The art of procrastination. I initially saved this post for later but weeks turned into months and months turned into over a year (almost 2) since I visited Lisbon. I think I’ve officially earned the title of ‘master procrastinator’. Though all this time has passed, the memory of biting into that crispy, flaky, freshly-baked Pastel de Nata remains fresh as though it was yesterday.
Portugal is a beautiful country and a very underrated one in terms of tourism unlike its neighbor Spain. Although the two countries are often compared, they both have their own charm. What started off as a girls bachelorette trip, soon turned into a food trip (Who am I kidding. Every trip turns into a food trip) and I instantly fell in LOVE with Lisbon.
Steep narrow alleyways, beautifully cobbled lanes, picturesque miradouros (view points), colorful small buildings are what you can expect in Lisbon. Endless uphill walking compensates for all the food consumed on the trip. WIN WIN.
Start off at Castelo de Sao Jorge or the Castle of St. George. One of the 7 miradouros, the view from the castle offers an unparalleled view of the city. Spend some time there taking it all in.
Some of the other miradouros are:
Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol
Miradouro De Sao Pedro De Alcantara
Miradouro Da Garca
Miradouro Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte
Miradouro De Santa Luiza
Santa Justa Elevator
No trip to Lisbon is complete without making a pilgrimage to Pasteis de Belem the home of the Pastel de Nata or Portuguese egg tarts. Hands down the best I’ve had with its perfectly cooked flaky, crunchy pastry and custard that has the right amount of sweetness to match. It is best to take a tram to Belem from the city center. Make sure to get there early to avoid queuing. We were lucky and didn’t have to. Sprinkle a wee bit of cinnamon on your pastel de nata/tart and order an espresso to go with it.
Next up is Gelateria Nannarella.
I usually don’t go back to the same place twice when on holiday just so I can get a taste of as much as I can possibly eat in such a short span but I had to break the rule for Gelateria Nannarella. Pictured below are 3 flavours- Hazelnut, Vanilla, and Basil – each to die for. Italy – watch out cause this place really hit the spot. Light, fluffy not too sweet. Exactly my kind of gelatii.
Lisbon is home to brilliant street art and one way to explore the city is to go on a graffiti walking tour. Although there are many graffiti-laden walls to explore, we decided to walk our way up to ‘Fado Vadio’ a tribute to Fado – Portuguese folk songs often characterized by melancholy. This particular work of art is located in the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão – Alfama, possibly the birthplace of Fado and one of my favourite Lisbon suburbs. A community project done by a group of people and artists living in the neighbourhood has now turned into an ‘insta-hotspot’-great for photos.
Another Lisbon institution that should not be missed is Cervejaria Ramiro’s – fresh delicious seafood paired with beer to wash it down. This will pop up in all the Lisbon travel guides and it definitely is worth the hype. Foodie Hotspot number 2 is Mercado Da Ribeira / Time Out Market Lisboa which I presumed would be a regular market with the usual food stalls and fresh produce. I was amazed to find some of the best food in Lisbon here. Gourmet stalls by Portugal’s top chef’s – Mercado Da Ribeira was definitely a highlight. Gourmet food, drinks to go and chill vibes are what you can expect. Pictured above is a cuttlefish ink croquette from one of the stalls Croqueteria– which is exactly what you think – a stand devoted to Croquettes.
While walking down Rua das Flores we stumbled upon Queijaria – a quaint little cheese and wine shop, so we stopped for cheese and wine as you do. We sampled different regional cheeses made from sheep, cow and goat milk and had a great time chatting with the very friendly owner Paolo who was happy to recommend some of his favourites.
Located on the same street is Taberna da Rua Das Flores – a cozy tavern with menu that changes daily. The bread served was delicious and we had to stop ourselves from eating all the dense Broa de Avintes- a traditional bread made from corn and Rye. We ordered small plates to share and everything that came out was delightful.
WALK WALK WALK. We walked so much. Uphill and downhill and through the cobbled lane ways. There were days that we walked 20 kilometers. It certainly helped to digest all that food but the views and the little shops we stumbled upon along the way were the highlights. One of them being A Vida Portuguesa and Conserveira de Lisboa. Who would have thought a shop devoted tinned sardines would excite me? The Portuguese art definitely comes through in the packaging and it is a great place to pick up little giveaways.
If you, like me, like your coffee – check out Fabrica Coffee Roasters for a good cup of single origin specialty coffee.
We stopped by Pharmacia for dinner one night. An old pharmacy turned into a restaurant. Great cocktails, a good set menu, however, dessert was mediocre – something we found throughout Lisbon in general.
- Favorite Suburb: Alfama
- Try to catch a Fado show – we didn’t due to limited time.
- Restaurant we wanted to try but didn’t: 100 maneras
- Bairro Alto – spent one night checking out the bars here. Mostly young tourists and locals.
- Don’t miss Pastéis de bacalhau– a delicious cod fish croquette served at almost all the bakeries.
- Hope on a tram to expore the city
That’s it for now. Lisbon I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again x