Weekend in Lisbon, Portugal
By Have a good journey
Portugal should be on everyone’s bucket list, because we all love beautiful nature, genuinely friendly local people, delicious food, good wine, tiny, romantic balconies and tasteful Portuguese tiles!!!
I spent a weekend in Lisbon and wandered around as much as my feet could handle. This time I preferred to move around mostly by feet and by public transport, because it gave a perfect opportunity to soak the city’s charm, people and places. You can buy a public transport ticket for 24 hours in kiosks and it’ll cost you 6 euros. You can get around with trams, buses and metro. I used trams and buses and with the help of google maps it was easy to find my way. Besides, I had a feeling that all the places are pretty close to each other.
I stayed in Avenida de Liberdade (main avenue, located in central Lisbon) where my hotel was (review about Fontecruz Lisboa hotel here). I started with exploring that area and it is close to Alfama area. Both areas are similar and you’ll find the popular tram 28 that goes around the historical part of Lisbon. If you don’t feel like walking up and down the hills, tram 28 is a great option. This part of the city is really good for enjoying aesthetics of city’s architecture and to go crazy about Portuguese tiles. All houses around Lisbon are with the tiles, but that area seemed to be the richest. If I could, I had full luggage only with tiles to bring home. I definitely know how my future interior is going to look like!
Plenty of beautiful streets around Avenida de Liberdade and you’ll notice few restaurants with tables outside. If there’s a sunny day, definitely stay outdoors. I had lunch in one of the cafe’s with beautiful trams passing by. Lisbon is well known for great seafood, so if you’re not a vegetarian, eat seafood.
I would like to highlight a restaurant for dinner, it’s called As Velhas (Rua Conceicao da Gloria 21, Lisbon). It is a small restaurant, ran by family and offers local Portuguese cuisine. I tried codfish and it was really good! You can see fresh fish when you enter the restaurant and you can even choose which one you like. They don’t have a dessert menu, the waiter will roll to your table with trolley full with desserts.
It’s not a secret that Portugal has amazing wines. I mostly tried house wines in all the cafes but I discovered the wine that is one of my favorites from Portugal now.
How about cool coffee places and lunch in stylish environment? Head to LX Factory. Old factory turned into urban area with plenty coffee shops, places for lunch, boutiques and pet spa. It’s kind of hipster style area and they always know how to create cozy cafes! I had my lunch at Tacho restaurant and it was a true discovery! Really delicious and the service was excellent.
Afterwards I went to one of the coffee shops and grabbed a cappuccino. I entered the pet store that had a pet spa. People were so friendly and welcomed me even without having my dog with me to groom. My Fernando would definitely give a good review about that pet spa!
Now remember this phrase – Pastel de Nata! It’s a traditional Portuguese egg tart pastry and even if you’re not keen on sweets and pastries – you’re going to love this one! Belem area is the place where the recipe comes from, so it’s considered that it is the place where to get them. To be even more precise – Pasteis de Belem ( R. Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa). It was insanely delicious!!! I tried Pastel de Nata also in my hotel’s area, in Fabrica da Nata. Egg tarts were as good as those from Belem, they were excellent!
When in Belem area, you have to visit Belem tower, the Cathedral and park next to the Cathedral while holding Pastel de Nata in your hand. I saw the Belem tower for few minutes because it was so windy that I thought I was going to fly with the wind.
The weather in Lisbon is funny. One moment it’s pouring and then in literally one second it stops and sun is out like nothing happened. Or ice cubes coming from the sky and again – one second and the sun is there.
I walked up to Sao Jorge Castle in Alfama area. It is a wonderful and active climb but it was worth it. You get wonderful views along the way so you just have to take that path to enjoy the city from above. I didn’t visit the palace because I hate lines but the area had wonderful souvenir shops where I bought Portuguese tiles and earrings. There’s a restaurant in halfway where I had lunch, it’s called Espumantaria do Petisco. It’s excellent for sitting outside because you can enjoy the view of Lisbon. Next to the restaurant is a bar with even more spectacular view! You don’t have to necessary go to that bar to see the view, just go there and admire Lisbon!
If you love live jazz music go to Hot Club ( Praça da Alegria 48, 1250-004 Lisboa), they have live concerts there. You should go a little before the concert starts to get your seat. It’s a place where you can have a cocktail or glass of wine and dive into jazz….
Those who know more about Lisbon will ask – why are you talking about jazz when Fado music is considered to be the traditional Portuguese music! True, but let me save your time, money and disappointment. All the places that are for listening Fado music are for tourists, locals don’t go there. Because, first of all, you cannot get just a concert for Fado, the concept is dinner with live Fado. Sounds fancy, but it’s not. You pay for awful food and some Fado music, all meant for tourists. While walking around Alfama area and areas next to it you’ll hear Fado music on the streets all the time, cafes play Fado music. You’ll be moved and will get your emotional string touched! You don’t have to pay around 50 euros per person to get terrible food in a touristic place only because there’s live Fado. Aim for full package and only for the best! Enjoy Fado during the day wherever you hear it and head to great restaurant to enjoy good quality food in the evening!
Every morning I stepped out to one of my three tiny balconies with espresso in my hand, soaked up the sun and felt grateful to start my day like this. Lisbon gave me an aesthetic enjoyment with colorful architecture, excellent taste and people who were so friendly and open! After so many months in India I get very suspicious when people get friendly and it was like a fresh air to realize that they all are really warm hearted and caring people. When you look in the history, Portugal was very powerful. The Portuguese Empire was huge as they discovered the coast of Africa, the Middle East, India, South East, Brazil and established forts and factories there. However, they lost the war because, for example, while British packed the guns to go to India, Portuguese packed the olive oil. I think it shows how nice and non aggressive Portuguese people are!
I had only few days in Lisbon and I know that the list for Lisbon is much longer than this. So if you know more suggestions, you’re welcome to leave them down in the comments.
I hope to go back to Portugal and spend at least month there, to live across the coastline, enjoy beaches and to learn how to surf! Portugal is still on my bucket list!