The Perfect Weekend in Lisbon

There are some experiences that you shouldn’t miss: Taste a custard tart (the famous pastel de Belém), visit the Jeronimos Monastery, listen to fado (Portuguese folk music), and stroll through Lisbon’s alleys, Rossio Square, and the narrow streets of the Bairro Alto and Alfama. There is also time to visit some museums or the castelo.

R. 1º de Dezembro 125, 1249-970 Lisboa, Portugal
The Rossio railway station was designed between 1886 and 1887 by Portuguese architect José Luís Monteiro. It makes connections with the village of Sintra, and the 2,600-meter tunnel was excavated under the city. It is considered one of 19th-century Portugal’s most important works of engineering. It has a beautiful Neo-Manueline façade, where two intertwined horseshoe portals stand at the entrance, a clock sits in a small turret, and the sculptural decoration is abundant. Inside you can now find a Starbucks, Lisbon Destination Hostel, and a souvenir shop.
R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal
Pastel de nata is a Portuguese egg tart pastry, common in Portugal. Those found at Pastéis de Belém have become legendary for their super secret recipe. Any day of the week, a line trails out the door waiting to savor one of tens of thousands made daily. Eat them warm with a cafe.
45A Avenida de Berna
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian’s heroic collection of Eastern and Western art is nearly incomparable in Europe. Hidden away in a complex inside leafy Gulbenkian Park, the museum is a chronological treasure trove of epic art that spans ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Qing dynasty, and the Roman Empire, among others. In August, the institution throws Lisbon’s premier jazz concert series, Jazz em Agosto—meaning that once you’ve had your fill of Egyptian mummy masks, fascinating Roman gold medallions, and René Lalique’s unearthly dragonfly brooch, you can chill on the expansive lawn for a little live music.
Rua Senhora Saúde 6B, 1100-390 Lisboa, Portugal
The city’s iconic wood-paneled Tram 28 rambles along a 4.3-mile route from Campo de Ourique to Praça Martim Moniz, navigating tight turns and steep inclines as it passes some of Lisbon’s most endearing attractions. Originally commissioned in the 1930s, these classic Remodelado trams were in fact enlisted for their ability to handle Lisbon’s hilly terrain. They can get painfully crowded—wait times can be outrageous in the high season—so catch an early ride (5:40 a.m. most weekdays, or 6:45 a.m. on Sundays) for unobstructed views of hilltop neighborhoods like Graça and the Alfama.
Largo do Carmo, 1200-092 Lisboa, Portugal
In 1755, Lisbon was all but devoured by an earthquake so strong that it still ranks as one of the most destructive in recorded history. One of the few structures to survive somewhat intact was the Carmo Convent—an impressive feat, considering it was built in the 14th century. Today, you can still tour its beautiful skeleton, complete with soaring archways that cut a majestic path across the sky. Also worth visiting is the open courtyard, which houses spillover ruins from the attached archaeological museum.
Lisbon foodie Filipa Valente is the hotshot behind Taste of Lisboa’s culinary tours, which take visitors a bit off the beaten path to some of the city’s most fashionable—but often overlooked by guidebooks—neighborhoods. With nary a tourist in sight, she leads guests around the wonderful Campo de Ourique area and its classic market for tasty alheira sausage croquettes, Portuguese-style mussels, and some seriously decadent chocolate cake. Of course, Valente also offers tours to more-traditional districts, but you can’t beat Campo de Ourique for a sampling of local treats.
Calçada da Quintinha 6, 1070-225 Lisboa, Portugal
A national monument, Lisbon’s massive aqueduct was a remarkable feat of hydraulic engineering when it was built between 1731 and 1799 to supply the city with water. Spanning some 36 miles, it boasts 109 stone arches, the most dramatic of which are the 35 that cross the Alcântara Valley—they survived the 1755 earthquake remarkably intact. Tour the aqueduct, then head to the Príncipe Real neighborhood, where the Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras reservoir now functions as a museum. You can also stop for some wine at Chafariz do Vinho, a wine bar built inside the aqueduct system.
R. do Diário de Notícias 39, 1200-141 Lisboa, Portugal
This place is mandatory, especially if you want to hear some fado. Here you can listen to Fado Vadio (sung by nonprofessionals) on Mondays and Wednesdays, hear consecrated artists and potential stars, or hear a regular who just feels like singing a fado accompanied by Portuguese guitar. Once an old tavern, A Tasca do Chico was restored in 1993; on the walls are paintings, posters, and clippings. Go early, because it can be crowded. If you like chorizo, ask for “chouriço assado"—basically, this chorizo is on fire. Let the flame disappear and then eat it with some bread.
R. Anchieta 15, 1200-224 Lisboa, Portugal
At his two-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant, Alma, there is so much to love about chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, not the least of which is his charred red pepper paired with, among other things, red pepper coulis—a defining dish that stops taste buds in their tracks. At his flagship restaurant, Alma, he serves some of the city’s best tasting menus, paired with daring wines in a casual atmosphere that lets the food do the talking. Pessoa himself often makes the rounds, visiting tables to explain dishes like the succulent confit of suckling pig with turnip top purée, pickled onions, and pepper jus. There may be more famous restaurants in Lisbon, but none is better than Alma.
Rua do Loreto 2, 1200-108 Lisboa, Portugal
When in Lisbon, most tourists make a beeline to Antiga Confeitaria to try its world-famous pastel de Belém. The legendary custard tart is indeed delicious, especially when dusted with a healthy dose of cinnamon, but what these travelers don’t know is that is that the ones at Manteigaria are just as good—if not better. Plus, Manteigaria features an open kitchen, where you can watch the creamy treats make their way from dough to delivery. Avoid the crowds in Belém and get your pastel de nata here instead, then ride out your sugar rush nearby on the atmospheric Praça Luís de Camões in Chiado.
Costa do Castelo 7, 1149-079 Lisboa, Portugal
Chapitô is a circus school but also a restaurant and a bar. It’s very close to the castle and has fabulous views over the river. It’s ideal for a romantic dinner.

The cuisine is inspired by traditional Portuguese cuisine with a mix of international influences. I had dinner there this week and tried the codfish and I recommend it—but you have to eat it on the terrace, since this menu is different from the one inside the restaurant. You will be stunned with the views from the restaurant. Enjoy this beautiful city over a pleasant dinner. If you want to have a drink afterward, there is a bar on the lower floor, sometimes featuring live music or theater.
Praça das Flores 62, 1200-192 Lisboa, Portugal
American sommelier Brian Patterson, his wife, Jenn, and their massive Leonberger-Retriever mix, Bear (the Beartender!) are the consummate hosts at Lisbon’s newest, most interesting, and surely smallest wine bar. Located on pretty Praça das Flores in Principe Real, Patterson curates his all-natural wine list with a laser focus on small producers from around Portugal. He sources his finds on reconnaissance drinking missions around the country, including some of Portugal’s more underdog wine regions. His updated-daily chalkboard menu includes a half dozen or so offerings by the glass (€3.50-7) along with two batch cocktails, as well as intriguing bar snacks to accompany (his hummus is destination-worthy in and of itself). The bar doubles as a bottle shop; rightfully so, there is only room at the bar for about 11 provided everyone is sucking in their wine guts. File under: Wine Revelation.
R. da Misericórdia 135, 1200-272 Lisboa, Portugal
One of Portugal’s oldest cosmetics companies, Claus Porto cemented a major comeback after Lisbon’s coolest store, A Vida Portuguesa, began carrying its products. In 2016, the company opened its own boutique in the trendy Chiado district, offering even more access to its eye-catching inventory. Packaged in art deco– and Belle Époque–style cases, the signature products look supremely cool as bed-and-bath decor. Of course, you could also buy the soaps, lotions, and shave creams for actual use. As an extra incentive, on Saturdays, men who spend more than €50 (around $60) receive an old-school hot shave in the barbershop at the store.
R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300-501 Lisboa, Portugal
In a tucked away corner of Lisboa, in the no-man’s land between the core of Lisboa and Belem, is the bustling new design and arts district, the cornerstone of which is the LX Factory. Set on movie-set looking ground of an old manufacturing district, the LX Factory is a great place to get away from the more tourist parts and hang out amid the design firms, production studios, restaurants and shops — all having a design-centered focus. Very cool retail and restaurants, even a hotel, all tucked under the constant roar of the off/on ramps to the Big Bridge. It’s a destination place, so don’t do what I did and try to walk there from Barrio Alto on a 98 degree day! The cool thing is they didn’t gloss it up, but kept the place to its core history, with wonderful decay and industrial bones still in place. Two great places to be sure to check out: the 1300 Taberna restaurant, set in beautiful space with factory skylights and extremely nice people and, the Ler Devagar bookstore — which is the store that attracted me to this special place and often cited as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. It is set amidst an old printing plant, which like the rest of the area, they left all the old parts in place, so the whole bookstore is built around the old two story printing press, with seats, racks and even a cafe nestled amidst the old printing units, catwalks and folders. So cool. Worth the trip. A lot happenin’ here.
R. das Salgadeiras 10, 1200-396 Lisboa, Portugal
Portugal produces at least half of the world’s cork, harvested from its many cork oak forests. A design shop in the Bairro Alto neighborhood sells umbrellas, handbags, and kitchenware made from the recyclable material. Rua das Salgadeiras 10, 351/21-609-0231.
Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-472 Lisboa, Portugal
Perched on a steep hill in the lovely neighborhood of Alfama, you will in no doubt leave with a great souvenir or gift. Sellers throw down blankets or rugs in rows and sell a variety of hand-made goods, antiques, books, clothes, military objects, etc. I took home two wonderful brass bottle openers and a couple of old world maps. Getting to the market is easy and the trip there is quite beautiful; take the Tram 28, or Tram 12 up the hill through the tight, and narrow neighborhood streets (becos). After you’ve spent all of your Euro, take a short walk over to the Santa Engracia Church, Museum of Decorative Arts, or the National Pantheon. Oh, and don’t forget to take in the views and snap a few pictures.
Pátio de Dom Fradique 14, 1100-261 Lisboa, Portugal
Why we love it: A historic property with fascinating details, gorgeous tiles, and breathtaking views

The Highlights:
- Stunning views of the waterfront from every suite
- A serene pool terrace in the palace gardens
- A central location with none of the street noise

The Review:
Comprised of just 10 suites with distinctly different designs, Palácio Belmonte feels more like a dream vacation home than a hotel. The vibe is spot on, given the backstory: A Frenchman traveled to Lisbon looking for a vacation home in the Portuguese capital. He first saw the building from a taxi and thought to himself, “It has nine windows, just like my home in France. I’ll buy it.” It wasn’t until after purchasing the property that he actually set foot inside and saw just how enormous it was—far too large for him and his family. Thus, he set about remodeling the building (which was originally owned by a noble family in the 1400s) with the notion of converting it into a space for visitors.

When the property opened as Palácio Belmonte, special care was taken to make as few changes as possible—to this day, there are no elevators, but instead a labyrinth of stone staircases. There is also no air conditioning, but the entire building stays cool due to the abundance of stone, tile, and marble surfaces, as well as a cross-hatch window ventilation system borrowed from Morocco tradition. A few things were added, however, including personal terraces and heated floors in the guest rooms, and a glimmering turquoise pool surrounded by a vibrant garden full of bougainvilleas. The hotel owner also partnered with two French chefs to open a bistro right across from the hotel entrance to ensure that guests would have a casual yet high-quality dining option in an area that’s otherwise lacking in authentic cuisine.
Rua de Santiago 10 a 14, 1100-494 Lisboa, Portugal
Lisbon’s oldest district is known for its labyrinth of narrow streets, abundant Fado bars, and numerous historical attractions. Opened in 2015, the Santiago de Alfama is a draw in its own right: It occupies a former 15th-century palace just below São Jorge Castle and offers 19 accommodations with views of the River Tagus or courtyard garden, as well as unique configurations, including interconnecting bedrooms that would be ideal for families. Most combine traditional features such as wood-paneled ceilings and intricate cornices with modern comforts like rainshowers and bespoke linens. The property also has the amenities of a larger hotel, from a spa and meeting space to two restaurants (be sure to linger over petiscos and Portuguese specialties like oven-roasted cabrito at Manny’s Bar), yet with so few guests rooms, the staff will always know your name.
R. das Portas de Santo Antão 112-134, 1150-268 Lisboa, Portugal
Why we love it: A high-design hotel that merges Old World Lisbon with the modern traveler’s needs

The Highlights:
- Suites that feel more like elegant apartments than hotel rooms
- Natural light and intricately restored ceiling art in event spaces
- Exceptional spa facilities and products

The Review:
The second property from H10 offers an oasis amid Lisbon’s bustling city center. Situated on a cobblestone street just off the main avenue, the former palace is a short walk from restaurants, cafes, and Bairro Alto nightlife, yet avoids the clamour that normally comes with such a convenient location. When revamping the hotel interior during construction, designers and architects preserved as much of the original structure as possible while adding sleek modern touches. Case in point: Upon entering the lobby, guests will see a magnificent marble staircase ahead and an understated library with wireframe bookshelves to the right. Event spaces such as the board room feature intricate crown moldings and ceiling art reminiscent of the classical period, plus large windows that flood the rooms with natural light.

The suites themselves are designed with comfort and intimacy in mind. Custom hand-painted china decorates the walls, while gentle lighting and soft edges abound in the bedrooms, lending a spa-like feel. The actual spa—stocked with renowned Natura Bisse products—can be found on the perimeter of the hotel’s idyllic courtyard and gardens. Book an appointment for a luxurious massage or facial, or simply soak in the heated pool. Above the indoor pool is an enormous skylight that adds to the motif of natural light throughout the property. Also on the edge of the courtyard is O Jardim Wine Bar, an upscale restaurant that serves contemporary twists on classic Portuguese dishes. Start dinner with white port, then choose your next glass from a long list of Portuguese and French wines, and don’t miss the braised scallops starter, served on a bed of buckwheat with finely diced Serrano ham, caviar, and pea purée.
R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal
The Castelo de São Jorge, is one of the Alfama neighborhood’s most historically significant monuments. Plan a visit late in the afternoon so that you can explore every nook and cranny and learn about the castle’s abundant history. Stay for golden hour so that you can capture the light as it dances on the castle walls, and later to watch the sunset dip below the horizon.
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