lisbon, portugal travel guide

I was planning to do a post on some of my travels for a while, finally I could find the time to gather my notes. I got to spend a long weekend in Lisbon in January. As it was off-season, many shops and restaurants were closed but still the weather was so nice. I wanted to share a bit of my trip with you so here I am writing this post. 

Not long ago, I used to over plan my trips in order not to miss anything and feel exhausted in the end. But recently I started to change this habit a little; nowadays I plan less and mainly prioritize the place I want to see and the things I want to do and see how the city makes that happen. Lisbon was one of those kind of trips. I spent an amazing couple of days walking around Alfama's narrow streets, admiring the Ajulejo covered colorful buildings, spending time in the parks with a small picnic on the side, photographing the amazing views from the hilltops of the city and of course tasting the infamous seafood of Lisbon and the Port wine all along the way...

I left Lisbon with a lot of inspiration, good impression and happy memories. 

DO

Have a walk to Alfama with you head up. Enjoy the stunning view over the rooftops of the Alfama district and the Targus River. When going up and downhill with Tram 28, while strolling through the colourful streets, you can discover some of the typical panoramic views of Lisbon. Two of the most beautiful ones: Santa Luzia in Alfama and Senhora do Monte. Don’t miss the most characteristic districts. Between the most beautiful in the city there are with no doubt the Baixa, heart of the city, the Barrio Alto, young neighbourhood dedicated to entertainment. Hang out on the streets of Chiado, the elegant neighbourhood. You can take the time to enjoy  the historic cafés, fashionable boutiques and upscale hotels and restaurants. Do not miss visiting Lx Factory, even it is bit further from town centre. It is old factory turned to shops, restaurants and ateliers. It has a great vibe, but try to go there during the day. Have a visit to Belem district, Lisbon's most monumental and historical area . Centro Cultural de Belém is a remarkable contemporary art museum and  Torre de Belem  is the quintessential symbol of Portugal. And also you will be impressed with the  Jerónimos Monastery and Palácio Nacional da Ajuda 's grandness. Make a day trip to Sintra. 25km West from Lisbon, a wonderful town you must visit as soon as you finish Lisbon’s to-do’s. 

EAT

Boi Cavallo, Rua de Vigario, 70B Alfama

Our host in the apartment recommended this cool restaurant for our first night, It was an excellent food, very creative and inspiring in a friendly atmosphere. The space is minimal with a small kitchen. The enthusiastic chef and the staff were very friendly. We were lucky to find a place due to the low season, but definitely should book a table before going. 

Cantinho Do Avillez, R. Duques de Bragança 7

One of Portugal's best and definitely the most famous chef Jose Avillez’s relatively casual restaurant is an alternative to Belcanto, his other restaurant in town. Cantinho is a trendy place with a very welcoming atmosphere. I had one the best tuna dishes I had ever had. Other things I would recommend to taste are scallops, fried string beans with a tartar sauce and seasalt as well as the hazelnut desert. 

Gambrinus, Rua das Portas Santo Antao

If you want to experience a traditional, feel-good food try this place. Locals say that it is a classic and is very old school.  Located right in the heart of Lisbon. Got to taste an amazing tiger crab cooked in Madeira wine and a very good seafood pasta with local seafood. An ideal place for lunch or for a Sunday afternoon early dinner, just like we did. The staff and service is excellent, very professional but the prices are high according to Lisbon standards. 

Bistro 100 Maneiras, Largoda Trindade 9

Located in the trendy Chiado district, this place offers a modern Portuguese cuisine with an Eastern European twist. Chef Ljubomir Stanisic is fantastic at combining Portuguese, French and Yugoslavian tastes all together for remarkable dishes.  (Not too far from this bistro is their fine dining counterpart, 100 Maneiras, which we did not get to try but if it is anything like Bistro 100 Maneiras, it must be good if not better.) 100 Maniras –Rua do Teixeria 35

Mercado de Riberia, Av. 24 de Julho 50

This closed market place is a heaven for a foodie. You can taste all the great chefs in the city under one roof with their good quality food with affordable prices. Despite it is a closed market, it is very spacious and nicely decorated. Definitely go there hungry and be prepared to spend there half a day. 

Sea Me Peixaria Moderna, Chiado Rua do Loreto 21

Fresh sea food, a good place to eat scallops and oysters with a glass of champagne. 

Este Oeste, Centro Cultural de Belém, Praça do Império

Sushi and pizza together in this very chic and family friendly museum bistro. Need reservations on Sundays. 

*Our host also recommended some other restaurants:

-Insolito,Restaurante Leopold, Belcanto, Eleven, Feitoria, Ramiro

SHOP

A vida a Portuguesa, great shop with vintage Portuguese products. I brought some vintage aluminium kitchenware pieces, some stationary and cute soaps. Embaxiadalx is slow retail concept store in a nice historical building. You can see lots of local designers all in one place. I did some antique prop shopping from Feira da Ladra, Lisbon's famous flea market. Also for the food lovers Conserveira de Lisboa, is a must go place. You can bring perfect gifts for friends who like tinned tuna, sardines, mussels, octopus, squid, mackeral  with various sauce or old preparations. They wrap them  very nicely.

STAY

Baixa HouseR. dos Fanqueiros 81

I first heard about this place, when Local Milk and LUDC made a photography workshop there. Later, I heard the place from some other friends and encounters and when I decided to go to Lisbon, this place was the only place I wanted to stay.  How lucky we were that the house was partially under construction yet we could find a beautiful apartment, recently renewed. I will write more about and post photos in my next post.

* I suggest you to check out  Little Upside Down Cake's blog for more Lisbon !!!