Lisbon was one of my favourite city breaks.
We went at the start of April as an early birthday present for moi and though it felt slightly quieter than many European capital cities, it was packed full of character, with beautiful tiled houses, cute cafes lining the cobbled streets and some cool bars and restaurants for couples and groups alike.
So for anyone who may be thinking of visiting, I’m sharing my top suggestions of where to stay, eat and drink in Lisbon below!
I would wholeheartedly recommend the Lisbon Five Stars Apartments Combro 77. We stayed for two nights in the cheaper studio apartment which was spacious, clean and modern – the whole place looked like something straight from my Pinterest Interiors board…
We found the apartments very affordable (our first night here cost us 50 Euros) and the staff here were so friendly and helpful. The walk into the city centre took about ten minutes and even though most of that is uphill, you will pass Orion, one of the BEST bakeries in Lisbon. (Read more about this below).
For anyone with a bit more cash to spend and looking for a boutique antiquarian hotel with plenty of history, there is the Palacio Ramalhete, where we were lucky enough to stay for our first night thanks to a Mr & Mrs Smith hotel voucher. (Full review here).
Orion bakery: It was super popular every time we passed it, packed with locals sitting in the small cafe or standing up eating at the bakery counter. One day we ended up popping in twice to fill up on Pastel de Natas, the famous Portugese tarts, and these incredible biscuit/cakes called Especial Broas de Mel, which I NEED to find a recipe for! (Probably a good job we were burning calories walking up the hill to reach it with the amount of baked goods we ate).
Pasteis de Belem: This large cafe/restaurant is somewhat of an institution in Lisbon, regarded as the most authentic place to pick up a Pasteis de Nata, the traditional custard Portuguese tart. Found in the Belem district, there are always huge queues lining out of the door but they do move pretty quickly. Expecting this to be a bit of a gimmick, Marc and I were both amazed at how delicious the Pasteis de Natas were here – warm, slightly gooey and complete with sachets of cinnamon and icing sugar to dust yourself. Definitely one of the best we tried in Lisbon (and we tried a lot).
Time Out Market Lisbon, Mercado da Ribeira: not once during our four nights in Lisbon did we see this place quiet. Popular at every time of day, this old market space has been transformed into a gourmet food market offering a whole host of cousines. Prices for a main here tend to be around the 9 -11 Euro mark so not cheap but a great spot for a relaxed meal and drink.
LX Factory: Lying outside of the city centre, on the way to Belem, LX Factory is an old fabric factory that has been transformed into a creative space, with an array of galleries, shops, restaurants, bars and businesses. We were there around 7.30pm which may have been a little early for dinner as the area was quite quiet, so we ended up eating in the busiest restaurant there – A Praca. I opted for the aubergine and mozerella stack which was delicious, whilst Marc went for a gorgeous sirloin steak, although he was less happy that chips here are swapped for homemade crisps. For brunch/lunch, apparently Cafe na Fabrica is a good spot to try and Cafetaria Village, a cafe in an underground tube carriage, looked cool.
TOP TIP: Visit on a Sunday to see the LX Factory market.
TOP TIP 2: Make sure you pay a visit inside Ler Devagar (translated as ‘read slowly’), a huge bookshop/cafe/workshop space in an old printing factory. Great space.
Mini Bar: This came recommended to us by the lovely Lydia Elise Millen but unfortunately we didn’t get time to go. If you like a tapas or tasting menu style experience though then it would be worth checking out!
Bar Park: this was our favourite bar in Lisbon. Hidden at the top of a carpark, the bar offers incredible views across Lisbon and always had a buzzing atmosphere. You can sit inside near the live DJ or chill on the botanical terrace outside, sipping on Superbok amongst the locals. (Whatever you do, don’t get the wine. All of them were disgusting).
TOP TIP: Go late afternoon to watch the sunset. A beautiful way to see the city.
TOP TIP 2: Watch out for car park barriers when you leave. They hurt when they hit you on the head.
Bali Bar: Located in Bairro Alto, the main bar/restaurant area, we loved the relaxed, beachy atmosphere in Bali Bar. Baleiric beats and slouchy wicker chairs made this a welcome change from the rest of the Eurotrash bars along the street. The one downside for us is that people could smoke inside here, though this might be an added bonus for any smokers out there.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia: This beautiful lookout point in the quaint Alfama district offers offers incredible views across Lisbon, shaded by an old stone canopy and winding vines. There are a number of small daytime bars around here or of course you can take your own, sit on a tiled wall and enjoy the view at your leisure.
Has anyone else got any other recommendations for bars, restaurants or accommodation in Lisbon? Any other top tips?
I’d love to know!