City Guide - Lisbon
Portugal’s capital is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most charming cities, an amalgam of winding cobbled streets, tiled facades, and baroque churches, built across seven hills overlooking the beautiful Tagus river.
Food and Drink.
The city’s food scene is one of the best on the continent, with a multitude of options for all tastes and budgets.
A great place to start your food journey is the Time Out Market, a ten thousand square ft, indoor food and drink market encompassing 25 restaurants and 8 bars, along with a music venue and numerous shops. Feast on Portuguese classics like the Prego (steak sandwich) at O Prego da Peixaria or Pastéis de natas (portuguese custard tarts) at Manteigaria, or try some of the international dishes on offer such as Sushi at Sea Me, or the delicious, American-style burgers at Ground Burger.
Time Out Market © Time Out
For a while Taberna da Rua das Flores was one of Lisbon’s best kept secrets, but word has got out and since it doesn’t take reservations, if you want to eat here, you will almost certainly have to queue. However, its outstanding, daily-changing menu, extensive selection of great Portuguese wines, and upbeat atmosphere, definitely make it worth the wait.
Taberna da Rua das Flores
For similar style food without the long queue, Os Gazeteiros, a small bistro in the historic Alfama neighborhood, serves excellent small plates using fresh, seasonal ingredients, whilst at Tapisco, Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, creates delicious Spanish and Portuguese tapas, influenced by his time working at some of the best restaurants in Spain.
For a taste of traditional Lisbon look no further then Cervejaria Ramiro, a three floor restaurant and beer hall specialising in traditional fish and seafood based dishes plus local wine and beers. Try the Gamba do Algarve (Algarve style prawns), Ameijoa à Bulhão Pato (clams in butter sauce) or the Sapateira (stuffed crab), washed down with some Vinho Verde (green wine).
Lisbon is home to some fantastic places to drink, including numerous great rooftop bars with panoramic views of the city.
Park, located on the rooftop of a multi-story car park in the hip, Bairro Alto neighbourhood, has a super laid-back atmosphere, a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails, and some of the best views over the city. Terraço Limão at the H10 Duque de Loulé hotel, boasts a beautiful 18th century interior, along with an outdoor terrace with stunning panoramic views, whilst Topo, situated on the roof of the Martim Moniz shopping centre, is great place to watch the sunset over the city’s rooftops while listening to some of the city’s best DJ’s.
PARK rooftop bar.
For cocktail lovers, Foxtrot, a basement bar, with glamorous art-deco interior, serves some of the best drinks in the city, as does Pensão Amor, located in a former brothel and Pavilhão Chinês, a five-room bar and gallery packed with an array of quirky antiques.
What to do
The Alfama neighbourhood is one of the city’s oldest and is home to some of its most iconic, historical buildings including: the São Jorge Castle; the 19th century Church of Santa Engrácia, and the impressive Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa (Cathedral of Saint Mary Major). The most enjoyable way to explore the neighbourhood is on one of the charming, Remodelado trams, which date back to 1873.
A Remodelado tram.
The city’s many other architectural gems include the 16th-century Belem Tower, a quintessential example of Portuguese Renaissance architecture; the Santa Justa lift, a 45M tall, viewing platform with an elevator, built in the early 1900s; the iconic Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, and the Praça do Comércio, a large waterfront plaza, home to the impressive, 19th century Arco da Rua Augusta.
Ponte 25 de Abril.
There city’s numerous museums include: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Portugal’s national art museum located in an impressive 18th century former palace and home to over 40 thousand pieces of art; MAAT, (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology), and the Berado Museum, a world renowned contemporary art museum which houses an impressive collection of works from artists including, Andy Warhol, Picasso and Salvador Dali.
For more contemporary offerings, LX Factory is a creative hub consisting of shops, bars, restaurants and studios housed in a network of former factories and industrial units in the Alcantara district.
Feira da Ladra, the city’s main flea market, is located in the Campo de Santa Clara neighbourhood and dates back to the 13-century. Open on Tuesdays and Saturdays only, the myriad stalls sell a range of vintage goods including records, books, clothes and furniture.
Where to Stay
Lisbon has a great range of accommodation options for all budgets. At the higher end, Memmo Príncipe Real, Altis Belem, and Memmo Alfama, boast heated outdoor pools, whilst the stylish, five-star Bairro Alto Hotel, has a terrace bar with panoramic views over the city.
Set in a quiet, leafy square in the laid-back Principe Real neighborhood, Casa de Calma is a 5 room guesthouse with bright, reasonably priced rooms, a delicious inclusive breakfast, and excellent service, whilst Story Guesthouse, and Mi Casa en Lisboa, are two other, great affordable options.
Casa de Calma
The city is also home to a number of excellent hostels including, Goodmorning Hostel; Lisbon Destination Hostel, and Goodnight Hostel, all of which are centrally located making them great bases from which to explore the city. Likewise, Sunset Hostel which is located next to the city’s main train station and has an outdoor pool and terrace with views over the Tagus River.
Check out the Bookitlist Visit Lisbon page for more information about visit this charming city.
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London based writer and editor with a passion for travel. Loves the excitement of exploring fast-paced, urban destinations with great food, drink and nightlife!