There’s no better escape than a European city break in the summer. No plans, no set itinerary, just wandering, eating and enjoying. We had some annual leave coming up so figured we’d explore a new city and that chosen city was Lisbon. I’ve been to Portugal before, to the Algarve, but I was desperate to explore those pastel streets. We had about 48 hours to explore, arriving lunch time on the Tuesday, and departing the same time on the Thursday, and here’s the postcards.
Wandering Lisbon is no joke, it’s a very steep city where it feels like you’re heading up hill a whole lot more than you’re coming down. It’s also majority tiled so if you have any rain, it gets very slippy. There’s great transport around though; from the metro to the famous yellow trams and lifts on the steepest of hills.
The city really is as beautiful as the photos make it look, there’s no trick editing here. Every building is a new shade, a new tile and a unique shape. Don’t rush around, take it all in and wander down every street.
Straight off the plane and to our first food spot of the trip and we headed to Coyo Taco. This place is a chain with other locations across the world but it was incredible. We had chicken, pork and seabass tacos – those seabass tacos were AMAZING!
The Pink Street is listed on every must see list; it’s the old red light district of the city and now is a bustling street filled with restaurants and bars. It’s not that exciting to see but worth just taking a quick walk down, it’s quite gritty and sometimes the pink street is more a grey but that’s part of the charm I guess!
Our first breakfast was Seagull Method Cafe. They have sister cafes around the city, the most popular being Heim. A tip for you, we arrived at both cafes we had breakfast in, at 9am for opening. By 9:10 they were both full and we had window spots only because we were first or second through the door. Cafes tend to open for breakfast at 9, meaning everyone is already raring to go so arrive early or you could be turned away.
One advantage of being so steep is great viewpoints throughout the city. This spot is Miradouro De Santa Luzia, it’s a free to enter area with a gorgeous view, one level down is a little kiosk to grab a drink and take it all in.
Possibly the best photo spot whether you want a snap for your Instagram or a professional photographer; the Elevator Da Bica. We didn’t actually ride it as it’s 3.80euros to do so, and the journey really is about a minute long! Snap a photo from the top and from the middle as it passes through between the side roads.
Portugals most famous food, the Pastel De Nata. We set out to try three; two highly rated bakeries and one from a cute cafe, to see if they really do differ or if they’re all essentially the same. We started at Casa Sao Miguel which is tucked in Alfama and is just so cute. These ones we had with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top – very good start!
Second and ultimately my favourite pastel, was Manteigaria. They have a few spots around the city and the one we popped into was inside the Time Out Market. They were creamy, flakey, and oh so good!
The most talked about Pasteis, Pasteis De Belem. These guys are the original owners of the recipe and don’t refer to theirs as Pastel De Nata’s, but Pastel De Belem. To get here, you want to grab a train to Belem, and a short walk will bring you here, expect big queues. This one was warm which was fab, definitely crispier than the others but not my favourite!
Whilst in the Belem area, there’s a few things to do, so make the most of the trip out. Over by the water, you’ll find this monument, the Padrao Dos Descobrimentos, erected in honour of Portugals Prince Henry the Navigator in 1960.
And a further 20 minute walk, you’ll find the LX Factory which is a cool hub of restaurants, pop up stores, a huge book store and more. This is a good opportunity to grab a drink and a breather before jumping back on the train. There’s a train station closer to the Factory than having to walk all the way back to Belem station, head to Alcantara station only a few minutes away.
The food options here are incredible, it’s very difficult to decide on each meal! One evening for dinner, we headed to Valdo Gatti for pizza and it was soo good!
One of the prettiest parts of Lisbon, is Alfama. This is the oldest part of the city where the streets become narrower, quainter and vibrant with life.
Our second day breakfast choice was the gorgeous, Dear Breakfast. This spot is on a winding street, with trams passing through. This is another spot where we arrived at 9am for opening, and within minutes all the best seats in the house were taken. Arrive for 9am to get the window spot and watch the trams as you eat – you’ll start to feel like a local!
As we visited in June, the streets were decorated with garlands, flags and banners. This is because throughout the entire month, they celebrate the Patron Saints and party through the nights. There’s pop up bars everywhere, street parties and generally great vibes. We weren’t staying in the heart of the city, but something to bare in mind if you opt for an Air B’n’B in the narrow streets.
Our final meal was one not to miss, the delicious Boa Bao – those duck bao buns were out of this world!
Don’t skip out on visiting a rooftop bar, whether you go during the afternoon or evening. We opted for Lumi Rooftop which is in the Lumineres hotel (a gorgeous hotel but a pricey stay!) the views are beautiful and the drinks were delicious.
Lots of love to Lisbon, may we meet again.