Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of my favorite cities in Europe. Beautiful, old, charismatic, lively, cozy, full of fresh energy. It is also one of Western Europe capital cities along the Atlantic coast, hint the amazing surf beaches and sunbathing beaches. I would say Lisbon is very different form other cities firstly because it’s an uphill city, because of it’s buildings covered with faience, colorful streets, restaurants, public transportation, weather, white pavement all over the city that the locals really care about, very friendly people and eager to help.
I can’t not think of Lisbon and not associate it with all those sweets in every single pastry on every single street. My personal favorite and the most famous is Pastel de Belém or Pastel de nata. Pastel de nata is a light pastry with egg-yolk cream, very tasty and if you have the possibility( only if you have some extra time) take the train( 20 minutes ride) to district Belém where the original pastry is and you can get one right from the oven- but as all good and tasty things take time you will have to endure the queue -totally worth it!
While there you must see the most emblematic of all Lisbon historical buildings, for sure you searched at some point something about Lisbon and that tower was the first thing to appear. Torre de Belém is definitly worth seeing. It’s located at the end of the park with same name Jardin de Torre de Belém on one side of river Tajo.
Go to the Beach. Whatever season you visit Lisbon, the beach is always a good idea.
If we are talking about summer you must see the “cream of European surf”. Check out this beaches: Guincho, Ericeria, these two are famous among Surf lovers, Cascais and Tamariz, perfect for sunbathe and relaxed afternoon, very close to the city, around 20-30 minutes train ride from Campolide station. The Sunset, the beach -a cliché but one worth living in Lisbon after a night of partying.
You can’t be in Lisbon and not try the most epic rides with the tram, almost like a roller coaster. Instead of paying for the tourist tram you can make a really nice and a lot cheaper ride and hopefully with a window place to sit, famous tram 28, that goes to Lisbon’s best areas. Here you have the map of tram 28, so you can see Lisbon in this way the entire weekend.
Also a must is the Tram Elevator, called Elevador da Bica, you will see it in Bairro Alto area and it connects Calçada do Combro with Rua do Loreto and Rua de S.Paulo. Give it a try!
Bairro Alto is my favorite “bairro”. Everything is there. Bars, small restaurants with terraces on very small streets, where you can basically join tables with strangers. If you want to party after a walk (a very demanding one, because of all those up and downs streets) just go there, you have pubs, rooftop party, Erasmus people party, locals party you name it. Also a nice thing to mention is a rooftop bar ( in the summer) on street Calçada do Combro, give that a try too, you will love the view, especially at night time. I guarantee you will meet nice and very friendly international also locals to chat and hang out.
Places to see and enjoy
- Arco da Rua Augusta- go further into Praça do Comércio
- Sé de Lisboa or Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa
- Castelo de Jorge
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos- emblematic statue of a ship
- Pombaline Lower Tower
- Basílica da Estrela (Star Basilica)
- Praça da Figueira –people gather there
- Torre de Belém: A Historic Tower (mentioned above)
- Santa Justa Elevator- an antique elevator
Just walk around the city for sure you will find a lot more beautiful, interesting, worth seeing and talk about places.
The Portuguese just love to see their beloved city from high distances, the higher the better.
I will start with my favorite places.
- Miradouro de Santa Catarina – try to see the Sunset from there
- Miradouro da Graça – have a coffee and enjoy the view even in hot summer
- Miradouro das Portas do Sol
- George’s Castel – beautiful view and also you can visit the castle
- Miradouro da Nossa Senhora Do Monte
- Miradouro de Santa Luiza
- Miradouro de Sao Pedro Alcântara
Another amazing place to enjoy a nice view of Lisbon is The Monument to Christ in Almada district. The monument is reachable by ferry from Cais do Sodre station. – Give it a try.
I would recommend while you are in the Almada district, where the trams nearly touch the buildings when passes through the narrow and very narrow streets. Have a better look at 25 de Abril Bridge, cousin of Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, really catches your eyes from almost every high point from the other side of the river.
Coming back from Almada to the city center with the ferry, stop and have a nice dinner or drinks at Docas de Santo Amaro, a beautiful area on the river side very famous for its bars and restaurants.
Lisbon has a lot more. Spring and summer are so busy with street art, museums openings, street concerts, outdoor bars with all types of artists, jazz concerts, drum and bass concerts and I could go on.
All this information and advice might be more than for only a weekend, but the list is almost possible, depends with ones priorities. I did all this in 4 days, walking up and down the city, taking the metro, trains, trams, ferry. I really advice to walk around the city, I discovered places that amazed me and I don’t even remember or know the place or restaurant, pub, building that made me stop and admire.
Lisbon has really good metro connections, lines: Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink and Grey so you can visit a lot of the areas by taking the metro.
One very important advice is to bring really comfortable shoes, the pavement is slippery, uphill, very uphill and you can hurt your legs. I saw many people with feet injuries and my Portuguese friend told me from the beginning: no high heels!
Enjoy this memorable city!
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