Lisbon had been on the list for a long time. So when I turned 40 it seemed like the best time to check the area out. Even with international travel being a cluster. We landed in Lisbon, but not without chaos. We don’t check luggage, but we were definitely running, probably sprinting to get to flights. Customs has become easier, even with the long lines and multiple check points.
I knew immediately I would love the country and not because of the romantic idea I had of the city like Nice or Paris, but because it seemed like a country that had community. You were a tourist amongst locals. It is functional, it is affordable and it is rich with history.
Here are our must see spots in Lisbon, Portugal.
Lisbon is made of districts or neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has something to offer and they are all worthy of a visit. This city is very walkable and you will want to do just that. Neighborhoods connect and even in the evening it is a beautiful walk after dinner. You definitely do not need a car. The driving doesn’t match the feel of the city as it is quite chaotic in itself. But if you are walking, it is very enjoyable. Here are the neighborhoods in Lisbon that we checked out.
Restelo Area (along the Tagus River)
Port of Lisbon – This is a great spot to start your exploration of this area. A beautiful view of the 25 de Abril Bridge and Sanctuary of Christ the King statue. You can then walk along the river for miles with more to see!
Padrão dos Descobrimentos – This monument is to honor the Portugese Age Discovery of the 15th and 16th century.
Belem Tower – One of the few buildings that survived the 1700s earthquake that destroyed 12,000 buildings and killed over 60,000 people. This tower was the embarkation and disembarkation point for the explorers honored at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
One of the many great things about this city is that you have easy access to a cold drink while walking from attraction to attraction. even in the parks. So if you want to take a break from the sun, you can easily find a small beer stall with shade that you can sit and people watch. Most of the local beers, even in the most touristy spots, were around $2.00.
For some of the best views of the city, explore this area. As well as some of the best ethnic restaurants.
Miradouro da Graca – One of the many vista points that can give you a great view of the city.
Miradouro da Senhora do Monte – This is the best view of the city. Find a ride from a taxi or tuk tuk, this is a climb to get to.
Cervejaria Ramiro – Anthony Bourdain ate here in 2012 and it has been a staple ever since. You would think that after that it would lose its quality, but I don’t think it has. The food was exceptional, the service typical of Portugal and you can try some really interesting items like Barnacles. I usually like to try things once but we couldn’t bring ourselves to order them. Seafood focused, don’t come here if you are looking for a steak.
Amanhecer Asian Market – A small Asian market surrounded by Asian restaurants. If you are staying in the area for awhile and have a kitchen, you can find awesome instant ramen and other snack items.
Pizzeria Romana BIO – We were randomly walking streets and we came across this Neapolitan style pizza place. Decided we were hungry and it was amazing!
There were so many bars where locals would gather to drink, play card games and get a small bite to eat. It was amazing being surrounded by the people who called Lisbon home. It was affordable for anyone to be out drinking with friends. As I mentioned before, even in touristy areas, the beers were $1.50 for a small Heineken and small plates were a couple dollars. Tip on tipping. Round up to the next dollar or at a restaurant 10%. This isn’t a tipping country and they would like to keep it that way.
Cais Do Sodre Area
Time Out Market – I loved this market. Busy as busy can be, you have so many options of food. Seafood, cured meats, donuts, burger, deep fried, Thai. I could have come here multiple times if it wasn’t for wanting to only try things once.
Arco da Rua Augusta – This arch was completed in 1875 to celebrate the rebuilding after the 1700 earthquake.
Monument to King José I – A beautiful square with a statue to honor King José I.
Chaido is a great area to make your home base. Boutique hotels, tons of restaurants to choose from and a lot of squares to stop for a drink while taking a break from all the walking. If we were to go back we would stay here again. You can easily grab an Uber or public transportation. They do have scooters for rent everywhere but the cobblestone roads and side walks make it a little tricky unless you are used to it.
Throughout your walking tours of the city you will be able to see all the beautiful tile work. Pretty much every building has tile except if it is abandoned or the new modern structures going up.
It isn’t exclusive to buildings. Make sure to check out the tile work in the squares and sometimes even the sidewalks. Our favorite spot was in Baixa. It was very trippy to say the least.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I love how walkable this city is. Known as the city on 7 hills, it isn’t always a walk in the park. Narrow streets and sidewalks can make it tricky while dodging cars and tourists, however you can marvel at the architecture and the art throughout the city.
The language of the Portugese is a tough one to latch onto, but a lot of their words have some strong meaning and one of my favorite is “Saudade.” No real translation from Portugese to English, the best way to say it is, “the love that remains.”
I hope you get to experience this amazing city. The culture and the people make this place like no other on earth.
Love to Pin, Use This One!