Lisbon Guide

Lisbon’s transformation from a low-profile, old-fashioned city to Hipster Capital of Europe has been nothing if not dramatic. It slipped under the travel radar for decades, but now the secret is truly out.  I think October was the perfect time for our weekend break because the city wasn’t as busy and the temperature was between 25 and 28 degrees.

Lisbon is a beautiful city, from its signature cobbles to its famous colourful tiles. I loved just wandering the streets, and of course, eating all the pastries I found. Built on Seven hills, Lisbon is a fun city to explore on foot but the (in)famous Tram 28 and Santa Justa lift are leg-saving ways to explore the city sights.

I made a list of my favorite places to visit whilst here.

Eat & Drink

Nicolau Lisboa

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Located in central Lisbon this place is the perfect spot for breakfast, brunch or afternoon coffee. Because of its position and the loveliest interior and food, sometimes you will have to wait in a queue with all the other Instagramers and bloggers but it’s worth the wait. The interior is filled with books, magazines and vintage items. Green tiles and plants create a cozy atmosphere. From the very long menu, I opted for the Nicolau french toast with berries, banana and greek yogurt topped with maple syrup and pistachio and it was absolutely delicious. The cherry on top was the fact that it came served on a heart-shaped plate. Can it get more instagramable than this? I don’t think so!

R. São Nicolau 17, 1100-547 Lisboa

Dear Breakfast

As the names signifies this place really looks like a love letter to the most important meal of the day.

This is the perfect place to go if you like eggs which you can get in every combination served with delicious coffee and freshly squeezed orange.  Minimal and airy, this is the calming oasis you want to eat your breakfast in.

R. Gaivotas 17, 1200-649 Lisboa

Heim Cafe

For breakfast at this place we had to get up early because it was a bit far from the place where we were staying, but it was worth the travel.  An urban jungle atmosphere and the most delicious menu made us feel sad that we were leaving the same evening and couldn’t come back one more time. We opted for waffles with eggs and chorizo and it was the most delicious thing ever.

Rua Santos-O-Velho, 2 e 4, 1200-109 Lisboa

Landeau Chocolate

Go here for one reason only – the chocolate cake. I know that this will sound weird for most people but I’m not a big fan of chocolate cake, I find it very heavy and usually too sweet. But this chocolate cake is something else, a triangle made in heaven, so light and delicious. There are two locations of this place in Lisbon but we found one which was very calm and quiet, a welcome resting spot. The second one is at LX Factory and usually is much busier.

Rua das Flores 70, 1200-014 Lisboa

Hello, Kristof

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Hello, Kristof is Lisbon’s answer to quality coffee. It was the best we tried in those few days and we had quite a lot of coffee. Hello Kristof also knows that coffee and magazines go hand in hand, that’s why their curated collection that you can read while having your morning or afternoon coffee.

R. do Poço dos Negros 103, 1200 Lisboa

Pastéis de Belém

Try one of Lisbon’s most famous tarts – these freshly baked and warm delights are a truly delicious treat that have been sold in Portugal for hundreds of years. One of the most famous places to eat is at Pastéis de Belém, who pride themselves on the traditional baking method, ingredients and of-course… deliciousness! Don’t worry too much at the sight of long queues, they are fast moving. But even if you are waiting for a bit it’s worth it because they are truly the best that I’ve tried in Lisbon.

R. Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa

Shop

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LX Factory (Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103) – located under 25 de Abril Bridge is a unique place in Lisbon where a complex of abandoned warehouses has been transformed into an artsy collection of bars, restaurants, shops and start-up offices! It was previously an industrial complex, full of different factories, but has been transformed into a lively marketplace. Stroll through local vintage shops, delicious eateries, and enjoy the beautiful street art. If you are into books, don’t miss the bookshop, which is several stories high and has an old printing press upstairs!You can get here by taxi (reasonably cheap in Lisbon) or tram 15.

A Vida Portuguesa

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If you’re after some special local souvenirs, then look no further than this gem. With everything from handmade soaps (in the most beautiful packaging), kitchenware, wines and foods – there’s something for everyone. As they specialize in traditional Portuguese products you will find the famous,vintage-like brightly colored tins of sardines.
R. Anchieta 11, 1200-023 Lisboa, Portugal 

Mercado de Riberia 

Hosted in one of the biggest market spaces in the city, Time Out has converted the location into one huge food hang out, with pop-ups from some of Lisbon’s most loved restaurants and cafes inside. So, whether you’re after delicious seafood, ramen, the best ice cream from Santini or even a burger or vegan treat- this place has it all.

Av. 24 de Julho 49, Portugal

What to see

Bairro Alto

Lisbon is one of those places where the climate is so good the nightlife works in reverse.  Instead staying inside the bars, people spill out of the venues and into the streets, going back inside mostly just to top up their glasses. The Bairro Alto neighborhood has the biggest concentration of bars, so barely a night goes by that the area doesn’t turn into one collective street party.
It’s also worth walking the district’s cobbled streets by day, when it takes on a completely different personality. By daylight you’ll find vibrant street art and boutique stores.

Belem Tower

Next year Lisbon’s ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’, Belem will turn 500 years old – construction started in 1515 and finished in 1519. At the grand old age of 500 Belem is still going strong.  My top tip is to visit early in the day – queues rather quickly build up to over an hour wait.

Jerónimos Monastery

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The construction of the monastery began in 1502 and the site is the most-ambitious achievement of Manueline architecture. Its UNESCO World Heritage site status reflects its beauty and impressiveness. It is a must-see when visiting Portugal’s capital.

Praça do Comércio

Lisbon’s biggest and most monumental square sits along the riverfront and is a photogenic and interesting place to visit. Most recently renovated in 2010, it’s famous for two marble columns that used to be part of the royal palace. The area is now home to a lot of famous shops and is great for people watching or sitting down for a coffee or ice cream. From there you can also see the famous Rua Augusta Arch.

Elevador de Santa Justa

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Elevador de Santa Justa was built by Raoul Mésnier du Ponsard who was Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice. It seems Eiffel’s work had a big impact on his apprentice, as the structures are very similar in design. Originally built as a way to connect higher and lower areas of the city, it is now used mainly by visitors that want to experience ‘old Lisbon’

Castelo de São Jorge

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One of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks – with over 1000 years of history, Castelo de São Jorge is a must-see for any visitor to the city. My top tip is to visit around dusk… the castle has 360-degree views across the city and becomes a perfect place to watch the sunset.

Viewpoints of the city are best seen from Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol (Alfama rooftops), Miradouro da Graça (overlooking the city and castle) – the view from Castle of São Jorge and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

Alfama 

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Alfama is the historic area of Lisbon. It is filled with narrow, winding streets that make it a bewildering place in which to get lost. I wandered the maze of streets, exploring tiny squares, hidden alleys, and long-abandoned houses while watching locals go about their lives.

Viewpoints of the city are best seen from Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol (Alfama rooftops), Miradouro da Graça (overlooking the city and castle) – the view from Castle of São Jorge and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

Other places worth visiting include: Rossio Square, MAAT, MUDE- Fashion and design museum, 25 de Abril Bridge and Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira.

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