Starting my first post with the place that inspired me to create this blog… Lisbon.
Since my husband and I got married, we have a tradition to travel someplace we’ve never been as a couple for our anniversary (or at least one of us).
For our 3rd anniversary trip, he picked Portugal. I wasn’t that excited to be honest. We’ve been living in Brasil for the past 2 years and learning a new language will mentally drain you. The last thing I wanted to do was listen to more Portuguese. I wanted an English or Spanish-speaking country because I did not really want to think or feel lost. That’s when I learned that you need to get out of your comfort zone, and visit places where you don’t speak the language well. I really had to research to make sure i’d enjoy it. So with that, we bought tickets, booked hotels and cars… and off we went!
Lisbon became a fast favorite. The people are genuinely kind. The architecture and rooftop views are one of a kind… AND THEN THERE IS THE FOOD!
Here’s my top 10 favorite things to do in Lisbon:
Marvel at Torre de Belem
If you can only visit one Lisbon landmark, this is it. It is perhaps Lisbon’s most iconic structures and it’s considered one of Portugal’s 7 wonders. Easily accessible from via the Tram 15 or the City Sightseeing Tour Bus . Make sure to plan accordingly since its closed on Mondays.
Enjoy the sunset views in Castelo de São Jorge
Castelo de São Jorge is a Moorish castle overlooking Lisbon’s historic center. Inside the castle you will find cafes, ice cream parlors, and a wine cart in one of its lovely gardens. Pick your poison and enjoy the sunset!
Walk through the gardens of Palacio da Fronteira
This is perhaps Lisbon’s best kept secret. This property has been in the family of the Marqueses de Fronteira, one of Lisbons most prestigious families, for 13 generations, and it remains their residence. It’s not that accesible but it will be worth your while If you’re a palace lover
Learn about Portugal’s iconic tiles at Museo dos Azulejos
When one thinks of Portugal, their iconic blue and white tiles may be one of the first things to come to mind. To know more about this traditions origins, visit the National Tile Museum and learn about its importance going back to the XV century. You might even enjoy a nice Bolo de Bolacha in their cafe… that’s a cookie cake for tourists.
- Take a day trip to Sintra
Sintra is a picturesque town boasting extravagant palaces, ancient castles, and stunning scenery. Sintra is only 25km from Lisbon, and is accessible by regular train service, making the town an ideal stop on a day trip. Make the most of your trip by visiting the town’s historic centre, Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros, Quinta da Regaleira and Palácio da Pena. You can take a local bus to get to all these sites.
Eat like a local at Mercado da Ribeira
Savor the flavors of codfish pastry, roasted chorizo, local bread, olives, and sardines in Mercado da Ribeira. Here you will find the best of Portugal’s cuisine all under one roof. From top chef stands at low-cost prices, drink halls, and desserts, you can’t go wrong here.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
This 16th century beauty was built by King Manuel I to highlight the important role of Portuguese artistic and scientific discoveries. This monastery was later donated to the Jeronimos monks. It now holds religious collections and is the burial site of King Manuel I and Vasco Da Gama. After your visit walk, stroll over to Pasteis de Belem and taste their world famous and original pasteis de nata (custard pies).
Dance the night away in the Pink District
Rua Nova do Carvalho was once Lisbon’s Red Light District. Now it is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods , featuring popular bars like MusicBox, Sol e Pesca, and our favorite: Pink Wine Point.
If you’re like me and shopping is your thing, you’ll want to hit the Chiado or Avenida de Liberdade for a designer fix. Visit stores like STRÓ, a 100% Portuguese brand that only uses natural raw materials and produces exclusively in Portugal. Also visit Typographia, where they have the coolest t-shirts with illustrations of Lisbon. We must have been to that place every day while in Lisbon because my husband just couldn’t get enough.
Walk walk walk
Start a wonderful and simple walking tour of Lisbon in its Alfama District, then head back down to the Praça do Comércio – certainly the grandest square in Lisbon- through the arch onto rua Augusta, ride the Santa Justa lift, or enjoy the street performers. Afterwards take a stroll in Edward VII Park and savor the richness of the city’s culture.
I felt in love with Lisbon from day one. The city has something for everyone. How about you? Have you been? What are your top 10 things to do there?