Tucked away in the very west, Lisbon seems to be sometimes forgotten amidst the excitement of Europe. It had always been overlooked by me also, but now it has (almost) become my favorite city. Perhaps it was all the sun that seemed like a sharp contrast to the nasty rainy weather in the Netherlands, but after reading the points below, I’m sure you will be surprised by what you’re missing out!
1. Let’s start with a beautiful view of the city. This is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood, Alfama, built on spectacular hills overlooking the sea. Lisbon is also known as the city built on seven hills, so prepare yourself for some nice shoes to walk in!
2. Walk inside the ancient neighborhoods of Alfama. Skip the main tourist sites (Castelo de Sao Jorge) first, and walk into the lives of the local, enjoying the elegant and colorful walls.
3. Instead of taking city tour buses, ride in Lisbon’s very own tram, which is an attraction by itself. They’re cute and cheap, however also infamous for possibilities of pickpockets onboard. Trams in Lisbon have been running for over 100 years!
4. Lisbon, or Portugal contains several of UNESCO world heritage sites. The first picture shows the Palace of Pena located in Sintra, only a 40 min train ride from Lisbon and is absolutely worth spending a whole day in. The second picture is the Jeronimos Monastery located in the Belem Neighborhood in Lisbon.
5. If you do decide on the excursion to Sintra, be sure to take a hike in the Valley of Lakes. It consists of five lakes that all the water from the park flows into. Breathtaking views with utmost tranquility.
6. Take a stroll down streets like this.
7. Enjoy delicious seafood the city has to offer! Remember, the smaller the restaurant the more authentic it is. This is the Seafood Paella I had in A Minhota da Prata in downtown Lisbon for a friendly price for only 7.5 euros.
8. Try the world-famous Portuguese pastry at the best pastelaria in town – Pastéis de Belém. You can line up with the crowd after visiting the Monastery and Tower of Belem close by. They’re super crispy and absolutely mouth-watering… yumm
9. Enjoy beautiful sunsets like this at the Praça do Comércio.
10. See beautiful Portuguese tiles (or purchase one as a souvenir!) on buildings everywhere like this.
A few last notes: Lisbon’s winters are relatively mild compared to other European regions with lots of sun, and it is also not as packed as summer touristy seasons. I highly recommend making time for Sintra, as it is one of the most impressive sites I’ve been to thus far (pictures cannot do it justice!). Definitely splurge yourself over pastries and seafood, and let your feet do the rest of the tour. I didn’t make a specific itinerary; I just went and walked all over the city. It is not too big and the tram lines are very simple and friendly. Most of all, have an amazing time and hope you fall in love with the city like I have. :)
Address: Rue la Prata, 75 – Lisboa, Portugal
Telephone: +351 21 342 6127
Address: Rua a Belem 84, Lisboa, Portugal
Telephone: +351 21 363 74 23