Our Lisbon adventures (March, 2022 – month 3 of 6)

Great views of Lisbon from the top of Parque Eduardo VII.

(To see more photos and highlights of our trip, please visit our Instagram account: @sylsteveeurope.)

We have been in Lisbon for two weeks now and we are in awe of its energy, beauty, culture, history, people and food scene. Even though we spend hours every day exploring new neighbourhoods, we realize that we are just peeling the outside layer of this vibrant city.

Lisboetas (Lisbon people) are uber-friendly, fun, and most speak English really well. They are also really young: we feel like the oldest people by far wherever we go.

We stayed in an Airbnb in the neighbourhood called Principe Real, which is our favourite area because it is outside of the high-traffic touristy areas yet it is full of parks, shops, cafés and restaurants. We really liked our accommodation, although it was on a fairly busy street so we probably wouldn’t stay there again. The contrast with quiet Tavira was a bit of a shock to us at first. Lisbon is a full-on urban centre, with noise and car pollution on the bigger streets. But we got used to the chaos after a couple of days and have grown to really appreciate the city.

Although we have a few suggestions of places to visit below, it is probably a good idea to avoid a rigid itinerary when you come to Lisbon to allow for some exploration and discoveries of your own.

***NOTE: You MUST have good walking shoes to explore Lisbon. The extreme hills and bumpy cobblestone streets are a killer on legs and feet. I strongly recommend that you get real hiking shoes like the kind that you would use to hike rugged terrain (click here for mine which I love, ordered from Amazon.com). Otherwise, Ubers are plentiful and a good option to get around.

There are lots and lots of stairs in Lisbon, with magnificent views.
Alleyway right next to Tapas Bar 52 in Principe Real
A smile for a tourist.
A tile “azulejo” from the house above.

Restaurants (most in Principe Real)

As covered in previous posts, the food in Portugal is fantastic. Simple, fresh ingredients, perfectly prepared and delicious. The food scene in Lisbon is no exception. Not only can you find great traditional Portuguese fare, but most every other ethnic cuisine as well, often as a fusion of flavours and styles. And there are restaurants at every turn throughout the city. So be prepared to be overwhelmed by options.

We arrived in Lisbon armed with restaurant recommendations from several sources. In the end, we chose our destinations based on location (mostly in the Principe Real neighbourhood), type of food, ratings, and atmosphere. Here are some our favourites, all excellent and in the moderate price range:

  • Ginlovers, amazing gin cocktails, great food, beautiful decor, lively bar in back
  • Tapisco, great tapas
  • Cascais Remo, authentic Portuguese, cheap and cheerful
  • Solar dos Nunes, authentic Portuguese, higher end but still reasonable
  • Coppola, great pizza other things, in Plaça das Flores
  • ZeroZero, amazing pizza and salads with a lovely outdoor patio in the back
  • Season restaurant, healthy and delicious farm to table food
  • Loop restaurant, great location right by Plaça das Flores, with an outdoor sitting area in the afternoon sun. Unique and healthy food. Best for lunch.
  • Mercearia do Seculo, we didn’t eat here but regretted missing it because it looks fabulous and everyone raved about it.
  • Flores da Pampa, delicious, fresh and healthy food with a vibrant atmosphere. Live music Wed – Sun.
  • Taza in Giro, incredible, creative Italian cuisine near the Mosteiro S. Vicente de Fora
  • Restaurante Descobre (Belem), authentic Portuguese food with a modern flair.
  • Note that if a server brings you appetizers that you did not order, you will more than likely have to pay for them. Don’t be timid to ask them to take them away if you don’t want to eat them.
  • Many restaurants don’t take reservations and if they do, you might have to call or email them instead of booking online.
  • Many restaurants don’t have websites but might have a Facebook or Instagram page
  • Tipping is optional (but we always do).
Back patio of ZeroZero restaurant in Principe Real
One of our favourite restaurants in Lisbon, Taza in Giro, with a view of the magnificent Mosteiro S. Vicente de Fora.

Brunch:

The adorable Seagull café in Principe Real

Best coffee:

Coffee is generally very good in Lisbon, but we found the best coffee at these cafés:

Best pasteis de nata:

Pastel/pasteis de nata (singular/plural) is a custard-filled pastry that Steve and I have become addicted to. We eat one every day. ALL NATAS ARE NOT THE SAME! They are best when served warm, right out of the oven. Try Manteigaria (several locations) or take a trip out to Pasteis de Belém (Uber or electric scooter. Side note: scootering in Lisbon is not for the meek-of-heart.)

Pastel de nata from the famous Pasteis de Belém is worth the trip!

Principe Real Bars: (age appropriate for us!)

Ginlovers bar and restaurant
We loved the Foxtrot bar!

Best rooftop bars:

March in Lisbon is quite cool (18C average), especially at night, so we did not get to many spots on the list below:

Zambeze restaurant with magnificent city views from the Miradouru Chão do Loureiro.

Castles, churches and monasteries:

View of Lisbon from the Castelo de Sao Jorge.
Peacocks wander freely on the Castelo de Sao Jorge grounds.
The breathtaking Igreja de São Dominic.
Mosteiro S. Vicente de Fora

Museums:

Miradouros (Viewpoints):

Lisbon has a stunning amount of beautiful spots to view the city. Many of these “miradouros” have on-site cafés, bars and restaurants as well.

Miradouro do Jardim do Torrel
View from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the highest miradouru in Lisbon.

Markets and flea markets:

With twin sister Marya, at Boro Godó restaurant in Lisbon LX factory.
Lisbon LX factory
Time Out Market

Parks:

Lisbon is one of the greenest capitals in Europe so you will run into them everywhere. They range from small parks that are integrated into the center of the city, to great gardens that exhibit true natural beauty. Many of these parks have cafés and restaurants as well, which guarantee a vibrant atmosphere. Here are some of our favourites:

Jardim do Principe Real
Plaça das Flores, in Principe Real. Cute little square surrounded with restaurants.
Tapada Das Necessidades

Graffiti and street art:

There is tons of graffiti and street art in Lisbon. Unfortunately, much of it is very unappealing and looks like nothing more than vandalism. It is something that you gradually get used to but it is quite off-putting at first. Apparently, there is no punishment for graffiti and the city has given up on trying to cover it up. However, there is also lots of beautiful street art so you just have to take the good with the bad. Click here for a great blogpost about Lisbon’s graffiti and street art scene.

Art or vandalism?
Street art (this, I definitely love).

Other things to see/do:

Cacilhas graffiti
Restaurante Ponto Final in Cacilhas (Almada).
Me in front of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
Marya and I nearly killed ourselves on electric scooters on our way to see the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém, but we made it!

Accommodations: (most are in Principe Real or close to)

Note: Many Lisbon streets are very busy and noisy. Please do your research before you book accommodation to make sure that the street is quiet if you value your sleep. Tip: Find the address on Google maps on your cell phone (you can ask your host for it if it’s not available) and avoid booking a place on a street with red or green lines (especially double lines).

Resources:

Have you been to Lisbon? What are some of your favourite spots? Please leave suggestions in the comments below: Obrigada!

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