NEXT STOP… LISBON!
Hi guys! My travel guide is finally live! Nirina and I flew to Lisbon last month for five nights and it’s safe to say we saw and did a lot in the space of a few days. I have been getting a good few questions about where we stayed and what we got up to so I tried to cover as much as I possible in this post but if you still have questions feel free to comment below or DM me. Lisbon is definitely a city I would visit again. Here’s why…
We flew direct with Aer Lingus (Dublin to Lisbon) and our flight time was three hours. We pre-booked a taxi via the MyTaxi app so this saved us having to queue at the airport. We ended up using the MyTaxi App a few times throughout the trip as it was so handy and really cheap.
Getting around Lisbon is very easy if you use the transport card (VIVA Card) and top up as you go. We topped up with €20 for the week so it worked out very cheap again which was great.
We stayed in an Airbnb hosted by Sofia & Luís, in the Santos area. I was glad we picked this particular apartment as the location was very good, with nearby access to the tram (25, 28) and bus (713, 773, 774) services.
The apartment was minimalistic and quite spacious which was great. There was three rooms in total: the bedroom, the living room and the bathroom. Our hosts very kindly had freshly squeezed orange juice, a bowl of strawberries & cherries, and two traditional Pastel de Nata waiting for us on arrival. It’s the little things. There was also fresh bread rolls and a jar of jam. The air conditioning unit was modern and worked perfectly, and the WiFi worked very well throughout the apartment. Good air con, cleanliness and working wifi are my top three essentials whenever I am abroad so no complaints there.
One issue was the ventilation system in the bathroom. The bathroom doesn’t have a window therefore, hot air has a very small way out and lingers. This aside, it was a very enjoyable stay and I would recommend it to anyone planning a trip over.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Nirina and I stayed in her aunt aunt & uncle’s house in Parede for the first few nights – I loved the area. It is situated in the west of Lisbon on the coast and it’s in between two larger towns – Oeiras and Cascais. Parede is full of quiet streets and unique buildings. Definitely worth a visit if you’re passing through.
On our first morning we decided to chill out by the pool and so I fully intended on making the most of it. Yes, I brought my flamingo with me! I called her Betty!
Later that afternoon we headed over to Cascais which is only about a 30 minute train ride from Parede. This beautiful town reminded me of Monte Carlo. You will find palm trees, a harbour, a sandy beach and an endless amount of restaurants, cafes and shops. After exploring the area for a few hours we enjoyed our first Portuguese ice cream and walked along the sea front back to Estoril to catch the train home. Definitely a town worth visiting.
TORRE DE BELÉM
The Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) was at the top of my list as it’s seen as one of the main sights to visit in Lisbon. This medieval fortified tower sits on a tiny island with a rooftop terrace. There was a massive queue to get inside when we got there so we decided to just admire it from the outside. Tip – get there early if you want to go inside.
AOS COMBATENTES DO ULTRAMAR
Our next stop was the Aos Combatentes do Ultramar (Monument for Fallen Combatants Overseas). A beautiful tribute to the soldiers of Portugal over the years. It also has an eternal flame in the middle of the structure – it’s not far from the Belém tower so do pop over for a glance.
PADRA DOS DESCOBRIMENTOS
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos is also situated in Belém. This statue can’t be missed. It was built in 1940 but only made permanent twenty years later in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death.
Love ice-cream? I recommend stopping off at Ciao Ciao Italia for a €2 ice-cream on your way back. I got a latte and a raspberry flavour! YUM!
PONTE 25 DE ABRIL
Another sight that was top of my list. When visiting the above, we walked back down towards the Ponte 25 de Abril, which is also known as the “Golden Gate Bridge” due to its resemblance to the San Franciscan bridge. I was dying to get a few shots of this as San Fran is also on my to-do list. What a bridge!
The next day we walked to the Bairro Alta area through all its hidden alleyways and colourful streets. It is the central district of the city of Lisbon. Eventually, we found the famous Tram 28 at Largo Calhariz. The excitement! After taking at least 100 photos of this adorable little tram we headed to Alfama.
I had heard great things about Alfama so we walked to the Baixa-Chiado metro station to make our way over. It is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. Again, lots of hidden streets, archways, steep steps and beautiful buildings. When we arrived to the Old Town of Lisbon, we made our way to the top for views from the Miradouro das Portas do Sol observation deck. Although it was a steep walk and it just under 30 degree heat, it was 100% worth it.
MIRADOURO DAS PORTAS DO SOL
The views from the top were breathtaking to say the least – colourful buildings, blue skies and the ocean. Next to this was another beautiful observation point, the Jardim Júlio de Castilho. This was surrounded by what looked like thousands of flowers and again, the views were incredible. The heat had started to take its toll so we stopped off at Terrassa Alfama at Restaurante Portas do Sol for a few cocktails before walking back towards Martim Moniz.
PRAIA DE CARCAVELOS – BEACH DAY
Our next stop was Carcavelos beach – a relaxing day out was exactly what the doctor ordered. Nirina had been to this beach last year and loved it so it was added to our list straight away and it did not disappoint. We found two sun beds under umbrellas and set up shop for the day. They only cost €15 per couple for the day which was great. We spent the next few hours chilling and diving into the sea of course. Bliss!
PALACE OF SAINT BENEDICT
The Palace of Saint Benedict (Palácio de São Bento) is the home of the Assembly of the Republic, the Portuguese parliament. This was just a 5 minute walk from our AirBnB so we pretty much passed it every day. Nearby is the official residence of Portugal’s Prime Minister.
PRACA LUIS DE CAMOES
A city square and popular meeting spot with a monumental statue of a legendary 16th-century poet. The square was packed with tourists and locals and had a great atmosphere. It’s next to a few shopping spots so make sure to stop off if you’re passing through.
WINING AND DINING
SO many people recommended this place so we headed to the famous (not-so-secret) Park Bar to see what all the fuss was about and to watch the sunset over the city. This hidden rooftop bar is on the top floor of an actual car park on Calçada do Combro. We headed over at about 8pm on a Friday and it was packed so I would suggest getting there early. There are three bars in total and a few seats scattered around the top floor too. I ordered the most amazing Cucumber Collins cocktail. Gin-based of course. Yum!
RESTAURANTE PICA PICA
This was our very first foodie spot in Cascais and it did not disappoint. We ordered the Sharing Platter for 2 (this was €30), which included goats cheese crostini, octopus, chorizo, fish croquettes, Gambas, shrimp fishcakes, Portuguese black pudding, and roasted potatoes. So tasty! The service was very friendly and it was just off the Main Street so you can’t miss it.
SEA ME – TIME OUT MARKET
We made it to the well-known Time Out Market on our second day. Again, so many people suggested this place so we made it a priority. We both chose the Sea Me counter where I had cod cakes and tomato rice. Not too pricey and quite filling. Definitely worth visiting if you’re a lover of food and drinks.
RESTAURANTE SAN TELMO
We went here on our first night out in Lisbon. A cosy little spot just a 10 minute walk from the apartment. I ordered Sea Bream for the first time and it really hit the spot. We shared a bottle of wine and a dessert because well, why not? The staff were friendly and the food was reasonably priced.
A hipster café with a funky menu and a great vibe. I ordered avocado toast with a poached egg and a latte. We were still a little peckish after our mains so we decided to share the most amazing Praline Waffle. It’s in a hidden location but worth a visit.
THAT’S A WRAP!
There you have it – my Lisbon Travel Guide. I’ve included the essentials but if you have any other questions feel free to comment below. Where to next? I will keep you posted! 😉 I had the nicest time exploring all areas of Lisbon, trying local cuisine and taking in all of the views. Have you been to Lisbon? Comment below and let me know how you got on.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time…