Discover the Magic of Lisbon, Portugal
Food & Wine
Lisbon is a wonderful city in Portugal and the perfect home base to explore nearby areas. This region of Portugal has amazing wines and food. You would be hard-pressed to find a bad restaurant. You could spend your day shopping in the city, or rent a car and drive out to the Algarves or Cascais for a beach break. Sintra is also very close, and a great way to get into nature and hike up to the Palace. It's a magical area with so much to explore. Lisbon is a great place for a girls weekend, a romantic getaway or family trip. I also think it's very safe for solo travel. Everyone is incredibly nice and helpful. It's truly a magical location with so much history.
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Where to stay in Lisbon, Portugal
Tivoli Oriente Hotel
Modern hotel in the heart of Lisbon with posh rooms and suites.
Lumen Lisboa Hotel
Stylish hotel in Lisbon known for its modern rooms and evening light shows.
Valverde Hotel - Relais & Chateaux
Classic boutique hotel near Lisbon's trendy boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade.
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Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal
I love an aquarium, I find them to be so peaceful. Oceanario De Lisboa is no different. It is also one of the largest in Europe and you can do book in combination with the cable car - hint: you save a little money when you book this way! When you finish the aquarium, There is a great little wine bar where you can take a break before walking across the little park to the cable car. It takes you on a wonderful ride across the Tagus river and back with beautiful views of Lisbon.
I loved visiting the St. Dominic Church. It is a hauntingly beautiful church that was almost destroyed in a fire in 1755. They never restored it but continue to hold mass regularly. It's free to enter, but of course when visiting a church (especially in Europe) donations are appreciated.
One of my favorite things to do in Lisbon is go up to St. Jorge's Castle. The view is breathtaking. There are several food and beverage trucks to stop and have some treats before or after you explore the grounds. There are two ways to get to the castle you can follow the tram tracks up the hill, or if you want to take it easy you can head to Pingo Doce Supermarket, just inside is an elevator which will take you up to the terrace of Zambeze from there its a ten minute walk. As always it's best to get tickets online to avoid waiting in line.
In 1755 there was an earthquake that almost completely destroyed Lisbon. I think in order to truly appreciate the beauty and culture of a city or country is to learn about the history. At Quake you can do just that. It is an interactive and informative museum that allows you to not only re-live that fateful day but also celebrate the rebuilding and strength that Lisbon and the locals have.
In a city like Lisbon, one great way to get your bearings is to do a walking tour. One of the best is with Oh My Cod tours! The guide is very knowledgeable and has amazing restaurant recommendations. On top of that she is really fun!
For the artist at heart (or anyone who loves quirky unique spots) head over to LX Factory. There are several local shops and galleries. I highly suggest checking out Ler Devagar, one of the oldest bookstores in Europe. Its a cool space with a record shop at the top.
Renting a car in Lisbon isn't necessary, however I recommend it for a couple of days. With Sixt it is very affordable and it gives you the freedom to do a little road trip to the Algarve. There is so much to do and several very touristy cave tour companies, but my recommendation is to go straight to Armacao De Pera and book with Aurora Boat Tours. The guys that run it are delightful and so funny. Their tours are much smaller and less expensive than the others. You will get to explore the amazing coast line and caves with the last stop being the most magical of all Benagil Cave. I cried when we pulled in at the sheer beauty of it.
Sintra is an enchanting village not far from Lisbon. It's a perfect day trip. There are several busses that take you there, you can drive, or the best way is via uber. To reach the national palace Uber can drop you right at the entrance. It's best to get your tickets ahead of time and go early, especially if you want to explore inside the palace. Walking the ground and around the wall of the palace is just as wonderful. The line can take several hours to go inside no matter what your time slot is. After there are several hiking trails to explore.
Also in Sintra you can go to Quinta da Regaleria, a gorgeous neo-gothic mansion. While the mansion itself is beautiful, it is the gardens that hold the real magic. There are secret walkways, beautiful little waterfalls and even a Knights of Temple initiation well. There is so much history and mystical treasures to explore. To get home is easy and inexpensive to take the train back to Lisbon.
For a beach break head to Cascais. You can reach Cascais by bus or car within 30 minutes. There are several parking garages that are easily accessible. After strolling through the village head down to one of the many beaches to relax, swim or build sandcastles with the kids.
Places to eat & drink in Lisbon, Portugal
Breakfast in Lisbon
Seventh Brunch and Coffee: This very small brunch spot is open every day. Sometimes there is a small wait but it is WORTH it! Everything on the menu is amazing from the eggs benny to the pancakes. The food is incredibly fresh. The bloody marys are amazing. They even give kids little Teddy bears!
Dear Breakfast: This is the perfect spot to start your day. The food is farm-to-table, they have something for everyone - even the picky little one's (like mine) can find something here. The healthy rancheros is to die for and the coffee is the best in the city!
Pastries in Lisbon
Manteigaria: Pasta de Natas is the pastry to try in Lisbon. They are not all created equally though! Manteigaria is the original spot for these egg based pastries. They have a few locations you can't go wrong with either of them. Pair it with one of their amazing coffees or try the Porto, which is Portuguese port wine.
Lunch & Dinner in Lisbon
World of Heroes: If you are traveling with kids they will LOVE this place. My son said it was his favorite. They have simple fair, burgers and nachos, milkshakes and beer. The food is good but it's the atmosphere that stands out. Think Marvel everything. They even have a shop connected where you can buy all the hero and villain toys. Walking in is like walking on to the Death star with the star wars music to boot!
Vinhos: A small wine and Tapas bar. The guy who owns it is very knowledgeable about the regional wines and can pair it perfectly with the tapas you choose. I suggest getting the chorizo - they bring it to your table and cook it by drenching it in a liquor and lighting it on fire. It is something to experience. You can also purchase wine to take home.
Mex Factory: Located in the LX factory, is a casual restaurant and bar serving up amazing Mexican fare. The tacos are to die for and the margaritas hit the spot!
Cantinho Do Aziz: Hands down one of the best and less known places in Lisbon. It's a small place that serves up the best African dishes great for vegetarians and meat loves a like. The food is so fresh and the wine is all local to the region.The chamussas are mouthwatering and a perfect starter. The prawn curry is something of dreams!
Time Out Market: The perfect place to go when everyone might want something different, or as a solo traveler when you want options. There are several different food stalls here - all equally great. My favorite is Sea Me, serving up the freshest oyster and other seafood.
Chac Mooi Taqueria: Located in Cascais, this taqueria is hands down the best taco I have EVER had. Its a casual spot, great for lunch before or after some beach time. The barria taco will leaving you wanting come back for more!
Come Prima: A quaint Italian place, I know, Italian in portugal?! Seriously this place is a must. You need a reservation and they do not open until 6. It is some of the best Italian food I have ever had. It's a nice spot for a romantic night out. Try the truffle pasta and the vino verde!
Need to Know
For more Lisbon travel tips, check out this guide to Lisbon by Fora Advisor Elena Federico: Things to Do on Three-Day Adventure in Lisbon.
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