Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe and in my opinion one of the most beautiful. Between it's patterned wall tiles and its cute cobbled streets you'll, find yourself capturing endless amounts of photos whilst taking in the chilled and vibrant vibe of the locals. Lisbon at first glance can be seen as slow paced, relaxed and typically European but once you begin to explore the alleyways and back streets of the seven hills you will quickly notice the distinct Portuguese style, its fast forming creative scene and the fusion of cultures, whether it'd be African, South American or Indian. The streets are full of family owned independent restaurants, so you'll never go hungry and once you're done eating there are plenty of bars around for you to shake a leg.
If that didn't sell it to you enough, I want to introduce you to a few of my favourite places to wander, sleep, shop and get a bite to eat check it out below!
Belem sits just outside the city and can be accessed by the train. It's home to many museums such as MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology- Highly recommended!), The Museum of Popular Art and The Coach Museum as well as the very famous Pasteis De Belem cafe where the Pastel De Nata was originally made and sold. Belem is great for a day where you want to escape the city or if you want to get a closer look at the 25 de Abril Bridge (The one that will make everyone think you're in San Fransisco) and get some fresh air by the river.
Alfama is the oldest part of the city but yet has the most character. Filled with cobbled narrow streets, amazing street art and great restaurants you won't be stuck for things to do when you pay a visit here. Alfama provides some of the best views of the city and they can be seen from Castello São Jorge, Miradouro de Santa Luzia or Portas Do Sol. Another popular tourist attraction is the old Trams 12 and 28 which take passengers around the Alfama and Baixa districts, it's a great way to see the neighbourhoods if you're not a fan of walking up hill or long distances.
Wanting to unwind after a long day of exploring? Check out one of the Fado bars in the area. Fado is the traditional music of Portugal and originated in Lisbon. Though it is less popular now it can still be heard within the small streets of Alfama.
Top Tip: If you are visiting the Castelo São Jorge take the metro to Rossio and walk to Rua da Magdalena (via Rua de Betesga/Praça da Figuereira) you'll find a supermarket called Pingo Doce which has a lift takes you up and very close to the Castle - This will save you A LOT of walking uphill! Once you're done at the castle you can just walk down to see the rest of the neighbourhood.
I just couldn't leave out the beach from this list. Sitting about an hour out of the city is the beach area of Cascais. The area has several beach locations across the stretch of the coastline which is helpful when trying to find a secluded part of the beach to relax on. Cascais and the many other beaches in the area can be reached by the train service from Lisbon's downtown station Cais Do Sodre.
A lovely hotel located centrally in the neighbourhood of Picoas. Very clean with really nice decor and a big supermarket 1/2 minutes walk away. The metro station Picoas is located a 3 minute walk away from the hotel. The hotel also has several other locations around Lisbon.
Personal rating 9/10
From £88 per night
2. Hello Lisbon Santos
Serviced self-catered apartments tucked in the narrow streets of Santos. The apartment is slightly further out from the centre of the city but is located in a lovely quiet neighbourhood. If you want accommodation that is in the slightly less touristy part of town then this is it. It's located slightly further away from a big supermarket and requires a 10/15 minute walk to get to the nearest one, however it's conveniently located next to the great Time Out food market as well as a Mc Donald's so if you not really into cooking but still want the comforts of an apartment this may work for you. Santos is an up and coming area I find quite similar to Hoxton or Shoreditch. Theres no shortage of street art and it's creative scene is on the rise with the design university IADE also located in the area. The nearest metro Cais Do Sodre is a 10/12 minute walk away which has great links to the areas and beaches outside of the city and well as the towns closer that are more central. Hello Lisbon also has many other locations closer to the city centre.
Personal rating 8/10
From £70 per night
3. Air BnB - Tagus' Windows
A 1 bedroom apartment located on the eastern coast of the city. This apartment has great views of the Tagus River which can be viewed from the large windows or the long balcony. It is a 4/5 minute walk from the supermarket and around a 10 minute walk to the metro station Cabo Ruivo. Alternatively you can walk to Oriente where you can get the metro and also explore the Vasco De Gama shopping mall which is a 15/20 minute walk away. The apartment is conveniently located near the airport which can be reached via the metro and is 4 stops away.
Personal rating 7.5
From £45 per night
4. Hans Brinker Hostel
This no frills hostel is located in the neighbourhood of Picoas. You can choose from the options of a private, twin, 4 bed dorm, 6 bed dorm or 8 bed dorm rooms. The rooms and bathrooms are very clean and the hostel also has a nice bar and eating area as well as a large outdoor seating area and balcony. For trips where fun packed action and exploring is on the agenda and sleeping in is not a thing, this might be the perfect place to stay just to rest your head for the night. The supermarket is located 1/2 minutes away and the metro is only a 3 minute walk away.
A flea market located in Alfama and is short walk up from Santa Apolonia metro station (Can also be reached by Tram 28). This flea market has a mixture of vintage gems as well as a great selection of handcrafted ceramics and art. Translated to 'Thieve's Market' it sure does live up to it's obscure name as you may leave with a child's random old school project or beautiful screen printed picture of Lisbon's landscape (this did actually happen), either way you're bound to purchase something unique to take home with you.
Open Tuesday and Saturday
2. Vasco De Gama
For those who are less of a market style browser and more of the classic mall shopper Vasco De Gama is a lovely mall located on the Eastern coast of the city. The mall is small but makes up for it with it's state of the art architecture. It's very open and bright with a transparent roof and a great outdoor seating area. The mall is only a 1 minute walk from the metro station Oriente and is greatly located so that after you're shopping trip has come to an end, you can take a lovely stroll along the riverside.
3. Baixa Chiado/Rossio
Similar to the likes of Oxford St or Covent Garden the streets of Baixa Chiado and the roads following up to Rossio Square are filled with shops both international and local. It's a great location for a late afternoon as there are also loads of restaurants in the area that allow you to finish your day with a lovely dinner and a walk along the seafront with the 25 de Abril bridge in the distance.
Other malls in the city:
1 minute walk away from College Militar Metro station
10 minute walk away from Marques de Pombal metro station
A hipster burger spot with a Portuguese feel. This isn't like your local Mc Donald's nor the chicken shop on your street that happens to have burgers on the menu, this place serves up good quality and unique burgers most of which are made of seafood.
2 Minutes walk from Saldanha station/ 7/8 Minutes walk from Picoas station
My recommendation: Shrimp Burger + Sweet Potato fries
2. Time Out's Mercado da Riberia
An indoor food market with a variety of different restaurants. This is great for those who want to sample a range of food from the top chefs in the city. With over 20 restaurants under one roof, if you came out of here still hungry I'd be very worried.
2 minutes walk from Cats Do Sodre station
(If you're not a fan of pigeons you might want to sit on the higher tables instead of the seats lower to the ground)
For those who are a little less adventurous Figu's restaurant has the fancy food you've always wanted to try without the heavy price tag. The staff are very friendly and the decor inside is very welcoming.
<1 minute walk from Rossio station
My recommendation: Linguini with Prawns
4. The Santo Amaro Docks
The Dock is just 10/15 minutes outside of the city and is great for a calm and relaxing dinner or lunch by the sea. There are many different types of restaurants from seafood to pizza, theres no shortage of variety.
3 minutes walk from Alcantara station or you could walk along the seafront from Belem which is about a 20 minute walk away.
My recommendation: Capricciosa Restaurant
5. Confeitaria Nacional
I just couldn't leave this cute spot off the list! This bakery/cafe is perfect for a quick break in a busy day. Overlooking the streets of Rossio Square, this place is great for people watching and getting that quick Pastel de Nata fix and coffee fix.