It felt like so many travel bloggers had something to say about Lisbon in the past three or four years. Lisbon is a unique city. A quick web search will show the top 10 things to check out on your visit, but our experience of the city was different from any other. Unlike London or Paris, the top 10 things in Lisbon were the things we discovered along the way. Some of our favourite activities were exploring the unique side streets in the Alfama district, relaxing seaside at one of the many cafes, admiring the beautiful architecture, and enjoying the nightlife in Bairro Alto. The one museum we visited and thoroughly enjoyed was the Money Museum (we are coin nerds) which is free and located close to the Praça do Comércio, a historic public square that’s great for people watching.
There’s a distinguishable vibe of change happening in the city. Locals will tell you, the city’s popularity is growing exponentially. So ask locals for recommendations, go slow, go fast, and see where the trams take you.
I love figuring out why people go to places. What makes them so attractive? Lisbon has a lot going for it. It’s a quick 7 to 8 hour flight from most North American cities on the east coast. It’s affordable, probably one of the most affordable cities we’ve ever been to in Europe. It’s warm most of the year which makes it a great option for spring and fall travel to avoid huge crowds, and it has some wicked beaches. The food is world renowned and their wine is strong. Like seriously strong. We’re talking 20% alcohol. Also the architecture, both old and modern, is unreal.
The diversity of the population leads to some excellent eats! We enjoyed traditional Portuguese cuisine and desserts, mmm desserts, but we also had delicious Brazilian, Spanish, and Indian food discovered just by exploring. It seemed google maps didn’t act to our advantage as some of the smaller or newer restaurants haven’t added themselves to the map yet. But it was a happy surprise to discover a street lined with restaurants when google maps only showed one or two. If you’ve followed some of our other adventures, you may notice that spas are a reoccurring theme in all of them. It’s a little tradition to visit a spa in every city after a long day of walking. We stumbled upon the G-Spa in the Altus and were able to get appointments with less than a day’s notice. With a pool and hot tub and some great massage options, we definitely recommend anyone with sore muscles give it a shot.
If you have a day to spare in Lisbon, we highly recommend a day trip to Sintra. A 45 minute train ride from Lisbon will get you there on a flexible schedule. There’s a lot to see and do, and you can pay per castle or choose to buy a package with a bus tour that takes you around to each. If you plan on doing more than 3 stops, I would definitely plan on arriving very early in the day. Our favourites were The Palace De Piña and The Moorish Castle. Boa viagem!