Out of all our recent trips, I can officially declare that Portugal has been the most impressive and had the most straightforward way to our hearts. Lisbon has never been on my bucket list before and, truth be told, we chose it only because the flights were relatively cheap. But the Portuguese capital exceeded all our expectations. Old cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, breathtaking postcard worthy views all around, portwein and exceptional food, amazing Fado nights….what’s not to love in it?
Now that I’ve almost made you book your tickets, here are my top recommendations for this charming city.
Where to stay
Located in Principe Real, Lisbon trendiest neighbourhood and facing the charming Jardim of Principe Real, this is a place to fall in love with. The hotel features large, individually decorated rooms, that will make you fall in love. Everything breaths chic at Casa Oliver. The breakfast room will simply get you out of breath with its perfect palms decor. So will the meal itself. I’ve said it before (here) and I’m saying it again: the best hotel breakfast experience I’ve ever had was right here, at Casa Oliver.
This chain of cozy boutique hotels is its owners’ declaration of endless love for the city that has seen them born and raise as individuals and as a family. It is a family business, and like all family businesses, the highest investment is love. You can choose out of four charming properties DL Gallery House, DL Palace Chiado, DL Charming House, DL Bordalo House. Wherever you choose to spend your priceless days in Lisbon, you will be amazed by the quality of the service. Lisbon has a soul and you will feel it through every inch of your hotel.
Where to eat
First and foremost, Lisbon is rich in amazing postcard worthy views. So if you really want to enjoy the beauty of this city from above, Cafe Noobai is located on Miradouro (viewpoint) de Santa Catarina, also known as Adamastor. Tasty brunch, relaxing music, a perfect view and a caring service will all make you wanna come back. Unfortunately, we arrived on a cloudy day and the picture does not show the beauty of this place. But take my word, you will never regret it!
Bairro do Avillez
This place is a fairy tale for food lovers. It is the most atypical of Lisbon’s food neighbourhoods, a place of 1000 square meters, that combines different yet complementary concepts. The place consists of five restaurants: Merceria/ gourmet deli, Taberna- for those who like hearty food Páteo with seafood and ﬁsh, Beco, the most cosmopolitan corner, where the internationally-inspired menu is accompanied by a cabaret show, and Cantina Peruana, home to most authentic Peruvian flavours.
This impressive concept was created by one of the most praised portuguese chefs, the holder of a michelin star- José Avillez. Whatever you choose out of these 5 options, you will never regret it.
I have been recommended this place by one of my friends, and I hereby publicly thank her for that! Rated with five out of five stars on TripAdvisor, this is the place to taste the real local food. It is a very small place, always filled with locals, not touristy at all. The octopus will absolutely blow your mind. But I am sure anything else is also worth tasting.
And what would this vacation be without an amazing gelato on a sunny day, while wandering the cozy colourful streets of Lisbon?
Pastry San Antonio
Here was the absolute best Pastel de Nata we tried. Rated as one of the best bakeries in Lisbon, you will fall in love with the place. It is right down the famous Castelo de Jorje, and trust me, after an exhausting tour of the castle with charming views, you will find Pastry San Antonio very rewarding.
P.S. No photos taken here. Got overwhelmed by the taste of that famous portuguese egg tart (pastel de nata).
What to do
- As previously mentioned, Castelo do Jorge is worth the tiring walk up the hills, so do visit it.
- Belem, the southwestern civil parish of the municipality of Lisbon is host to some of the most distinctive portuguese buildings. Make sure you reserve at least half of the day to walk around Belem, and enjoy a meal on the sea front (not the best food, but the view will make you forget about it)
- If you do choose to stay at Casa Oliver (which you will never regret), visit Embaixada right next door, a shopping centre that looks more like an art gallery. Also, take a walk to the beautiful Garden of Sao Pedro de Alcantara, have some street food, enjoy the view and the atmosphere.
- We did not have time for that, but I am sure it is worth to take a day trip to Sintra and one to Cascais.
- But the best thing to to in Lisbon is just walk. Everything is so beautiful around that you don’t even need a list with different interest points. Just go with the flow.
- Enjoy a veritable Fado night at Mascote da Atalaia or Tasca do Chico. Do make reservations before, the places are very popular.
Lisbon looks amazing! I really want to go!
Funny … I’m about to write a post about my stay in Lisbon as well 😉
Very nice entry in your blog!
Thank you for the great article