Marina’s Travel Guide to Lisbon, Portugal

Our last stop on our recent Europe trip was Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon has become so popular and it was the place we initially had our eyes on when planning our trip. We heard  great things about the city and received tons of recommendations from people we knew, so we definitely looked forward to this portion of the trip. You can read about the rest of our trip in Barcelona, here, and Lagos, here.

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Lisbon had so many factors that made it a gem. The hilly atmosphere added to the beauty of the tiled buildings, the vibrant colors on every corner were very easy on the eyes, and the delicious, trendy eats were so yummy. I could visit Lisbon for the food alone (I ate five sleeves of pastel de nata during our time there).

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While we really, really loved Lisbon, our Airbnb left us wanting to return home and kind of tainted our time in the city. The place itself was fine and the host was great, but the location was loud and in what seemed to be a dirtier part of the city. I don’t even know how to explain it. We just weren’t a fan of the vibes. The location was fairly central, but something about it didn’t sit well with us.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at an Airbnb, and I’d definitely recommend extensive research on lodging to ensure you’re near the sites/attractions you’re most interested in. I feel bad that I don’t have a better recommendation for this, but I know of several other bloggers that cover great places to say.

What We Did 

Walked Around the City to Check Out the Scenic Views

Our first couple of hours in Lisbon were spent just walking around and taking it all in, which was a really great way to start our time in the city. We checked out the views at Miradouro de Santa Luzia, near the Portas Do Sol restaurant (by the way, don’t waste your money eating there) and Miradouro da Graça. The lookout at Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara was also right near our Airbnb and had a really cute local market earlier in the day, which we loved visiting. Our favorite places to walk around were Alfama and Barrio Alto. You can spend hours just taking in the city.

Day Trip to Sintra & Caiscais

I feel like a trip to Lisbon isn’t complete unless you visit Sintra and CaisCais. Both areas are just outside of the city (a car or bus ride away) and it’s neat to see completely different areas of Portugal. We began the day by visiting two castles in Sintra – Pena Palace and Castelo dos Mouros. Both castles were incredible and very different from one another.

We ended our day outside of Lisbon in Caiscais, a beach town super close to Sintra. I wish we had more time in Caiscais. It was so relaxing and pretty, and I would have loved more of a chance to explore. I plan on writing about our time in Sintra and Caiscais in another blog post – stay tuned!

Belem Tower

On our way back from Sintra, we stopped at the Belem Tower to take some pictures and of course, stop at Pastéis de Belém (more on that below!). I feel like it’s an iconic spot and the area around the tower is pretty to walk around too.

LX Factory

LX Factory is an industrial complex filled with shops and restaurants. It’s really cool! We took a cab over and spent a little time walking through some stores.

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Where We Ate

Prado

This was our first meal of the trip and it was delicious. All of the dishes were very unique and flavorful, and we loved the hanging lights, plants and overall atmosphere in the restaurants. Make reservations beforehand if you want to eat here.

Mercado Simply Portuguese

Mercado was really close to our Airbnb, and while it wasn’t busy, the menu sounded good, so we decided to stop in. The food was delicious and we enjoyed some great twists on Portuguese food. After eating, we wondered why the restaurant was so dead, so I did some research, and it sounds like they struggled service-wise when they first opened. All I can say is we were extremely pleased with our visit!

Comoba

A great breakfast spot and place to go for coffee. Again, another really cool atmosphere with a healthy brunch menu.

Time Out Market

A MUST!!! I could have gone to the Time Out Market for every meal. Time Out Market is a historic market hall filled with the best of the best food in Lisbon (voted by Time Out). Seriously, a foodie’s dream. We grabbed a glass of wine each, some croquetes from Croqueteria, a scallop sandwich from Alexandre Silva and a pork belly sandwich from Henrique Sa Pessoa. It was one of the best nights of my life. Ha!! I believe Chicago will be launching one this year – you know I’ll be there!!

Fabrica

Our spot for coffee and quick breakfast. We really enjoyed walking here one morning and sipping on our flat whites.

Cantinho do Avillez

We had a reservation at their Lisbon location the first night, but decided to cancel it and just stumble upon a restaurant. I had heard really great things, so we decided to visit their location in Caiscais while we were there. The food was wonderful, but the service was so slow – like, forgetting our meal slow! Despite the speed (or lack of), I would still put this on your list (especially the Lisbon location).

Bairro Do Avillez Taberna

Our last meal of the night, and by far our favorite. The food was AMAZING, and it had a hip/awesome vibe to it! We dined in the Taberna section, but the restaurant also has a fancier Pateo section too. Definitely a must if you’re going to Lisbon, just make sure you make a reservation in advance. It’s a hot commodity.

Manteigaria

The best place to get pastel de nata. Hands down!!! These little bites of custard are perfection. I couldn’t help myself and had a couple each day we were in Lisbon. We also tried pastel de nata from Paul, Pasteis de Belem, Padaria Bairro and Fabrica da Nata. All were very good, but Manteigaria takes the cake! I’d definitely recommend trying the dessert from multiple places.

A couple of other restaurants we really wanted to check out, but didn’t get the chance were Local (have to make reservations), Taberna da Rua das Flores and A Cevicheria (visit right when it opens because it gets busy).

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That’s pretty much it! Once again, I’m crying because I miss it so much. If you’re on the fence about taking a trip to Portugal – GO! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Happy traveling!

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