Lisbon – general impression
When I think about Lisbon, first 3 things that come to my mind are: sunny city, tasty food and good drinks. Can’t exactly say why, but for me, Lisbon is No 1 destination in Europe. It must be everything combined. I can’t really think of one thing that I disliked in Lisbon (Actually I can, and will tell you about that later, but that didn’t spoil my general impression:)). I’ve been in 27 European countries, but Portugal is still my favorite.
When to go and where to stay in Lisbon?
Beginning of May had perfect weather. It was warm enough but not too worm. Perfect for short sleeves and dress by day; and light jacket by night. Restaurants offer outdoor seating, which is a whole different impression compared to sitting inside. During the day, I only saw the interior of restaurants when searching for the toilet 🙂
We had booked 2 bedroom apartment for just the 2 of us. It looked awesome and It was near my favorite square, Praça do Comércio.
Exploring Lisbon – day one, food and drink
Through the apartment terrace I could actually see a little piece of river Tajo. So when I went out of the apartment, I was drawn to the river and saw my favorite place in Lisbon (Praça do Comércio). I know Lisbon has a river view, but the whole time I was referring to it as “the sea”.
It really gives you impression of the sea: the smell, the view and the seagulls.
Since we just woke up, it was time to eat. We had found Can the Can restaurant which was on the square (off course:))and ordered some seafood.
The view, the food and the service was so good that we kept coming back almost every day. The waiter was so kind and told us about a cocktail, Caipirinha, which was made with cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar and lime. He told us how cachaça is made and helped me choose Sangria… Also the interior of the restaurant is very nice, so if you are sitting outside, you should go to the toilet to check it out, like I did 🙂
From this square, there’s an arch which leads you to the pedestrian zone, a street called Rua Agusta. This street is the most lively part of Lisbon. Lots of shops, places to eat…
We wanted to try Lisbon’s national pastry – Pastel de Nata. We didn’t know how it looked so we sat in a place which looked like a pastry shop and bought 2 pieces.
When we sat to eat, we realized this wasn’t sweet at all! It was actually Pastel de Bacalhau. It was actually pastry typically made from a mixture of potatoes, bacalhau (codfish), eggs, parsley, and onion!
You should absolutely try codfish in Lisbon, but not after just having lunch! 🙂
A few steps ahead we had found Cafeteria Sao Nicolau which actually sells Pastel de Nata.
We were satisfied and you should definitely try it 🙂
When you look inside street Rua de Santa Justa you can actually see Santa Justo Lift.
This elevator which was built in 1902, brings you to Bairro Alto, upper part of Lisbon. For €5 each, you could ride to the top and have a great view. And this is actually what we had done after we finished our pastry.
Just a little further there is a Chafariz do Carmo square. And guess what we had done? We sat again and drank Caipirinha and Sangria. I had to say that it was pretty crowded, so we had to wait and run when a table was free! 🙂
It’s a perfect place to sit and enjoy Lisbon, nice weather, drinks and music. Oh, I forgot to mention, there were a bunch of musicians playing awesome music.
After a couple of drinks, we took our map and wondered the streets in this area. We ended up on a street made of stairs – Calçada do Duque and believe it or not there were some restaurants.
It was perfect timing and awesome place to have dinner. We sat in Café Buenos Aires and had more of that Portuguese sea food, and of course, more Caipirinha and Sangria!
Exploring Lisbon – day two, fortress, tram ride, food and drink
Day two was reserved for walking to the São Jorge Castle (Castelo de São Jorge). One tip before going out: Wear sneakers! I was wearing flip flops (very stupid idea), I’m happy I didn’t break a leg or two there.
Along the way you could actually see some interesting buildings, landmarks or even cavalry.
This time we were not that satisfied with food. There was Casa do Leão restaurant, beautiful view over the city and guess what, the restaurant has the most annoying opening hours that we had ever seen (12:30 pm to 3 pm and 8 pm to 10:30 pm, every day). Of course we had arrived few minutes before 3. We wouldn’t be that annoyed if the only place with food wasn’t some kind of cafe with not-that-tasty sandwiches.
Peacocks and pigeons seemed to like them more than I do 🙂 It was the first time that I had seen a peacock up-close. But do you know what sound peacocks make? It’s like an old chair squeaking just connected to hundreds of high voltage speakers.
So we ate our sandwiches, drank coffee and ran away.
The castle is actually worth coming this way and spending €7,50. Nice view, interesting castle, and tons of places for taking tons of pictures!
And this was exactly what we had done 🙂
Since we had walked a lot, it was a great opportunity to have a tram ride. The tram looks like it’s from some other world. Beautiful interior. It looks like something that Harry Potter would ride on.
After a few hours of walking, we deserved a proper meal and a good drink, so we went to our new favorite restaurant Can the Can. It turns out everything I order is delicious.
Don’t know if this has something to do with this restaurant or Portugal generally, but I had the best Lemonade in this restaurant. Don’t know if it was just because of the mint leaves they put in, or there is something more to it.
After the meal we went looking for something sweet. We went to Rua Agusta and had found a place with waffles and ice cream called Amorino Baixa. Waffles were to die for.
Exploring Lisbon – day three, Santa Justo Lift, tram ride, food and drink
The plan was to take a ride with a gondola lift (Telecabine Lisboa), which is in the business part of Lisbon. To get there, we took the Metro. There is also a shopping mall Vasco de Gama, but this time we weren’t so much into shopping , and just went through the mall. We had a hard time finding the entrance to the gondola lift, but you just have to follow the line 🙂
The ride isn’t long, but it was nice to ride a bit and see the “sea” from above and the famous Vasco da Gama bridge.
We rode only one way for €4 each, but you can buy a two-way ticket for €6.
On our way here we saw some restaurants, so we went there to eat. This restaurant had weird opening hours as well, but we managed to get some food. We ordered bacalhao (cod fish) prepared in four different ways.
Yummy as we had expected.
Next stop was the park: Parque Eduardo VII. We accidently got off one stop early, so we had to walk more. The park has a labyrinth inside. It’s nice to come here when you have more time and nothing else to do, but if you are here only for four days, better spend it on something else.
We were half dead since we had walked a lot, but it was funny when we noticed an 80 year old grandpa jogging, and not a bit tired!
I was told that I should see avenue: Avenida da Liberdade, which was a few steps below the park, so we kept walking. It was actually a street full of expensive hotels, expensive stores. What was fun is that we came across Ascensor da Gloria. Ascensor is something like tram, just smaller and takes you one street uphill and downhill.
There are just a few of them in Lisbon and they are always crowded. A two-way ticket costs €3,60, but since I was a tourist I had to ride it! 🙂
We were so exhausted so we had to reward ourselves with a waffle 🙂
It was a Saturday night and we had to go out. So tired, but still, Lisbon was calling!
We didn’t know exactly where to go, so we wandered and asked random people on the street where to go. We ended up in Pensão Amor. It has an awesome interior and awesome cocktails.
The one thing I’m sorry is that I had forgot to take a picture of a toilet. Something that has to do with porn figures – you really have to see it for yourself! 😀 The thing that was also interesting is that they close at 2 a.m. sharp, weather you have a whole drink in front of you or not 🙂
At 2 a.m. we were drunk, but didn’t want to go home yet. We saw a Club called Musicbox which was 1 minute walk from the previous bar. What we didn’t know is that this club is for age 21-25. They didn’t have cocktails either, but we were drunk and we didn’t care. The music and crowd was enough.
Exploring Lisbon – day four, food, drink and hangover
We wanted to visit Belem Tower which is not that close to the city center. We were so tired from the day before and had an ugly hangover, so we decided to spend our last day in Lisbon doing nothing. Just doing things we liked the most: sitting, eating and drinking.
We had spent more time in Bairro Alto. And I must say that this part of the city is more alive by night, but we didn’t mind.
We had visited Chafariz do Carmo square again. This time we were on time for the changing of the guard.
And ordered more seafood!
Hope you will have an opportunity to visit Lisbon and love this city like we did!
Places we had visited:
Pedestrian area: Rua Augusta, Calçada do Duque
Square: Praça do Comércio, Chafariz do Carmo
Landmarks: Rua Agusta Arch, Santa Justo Lift, Castelo de São Jorge, Vasko da Gama bridge, Belem Tower
Park: Parque Eduardo VII
Ride: Telecabine Lisboa (gondola lift), Tram, Ascensor da Gloria
Restaurants: Can the Can, Café Buenos Aires, Restaurant D’Bacalhau
Cafeteria: Sao Nicolau, Amorino Baixa
Bars: Pensão Amor
Places where we had stayed: