Portugal’scapital city has a lot to offer in terms of culture, architecture, food and nightlife. It was the birth place of the Pastel de Nata aka custard tart, it’s easy to navigate, the national beer is Super Bock, the weather is mostly sunny, and it also happens to be the cheapest European city in the world – seriously, need we say more?
Whilst Lisbon isn’t know for its shopping there are quite a few high-end designer boutiques located on Avenida da Liberdade which also happens to be the most expensive street in the city. Here you’ll find the likes of Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana. Whilst the city might be cheap these prices aren’t so you might want to take the plastic friend. If you prefer independent boutiques then head to Barrio Alto and potter around the cobbled streets.
Lisbon offers something for everyone, the city is drenched in history and we took an open top tourist bus around the main points of interest. Word of warning, don’t do this in 41 degree heat, quite simply it’s awful. Highlights include the Belem Tower, Saint George’s Castle and the Arch of Triumph.
What’s more if you fancy hitting the beach, then there are plenty of white sandy beaches which are close enough to visit for a day trip. We went to Castelo Beach, which we are told is one of the top ones. It cost 20 euros in a taxi but make sure you book a return car otherwise you might find yourself walking along country roads for a long time.
To drink with the locals head to Adamastor which is a public area with a small cabin serving the cheapest Super Bock in the city. Pick up a couple of bottles, score a space on the wall and take in the views of the city.
If it’s cocktails you’re after then head to Noobai, the small bar located to the left of the square – it serves a good selection of fruity concoctions and good old sangria! Hotel Barrio Alto‘s rooftop terrace also boasts amazing views and serves cocktails to match, we didn’t get the chance to visit as it was full (either that or we looked too sketchy!) so you might want to reserve.
If you want to hang with the local cool kids head to Pensão Amor (pictured) located on Rua do Alecrim 19. This place is crammed with vintage furniture, features a decent cocktail list and even has it’s own sex shop! Ooo la la!
Failing that just ponder around Barrio Alto and fall into a couple of drinking holes or join the street drinking on Rua Diário de Notícias which gets pretty busy every night of the week and is crammed with bars serving cheap drinks – 6 euros for a pint of caipirinha cocktail – go on then!
Like most cities the food can be hit and miss so make sure you do some research or ask a local. What’s more some of the best restaurants don’t offer an English menu so take a Portuguese dictionary. Otherwise you might find that juicy steak you ordered is actually a steak swimming in chicken soup, topped with an egg, surprisingly tasty!
For typical Portuguese dishes head to Sinal Vermelho on Rua das Gáveas which serves a cracking Fish Stew, Black Pork and Roasted Salt Cod. It’s popular amongst the locals so arrive a bit early or book to avoid queueing.
If you are looking for old school glamour then head to Pastelaria Versailles , the most famous teahouse in the city, full of the well healed city slickers. The service is excellent and the food is great but the real reason to visit is for the cakes.
The transport is great with their underground metro system taking you all over the city along with regular buses, but what is most surprising is how cheap taxis are, so if there are three or more save yourself the hassle and enjoy the scenic route in a cab.
We rented a Lisbon Connect Apartment aka “The Pad”
After six nights in the city our love affair with Lisbon is just beginning, as a short break destination it offers something for everyone and we hardly scratched the surface. See you next year for a Pastel de Nata and glass of Port!