Discover Lisbon, Potugal
Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly capital, located on the coast of the country. This capital city has recently in the last ten years become a very touristy location for many travelers It is totally worth visiting because of its vibrant, lively, colorful, cultural and an inexpensive prices. The people are genuine and kind, sparking blue water and captivating views are around every corner. This is a great place for citizens of the US to start/end their Euro travels because of the non-stop flights back and forth.
Lisbon was our last country we visited on our 110 day trip through Europe. Many people asked us, out of all the countries you have been to, which do you see yourself living in? We both instantly thought of Lisbon, Portugal.
Explore the hilly neighborhoods
Lisbon was built on seven hills, and trust me, after a couple days of walking around the city, you will feel each and every one of them in your legs! There are many ways to get up these hills besides your feet, including escalators, elevators and trams. Lisbon is divided into six main districts, but the most popular districts in Lisbon are:
- The Baixa District, which is the heart of Lisbon
- The Alfama District which is a maze of beautiful streets and seems to be the artistic district
- The Belem District, which has many of the popular tourists attractions and will need transportation to
- Barrio Alto and Chiado, which has all the nightlife and shopping
I feel as though the entire time we were in this gorgeous city, we were stuffin our face with the local food. Lisbon has some of the best food we have ever tried throughout Europe. No trip to Lisbon is complete without a taste of the local cuisine.We have put together a list of our favorite food in the city of Lisbon. Enjoy!
- Pastel De Nata
First on the list is a simple sweet that has become the most popular dish known to Portugal. Unlike most food trends, this is one with a long history. The humble pastel de nata dates back to the 1800s when monasteries made them as a way to use up extra egg yolks. We found our favorite warm egg tart at Santo António in the district of Alfama.
2. Cod Fish Cake
Here is a great Portuguese favorite. These Portuguese cod fritters, called pastéis de bacalhau, are made with salted cod, potato, onion, and garlic and filled with a delectable cheese, then fried for a traditional Portuguese treat. We tried the cod cakes at Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau which is a chain around the city. Pair this cake up with a nice glass of wine or beer for the ultimate treat.
BY FAR OUR FAVORITE!! The Portuguese love a good sandwich, just like any normal person. Portugal has not one but two sandwiches that are considered national sandwiches- The bifana and the prego. Both are simple sandwiches made with tender, thin pieces of meat. The bifana is made with pork, while the prego is made with beef. They are served on fresh bread that’s soft, with a bit of a floured crust that holds the juices in. Add cheese for a little extra creaminess and you will instantly fall in love. We had our first bifana/prego at O Trevo, which is a local spot with the BEST service and food!
Portugal is one of the best places in the world for fish and shellfish. The variety and freshness is just out of this world. Although it was a little touristy and on the higher end of our budget, we ate the BEST shrimp of our lives at O Golfinho on the beach of Costa de Caparica. This restaurant looks out to the beautiful ocean, offering seating inside and out with the most amazing seafood!
Okay okay, we know that this is not a local dish to the country of Portugal. As we mentioned- we went on a Euro trip for 110 days, going to 18 different countries all in which usually serve the well known “kebab.” We found this kebab at I Love Kebab to be one of the best. Served with a smile, delicious flavors and all for a VERY reasonable price.
With a well deserved break from the local food, we looked for the best Indian restaurant in Lisbon. As this is one of our favorite cuisines we can truly say that Natraj Tandoori has deliciously flavorful food served here. We love spicy Indian food and this place really kicked up the heat for us. We came to this restaurant twice while we stayed in Lisbon, that how much we enjoyed it!!
Where the locals hang out
If you are looking for a true local hangout in Lisbon- O Trevo is the answer. This place is always busy but the food and drinks are served at a timely manner from the friendly staff. With no seats at the bar, you stand with the locals drinking your cheap beer and eating your infamous bifana. The entire menu is in Portuguese however the staff will help you through the experience. Located in the district of Chiado, O Trevo has been around the block since the 70’s.
Take the picturesque tram 28
The number 28 Lisbon tram passes through the most popular neighborhoods of the city. For visitors, this is the classic Lisbon tram journey, riding in a quaint yellow tram as it screeches and rattles through the narrow streets. For only a couple dollars you can buy a ticket for the tram 28 however the tickets cannot be sold on the tram. You can either buy the ticket on the app (NETGO) or at each stop there is a ticket machine for purchase. Even if you do not decide to ride the tram, make sure to get a picture of the lovely tram running through the city streets.
Relax or surf at the beach
Surrounding Lisbon are some of Portugal’s finest beaches, and during the summer, a trip to the beach is a great addition to your holiday.
The beaches of the Lisbon region extend along four very different coastlines, and range from wild surfing beaches, through to calm family-oriented beaches and charming resort towns. Getting a nice relaxing break from the busy city to the lovely coast is the ultimate holiday for many people touring through this city.
For a cheap ride on the public transportation or an Uber ride 25 minutes out of the city we made it to Costa de Caparica. With a super long beach leading up to the calm ocean waves, this beach is perfect for a relaxing trip to the beach or for families with children.
Street art in the city
The city has already made its mark as one of the top destinations for artistic graffiti. These days, cities are covered in good and bad graffiti, Lisbon is one that has more of its fair share of the good variety. Without a doubt, Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s most colorful districts in every way. For an experience with a local, sign up for a walking street art tour who takes you around their city showing the most popular pieces. There is also different apps you can download on your smartphone which has a layout of over 150+ pieces around the city.
Views in the city
Anywhere you are in Lisbon more or less has an amazing view any way you look at it. We enjoy views that are not well-known to people just because they are usually always swarming with people.
An amazing view point! This was our favorite place to view the city. Although this is not the highest point to see the city, it is definitely the most open place with no trees blocking the view. Nearby there are cafes and shops where you can have a sip of coffee while enjoy the beautiful view. In this area there are locals selling cheap souvenirs, live entertainment and a beautiful garden. Near this area is the Igreja de Santa Luzia, a small catholic church collecting small donations for people to enter.
For one of the most popular view points and one that doe not exert any energy to get to, head to the Elevador de Santa Justa. Towering above the streets of Baixa, the elevator transports you up to the top for a glimpse of Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district. The lift ticket costs around 6 dollars and includes the ride both up and down and also entrance to the viewing tower up top.
Where we stayed
With a little bit of unorganized planning, we had to book our hotel in Lisbon at the very last minute. We ended up staying at the Novotel Lisboa in the district of Avenidas Novas. This district area consists of flat paved streets, wide traditional sidewalks and formal architecture. Avenidas Novas is the city’s business center located near the airport filled with many different hotels, restaurants and shopping. We have stayed in the chain of Novotel a lot during our travels through Europe and they have always been very comfortable for us. Novotel Lisboa has a restaurant on site, pool, sauna, exercise room and a giant buffet breakfast included in the rate. Although this hotel is north of the main districts of Lisbon, it is situated very close to the metro system which is very cheap.
Staying in the beach towns is another option for those who enjoy the beach more than the city life. This option however makes exploring the city more difficult but that may be lower on the list of priorities for some people.
WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED OUR RECOMMENDATIONS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL. NOW GO EXPLORE!!!