It’s hard to not fall in love. Named as one of Europe’s oldest cities, there’s a certain charm about the city of seven hills. Rich in history, Lisbon takes you back in time with its old trams and cobbled alleyways, lined with family-run restaurants and crumbling buildings.
Despite a few architectural similarities to San Francisco, Lisbon is like no other. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed weekend break, a food trip or to soak in the dance scene, this city is the place to be. You’ll want to get in line at Pasteis de Belém for some of the best pastel de natas the city has to offer, eat seafood at an authentic local restaurant, and party the next away with revellers at the riverside clubs.
With temperatures at 16 and 17 degrees, there’s not a better place to be than at the edge of Europe, right now.
What to eat:
Pasteis de Belém: If the queue alone doesn’t tell you how good their pastel de natas are, the locals will. If you ever visit Belém, the one place any local will tell you to visit is here. Notorious for their ‘just right’ tarts, the cafe offers sachets of cinnamon and powdered sugar to please every foodie.
Dear Breakfast: Lisbon might be one of the oldest cities, but it has nailed the contemporary breakfast scene. Other than it’s incredibly Instagrammable interior, the food on offer caters for everyone. From the pancakes to the eggs in five different ways, and various other dishes; it’s more than likely you’ll be taking pictures of your food before getting stuck in.
Cantinho do Avillez: If you don’t mind the chance of sharing a table, Cantinho do Avillez is for you. The restaurant feels very nostalgic, yet at the same time thrusts you into the future, with its modern take on dining. Order your cocktail on a tablet, and then if you’re lucky to be sat by the open home-like kitchen, watch the dynamics between the head and sous chef as the cook.
What to do:
Get on a tram: If you only have time to do one thing, jump on the 28 tram for the most scenic route of Lisbon (providing you’re able to get a seat, and aren’t left standing on a packed tram). The yellow tram connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique, passing through the tourist districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela. Take a film camera, sit back, and enjoy the bumpy ride.
Time Out Market: While this is the best market for food, you’ll also find locals and tourists dancing and enjoying the evening music. Whether you decide to watch from the sidelines or find a dancing partner, Time Out Market is buzzing each evening.
Torre de Belém: For an added dose of history, head over to Belém to visit the tower. Soaring high above the seafront, walk the same grounds as Portugal’s ancestors.
Make a trip to Sintra: While it’s not actually in Lisbon, the city is situated no more than half an hour away from Lisbon. Nestled in the ‘mountains of the moons’, Sintra is full of picturesque mansions, elaborate churches and grand palaces of former kings and queens.
Words: Lauren Coppin Campbell | Subbing: Jeremy Ainsworth