You guys, I have just come back from 3 days in Lisbon and it was such a fantastic and picturesque city! I just love city breaks as it is a perfect escape from London when you are working a full-time job. It has something to cater for the whole family.
I wanted to post this as a 3-day itinerary as your trip to Lisbon. I think it is even do-able on 2-days and I would skip the beach day (day 2) if so!
How to get there.
From London you can fly to Lisbon airport. I flew on Ryan air from London Stansted to Lisbon. Once you arrive in Lisbon it is only 20 minutes into the city centre. We took an Uber for under 8 euros!! Such a good deal. Or you can get taxi from the taxi rank outside the airport for around 20 euros. There is also a bus you can take to the city centre in 30 minutes.
Where to Stay.
Alfama – I stayed in an Airbnb here and was great being right in the old town. This made waking up and exploring the cobble streets so much fun. All the neighbours were local Portuguese going by their daily lives was enriching and fascinating.
Baixa – this is known as the city centre of Lisbon which has been rebuilt so has more modern scenery if this is what you are looking for. Everywhere is pretty walkable no matter where you decide to stay.
Bairro Alto – This area is in between the city centre and Alfama’s old town. This area isn’t my favourite, as the building are more modern. However if you can afford to stay at Altis Avenida Hotel the building and hotel itself is beautiful! I didn’t stay here but went to their rooftop bar which was so lovely. See my itinerary (day 2) for more information.
My 3 day guide of Lisbon
We started our day leaving our Airbnb and on the hunt for the infamous Pasteis de natas, there are custard tarts that taste a bit like creme brûlée and is a food speciality of Lisbon. We tried Manteigara but they are sold in pretty much every bakery, so this shouldn’t be hard to find. I think I had one every day in Lisbon!
After our stomachs have been satisfied with some pasteis and fresh orange juice, we explored the Alfama district which is just fun to walk around all the old and windy streets. We then ended up in the city centres largest plaza, Praca do comerico which is quite a site and right by the port.
Then we were right next door to the Time Out Food Market which I have been told by many to visit. They had every kind of cuisine you can think of, not your typical “market food” but with full meals! Food that stuck out was anything from octopus salad, flank steak, tar tar to name a few. As we were still quite full from breakfast we shared a charcuterie board of cured meats and cheese, with the kind assistance of a strong sangria!
Post-lunch we wanted to check out Belem which is further west along the coast, on google maps is said 1 hour and 20 minute walk – given the food we had eaten and being a sunny day, we thought lets do it! It was a long walk let me tell you, but a pretty walk all along the coast. Belem is great cultural spot with monastery, yacht club and Belem tower that looks over the coast. We get tickets into the monastery courtyard which I highly recommend visiting. As we are heading back to the city by tram we stopped halfway at a place called LX Factory. By the way, do try a tram ride as it is very iconic for Lisbon and so much more fun than a regular train.
LX Factory was one of my highlights, located slightly out of the way and in a random location, but had such a buzzing atmosphere! There are food spots, shops and street art in a gentrified type area. I could have spent all day here but headed back into Lisbon city centre for our dinner reservation. I wish I took some photos as it was such a cute area but forgot at this time.
We had dinner at Cantinho do Alvillez, their truffle butter which was so divine. My friends had a tagine for their main course and I had a risotto, it was so filling and yummy! Post dinner we checked out an area called “Pink Street” which is the bar area. The street floor is literally painted pink as well. We went to some of the tabernas here for some pre-drinks followed by some groovy dancing in one of the clubs on Pink street.
So thats a wrap for day 1! It was super busy… my feet are hurting!
After a jam-packed day 1, we are having a relaxing day 2 by the beach. In the morning we walked to Cais do Sodre train station which is really close to the Time Out Food Market. We get a train to Estoril beach which is about 30 minutes and cost 5 Euros for a return ticket which I think is really good value when compared to London!
Once we got there we pretty much relaxed and soaked up some vitamin D all day long! The beach is really long so just set out our towels for the day. There is also an Ocean swimming pool which protects the area from rough waves making it a great spot for the whole family. Let me warn you though, it is very cold!!
At around 6pm we headed back to Lisbon city centre as we wanted to visit a rooftop bar for sunset. We got changed and headed to Altis Avenida Hotels’ rooftop bar which my parents highly recommended. We arrived there just before 8:30pm for a Lisbon sunset. As we arrived here, this bar surpassed all my expectations. It has cute decor, ambient music, friendly staff and beautiful views across Lisbon. The cocktails are delicious and was aided by some complimentary selection of nuts that just kept refilling themselves – wonderful!
By recommendation of the bar staff, we went to a traditional restaurant nearby called Leao D’Ouro. As you walked in they had displays of fresh seafood and cured hams. We were determined to try this traditional dish in Lisbon which is cod served with vegetables and potatoes. It doesn’t sound that special, but was delicious and a must try in Lisbon!
Last day in Lisbon 🙁
I have heard of great things on the other side of the sea in Lisbon called Almada. It is super easy to get there, by ferry from the main port near the city centre. The other side has lovely sea food restaurants, the view of the city and a lovely park that we relaxed. This was the perfect way to end our trip before heading to the airport!
If you plan to visit other cities in Portugal, check out my post on Porto & The Douro Valley for some inspiration.