The capital of Portugal has so much to offer! From the cosy atmosphere created by the locals, to the sights, the good food and the things to do. Lisbon is a perfect location for a city trip. The many sights are quite close to each other. Churches, museums, monuments, squares, cosy alleys are all just a stone’s throw away. I was only there for four days, but I was thoroughly briefed beforehand by someone who comes to visit Lisbon at least once a year.
Lisbon in short
Like any metropolis, you can buy a card here that gives you access to a lot of activities and attractions. The Lisbon Card costs €19. In return, you’ll get unlimited access to public transport 24 hours a day and free entry to the many museums and monuments. If you’re planning on visiting some things, I’d definitely recommend it! You can also buy a 24h pass for public transport. This costs you €6,30.
The average temperature in Lisbon never drops below 15°C. From May to October you can be sure of sun and t-shirt weather. In summer it can get terribly hot with averages of 28°C in July and August. Keep this in mind as Lisbon has many steep hills. This can have an effect on your experience when the temperature meter goes above 30°C.
Lisbon is near the sea, but don’t be mistaken, the beach is half an hour from the center.
Lisbon and Alfama district
Our apartment was located in the middle of the Alfama district. A district that survived the great earthquake in 1755. Alfama is overflowing with cosiness. Here you’ll find the famous ‘fado’ restaurants and bars. When you go to eat or drink something in the evening you will be surprised by the spontaneous songs of the locals.
Keep this in mind when booking. Every evening we heard the songs in our room.
This district is a must if you’re visiting Lisbon. You can start your day by taking Tram 28 up the hill. There you can start the descent to the river. On your way down you’ll come across the castle of Sao Jorge, countless winding alleys and excellent viewpoints across the river Tagus.
Make sure you have a pit stop in a small, cosy bar and try Ginja. A cherry liqueur with a chocolate taste known around these parts.
Continue your descent towards the Tagus and walk towards the Palace Square, which is situated right next to the river. Formerly the royal palace stood here, now a gigantic square!
Barrio Alto in Lisbon
From the palace square you can easily visit the shops of Lisbon through the main street. Similar to the Meir of Antwerp, this is a pedestrian street with numerous shops. If you really can’t control yourself, you can taste the Pasteis de Nata for €1 a piece.
On your way you’ll find the famous ‘lift’ of Lisbon on your left. The Santa Justa elevator connects the shopping street with the Carmoplein. The elevator brings you 45 meters higher and gives you a good idea how steep it is in Lisbon!
Further down Santa Justa street you will find a square that gives you a view of the museum of Modern Art. To the left is a beautiful station, here you have to be if you want to take a day trip to Sintra.
Now it’s time to walk around Lisbon aimlessly. Barrio Alto has thousands of tiled houses and beautiful streets that are all equally ‘Instagrammable’. Are your feet getting too tired? Jump on Tram 28 to go from East Lisbon to West Lisbon and get off when you want.
Don’t miss the Calhariz – Bica stop to spot the iconic yellow tram!
A Lisbon Trip
Your third day in Lisbon forces you to use public transport. This is not at all a bad thing as public transport is the most photographed thing here!
- Keep your gear close to you
- Watch out for pocketpicketers
- Recharge your public transport pass on time
To visit the Torre de Belém you have to take tram 15E at the Paleisplein. Half an hour later you will arrive in Belém, where you have to walk for a while before you can see the castle in the water.
Do you actually want to visit the castle? Make sure you don’t come on Mondays, because this is the closing day in Lisbon for all museums and other attractions.
A short walk further on you can see another impressive monument: Padrao dos Descobrimentos!
To highlight the many explorers of Portugal, a stone sailing boat has been built with the 33 most influential travellers. Call them the travel bloggers of their time.
Before you think everything has been seen here, wait!
The best Pasteis de Nata can be found here in Belem. After visiting Padrao dos Descobrimentos you can cross the busy road back to the inhabited world. Just behind a McDonalds you will find the Pasteis de Belém. I thought this was a tourist trap, but I was wrong.
The pasteis cost €1,10, are still warm and fall apart with the first bite you take. An absolute culinary highlight!
- Don’t be scared by the amount of people
- Orders are superfast
- Taste without cinnamon and sugar first
- Order more than one
Back on the tram to the center. Halfway there you can make a stop under the giant red suspension bridge of Lisbon. The sound of the bridge is an experience in itself and you can hear it all the way in the city centre. The bridge probably reminds you of the one in San Francisco.
You’re right! It is the same manufacturer that built this bridge. Both in San Francisco and Lisbon, the order was to build a bridge that could withstand earthquakes.
Lisbon is highly recommended. It’s a southern city and life here is not expensive. The population is very friendly and the atmosphere around here will stay with me for a while.
If you wonder which camera took the pictures with, it is the Nikon D5300 with the standard lens. Time to momo – Lisbon has helped us to plan the days. With this booklet you know perfectly how much time each activity needs etc. Highly recommended!