THREE DAYS IN: LISBON
I’ve been thinking about introducing this new ‘Three days in..’ topic for a while now and during our getaway to Lisbon I decided my blog needs a category that covers traveling, but from a more realistic point of view: I mean, constantly traveling around the world with your boyfriend sounds like a dream, but – newsflash – for most of us it will remain nothing more than a dream. Ain’t nobody got time for that ;) I’m kidding, but let’s be honest: most of us don’t get to travel the world and get being paid for doing so. Most of us have jobs. Or kids. Or both. Or just another type of life in general. So thats why I felt the need to show what can be done a in a weekend – or a few days away – in both the Netherlands and abroad. Probably mostly Europe, because even though once went to Canada for only two days, I wouldn’t really recommend doing that other than when it’s work related (which it was for me at that time). So here we go, kicking things off with Lisbon. The capital of Portugal. A city I heard so many great things about, but never visited before. Until last month. We stayed a little bit longer (six days to be exact), but in this article I’d like to show some tips on how to do Lisbon in 3 days.
To get to the city center:
Since Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport is pretty close to the city center, getting to your hotel/Airnbnb won’t take a lot of time. We jumped into a metro only minutes after we arrived at the airport, but found out that Uber X is insanely cheap in Lisbon, so next time we’d definitely go grab a taxi instead of the metro. Not that the metro is a bad thing – we’re used to Amsterdam ;) – , but with heavy suitcases and 40 degrees Celcius, someone dropping us off right in front of the hotel would have been such a blessing ;)
We stayed at the Czar Hotel, only 5 minutes away from the city center and surrounded by local shops, cute little market stores and lots of cute little restaurants. The hotel wasn’t the fanciest we’ve ever seen, but to be honest: that’s not something we were looking for this time. We spent most of our time outside, exploring the city, anyway, so a hotel with a nice bed, airconditioning (!) and a good shower is all we needed really. And in fact: this hotel got us even more: great breakfast, great location, nice people and good rates. Would definitely recommend booking this hotel.
One of our favourite things to do abroad – whether we’re there for a quick city trip or a longer period of time – is to wander around the city.
To pretend you’re a local. To check out the local places to eat, drink, go. So that is something we usually do as soon as we arrive: dump our suitcases and get our there. Lisbon is great for exploring. Besides the fact that even my well trained calves got pretty tired of walking up and down all the stairs and hills that this city has, walking around Lisbon is something I would definitely recommend: strolls through narrow alleys, go sip a lemonade (gosh, those lemonades are everywhere, the perfect refreshment on a hot day!) or cocktails as you wish and don’t forget to look up: you’d be amazed by the wonderful use of colourful tiles on the buildings. You can’t miss them really..
Also when you look up: you’ll notice the castle that’s located on the mountain top, watching over the city. We were a bit hesitant to go there, because usually these places are tourist galore, but because I have this weird obsession with castles and ruins ánd because we expected a nice and cool breeze up there (it was almost 40 degrees Celcius that day..) we decided to give it a go. And yes, it turned out to be very touristy, but the view was amazing and we were right about the cool breeze ;) Win! On top of the hill you find Castello de S. Jorge (where we shot this outfit post, go have a look if you haven’t done it yet), a Moorish castle that’s occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. Absolutely beautiful. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history and is very well preserved, so practically a history-fan’s wet dream.
And what more?
If you’re not really into climbing stairs and medieval castles in hot weather, I’d recommend hopping on a train (or grab an Uber X..) to Belém, another part of Lisbon. Belém – Portugese for Bethlehem, the city Christians believe Jesus was born – is also a very touristy spot to be honest, but I really like that fact that you can walk along the river Tagus, grab an ice cream or Pastéis de Belém – a very common egg tart pastry in Portugal, definitely try it! – or check out the Jerónimos Monastery if you’re into things like that.
But what if I just want to chill in the sun?
Well, good for you. Even though Lisbon doesn’t have a beach right next to the city center, just like for instance Barcelona has, you do have a few options when it comes to beaches. We went to two of them and both were equally great. First we went to Costa da Caparica. In order to get there, we needed to hop on a ferry to the other side of the Tagus and take a bus from there that brought us to walking distance from the beach. Fun fact: there’s more than 15 km of beaches on that side and because it turned out to be quite windy over there, it was a great spot to enjoy a very hot day like that. Another great spot, slightly more touristy, is Cascais. We took a 45-minute train ride to this cute little place, enjoyed a little walk through the city center (such a cute place, pastel pink houses everywhere, an Instagram dream really!) and spend a few hours at something I’d like to call a natural swimming pool. As you can see on the picture this pool filled itself with the ocean’s water during flood and warmed up (or in fact.. it did not, the water was pretty cold, lol) by the sun. Great spot though, would definitely recommend it, because the ‘normal’ beaches around Cascais were pretty packed with both tourists and locals.
Where to shop?
To be honest: shopping-wise Lisbon isn’t my favourite city. Is has the ‘Baixa’ (shopping malls downtown) with stores like Zara, Bershka, Nike etc, but nothing really special. If you do want to go shopping I’d recommend starting at the Avenida da Liberdade, a wide shopping street that was built to look like the Champs Elysées in Paris, with all luxury stores like Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton etc, and walk all the way down to the city center where you’ll find lots of cosy little streets filled with local shops, but also stores like Zara, Mango and H&M.
Where to eat?
I think one of the most impressive places we had dinner was at Ponte Final. All you have to do is hop on that same ferry again, walk 10 minutes and enjoy the most beautiful sunset you can possibly get in Lisbon. We had to wait quit a long time before a table became available (and we forgot to make a reservation), but it was all worth it. The food was nice, not the best I’ve ever had, but I can be satisfied very quickly if the view and company is as good as it was that night. Honestly, go to this place, you won’t regret it!
Another great tip is to walk around the area of Bairo Alto. A lot of nice restaurants are located there and there’s a lot of cosiness going on on the streets. Also: we had an absolute great dinner are The Decadente during our trip, another recommendation I’d like to make. The first time we arrived here it turned out to be completely booked, but luckily we were able to book a table on another day. Great food, great wine (according to my boyfriend, but their sparkling water was fine too ;)), great environment, so definitely worth paying a visit.
And last but not least: we took an Uber to LX Factory, a former industrial site that’s now being used as a food/art/literature market. It’s been kept hidden for years, but now returned to the city in the form of LX Factory. We spent an evening eating some tapas, but wished we’d discovered this place earlier, because this would definitely be great spot to spend a relaxed afternoon as well (some of the stores we’re closed already, because we went there at the end of the day). We saw so many cool restaurants, so if you’re into street food, art and an industrial vibe, definitely go check out this place.
I hope you enjoyed this little Lisbon tour. Of course the city has much more to offer than what’s in this post, but I just wanted to show you guys some options. If you still have question, or recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments below, because I’m pretty sure I’ll be going to go to Lisbon again. I fell in love with the environment of the city, such a chill vibe, nice weather, good food.. so tips are more than welcome, I’d be more than happy to check them out next time ;)