Hey guys! Today we’re going to Lisbon, Portugal. Recently, if you remember I wrote about my two-day adventure in Porto, if you missed it, it’s – HERE.
For today, I prepared for you a guest post from Lisbon. Who is my new guest? Check it before you read about the city 😉
Today with us is Debbie.
Debbie is a photo/videographer from Portugal a full-time traveler and blogger . I´m 35 years young with a curious open mind! Travel has always fascinated me and therefore I decided to quit the 9 to 5 / 20 days of vacation per year. I found my way as a digital nomad and I share it on my blog. My dream is to help others to achieve the dream to work and travel anywhere, anytime!
Debbie work you can follow on social media:
After we found out who is Debbie, let’s take that ride together!
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
― Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
This is how you’ll feel once you leave the beautiful Portuguese Capital Lisbon.
Although I was born in the most beautiful city of Portugal, Porto, I lived for some time in Lisbon and I fell in love at first sight with this beautiful city, full of history and incredible places. That’s what I’m going to talk about.
First things first!
HOW TO GET THERE?
There are many ways to get to Lisbon and all of them are easy to use. With the airport just a few minutes from the center of the city, stations with international rail links and various ports for cruise ships, there are many options for getting to the capital of Portugal. If you prefer to come by car, there are excellent roads from various points north and south along the border with Spain.
WHEN TO GET THERE
You can visit Lisbon any time of the year – it’s never too rainy or too cold. But you might like to know the following :
Is the peak season in Lisbon with several festivals and events all over the city. One of the most famous is the Festa de Santo Antonio in the historic neigbourhoods, with street parties that include sardine-feasting, drinking and dancing.
Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate, with mild weather throughout the year. Typical temperatures for summer range between 25ºC and 30°C (77°F to 86°F), with clear skies and lots of sun. Summer is the perfect time to go to one of the beaches around Lisbon, take surf lessons or sunbathe on the bank of the River Tejo. Expect some crowded shores.
The winter months in Lisbon, from December to mid-March, are warm when compared to those of most European countries because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The average temperature is 12ºC (54ºF). Daytime temperatures are generally comfortable, around 16ºC (61ºF), but at night they can lower, freezing days are rare in Lisbon, and snow is nonexistent.
Hotel rates and airline tickets are cheapest in this season. There are less tourists, and attractions can be visited without enduring a long wait.
Spring and Autumn
Spring and autumn are good seasons to visit Lisbon, with average daytime temperatures from 20ºC to 25ºC (68ºF to 77°F).
Spring, from March to May, is mild, with showers or periods of rain, which become rare by the end of April.
From mid-September to November, the weather is still warm and sunny most of the days, gradually becoming colder and rainy as November approaches. Be sure to pack an umbrella and a raincoat if you visit Lisbon during this time of the year.
HOW TO GET AROUND
The city is not very large and has a reasonable public transport system. In central Lisbon, the metro is the most practical way to travel, complemented by the yellow buses and trams to reach parts of the city that are not accessible by metro.
To get around Lisbon and save money, buy the rechargeable Viva Viagem card and put money on it. The card is valid for one year from the date of acquisition, during which it can be charged as you go.
For specific journeys, on board tickets have different prices: €1.80 on bus, €2.85 on tram, €3.60 return on the Bica, Glória and €5 return on the Santa Justa lift, including access to the viewpoint.
The metro is the quickest and most practical way to travel around the city. The metro networkhas 4 lines, each identified by a different colour: green (Telheiras – Cais do Sodré), blue (Reboleira – Santa Apolónia), yellow (Odivelas – Rato) and red (Aeroporto – São Sebastião).
The metro service runs from 6.30am-1am every day.
Some metro stations are contemporary art exhibits, decorated with sculptures, mosaics, tiles and paintings, namely Olaias, Marquês de Pombal, Parque and Aeroporto stations.
Lisbon has six tram routes, three funiculars and one vertical lift. While still a valid transport in Lisbon, they are also a fun way to discover the city.
The vintage tram #28 is a tourist attraction, and one of the most popular trams. It runs through some of Lisbon’s most picturesque spots such as Alfama, Graça and Chiado. Go early if you want to avoid the the crowds. On summer evenings, you can enjoy the views and the city’s calmness if you take the tram between 8pm and 10pm.
Other useful lines are tram #12 that goes through the castle neighborhood from Martim Moniz, the modern tram #15 connecting Praça da Figueira and Belém, tram #18 between Cais do Sodré and Ajuda, and tram #25 between Rua da Alfândega and Campo de Ourique via Santos, Lapa and Estrela.
Three funiculars and one lift climb Lisbon’s steepest hills. Of course they also descend them, but you’ll want to catch the ride up (as walking down is easy). All are National Monuments since 2002.
THE MOST AUTHENTIC (shhh… don’t tell anyone),
Very few tourists make it to Madragoa but I love to go there. It keeps its charm from before the 1755 earthquake, along with Alfama, it’s Lisbon’s oldest fishing neighbourhood. The white narrow cobblestone streets, traditional colourful buildings make part of its architecture. During the day it’s paradise for photographers, streets are lonely, during dusk the colors become amazing, and at night restaurants open their doors to welcome the hungry.
Alfama is the one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Lisbon. It’s the birthplace of Fado. You can visit the medieval castle of S. George that offers beautiful views to the city. The rest is up to you, walk around and get lost in the small charming streets, you won’t regret it. To get there, take Tram 28.
Talking about fado, the traditional Portuguese music. It will give you goosebumps. a performance featuring two fadistas (fado singers) accompanied by two guitarists, playing classic and Portuguese guitars but its it’s hard to describe the feeling.
The Portuguese invented fado because we have a lot to complain about. On one side we have the Spanish with their swords; on the other side there’s the sea, which was unknown and fearful. When people set sail we were waiting and suffering, so fado is a complaint.” – Amália Rodrigues
Although you’ll find fado houses (casas do fado) throughout Lisbon, the majority tend to be located in two districts: Alfama and the Bairro Alto. Finding a good fado house is hard. More specifically, finding a good fado house that serves good food is hard. Many are quite touristy, or just don’t put the effort in with the food. These are my favourites:
Clube De Fado
Clube De Fado is one of the most popular fado venues in Lisbon. It can be a little touristy, and the food isn’t fantastic. The best option is to eat somewhere else, and turn up after 22:30 for drinks.
- Address: Clube De Fado,1100-009 Lisbon, Portugal
- Open daily from 20:00 – 02:00
Senhor Vinho isn’t located in either Alfama or the Bairro Alto but in Lapa. The food is much better, but the prices are also steeper. If you’re looking for good food and good fado, and most importantly don’t mind spending a bit extra, this is one to check out.
- Senhor Vinho charges a cover charge of €25
- Address: Rua do Melo a Lapa 18 Lisbon, 1200-723
- Open Monday to Saturday from 20:00 to 02:00
A Tasca do Chico
If you don’t fancy venturing away from the Bairro Alto, A Tasca do Chico is one of the best bets. This is the venue that Anthony Bourdain visited when he came to Lisbon. As with anywhere that he visited, it’s no longer off the beaten track. It does have a good atmosphere though.
- Address: Rua do Diário de Notícias 39, 1200-108 Lisboa, Portugal
- Open daily from 19:00 to 03:00
Talking about this restaurants just remind me to recommend my favourites places to eat in Lisbon.
WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT
Some people consider that Portugal is the best-kept culinary secret in all of Europe. As a Portuguese who travels the world and loves to taste all the foods …i have to agree.
Pasteis de Belem are the most popular egg tarts in Lisbon. They have a rich history and the queue to get one is huge! But If you ask any local, they will tell you that they prefer Manteigaria’s pastel de nata. I have tried both of them and I believe they are both equally good. The good thing about Manteigaria is it’s much more convenient to eat a pastel since they have two shops in more central areas!
Address: Rua do Loreto, nº 2 – Freguesia: Encarnação – Chiado and there’s one more in Time Out Food Market
- TABERNA DA RUA DAS FLORES
There’s a constant line of people waiting outside this restaurant, and here’s why: they don’t take reservations here, the restaurant is small, the food is delicious and very good value. Owned by selftaught chef André Magalhães, this tiny temple of traditional cuisine mirrors the old tabernas of Lisbon in both the décor and the food served.
Rua das Flores 103
+351 21 347 9418
You can’t get much smaller than Leopold. The minuscule restaurant in Mouraria only seats 12 guests that come to taste the innovative cuisine of chefowner Tiago Feio. The restaurant has no exhaust, thus no stove… yes, a stoveless restaurant that still manages to serve outstanding food. Try it to believe it.
Rua São Cristóvão 27
+351 21 886 1697
I could recommend hundreds more restaurants but Lisbon is a great city for eating out as there is no connection between the cost of the meal and the quality. Always remember the philosophy that if it is busy then it must be good and if it full with locals, it must be even better.
THE THINGS YOU MUST SEE
Castelo de São Jorge
The Moorish Castle of São Jorge is strategically located on the highest hill in Lisbon and is overlooking Alfama and Tejo River. From the top of the castle, you get some panoramic views of the entire city and the Tagus River.
Praca do Comercio
Located in the most central area, this emblematic square has traditionally painted buildings lining the three sides and a statue of King Jose positioned in the centre. Don’t miss the views from Rua Augusta Arch which is located right in front of the square.
Belem used to be the harbor and departure point of the Portuguese ships during the Discoveries Era. It has the most important historical monuments, beautiful gardens and views of the river. Don’t miss out on Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
LX factory is also known as the hipster miny city in Lisbon. It includes everything ; restaurants, cafes, bars, vintage shops, bakery and much more! It’s very close to the Belem area, so you can stop on your way to and from Belem.
Parque Eduardo VII
A really beautiful park really close to Marques de Pombal. Stunning views of Lisbon and great place to take some stunning photos.
Lisbon is also home to the largest indoor aquarium in Europe that has over 450 species of fish, marine mammals and birds. You need at least several hours to explore the aquarium and don’t miss on the opportunity to visit tone of the most impressive aquariums in the world – you will surely like it.
One thing I absolutely love about Lisbon is how casual and fun, a night out can be. Of course, If you like something fancier, there are some cocktail bars and night clubs too.
- Bairro Alto: It’s one of the most popular hotspots during night. The Erasmus Corner is filled with international students and visitors from every country. Generally, this area has some really drinks – imagine a beer can be as cheap as one euro! I am not going to recommend any bars since I am convinced that they are pretty similar between them.
- Cais do Sodre: Also known as the Pink Street – It used to be the meeting point for criminals, sailors and prostitutes resulting in a really bad reputation. A few years ago, this street had been transformed into the Street you see today. It has some of the most posh bars and nightclubs in Lisbon, such as Pensão Amor , (that’s where I had the most expensive cocktail in Lisbon for €12 – whoops) where there is also a live performance usually. Also check out Bar do Cais for a wine testing and try espumante : the sparkling wine of Portugal.
- Rooftop Culture: Lisbon is home to some of the greatest rooftop bars. There’s great music, nice atmosphere and of course great views. I am rooftop enthusiast so I have been to the best rooftop bars in Lisbon. My favorite by far is Park, followed by Topo , the rooftop bar at Hotel Mundial and Lost In for bohemian vibes!
- Nightclubs: After having your drinks in Bairro or Cais, you should definitely check out the club scene. Most people go clubbing between 1-2 am so don’t go too early! Some of the most popular clubs are K Urban Beach, Musicbox , Lust in Rio and of course Lux is the best.
Lisbon it’s a beautiful place, and it’s the main reason why so many tourists show up every year. There is beauty everywhere you look, from the architecture that harks back to the time of the Moors, to the hand-painted blue tiles from the 15th century, to the beautiful plazas with marble floors, to the cobblestone streets under your feet. And don’t forget, Lisbon is the city of the seven hills therefore wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking up and down. A lot.
There are stairs built as shortcuts to help pedestrians go from one street to another. And when you go down, you go all the way down to the ocean, which is pretty amazing in itself.
Finally, Portugal was once a colonial empire, and one of the longest lasting. It’s no surprise that the influences of its former colonies, Goa, Macau, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, to name a few, can be seen and felt everywhere, even in its food.
Enough talking. Book it Now! 😉
P.S. Guys did you know Portugal won the world’s best destination and Lisbon the worlds city break?! 😀
More about that award you can read on Debbie’s blog post – HERE.
Debbie the Nominal-Nomad
* This text reflects the opinions and experiences of the guest writer and does not reflect the views of the blog author traveloptician.com