sunset spot!

best sunset in lisbon

If you want to enjoy your own private sunset every evening, try book yourself an Airbnb apartment with a roof terrace – just be aware that you will need to book well in advance as great places get snapped up very quickly in the run-up to summer. Airbnb is a perfect budget way to stay in Lisbon with your lover as you can enjoy feasts of fresh fruits and snacks from the local kiosks that lurk on every street corner. You don’t have to dine out for every meal of the day when you stay in an Airbnb apartment, meaning you can enjoy the romance of Lisbon without sweating over a budget.

romantic pink houses in lisbon

So if you’re feeling in a romantic mood and want to treat your honey to a lovely getaway, fly to Lisbon for a trip that will keep your belly, heart and wallet happy. Romance will never die in this Portuguese city so embrace the vibe and plan the most beautiful dates in one of the Europe’s most beautiful cities.

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5 Romantic Dates in Lisbon | Travelettes


All photographs by Sophie Saint

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane