I decided to put a city guide together, where I share my recommendations and tips in the city. I have been for five days so I obviously don’t know every little thing in Lisbon but enough to share some with you. You never know, it might come in handy when you pay the city a visit.
Just like any other city you have to be aware of pickpockets. When you carry a
camera and a map it’s quite hard to hide you’re a tourist, but there’s no need to. Just be aware of the fact that not everybody that wants to help you actually wants to help you. Especially in the real centre there might be some weird encounters – a guy came up to us a few times to sell marijuana. If you’re a woman you might get catcalled. It happens and it’s extremely annoying. Ignore it or say something back – in your native language. They will be gone quickly, believe me.
The underground is quite easy to use since they don’t have that many lines. It can be quite expensive if you don’t know exactly what ticket to buy. I suggest you go to a ticket service on your first day and ask all the information. But you can easily walk from one place to the other. We took the bus from the airport to the hotel but used the underground when we left and it went way quicker and was way cheaper. But that depends on where your hotel is.
I was surprised how cheap water and coffee is. And the food in general actually. Salads are mostly around 6 – 9 euros. I’m definitely not used to that here in Belgium. And coffee is 0,70 cent. I had to look twice the first time I saw that :)
Watch out because this is quite intense, since the entire city goes up and down and a few streets are really steep it will feel like doing a whole workout. But the view from the top is oh so worth it. The picture on the left was taken after climbing a lot of streets – I’m not really sure if it was really Alfama though. And yes I did have to wait 10 minutes until a tram passed, but it did and I was able to take this lovely picture.
I suggest you start your walk on the Praça do Commercio – picture above – and walk through the Bairro Alto, Rua Augusta, …
Definitely go on the tram 28 too. In the beginning I was a bit sceptic because it seemed like the ultimate tourist attraction. And it is but I can understand it now. It’s really special to see the little streets and also a bit frightening to ride so close to the houses and cars. Buy your ticket on forehand though, the price on the tram is more expensive.
This part of Lisbon is accessible by train – there may be other option but we took the train. You will only see tourists but it’s worth taking a look. The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Pasteis de Belém are located there – more on that later.
Also pay a visit to the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. It’s the most famous monument of Lisbon. It’s not that special but if you’re there anyway you might as well take a picture of it :)
A museum I highly recommend is Calouste Gulbenkian. Every piece in the museum belonged to Gulbenkian’s, one of the wealthiest man on earth, private collection. We only did the permanent collection but that was more than enough. And if you’re a student don’t forget to ask your student discount – all museums have one. The garden is magnificent as well! We sat there until the sun started to set and it was just so relaxing and beautiful.
Castelo De São Jorge
This castle is also for the hardcore tourist. But there’s no better place to get a better view of Lisbon. It’s absolutely gorgeous. You can walk around in the castle and there’s also a little museum. The picture below was taking on top of the castle. Nothing can beat that view right?
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
The monastery is located in Belém. It’s a beautiful place, so picture worthy. On a sunny day with blue sky it’s magnificent. Do keep in mind that it can be quite busy.
Next door is the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia. Since I’ve been to a lot of museums like that, the things I’ve seen weren’t new but if you’re interested in that it’s worth taking a look.
Here you can read more about the estufas and see more pictures. But I had to include it because I definitely recommend it!
The picture below is Parque Eduardo VII right next to the botanic garden.
Food & Drinks
Pastéis de Belém
You have not been to Lisbon if you haven’t eaten a Pastel de Nata. In this historic place you can eat the famous Pastéis de Belém – which are exactly the same as Pastel de Natas I think, correct me if I’m wrong. They arrive on your table still hot and you can actually see them being made. It is extremely crowdy in here though. We were lucky and didn’t have to queue but be prepared. And don’t forget to buy some to take home.
R. Belém 84-92
The day we arrived we decided to take a stroll through the part close to our hotel. We passed this coffeebar and of course had to go in. There are some really nice hipster coffee and lunch places in Lisbon, to my surprise. This place is very cozy and close to the centre.
Perfect to take a little break inbetween discovering Lisbon.
R. da Madalena 121
If it isn’t for the gorgeous decor or pop music – the chef = the dj – then you should visit this place for it’s delicious food. We stumbled on it while walking through Alfama and looked no further. There’s something about books on the wall that makes my heart feel at home.
R. de São João da Praça 93-95
Ao Pé Da Sé
This lunch spot – I say lunch spot, you can go eat there in the evening too – has by far the prettiest location. Or maybe it was because I felt so at peace sitting on a terrace with a perfect view – in winter ! – in a beautiful city with nothing on my mind. We had an iced tea and it was unsweetened, hands down.
Cruzes da Sé 31
Lateral Cais do Sodre
In Lisbon they eat very late. Now I’m not used to that at all so most places we went to weren’t crowded. In this restaurant we were sitting completely alone – they let us in when the restaurant wasn’t even open yet.
This restaurant had a high score on tripadvisor so we had to eat there. Now how happy I am that we did. This was so good. I had octopus with potatoes and spinach and my sister had the tuna. I would go back to Lisbon only for this dish – honestly I would. And if you’re there don’t forget to pick this dessert too, you can chose three mini versions of all their desserts.
371, Tv. Remolares 35
Number two on Tripadvisor, one of the best restaurants in Lisbon. And it’s definitely worth its second place. They only have 6 tables so you definitely need to make a reservation.
Av. Conde Valbom 61
Porto & Wine Bar
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 143
Arco Portas do Mar
Reinha D. Amélia
In Alfama there are a few.