What should I do in Lisbon, Portugal?
Posted on Nov 28, 2011
My first suggestion for Lisbon is to consider purchasing the LisboaCard. It covers public transportation and the entrance fee for several sites and museums (and gives you a discount for others), so it should save you some money if you plan to do plenty of sightseeing.
For things to see, you should take day trips to Belem, to see the Monastery and the Belem Tower, and Sintra, to visit the cool Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. Within Lisbon, I recommend going to the Gulbenkian Museum.
A couple of restaurants that I really enjoyed were Arco do Castelo, a great Indo-Portuguese place just before the entrance to the Sao Jorge Castle, and Bonjardim, where I had a great roasted chicken meal (something Lisbon is known for--there are many good places to choose from). For wine and Portugal's famed port, I suggest going to the Port Institute, which has dozens of Portuguese ports and wines available to sample, and Chafariz do Vinho, a great wine bar housed in a former aqueduct, that was just a couple hundred feet from my hotel. Have a safe trip, you'll have a great time.
Posted Dec 04, 2011Add a comment
One of my favorite experiences was making the trip to Sintra, which someone posted about. I would highly recommend visiting the Moorish castle there and making the hike up to the top and exploring the castle. It's an incredible view from the top. All of my friends that I traveled with agreed that this was our favorite part of our Lisbon trip. On the way to the trail, you'll also find a slew of very nice restaurants and cafes.
The beach town of Cascais is also a great stop. The "Boca de inferno," which will be along the path by the beach is also a breathtaking view of the ocean.
Even people who aren't keen on nightlife will appreciate Bairro Alto in downtown Lisbon. While it's crowded with people, the atmosphere is extremely friendly and the blocks of eclectic bars and cafes are great for music and people watching. This section of the city also offers great shopping.
The "elevator" in downtown Lisbon also gives a great aerial view of the city (I believe it's just a couple of Euros, but I felt it was worth it).
Posted Dec 09, 2011Add a comment
There are so many things to do in Lisbon and the surrounding areas. How many days do you plan to be there?
If you are into nightlife and clubs, the Bairro Alto area of Lisbon is where you want to go. There are also casinos in both Lisbon and nearby Estoril.
If you are there more than a couple of days then you must see amazing nearby Sintra with all it its castles, palaces and lush greenery. The little village is charming, but, a little crowded on weekends so if you can, go during a weekday. It is only 20 mins by train from Lisbon and you could easily spend 2-3 days drinking in all the beauty and sights.
Estoril and Cascais are nearby resort areas about 45 mins by train. Both are beautiful and having wonderful dining and shopping areas.
My favorite place in Portugal was Porto, which is about 2.5 hours on the high speed train. The town is wonderful and colorful. And across the Douro river (a very short walkable bridge) is Villa Nova de Gaia where all the famous Port producers are located.
I spent two weeks in Lisbon and still wasn't able to see all I wanted to see. Of course, the most fun was sitting in outdoor cafes drinking all the delicious wines of Portugal and people watching. Portugal is affordable and very inexpensive by European standards. A glass of white wine was 1 euro 30 cents at my favorite cafe in Rossio.
Transportation is also inexpensive .. both taxis and trains which makes getting around hilly Lisbon and Portugal very affordable. I rented a flat near the main square of Rossio for 4 for $ $1600 for two weeks . It was very beautiful and right in the heart of the downtown area.
I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have if you would care to give me more specifics.
Posted Nov 29, 2011Add a comment
Shelly, I will only be there for 2 days. How would you narrorw it down?
Posted on Nov 29, 2011
Hi Daniel, what are your interests? If you are into the club scene definitely do Bairro Alto at night- everything is closed during the day. Since Lisbon is small you can see all of the following in two days : Wander through the ancient Alfama and Castelo Sao Jorge. Sit and have coffee and pastry or dinner on Rossio Square. Have a glass of ginginha with fruit "to go" at any of the Ginginha stores in the Rossio area. Take the train from Rossio to Belem to the Monument of the Discoveries, Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. Go to Docas area (between Lisbon and Belem) to see the shops, restaurants and bars. Look for the one with the outdoor bean bag chairs. Make sure to bring your camera as Lisbon has many, wonderous sites that have a distinct grace and patina found only in Portugal.
Posted on Nov 29, 2011
Thanks Shelly!, last question. Any food I should eat? that lisbon is known for?
Posted on Nov 30, 2011
Ahhh yes, the food. Lisbon is know for several culinary delights. Among the ones you should try: Pastries, codfish and wine. The area is especially known for the pasteis de nata, a custard filled flaky pastry that is not to be missed. Codfish or bacalhau, is a national staple and is prepared in countless different ways. My favorite was the bacalhau de nata. (Are you seeing a trend?) which is dried codfish in an au gratin potato and cheese casserole. All the seafood is wonderful and fresh so if you are a seafood lover you can indulge to your heart's content. Love wines? Try the vinho verde, which is a young white wine with a very slight efferverscence. Red wines from the Douro Valley are equally delightful. As I mentioned above, treat yourself to a ginginha, which are shots of cherry brandy that you purchase to go. Locals stop in several times a day to indulge in a quick one. I chose to have mine "com fruta" (with fruit) , which includes the cherries.
Enjoy your short stay, Daniel. And please feel free to contact me again if you have further questions. I would also love to hear your impressions of this San Francisco twin when you return! Since I am originally from the SF area I was very taken by the similarities.
Posted on Nov 30, 2011
Shelly, you are a fount of knowledge about Portugal. We are going for 7 days, and I was thinking of 3 in Lisbon, 1 in Coimbra and then 3 in Porto. We're active 60 year olds, interested in food, art, music, etc.
Posted on Aug 26, 2012
In nearby Belem, you can find the President's Palace, with an adjacent museum with all of the royal coaches going back a couple of hundred years.
I also liked Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point on the European continent. If someone offers to follow you to the ends of the earth, this might be the place.
Posted Nov 30, 2011Add a comment
Lisbon has some great art Deco Cafes. There really is a wide variety of them, but walk around the old corridor to find them. You should try and hear some great Fado music at night. Bairro Alto is great at night. A good restaurant that has excellent and authentic Portuguese food is Trinadade. I was recommended that by a local.
There were some nice gardens and museums as well. I'm not a big museum person, but I liked the Museum of the Orient. It was so interesting to me to see the link between the art from the Orient and Portugal. I had long known about the connection between Portugal and Japan, and it was a subject of strong interest to me, but I learned a lot more about that and the Portuguese connection with China and Korea. The art was quite beautiful. I think they also did a really good job explaining why certain pieces looked the way they did, and explaining the emphasis of different markets and buyers. I guess sometimes we forget that people then and now made art to be sold for the most part, and that different artists and artisans had different markets in mind. For example the Chinese porcelain that has a lot of blue and geometric symbols was intended for the Middle East, etc.
The hours were a bit weird though, so make sure you call ahead of time before heading out there. I took a train to Sintra to visit Pena Palace and the other famous places. That was nice. I think it was only about an hour away. I found a neat little Cafe tucked into the hillside there.
Sintra is better on a clear day so you can see the view from the castle and see the bright colors of the palace. I went on a foggy day, but that was also cool in an eerie way.
Posted Dec 11, 2011Add a comment
If you're only there 2 days, I still think Sintra's worth a visit - only 1/2 hour tram ride. Drink port. You can go to the Port Institute, and get the bartender to educate you, or you can just find a friendly local bar. Have dinner in a Fado place in the Bairro Alto. You get dinner & a show, & afterward you can go clubbing if you're so inclined. And don't miss the Pasteis de Belem, little custard tarts that you see everywhere in the morning. I think only the original bakery in Belem that created them gets to call them that; elsewhere they're called Pasteis de Natal I think? I would love to eat one right NOW! The Lisboa card was a pretty good deal for getting around & checking out museums.
Posted May 10, 2012Add a comment
Agreed on Sintra, also loved the whole Belem district. And the tram to the Alfama is a nice touch. Agreed also on the elevator, it has a bar on top if you're looking for a drink with a nice view.
If you want to visit the castle, personally I was let down (but visited there the day after going to Sintra which isn't very fair) but I do admit the view from up there is great.
Posted Jan 27, 2013Add a comment