My absolute favorite in Europe – Lisbon!! I spent 12 days there and everyday there was something new to see. Flew over with TAP Portugal and I was very happy with the service onboard. We got a meal that was actually good and the flight time was like 3,5hrs only.
While in Lisbon we decided to see as much as possible and everyday we took the train to a new beach. It was so convenient with the train! As its most it took us 45mins to another small town with a beautiful beach. We paid €4,50 for a return ticket so it was way much cheaper than renting a car. And if you have a look on the map of the stops onboard the train then you can see where there is a beach and just jump off when you feel like it. Lisbon itself is a very cheap city compared to rest of Europe. Accommodation is very affordable too.
We saw a lot of parks and other famous sights in Lisbon but I would have to write a guide book to be able to share it with you so I’m just mentioning a few places. Though I do suggest you buy a guide book before going there because trust me when I say you don’t want to miss out on anything. And Lisbon is exactly like San Francisco, on hills, so you’ll have plenty of panoramic views around the town. Don’t forget to visit at least one of the many beautiful churches.
Random pictures from Lisbon
– Hotel Americano // This hotel is very centrally located. We were actually surprised by how central it was. There is everything nearby, restaurants, shops, cafés, bars and so on. The rooms are in a good size and they are clean and nice but unfortunately the breakfast was not very good. It was some kind of continental but even less than that. And where we had our room it was extremely noisy from the outside. Every early morning the supermarket under us got their groceries so we heard when they were moving in everything and until late night people were making noise. I did sleep with earplugs but not even that helped. It all sounds very negative but I would actually go back to this hotel, I would just ask for a room on the other side. It was so central and the rooms were good and also there are so many cafés outside so buying breakfast is not a problem.
Behind the hotel, a hill full of restaurants
– Pinocchio // This is a quite famous restaurant in Lisbon and therefore the prices are a bit higher than in other places. It’s not a fancy place and it’s not only rich, snobby people going there so no need to dress up or so. It’s famous for its food and I can understand why. It was so good!!! The portions are big, the wine is good and a must in Lisbon is to eat fish so that’s what I suggest you to order. You’ll find this restaurant just next to Rossio station.
– Rua das Portas de Sant Antao // This is a street with plenty of seafood restaurants and you might think it’s expensive because it’s a very touristic street but the prices are very good. You can eat other international dishes as well, there is a mix of restaurants but most of them are with seafood.
– Castelo de Sao Jorge // First of all, don’t make the same mistake that we did, go there after 8 p.m. haha. We walked all the way up there (very long hill) and when we finally arrived it closed at 8!! Oh God, how annoying that was haha. Try to go around 6-7 p.m because then you can enjoy the beautiful view if the sunset and the Castle is not too big so an hour or two is enough for a walk.
Castelo de Sao Jorge
– Torre de Belém // The whole Belém area is amazing. We got there by tram and it didn’t take too long, like 20mins or so. There are beautiful buildings, a nice park and many other wonderful sights. You need to spend at least a few hours here to see everything and there are cozy cafés with outdoor seating by the water. I think if you go to Lisbon then you for sure have to visit Belém. Don’t miss out on Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
Torre de Belém
– Jardim Agrícola Tropical // Who doesn’t love parks? Oh my, this one was so beautiful. It’s not super big so it’ll take around 1,5-2 hrs to walk around. As you can see it’s very green and there are so many beautiful ponds and flowers here.
Jardim Agrícola Tropical
– Cristo Rei // This is so cool! I actually had no idea this statue even existed before I saw it in my travel book. We took a bus up there because walking would take ages and it’s so high up on a hill that I’d probably be exhausted by getting there. There’s not really much more to see there except the bridge too but it’s worth a visit!
– Ponte de 25 Avril // As I’ve mentioned before Lisbon is like San Francisco and you even have the bridge here! It’s where the statue of Jesus is located and it will give you a beautiful view of Lisbon.
Ponte de 25 Avril
– Bairro Alto // If you want to go clubbing, bar hopping or just need a glas then this is where you should go! The best thing is that they have live music in many of the bars but they are so small that you’d have to stay on the street to listen but in some way it’s a part of the charm of this street. I liked it a lot!
– Pavilhão Chines // This bar is so weird but so cool. It’s full of toys haha. The man who opened this bar (and a club or two) loved toys and his home was full of them so then he opened these places and fileld them up with toys too, I think you should go for a glass just to see it.
– Sintra // I always say Sintra is lika a fairytale. It’s amazing with all the castles, the cone shaped roofs and the colors of the buildings. It has a very beautiful nature and many sights for tourists. I hiked up to one of the castles and then had a little tour there and everything was breathtaking. There are buses to the castles and I actually recommend those instead of walking because by getting here you’d be exhausted. I recommend a whole day in Sintra because there’s so much to see. Sintra is about 45 mins from Lisbon with the train.
– Cascais // Oh my!! Amazing, amazing and breathtaking!!! This is such a beautiful, cosy little town. It’s about 30-45mins from Lisbon with the train and you need to go early because the beach is so small and the rising tide will cover at least half the beach around 4 p.m. But that’s a good time to leave the beach because then you have some time to explore the city with its narrow shopping street and cosy squares.
– Estoril // I have to say that all these small towns that you can visit with the train are so beautiful. Estoril is quite big though and it has a famous casino. The beach is much bigger than Cascais’ beach and it’s really nice. There’s also some restaurants and cafés along the beach boardwalk. Don’t forget to see the casino because the park outside is very beautiful.
– Costa da Caparica // This beach was reachable by bus from Lisbon. It’s very big but we only went there ones. I prefer the beaches the train takes you to, they are more beautiful. This one also has restaurants and on the way to the beach you’ll pass some shops and cafés.
Costa da Caparica
– Amorino // Not sure I need to write anything since you can have a look at the pictures haha. But, yeah you need to go there. Italian gelato and the crepe and Belgian waffle is to die for!!
– Chiado // This area is full of cafés with outdoor seating, restaurants, shops and live music. Love it! It’s in the city center. You’ll like because no matter what you wanna eat or do you’ll find it here.
I have to tell you about something we did in Lisbon. We booked an activity with Vertente Natural. We didn’t exactly know what it was but it sounded exciting and fun! So, we were picked up at a station and went to Sesimbra. While there we were ordered to put on a wet suit, training shoes, a helmet and gloves. We were a group of around 15 people. We had a boat taking us to nowhere and this nowhere place had a deserted beach. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately we didn’t have our camera since this was a water activity and we didn’t think about buying an underwater camera. Anyway, this activity lasted for half a day and what we did was; climbing up the cliffs with the help of a rope, climbing down the cliffs, jumping off the cliffs, climbing down a grotto, swimming.. Basically exploring the nature around the ocean. It was the best nature adventure I have ever done and I think everybody should sign up for this!