The whole idea for our stay in Lisbon was to just have a relaxing time and have a smooth comedown after all the craziness of Tomorrowland, we had looked for a non-party looking hostel that was nicer so we could get some downtime.
Nek minit the same day we had landed from our flight from Brussels we were joining a pub crawl in the streets of Lisbon.
Anyway, first impressions. I had no idea that Lisbon was not some sprawling metropolis, I had just assumed that as a capital city of a fairly well known country that there would be skyscrapers and highways and the like. I could not be more wrong – the city had retained its old world charm and all the buildings retained the same style.
It was not nearly as big a city as I thought it was, you could probably walk around the whole of the inner city within a day. Each neighbourhood had its own unique character which we explored by walking up and down hundreds of hills! Safe to say our legs had a solid workout this week.
Also would like to make a special note of our hostel – Lost Inn Lisbon. The guys that work there are incredibly friendly and helpful and it was just a great atmosphere there; we ended up making a ton of new friends! Not to mention how clean and stylish the place was, as well as the included breakfast and daily events they put on, like the sangria tasting and day trips to Sintra etc. Would absolutely recommend 100%
The things to do around Lisbon are fairly well known and there are plenty of free (at least 5 euro tip) walking tours for you to get to to know the city so I won’t go into too much detail about all the places but I will list down some of my favourites / places I found noteworthy:
Casa de India
This family owned restaurant is a cross between a fish shop and restaurant where there were people just buying fish to takeaway and cook at home, as well as people sitting down inside for a meal. The Portuguese specialty is Cod as well as grilled sardines – so we got both!
They were both cooked to perfection, the cod was nice and soft but so flavourful, and the sardines were super crispy as expected with a strong salty flavour within. And the prices were great too, probably one of the best value for money places we had as the portion sizes were huge and we struggled to finish.
Time out Markets
This is somewhat of a newer addition to Lisbon and a great example of revitalising an old fruit and veg marketplace that was not seeing a lot of traffic, to a bustling hotspot for foodies and the like to come and try all kinds of cuisines in the one place.
It is essentially a huge food hall where you can get delectables from all around the world; great pastas, thai food, sandwiches, pastries and desserts, you name it they had everything! It does get busy however but its all part of the fun.
A short train ride west of Lisbon you can find a wonderful and quieter area that is home to the world famous Pasteis de Belém! They serve the best Portuguese Egg Tarts otherwise known as Pastel de Nata, and these things sell like crazy.
It is not uncommon to find a long line out the door as well as another line for just the takeaway window. Why they are so great is because since they make so many you always get fresh ones that are straight out of the oven so you can taste that warm, soft, eggy custard nestled inside a sweet and flaky pastry.
Belém also has a nice garden to walk around as well as some other historic sites to check out if you have more time. Get yourself plenty of Portuguese tarts and have a picnic in the garden or walk along the river for a nice view of the bridge which looks a lot like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! (I would later learn this was because it was built by the same company)
The oldest district in Lisbon. It felt like what you would imagine a favela would look like with rolling hills with many ups and downs and little alleys left and right – however it had none of the squalor and was well kept. As we walked around the shopfronts were mostly artisanal and boutique goods with the occasional local restaurant dotted here and there.
It also sits atop a hill that overlooks most of the city so there are some picturesque views to be found. We managed to find a nice outdoor wine bar in front of a cathedral that looked over the city for some nice afternoon drinks as the sun went down.
The ‘bairro’ or ‘neighbourhood’ is pretty much the nightlife district of Lisbon with tons of bars and restaurants to keep you busy. You can find everything from shisha bars, to wine bars and cocktail bars – and what is even better is the prices are damn cheap so be careful 😉 You can get these XXL cocktails for a ridiculously cheap price I can’t even remember how much it cost because it doesn’t even matter. Check out Santido Probido and have yourself a little fun before making your way into one of the many nightclubs