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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Christmas in Belgravia

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Want to go out in London for a bit of festive spirit but without the interruption of tourists and Christmas shoppers? Then look no further than Belgravia!

Motcombe Street is a new discovery for me. This little chocolate box street looks like it fell out of a fairytale with all the cute shops and twinkling lights. At one point a proper carriage with horses went through the street!

The one thing you can’t miss when you are here is the cutest chocolate shop – Rococo Chocolates. Not only you can buy organic chocolates in the nicest packaging for Chrismas gifts but you can enjoy London’s best hot chocolate. Choose between classic, cinnamon spiced, sea-salt or one with a hint of chili that’ll warm you up on these winter days. There is no cream on top but something much nicer – a homemade marshmallow on a stick to dunk into your hot drink.

This place also has a Chocolate School that offers a variety of workshops, classes and tastings for adults and children from beginner to expert. Also as if that wasn’t already enough there is a huge teddy bear in the window.   If that doesn’t make you want go out of your house on a cold winter day, nothing will 🙂

What I Wore: Coat: Bershka| Trousers: H&M| Top: Zara|Bag: Shein| Boots: M&S| Hat: H&M(similar)

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Brunch in Winter Wonderland

 

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It’s December!

I’m officially allowed to go overboard with all things Christmas here and on my Instagram. In London, Christmas actually started at the beginning of November so I have been collecting the pretty pictures of Christmas decorations all around the city and now they will start coming out. To mark the beginning of Christmas time we decided to visit magical place in the Central London – Dalloway Terrace.

This little place has been transformed into the winter wonderland with fake snow, pine trees and an endless supply of snuggly blankets. It is absolute Instagram heaven. There is no surprise it is full of people who eat their food lukewarm after documenting everything on Instagram.

The atmosphere was so cozy and peaceful , we felt like we were in Narnia and the wait staff were brilliant from the very start. The menu was amazing and we wanted to order literally everything but at the end we opted for french toast, one with fresh berries, one with bacon and saved some space for delicious hot chocolate with biscuits at the end.

 

What I Wore: Jumper: H&M | Skirt: Topshop | Boots: M&S | Bag: Zara(old)

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Instagram Issues

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 presetI’ve wanted to write this post about Instagram for a long time now because for a period of time this was a such a big thing in my life that kept me awake at night, which is ridiculous, losing sleep over an app!

The conversation about Instagram themes, followers, and bots has been pretty popular recently. Some people are concerned where this is all going, including Instagram and blogging.

Everyone I speak to has the same view. Instagram has taken such prominence over blogging that it can feel overwhelming. Every square you decide to share is carefully curated with the aim to get engagement and to increase the numbers because numbers mean success.

I realized a few weeks ago that I’m spending too much time thinking about the theme of my grid and if my next photo will fit into (at the moment) a pastel feed. It went so far that I started photoshopping colours and ended up ditching some amazing photos. Dark tables? Nah! Colourful umbrellas? Nah. Some beautiful moments in my life simply didn’t make the cut to be featured on my Instagram.

I realized that if I don’t move from London to some Greek island anytime soon I’m doomed. I wanted my Instagram to be completely me, a place where I’m showing the world what I’m up to, where I travel, what I eat…but then it turned out the grid decides for me what to do next so it fits into the theme.

Why am I trying to theme my life? My love for photography and capturing beauty in everyday life is suffering because I’m imposing limitations on myself for the sake of numbers.

Another problem is the new and ridiculous Instagram algorithm so if there is no #ootd or #travel is highly likely your picture won’t be shown to too many people.

I’m not sure whose fault it is, the bloggers’ or Instagram’s but I’m going to stop doing it, stop stressing my self over the next picture and just post what and when I want.

On a brighter note, here are some pictures with the last breath of Autumn.  Now when everything starts to look Christmasy (and I gave up on bare legs) this tree next to my building was a true gem to find.

I’m not sure how this jumper looks on the pictures but in real life, it’s the softest thing ever. It’s a mohair blend and I found it for a bargain at H&M (not an advert btw). Did I mention that I’m obsessed with jumpers?

What I wore: Skirt: Next | Jumper: H&M | Boots: Dorothy Perkins (similar)| Coat: Zara(old) | Bag: Zara(old) | Tights: Accessorize 

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Chinatown

img_3013Processed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 presetimg_3014img_2996-1Processed with VSCO with c8 presetLast weekend I decided to visit Chinatown. It wasn’t my first time because I’ve walked up and down these streets so many times on my way to Picadilly or Oxford Circus, but this  time I went specifically to spend the afternoon wandering around the area.

Feeling like a tourist in your own city is a bit of a must from time to time, but whilst great in theory, it’s kind of tricky, especially if you decide to do that on a Sunday afternoon when the amount of tourists pouring down the streets can be overwhelming.

That didn’t stop us from exploring the shops for exotic food and a new set of chopsticks, having lunch in a Chinese restaurant and even queuing 20 minutes for Bubble wrap waffles. Despite the cold it was so worth the wait.

For the last few weeks I’ve been stocking up on new knitwear but until this week it wasn’t really cold enough to wear this cozy thing. I got it from H&M for a bargain and it’s the warmest jumper I own.

WHAT I WORE: Jumper; H&M | Jeans: ASOS| Bag: SheIn |Boots: M&S(similar)

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Exploring Sintra

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If I had to describe Sintra with one word it would be a fairytale.  This  town near Lisbon made of palaces, exotic gardens, all kinds of architectural styles, surrounded by calming, kind of mystical forests is something that words cannot describe. Lord Byron called it a “glorious garden” and Hans Christian Andersen called it “the most beautiful place in Portugal”.  It takes only 40 mins by train from Lisbon and it has to be on everyone’s ‘To See’ list.   Most people who come to Sintra tend to choose two or three sights to see as there are a lot to go through and each palace is very big and requires at least an hour to explore. We chose 2, one very touristy and one very quiet but still amazing.

The first stop was  Pena Palace which is the main and the most famous castle and therefore the most busy with tourists. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and it is the most colorful and original palace I’ve ever seen, like a real life Lego structure mixed with a castle from 1001 nights.  The palace dates back to the Middle Age when it served as a chapel and later it was a royal Portuguese residence.

The afternoon was reserved for Monserrate Palace,a palace surrounded by luscious gardens built in 1856 by Francis Cook, a famous British art collector. Even though you will find it when you Google Sintra palaces , this place is like a hidden gem. Completely different than Pena Palace which was buzzing with tourists, Monserrate was so peaceful with mainly gardeners and builders walking around.

 

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What I wore: Dress: Zaful | Bag: Shein | Trainers: Converse

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Autumn in London

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As you can see I’ve partially embraced Autumn by wearing my thickest jumper on bare legs.  There is always mix of emotions at this time of year. Some of us want to cling onto every drop of Summer but some of us are desperate to be able to order a pumpkin spice latte while wearing our snuggly jumpers. I guess I’m somewhere in between. Summer is my favourite time of the year, but here in London the summer is short and usually not as hot, although I’m like a lizard, and only feel hot when it’s 35 degrees or more, so I appreciate every second of it. Long days and warmth just make me happy and I’m never ready for grey and cold days but the one thing I like about Autumn is that Hygge feeling. I use to hate Autumn but now actually I don’t really mind it and while thinking about it I came up with some reasons why you all should love Autumn.

 

  • New TV series. I’m a bit of a TV series addict, and during summer when I have days off with nothing to do I miss having some shows to binge watch. At the moment I’m so happy that my favourite shows are back: How to get away with murder, Designated Survivor and Scandal with some new great ones: Sinner and Absentia
  • Chai latte. Or Pumpkin Spice latte. Or any other latte that will give you that feeling of happiness.
  • Candles. My flat is full of candles but I never light them during the summer. I’m so happy that now I can light up all the candles I bought during the summer.
  • Fairy lights. I wanted to keep my fairy lights on the wall during the Summer but I ended up putting them away and was too lazy to put them back up. Well this weekend they are finally back!
  • Bonfire night. After this time, talk about Christmas can officially start. Anytime before is just too early. I just love bundling up and walking to the nearest firework display with a cup of hot chocolate, and a marshmallow
  • Cinnamon Buns. My favourite pastry ever. I’m always on the lookout for new cinnamon bun places in London. Currently, my number one is Fabrique Bakery with Nordic Bakery as the runner-up.
  • Evenings in. When it’s dark and cold outside you won’t feel bad staying in under the blanket with a glass of wine and your loved one.
  • Markets. I know you can go to markets during the Summer, but there is something about crisp autumnal mornings that make the stroll around markets so nice
  • Big Jumpers. Finding the softest and warmest jumper to keep you cosy is the ultimate Autumn goal.
  • New Coat.
  • Parks. Most people love parks in Summer, especially in London where I get the feeling that every Londoner just moves to the park during the Summer. From boot-camps, yoga, fetes, to picnics and BBQ’s, parks are always crowded. But in Autumn it’s so much nicer to wrap up and have a quiet walk as the leaves change colour.

 

What I Wore: Jumper: Boohoo | Skirt: River Island(old) |Shoes: Converse | Bag: Accessorize(old)

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Strawberry Hill House

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What do Strawberry Hill House and the word ‘serendipity’ have in common?

Both were created by Sir Horace Walpole.

Horace Walpole, son of British first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole and the author of the first gothic novel The Castle of Otranto, has spent forty years, beginning in 1749, turning his house into a gothic castle.The result is spectacular and I can’t believe that I haven’t visit it earlier because I literally live 10 minutes walk from it.

I saw the exterior of the Strawberry Hill house before and it always leaves me speechless because you would never expect big white fairytale-like castle in your neighborhood, would you?Inside is just a dream. Details on the ceilings are just stunning, especially in my favorite rooms The Gallery and The Library.  Equally exciting are the dramatic Gothic staircase in the entrance, and the views from the upper levels, which shows off the gardens and grounds underneath beautiful stained-glass windows.

Each room has a steward inside to answer questions and talk visitors through the finer details of the interior. It’s more interactive than just using the (admittedly good) guidebook that comes with the entry ticket and brings the house to life with stories and anecdotes.Although the rooms are so special and every single one is different, most of the original furniture is gone thanks to one of an earls from Waldgrave family who sold everything out so you will have to imagine how it really looked like.Considering that this House survived fire, flood and WW2 bomb falling through the roof it still looks unbelievable thanks to extensive renovation.

It’s definitely worth a visit.You can get here from Central London by taking the train from Waterloo to Strawberry Hill which will take around 30minutes. Price of the ticket is £12.50 for adult or half the price for students.Before you go you might want to check opening hours because place is often booked for events and wedding and it’s closed.

Light inside is not amazing but I managed to take some photos of my outfit as well while other visitors were probably thinking we are completely mad.

What I Wore: Skirt: Zara(similar) | Top: Zara| Shoes: Pull & Bear(similar) | Bag: Accessorize(old)

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Baker Boy Hat

Baker boys hat-20Baker boys hat-23img_1475Baker boys hat-35Baker boys hat-9Every September I realize I don’t have anything to wear (as usual) and keep wondering what I wore last winter, so I try to stick to my summer items as much as I can. The problem is, I like too many different things and my wardrobe looks like a big circus. It would be so much easier if for example I only liked monochrome things, or didn’t like skirts and preferred jeans. But nope, I like it all. I’m trying to be sensible so I try not to buy things just because they are in fashion at the moment. But if I’m going to buy something super trendy which I know will last only one season I will choose a very cheap option. I would rather invest in basics which will last.

Buying this hat was a very impulsive decision for me. I just had to have it. It was weird because until this year I wasn’t really a hat person. The only hat that I occasionally wore (but only when it was freezing cold) was my simple wool winter hat. Even though everyone else looked great with it I thought I just didn’t have the head for it 😀 I bought this baker boy hat at the beginning of the year but somehow I never got a chance to wear it. Now when summer is finished and I’ve sadly packed my straw hat away it was time to give it a go…and I love it. It’s such a statement piece and goes great with everything and of course, helps on bad hair days.

As a big stripes and t-shirt fan I will probably keep all of them in my closet during the winter and combine with thick cardigans. This was a very rare opportunity to wear it without any kind of jacket because this September in London is wannabe November, so I’m updating my closet with knits at the moment.

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Top: H&M | Hat: H&M | Jeans: ASOS | Bag: Zara(old) | Shoes: New Look(similar)

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Summer to Autumn

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I’m trying to fight against this ‘Autumn is coming’ feeling by not giving up on my sandals and digging my jacket out of the closet but the only reward that has gotten me is a horrible cold and it’s only September!

That being said, I have to admit there is an unusual amount of denim and red long-sleeved tops finding their way into my wardrobe. I can see already this will be my staple for the coming season.

My jeans are from my now favourite jeans place, ASOS. Together with the Farleigh Mom Jeans that I’ve been wearing since the spring, their Ridley jeans are my next favourite. They are still high waisted but not as much as the Farleigh ones and they are skinny. ASOS has a wide range of colours but I was just looking for this dark blue shade which was so hard to find.

The top is from Bershka and it’s the cutest ever. The ribbon is attached to the top and you can wear it as a neck bow or like me, as a neck tie. I especially love the cute frilled details on the sleeves and chest.

Last year just a week before our trip to Barcelona my favourite tan saddle bag broke. Totally devastated, I decided to track down the only one that looks similar enough from Mango on Regent Street, and since then we have been inseparable.

After the photo shoot in front of this amazing hotel with the cutest car ever, we managed to get inside to see the famous staircase from the Spice Girls’ first video for their song Wannabe.  It is actually a guests only area but the lovely man at the entrance let us in any way.  The Grand Staircase simply took my breath away with the amount of detail starting from the tiles and carpet to its elegant spiral stairway and fleur-de-lis wallpaper.

Scroll down for pictures.

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What I wore: Jeans: ASOS| Blouse: Bershka| Bag: Mango(similar)| Shoes: New Look(old)

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