We’ve left Rome behind and carried on to Lisbon, impatient and a bit tired from all the hustle and bustle through airports.
But I could already fell the ocean scent. Even in flight mode:)
It was obvious that i would love this city. There are so many things that i wanted to see that i was a bit scared i wouldn’t make it in time for all of them. But I had a plan, a military strategy even. What can I say, it didn’t help:)
Where did we stay?
At the Dom Joao Residencial. The location is perfect so i have to recommend it not only for the great breakfast but for the surroundings. But don’t do it if you are travelling on a budget. If you do, Airbnb will be perfect for you.
Going back to accommodations, the place is half a hour walk to Alfama, the home of Fado. Also, in less than 25 minutes we can reach the Baixa, on foot. Speaking of walking, in 3 days’ time we got this: 15-16 km of walking, a minimum of 9 active hour per day and more than 20.000 steps in 24 Hours’ time. I’d say it’s more than fine. I am so lucky to have booked a pedicure after getting back home.
TIP: if you have walked, biked or just made a lot of exercise in a short amount of time, just book a massage or a pedicure. It’ll take your pain away like snap!
Where to go?
In Lisbon, at the Oceanario, you can make it in 20 minutes by subway or in half an hour by public transport.
I had an amazing time with the otters, sea dragons, puffins and an entire population of fish checking out the tourists. It’s the biggest aquarium in Europe and it sure deserves 2 hours of your time, to discover it. I recommend it especially for toddlers, it’ll be a blast. And to older kids for the variation and the complexity. It’ll leave you in awe.
To the 25 Abril bridge, from Alfama it’ll take approximatively 25 minutes of strolling. But just so you know, the pictures are better taken from uphill, on the St Jorge Castle belleview.
Now, you still have to reach the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery which are close enough from one another, and not to worry, there is a pasteleria close by, where you can catch your breath.
And you know what that means, right? Pasteis de Belem, by all means! These little pastries are so good. And there really is a difference between Pastel de Nata and Pastel de Belem: Nata can be found everywhere in Lisbon but they are way too sweet for my taste. Therefore I recommend Pastel de Belem and more, just take a look at the menu below.
I also recommend that you get there before 12 at noon, for it seems to be the time that all the tourists get hungry at. So, in order to get a table in the backyard, bet time to be there is around 10:30 – 11.00
I wish we could have also got 2 seats at the Hippotrip but it was on a short notice. I heard it’s a cool thing to do: you can see all the main attractions of Lisbon in and out of the water: Check this out!
But for you, it’s not too late: the tickets can be purchased online alsoJ Maybe not even for us if i come to think about it, coming back is a thing to consider.
Bairro Alto is a beacon of light at night but in the daytime, not so much. Everything is closed and you’ve got no business there until 15:00 when it’s fairly cleaned up. If you get there by the beginning of June, you’re in luck: the Flamenco festival is on!
TIP: unless it’s absolutely necessary or you fell in need to helping out students or nomads, you could take a tuk-tuk for a ride. These things are annoyingly expensive for a cab alternative.
What to eat?
Bacalao, torresmos, carangueijo, gambas, queijo de Azeitao, cozido and polvo.
I have to recommend from the Lisbon Passport tour to try out the Pastel de Bacalhau: it’s a code special, like a cake, very refined one and filled with hot, melting cheese.
The fish and seafood of all kinds are to be tried in any restaurant. Especially for those of you who enjoy sardines, unpretentious and savory, you are in luck: they’re to be found everywhere!
What to drink?
Besides Porto? Vihno Verde, Touriga Nacional, Douro, Alicante and Mencia. I know it sounds corny but, beside the wine tasting tours around town, i advise you to try the Sauvignon Blanc at the St Jorge Castle. From up there you can see the whole town, and in fact they have a wide selection of red, roze and white wines. So, it’s not necessary to stop after just one.
We’ve also tried out a few other types downtown, at the Conservatoria, it’s the „new” tapas concept of restaurant, with everything coming out of an olive oil can. I got the best laugh as i asked for a Gazpacho soup and the gentleman serving us asked if I’m ok with the „concept style” as I replied „sure”. Well, i got instead of soup, a well diced fresh tomato and cucumber salad:))) Talk about concept. But the wine was a wise choice.
And have Sangria as much as you can, anywhere, pink, white, tinta, no matter the color. It will keep you warm, comfort thirst, hunger and as an appetizer. That is if you don’t like the local beer.
Talking about beer, you must check out the beer museum. Museu de Cerveja is located in Praca de Comercio, and holds, besides the museum part that takes no more than 20 minutes to see, a glam beer pub. Here you can find the only beer shrine I’ve ever seen. Maybe there are some others out there in the world but as far as I go, i have never seen a beer pub with stained glass windows that show patron angels of the holy beer!
What to take back home?
It has got to be a lot of Fado and Bossanova, asulejos, jamon and wine. You can find them everywhere, at mostly the same prices and if you are to get them in the street markets, don’t forget to negotiate each and every purchase. But if you are too serious, don’t bother too much; It’s Lisbon! 🙂
Am I missing something here?
Oh yes, one last tip: while in Lisbon, take a cab if you must get around town and you feel tired or just too much shopping. It is really convenient: you get traveling tips for free, it’s clean, cheap and easy. But less romantic than the tram:)