Have you ever read a book multiple times and each time you take away something completely different? That is how it feels visiting the effortlessly cool city of Lisbon. From the breezy ocean board walk to the cobblestone streets of the Old Town of Alfama, every day there is something brand new to experience no matter how many times I visit.
A bit of inspiration for how I plan to decorate The Cloud!
If travelling by air, the international hub is Lisbon Portela Airport, about a 20-minute taxi or rideshare ride from the city centre. Aside from cars, the Aerobús shuttle service, local bus and metro are all convenient methods to utilize when travelling from the airport to the city centre. Another common way to travel to Lisbon is by train or bus which will likely take you to the Rossio Railway Station in the lively Rossio Square. The public transportation in Lisbon is efficient and timely; a great way to travel about! Walking and biking are also recommended ways to explore.
From the ancient castles to vibrant nightlife, contemporary art museums and relaxing beaches, there is plenty to do for everyone. Here are some of Lisbon’s top attractions that I love to see when visiting:
The Tram 28 on its way to the Feira da Ladra flea market
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos – This beautiful Gothic Manueline style Monastery is where the legendary Pastéis de Nata was first created. It is nearby the Torre de Belém, both of which are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Rua Augusta Arch – This arch-shaped historical building was built to memorialize the city’s reconstruction after the devastating earthquakes of 1755. Admire the six columns which are embellished with statues of significant historical figures.
Lisbon Beaches – There are some incredibly beautiful beaches in and around Lisbon to soak up the sunlight. Here are the ones I definitely recommend visiting:
- Praia das Avencas – This beach is one of the easiest to travel to (about 15 min by car and 30 min by train) so naturally, it is usually quite crowded. Regardless, it makes the perfect beach escape if you don’t have a lot of time or just need a quick sun fix.
The cliffs of Praia da Ursa Beach
- Adraga – Further south (about 45 min by car) in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, the turquoise water of Adraga Beach is surrounded by green hills, rocks and caves just waiting to be explored.
- Meco Beach – Enclosed by the large cliffs and waterfalls of the Serra da Arrabida National Park, this beautiful sandy beach is fairly remote and very clean.
Here’s a Pro-Tip: Meco Beach is divided in half by a large sand dune, the north half is for suited bathers and the south for nudists (about 45 minutes by car).
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Museums – To really experience and learn about the heritage and culture of Lisbon, take a journey through some of the city’s most alluring museums:
- National Museum of Ancient Art – One of the largest art collections in the world with more than 40 thousand works of various art on display.
- Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) – Old ways, new trends and the coming together of three prominent fields encourage critical thinking.
The nearly 500-year-old Torre de Belém
Here’s another Pro-Tip: After visiting MAAT, take a short walk along to river to the Discovery Monument.
Portuguese cuisine is influenced by many different cultures, which is especially notable in the spices used. This is because Portugal once had a very large empire that expanded over many countries including many in Africa, Brazil and India. Some dishes to try while in Lisbon include Bacalhau, or salted cod, which can be prepared in numerous ways, and Pastel de Nata cakes from the famous bakery: Pasteis de Belem where you can actually watch the magic happen! Make sure you have time, because the queues are always very long! Here are some of my other top dining destinations:
A feast for the eyes, belly and soul!
- Alma – Owned by a two-star Michelin chef, this soulful restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a worldly twist on traditional Portuguese cuisine
- Arkhe – This stylish vegetarian restaurant offers an incredible seasonal menu with dishes that are sure to please everyone.
- Mercado da Riberia – For those who have a hard time making a decision when it comes to food, this is either a blessing or a curse! This lively food market offers an array of food and bar stalls where famous chefs prepare their best, from sushi to burgers. Be sure to check out the local dishes and flavours.
Here’s a final Pro-Tip: While at Mercado da Riveria, make sure you save your seat if you aren’t done! They go fast.
Lisbon’s nightlife is well-known, with areas like the Bairro Alto district and Cais do Sodré being some of the most popular areas to party. From dancing all night to relaxing and tasting some of Portugal’s lovely Red Algarve and Douro Valle wines, here is where you are most likely to find me on a Saturday night in Lisbon:
- Park – This casual rooftop bar in Bairro Alto offers excellent cocktails to enjoy over beautiful views of the river. The Jazzy-soul funk music keeps the energy light and fun all night long.
- Bar a Parodia – Founded in 1984, this intimate bar boasts art deco pieces and an elegant drink selection. The owners work hard to make you feel right at home!
The perfect way to spend an evening
- Titanic Sur Mer – Right along the riverbank, this versatile bar was once a fish market. It now offers different genres of music and hosts a plethora of different events.
With so much to see, you’ll definitely want a great place to retreat each night. Here are my top hotel recommendations:
- LX Boutique Hotel – Nearby many riverside shops and restaurants, this artsy boutique hotel loans bikes to explore the city with.
- Altis Belem Hotel & Spa – Luxury stay featuring riverside views, a Michelin star restaurant and a relaxing spa.
- Casa Fortunato – An elegant stay on a shaded street in Amoreiras offering Daily yoga classes, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant and 9 spacious rooms.
I always cherish my time in Lisbon. Each time I visit, I can describe my stay the same way I would describe the city itself; colourful, charming and sunny!