Lisbon, the largest of Portugal’s cities is a must see for sun, culture and food. The capital is spread across steep hillsides offering gothic cathedrals, castles, majestic palaces and museums. The real Lisbon however, is wandering through the narrow winding backstreets detailed with colourful buildings, local trams and beautiful art. [Shails]
- Start you trip in Downtown Lisbon wandering through Avenida da Liberdade to Rossio square before strolling thorugh the main shopping street of Rua Augusta which is pedestrianised. Walk up to the elegant Chiado district and wander through the boutiques to stop for a drink/coffee.
- The Alfama quarter is great for a walking adventure with its medieval alleys, outstanding views and Fado (Portuguese folk music). This is also where you will find the breath taking St George’s Castle which can be seen from almost anywhere in the city – its oldest parts dating from the 6thcentury.
- Barrio Alto is a neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants, bustling throughout the evening. We mostly dined in this area, trudging up the steep hills for a well-deserved dinner. The colourful houses and eye catching graffiti is a bohemian haunt for artists and writers – quiet during the day but comes to life well into the early hours. This district also houses two magnificent churches Sao Roque and Carmo church.
- Belem– it was from here that many great Portuguese explorers embarked on their voyages of discovery. From downtown hop on tram 15 which takes you straight there. Explore the Jeronimos Monestary, the Belem Tower and outstanding views of the 25 de Abril Bridge. Avoid Mondays for visiting Belem when most of the sites are closed. Finish your trip with a delicious custard tart from the famous Pasteis de Belem – our original reason for visiting Belem!
- Sintra is an extraordinary place a 40min train ride away from downtown Lisbon and well worth the visit. Fairytale palaces and castles among mystical hills would describe Sintra best. Highlights include Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. The sights are quite a hilly walk away from each other so we went for a mini version of a Smart Car , the self-navigated cars are an excellent way to see the town and one can park them anywhere. A full trip of Sintra using these takes approximately 3-4 hours http://www.sightsintra.pt/ Stop for a nice lunch and more pastries before heading on a train back to Lisbon centre.
- 100 Maneiras – Save this one for a special occasion, Portuguese cuisine with a twist of creativity. The tasting menu is outstanding and affordable, they were also able to accommodate a vegetarian tasting menu on request – book in advance. http://www.restaurante100maneiras.com
- Decadente – A fantastic restaurant in Barrio Alto with excellent food and a great selection of wine. Casual vibe with a little something special, book ahead as this place gets packed. http://thedecadente.pt
- Pasteis de Belem – A trip to Lisbon is not complete without consuming many Pastel del Natas, the Portuguese (much better) version of a egg custard tart. Warm custard filling in a light flaky pastry that melts in the mouth. Pasteis de Belem is THE place to get these, don’t be put off by the queues outside, they move quickly and the Natas are well worth the wait. http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt
- Pizzaria Lisboa – I will always crave pizza wherever I go and this pizzaria from famous chef Jose Avillez did not disappoint. Thin and crispy from a wood fired oven with a variety of fresh ingredients. Great lunch spot in the Chiado district http://www.pizzarialisboa.pt/en/pizzaria.html
- Saudade – Charming café in Sintra with delicious homemade pastries, sandwiches and salads Saudade is closer to the train station and much more charming than the tourist trap restaurants closer to the centre. Be sure to try the local sweets Queijadas and Travesserios http://saudade.pt/en/cafe_menu/
- Piriquita 2 – also in Sintra is famous for its local pastries, stop by for a coffee and yet more treats.
- Terra – A quirky place at the top of town that serves delicious fresh vegetarian food. Only downside is that the buffet makes it too tempting to eat too much! http://www.restauranteterra.pt/English/Welcome.html
- A Ginjinhia – A must visit one or even two times a day for a shot of this 23% gerry liquor called Ginha. There are many hole in the walls which sell this cherry brandy but this particular one is full of life at Largo de Sao Domingos 8, Lisbon 1150
Grapes & Bites – An excellent wine bar in Barrio Alto with lovely tapas – enough to make a meal out of. The staff here definitely know their wine and are more than happy to help. Warm and inviting atmosphere with live music, one of our best evenings in lisbon. Order the stuffed pardon peppers – delicious.
- Sky Bar at Tivoli – A chilled out rooftop bar with great city views mixed with locals and tourists. Worth a visit for some pre dinner drinks and scenery http://www.tivolihotels.co.uk/en/restaurants—bars/portugal/lisboa/sky-bar.aspx
- Hotel Tivoli – a modern, more traditional hotel in the heart of lisbon with the added bonus of a outdoor pool. Although a fairly large hotel, the service was excellent. Highlights include the buffet breakfast with fresh mouthwatering pastries . http://www.tivolihotels.com/pt/hoteis/lisboa/tivoli-lisboa/o-hotel.aspx
- Internacional Design Hotel – wonderful location in Rossio Square, this boutique hotel is extremely unique with different themed floors. Smaller rooms but the location cannot be beaten, along with the very friendly staff. http://www.idesignhotel.com/en/