As I mentioned in my last post, I recently visited Lisbon, Portugal, and to say I fell in love with this city is the understatement of the year. Simply put, I was blown away by everything about this city! The people, the food, the architecture, the FOOD, the museums and historical sites, and oh did I mention the food was great?
I had such a great time in Lisbon, and I wanted to share some of the highlights from my trip as well as give recommendations for anyone visiting in the future. So without further ado, here’s my guide to Lisboa!
I originally flew Norwegian Air from Los Angeles to Copenhagen, and then flew Norwegian again from Copenhagen to Lisbon a few days later. Both flights were non-stop, and extremely affordable–like, *this must be a mistake* affordable. I cannot say enough great things about Norwegian at this point – they make travel accessible for people who may not have the biggest budgets, and since one of my strongest beliefs is that everyone should be able to travel and experience different cultures from their own, this is really important to me! So as for Norwegian Air, I have decided to stan.
Getting Around Town:
WALK, FORREST, WALK! Lisbon is a very walkable city, which was lucky for me because transportation can eat up so much of a travel budget. While I did use the tram a couple of times, I did not take a single taxicab or ride-sharing service while I was in Lisbon, and by walking the local and side streets I got to see more of the city, which allowed me to find hidden gems that I would never have seen driving quickly past in a car. Yes, I’m saying that I saved money, got Insta-worthy views, AND got my steps in during my trip. #WINNING
There is an abundance of both hotels and Airbnbs in the city at every price point, but for my trip I cashed in some Expedia points to snag a 4-star boutique hotel called the Porto Bay Marques. By the grace of God I was actually upgraded to a bigger room, and it was the perfect place to sleep and get ready for the day and going out at night. And the bathroom, oh my gosh, the bathroom was amazing; I have a thing for hotel showers — it’s one of my favorite parts of staying at a hotel — and the shower at Porto Bay Marques is big and roomy and perfect. So in addition to a great room and an even better bathroom, the hotel was right next to a metro station and only a 15-minute walk to the city center, so overall it was a great place to stay!
I can say without a doubt that I had some of the best meals in my life in Lisbon. It’s been over a month and I am still dreaming about Lisbon’s traditional speciality, the pastel de nata. I pretty much inhaled those every chance I got, and the minute I got back to LA I found a recipe on Pinterest to try and make them myself! If you’re in Lisbon you have to go to the Pastéis de Belém, which is the originator of this tasty treat.
However, as delicious as pastéis de nata are, they are not the only culinary delight that Lisbon should be commended for.
For breakfast or brunch head to The Mill, an Aussie-inspired cafe tucked away on a small side street near the city center. This cute little cafe has an array of pastries and savory options to die for, but if you come here you have to try their iberian chorizo dish. Just trust me, you will thank me later.
For dinner, the options are endless, but here are three places that I loved when I visited:
I recommend Tapisco for a modern twist on traditional Iberian cuisine. The croquetas de jamon were so good that I had no choice but to order seconds (this was only the appetizer!), and
if when I return to Lisbon (wishing this into existence), I will definitely order their take on the traditional Portuguese dish, the bacalhau à brás and their chocolate mousse.
Head to Forno D’oro for pizza that will have you drooling while simultaneously cursing yourself out for depending on Domino’s so much in your college years. Forno D’oro has amazing pizza, impeccable service, and a trendy atmosphere that makes you feel like you are at the hottest restaurant in town. Issa 10/10!
Saving the very best for last, you absolutely must eat dinner at the incomparable Esperança. Located in the Bairro Alto, this restaurant is the best hidden gem I’ve ever been to. Everything about Esperança — from the romantic ambiance to the flavorful wine list to the mouth-watering dessert — was fabulous, but the real star of the night was their creamy mushroom risotto. Imagine the best meal you’ve ever had and multiply it by 10…that’s how good this risotto was. If you’re in Lisbon you have to visit Esperança and try it for yourself – not to sound dramatic or anything but it will change your life. You’re welcome in advance.
Sights to See
While I wasn’t stuffing my face with pasteis de nata, I was exploring the beautiful city of Lisbon. There is so much to see in this beautiful town, but whether you’re there as quick as 48 hours or longer than a week, here’s what you definitely have to see: the Tower of Belem and Padrão dos Descobrimentos in Belem, Rossio Square in Baixa, Castelo de Sao Jorge, which overlooks Almalfa, and everywhere in the Bairro Alto!
Lisbon is sprinkled with the cutest colored houses, tiled buildings and side streets as well, so no matter what part of the city you are exploring you are bound to find inspiration everywhere you look.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit Lisbon, and of course my only complaint is that my trip was way too short! I highly recommend anyone going to Europe to consider visiting this city, and I hope that my guide to Lisbon comes in handy if you go!