Travel and lifestyle blog. Used to do beauty and throw some in for good measure now and again.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Lisbon | A guide and why you should visit!



A few weeks ago, I went on a city break to Lisbon in Portugal with my friend. We had a great time and I would recommend it as a city break for all ages and tastes!
There are various areas in the city; apart from the centre, the most famous areas are Bairro Alto, Alfama and Belem.

Things to do

Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is great for tapas bars, nightlife and cute brunch places. The vibe is very young and fun, however we didn't visit during the weekend, so we didn't go clubbing. Despite this, we went for tapas and drinks. We also went to Park rooftop bar which is a must-visit for a fab sunset view.


There is literally something for everyone, whether you require a quiet drink or a party.
Another view (didnt get a photo, sorry!) was the Miradouro view. We didn't see it anywhere on the internet, but as it was so close to our Air BnB, we accidentally bumped into it. There was such an amazing atmosphere. It's full of young people who bring their own drinks and relax watching the sunset.
I am unsure what this view is called, but it appears on many postcards from Lisbon. You can pay to take a ride in the tram that takes you up this steep hill, if you're feeling lazy.


Alfama
Alfama is great for just wandering around the streets and climbing (many of the) hills! The castle is near here which is one of the biggest tourist attractions. It is a very quiet, peaceful place. As you head on over here, be sure to stop at the famous Castelo de S Jorge. There is a secret elevador (lift) next to the Pingo Doce supermarket that takes you up there. We sat and had a glass of wine and an ice cream overlooking the beautiful city, at the Restaurante Zambeze Gastronomia.

Central
I don't think this area has a specific name (correct me if I am wrong!), but I am referring to the area near the 'Praca de Comercio' (Commercial square). Many of the free walking tours show you around this area, giving you the historical information of the city's squares and monuments. I think walking tours are such a great, efficient way of seeing a city! These tours introduce you to other tours you can do; of other places such as Alfama and Belem, as well as tapas tours and bar crawls.
The central area is also where the popular chain shops lie, if you're after a bit of retail therapy. This area also holds the Time Out market (more in the food section)
If it is views you are after, you can go up the Santa Justa lift. This links different levels of the city and a top tip is to reach it from the Carmo Archaelogical Museum (church ruins). You get most of the way up, great views and it is FREE! Most people queue at the bottom and pay to go to the top, but this is really not necessary!


Belem
You can take the number 15 tram to Belem (although we got offered a $5 each tuk tuk which in hindsight we should've taken as the tram was rather busy and sweaty!) You must be careful of pick pocketers on these trams - so we were told by locals and online.
As we got off the tram, we walked through the beautiful gardens past the gorgeous monastery! It was such a sunny day too which always makes a difference.
 

Me wandering through the beautiful gardens in Belem, near the monastrey








We then made our way to the famous Belem tower.
The tower is beautiful and it is so relaxing to sit by the water. It is rather busy, but despite this, it makes a great photo!






We then headed to the famous Pastéis de Belem for one of Portugal's famous custard tarts.
Half way between the centre and Belem, where the famous San Francisco style bridge lies, is a place called LX factory. It is an old factory converted into a complex of shops and restaurants. It isn't really a tourist place - it's full of young locals. We walked about 2 miles from Belem to the LX factory which showed the local side of Lisbon: the small shops etc. Locals seemed to stare at the two of us walking along in our skirts when in reality it wasn't that hot. (Cringe!)




We then went to chill back on the Urban beach in the centre, enjoying the sunshine with a fresh lemonade from a stand.


Food

Lisbon is known for its fresh fish and Portugese tapas. In addition to the authentic restaurants and tapas places, there is also modern western restaurants and cafes (especially for brunch!)
We were in Lisbon for 3 nights and this is where we went:
On the first night, we went to a restaurant called Pharmacia, which had amazing food. It was more on the pricier side for Lisbon, but if you compared it to London, it would not seem expensive.

On the second night, we went to Time out market. The Timeout market showcases the best food in Lisbon from various eateries across the city. It is great because you can get a little bit of everything from each stall. For example, I had a fresh juice from one stall, a few little fishcakes from the other, some spiced wedges from another stall and a pastel de nata from another. If you are more into meat and cheese, your choices would be a lot more wild than mine.
On the final night, we ate in a Portugese tapas restaurant, one of the most famous ones actually, called Alto do Bairro (in Bairro Alto, shock). We had chicken skewers, grilled prawns and a vegetarian quasedilla. They are small plates, which is very popular in the Iberian region, and so so cheap! I couldn't believe you could get olives for £1.50!! (the small pleasures)

Brunch at Café Boavida
Brunch at The Mill in Bairro Alto
 

Accommodation
There are various hotels across the city, but we stayed in an Air bnb in Bairro Alto. It was so central that, apart from Belem, we didn't have to get transport when exploring the city, as we could just walk everywhere.
I would say the best locations to stay in are Bairro Alto, the centre (Praca Do Comercio, for reference) or Alfama. Bairro Alto is probably more appropriate for a younger crowd as it can be noisy.

Flights
From the UK, flights to Lisbon are so regular. You can go from most airports in the UK and fly with plenty of airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, British Airways,
To get the best deals, I always go on Skyscanner You can see which days are cheaper to travel on and how long it will take to get there.
We flew with Ryanair and paid about £100 for return flights. It could have been cheaper if I wasn't so extra with priority tickets and front row seats, and if we didn't have to go on the specific dates that we did.
The flight only takes 2 and a half hours, so I feel Lisbon would be great for a weekend break!
You may even catch a gorgeous view of the Isle of Wight like this:


No filter!!

Let me know if you enjoyed this post and if you plan to go  have you been?
Feel free to check out my other travel posts from the travel drop down menu at the top of my blog.

Lots of love,

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