Someone said that we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. And at some point, they are right. I love traveling and I strongly believe that this passion for exploring something new will let us stay alive and active.
I can not say that the destination I am going to describe is just a country. No, it is not
One of the smallest countries in Europe, it has outstanding food, wine, the unique rhyme of the life and special atmosphere no matter which part of the country you visit.
Sometimes I wonder how it is possible to combine all of these things together on such a small territory? How is it possible to be so beautiful? Good question, is not it?
We landed in Lisbon at around 2 P.M. and the first feeling you have is about how sunny this place is. Another fact which makes you speechless is architecture. Colorful buildings, super narrow streets, a lot of flowers on the balconies, roof bars and terrace cafes, spectacular views on the bridges or Alfama district..yes, it is everything about Lisbon. I would say that it can be named a king of the entire country. That is the place where you feel super small, a tiny one in comparison to everything you see – Castelo de São Jorge, high decorated buildings, Commercial Square and Ponte de 25 Abril. Every corner of the city has its own piece of history, its own story.
For example, the cobbles of the Castle remember not only Royals but prisoners during every century. The Commercial Square, the gate to the city, has beautiful arcades and lemon colors for the facade.
Even though Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, it remains very intimate and romantic. If you feel like spending an evening with the glass of wine and enjoying the sunset on one of those terraces in Alfama, you are in right place, you are in Lisbon. If you want to watch the combination of natural beauty and human’s hardworking, you should get closer to the Ponte de 25 Abril. It looks super magic during the evening. There are a lot of nice cozy cafes next to this bridge, so it is possible to have fun every second.
Lisboa is usually called one of the windiest spots in Europe. That is why it is better to grab your favorite jumper and someone who can give you a hug during some of the cold evenings.
A piece of small advice for people who are willing to visit Lisbon, – be very careful during the night. Because there are some people who sell drugs or let us call it drug-related products. They can simply approach to you asking if you want to buy some. But from another hand, there is nothing to be scared of. Once you say No, they will stop offering.
Where to stay: do not be surprised that there is no heating system in the city. It is my second time there and I could not find any accommodation which has a central system of heating. The reason is very easy to understand, – the weather. It is quite warm, so it does not make any sense to keep the apartment heated. However, hotels may provide decent AC with the “heating” mode. If you stay in the downtown, double check if the building has an elevator. In some of the buildings, stairs are so narrow, that one person can barely fit. Hotel da Baixa might be the best choice to experience Portuguese hospitality.
Public transport: I would suggest walking. Visitors usually think that the city is huge and it is impossible to check the places without using the transport. And they have a point to think so because you will not be able to walk to the airport for example. But if you are interested in exploring the historical part, it is fine to walk. One more thing to keep in mind, – you can catch the tram #28 and it will take you over interesting places in Lisboa. If you use metro for the first time, you will need to buy a card (they are available from the ticket machine) and then pay the ticket. Metro ticket is 1.90 euro, tram – 2.90 euro. There are several alternatives how to get to the city from the airport – metro, Aerobus (with 2 different directions – city center and the business center of the capital), taxi (ask for the receipt from the taxi driver, just to be on the safe side), Uber.
What to see: One of the must-see locations I usually to ask to see is Alfama. It is like a big huge garden with colorful balconies, small tiny streets, yellow trams, and charming churches. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, pastry shops, souvenir shops. In my opinion, this district will make you feel the Portuguese lifestyle as it is. Do not forget to go to Castelo de São Jorge, it has a lot of open terrace with the stunning views on the city. Lisboa can be proud of the Santa Justa Elevator. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it will take you to the altitude of 45 m. And as you suppose, there is nice scenery. While walking, you will not be able to miss Commercial Square, Rossio square, Avenida da Liberdade. Speaking about the last one, there are a lot of cafes with the live music, not only traditional fado but also young DJs play their own.
There is a Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery, which are located a bit away from the city center. They are situated next to the water, so one of the best spots to take pictures.
What to eat: Huge advice – go for the local food. There are plenty of places where you can try seafood, local wine or local pastry. They usually serve traditional starters which include bread, olives, some spread, some pickles might be included as well. One of the specialties I really liked – seafood soup. It tastes good and warms you up. Bear in mind that Portugal is famous for wine and pastries (pastel de Nata). No matter if it was produced next to Porto or in the Duoro region, it is always nice.
Listed as #1 seafood restaurant in Lisbon. Looking for awful sarcastic service where the customer is judged based on the bill and meal price, then yes, it is Ramiro. Unfortunately, it was a very poor experience.
First, you have to take a number, wait outside while your number will appear on the screen. It’s a pity but no one showed us a table meaning “go look for and get it” style. We were kicked out from one table, as it turned out the whole small hall on the 2nd floor was empty and therefore the waiter decided to just wave his hand kinda showing that this table won’t be served. Prices are way higher in comparison to other places. Not sure, I will ever give it the second chance!
One of the best seafood choices in Lisbon. Very simple, a family-like restaurant where they offer a wide variety of wine and great menu selection. Prices are average, service is on a high level as they pay attention to every guest no matter how much he/she will pay in the end.
3. Cozinha da Estacao
Rated as 4.4 out of 5 points on Google, this place really deserves the mark. Excellent service, decent prices, great juicy food ( I ordered salmon), big portions with perfect combination of veggies and meat(fish).
4. Atalho Real
Found by chance, Atalho impresses from the first step. High wide walls with old
Day Trips around Lisbon
- Praia do Magoito
Transport: train from Lisbon Rossio to Portela de Sintra Estação then bus 444 to Praia do Magoito.
Direct trains from Rossio Train Station which departures every 30 mins, ticket price is 2.25 euro.
3. Cabo da Roca
One of the most magnificent places on Earth, moreover it is the most western spot of Europe. How to get there: train from Rossio to Sintra, then 403 bus which departures from the train station. Ticket one way will cost 4.25 euro.
Lisbon Places of Interest