Lisbon might be one of my favorite cities that I have been to. Ever.
Andrew and I started looking into flights from NYC to Lisbon last summer, but they were already sky high, so we put it on the back burner and opted for Greece instead. Somehow, we always end up traveling to the most popular Instagram destinations as they are happening…very much so a coincidence. Remembering that prices can be astronomical for an August trip, we started looking into Portugal way in advance. Not only did we score great airfare, but we also snagged the most ideal lodging, dinner reservations, etc. I guess it pays to do your research a year in advance!
The city itself is decently large, but seemingly rather small at the same time. Regardless of size, you will want to ensure you bring your walking shoes as you will be getting a booty workout walking up and down the hilly roads – they don’t call it the city of seven hills for nothing! If you don’t feel like walking, I would recommend taking Uber. The fairs are slightly lower than taxi’s and the drivers are typically a lot more friendly.
I truly fell in love with Lisbon while we were there. What is not to love about a city (a very large and hilly city) full of culture, architecture, food, wine, tradition, etc. etc. etc.?
The food and (mainly) the wine were two of my favorites, aside from the adorable, colorful buildings that lined every single street. Who am I kidding? The main reason I enjoyed the food so much was because they serve olives as appetizers before every meal. Olives and wine? I will do just about anything for that killer combo, and I got to relish in that heaven for a full 10 days. Don’t be fooled though! Often times the restaurants will put an assortment of breads and olives on the table, however, they are not free and if eaten, will result in a small fee (clearly, for me it was well worth the extra euro or so).
You will definitely need more than just a long weekend in Lisbon to hit everything on the to-do list. We had a total of 4 nights in the city and are already planning our next trip back to continue the exploration. There are still a slew of restaurants and bars we want to check out as well as exciting day trips that are just a stone’s throw from the city.
WHERE TO STAY:
You should have learned by now that I am an avid fan & loyal user of AirBnB. It should come as no surprise that once again, Andrew and I opted to stay in an sweet little lofted AirBnB in Chaido, a fabulous little part of Lisbon which is right by a ton of shops, nightlife, restaurants and bars. Our location could not have been any more perfect, nor could our actual apartment. As perviously mentioned, Lisbon is EXTREMELY hilly, so being centrally located is ideal in cutting down walking distance to just about anywhere and everywhere you want to go. If you are looking for an AirBnB in Lisbon, I highly recommend this group – they have a ton of options, all of which look amazing. We stayed in this one.
Going into the trip, Andrew and I didn’t book a lodging reservation for the second weekend Lisbon – we wanted to wait until we got there initially to see which area we enjoyed most to book for our last night. Of course, we ended up just two blocks away from our original AirBnB at this AMAZING hotel, Le Consulat. This spot had opened two month’s prior to our stay, and it not only met but exceeded all of our expectations. Wonderful staff, a bar that had Mezcal(!) and gorgeous views of the town center.
When deciding between an AirBnB and a hotel, you can’t go wrong as long as you are in a central location to easily get around.
WHERE TO EAT:
- Canto da Vila – The most quaint little restaurant near the Alfama district. We sat outside and had a wonderful meal after touring the Castelo and old churches in the area.
- The Decadente Restaurante and Bar – Decadent is one word you could use to describe this spot. It was heaven. Fantastic food and the wine! Yum. Make a reservation here and you won’t regret it.
- Mini Bar Teatro – One of Jose Avillez’s (he is a big time chef in Portugal) restaurants, this spot made for a fun night out. The plates are all small, so you will want to order a few to try them all. Make a reservation here.
- JNcQUOI – This was by far the most delicious yet expensive meal we had in Lisbon. Regardless of the price, I would hands down go again, it was totally worth it. The food, the wine, the service and the decor were all on point. Make a reservation.
- A Cevicheria – We didn’t actually get the chance to stop in here for dinner, however, I have heard nothing but good things about this restaurant. They don’t take reservations, so go early to get a spot.
WHERE TO DRINK:
- Park Bar – Named appropriately as this bar is quite literally located on the top level of a parking garage. Insider tip: you actually have to enter the parking garage to get to the bar. Aside from the views, you can also expect to find great cocktails, good looking people and tunes to bop around to. This was one of our favorite locations, although it was super crowded so we weren’t able to enjoy it as much as we had wanted to.
- Sky Bar – Quite literally a bar in the sky. This chic spot was on the more expensive side, so I wouldn’t plan on heading here for multiple drinks, but stop in for a cocktail prior to dinner to enjoy the sunset and the views.
- H10 Duque de Loulé – The rooftop bar of this swanky hotel was on a bit of the fancier side, but they offer a great list of cocktails and apps, as well as blankets to cozy up on the chilly nights.
- The Insolito – Yet another rooftop bar! Sensing a trend in my choices? This place is cute and cozy, perfect for a cocktail before or after dinner. It’s also a restaurant, and although we didn’t eat here, the food looked amazing and the atmosphere cozy so it would definitely be worth checking out.
- Pink Street/Rue de Rosa – Night life goals! It is perfectly acceptable to drink on the streets here – walk into a bar, grab a beer and head to the pink colored streets.
WHAT TO DO:
- Time Out Market – This place is a must. A ton of different cuisines and vendors in one spot. Head here, grab a few plates from the local vendors, grab a seat and enjoy!
- Castelo De Sao Jorge – The castle is a must do. Go on the early side to avoid the afternoon heat and enjoy the property and gorgeous castle views. Pro tip: find the elevator that leads right up to the castle front and avoid the MASSIVE hill it takes to get there otherwise.
- Miradouro da Graca – If there is one church to see in Lisbon, it is this one. Make a stop here after the Castelo, take in the church and then the city views as it offers one of the best lookouts in Lisbon.
- LxFactory – We didn’t actually make it here during the trip, but received a handful of recommendations. Cute local artist shops and food vendors. A bit out of town, but well worth the visit from what I have heard.
- Rua de Bica Duarte – If you are looking for a picturesque moment, look no further. Rua de Bica Duarte is one of the cutest streets in Lisbon, set on a hill in the middle of town. We were lucky enough to stay on this block, much thanks to AirBnB.