Travel to Lisbon

Belém Tower

Travel to Lisbon from London in February was a welcome sunny break! Also, there are usually fewer tourists then, so the city did not feel too crowded. We spent a few days exploring the city and enjoying the culinary delights. It is very hilly, which means a lot of walking exercise and also many incredible viewpoints. The sunsets over the river were especially beautiful.

My favourite sites were the Belem tower and St George’s castle. Mainly, I liked just wandering around to see the different areas and architecture. Bairro Alto seemed to be a popular area for going out as there were a lot of cool bars. I would like to travel to Lisbon again to experience more of the cultural attractions, as we did not have any time to visit the museums.

Sunset from St George Castle, Lisbon
Sunset from St George Castle, Lisbon
Arco da Rua Augusta
Arco da Rua Augusta
View of the hill and St George Castle, Lisbon
View of the hill and St George Castle, Lisbon

Highlights

  • Walking around the city to appreciate the architecture and street art
  • St George Castle and the sunset view
  • Belém Tower
  • Try the Pasteis de nata, custard tarts
  • Arco da Rua Augusta
  • Jerónimos Monastery
  • Rua da Rosa and the Bairro Alto area
  • Santa Justa Lift to the viewpoint
  • Oceanario aquarium
  • Lisbon Cathedral
  • Steep, small streets of Alfama

Before you go

  • You can check this website Viral Agenda for cultural events happening in Lisbon
  • In the city, most people speak English and the menus are usually available in English
  • Lisbon is very hilly so bring good walking shoes and be prepared to climb stairs and hills
  • Weather can be variable in the winter. However, we were lucky in February and had beautiful sunny days!
  • The seaside is lovely for walks, but there are not long, sandy beaches right in the city centre
Jerónimos Monastery
Jerónimos Monastery
A Ginjinha liqueuer
A Ginjinha liqueur bar
St George Castle, Lisbon
St George Castle, Lisbon

Transport

  • The Humberto Delgado Airport is the international airport in Lisbon. It can be accessed via the metro system, though trains are not that frequent so check the schedules in advance.
  • I recommend to take the trolley at least once because it is fun and saves some walking up hills.
  • The city is walkable as it is compact, but very hilly!

Accommodation

  • In Lisbon, we stayed at the VIP Executive Eden Aparthotel. It is a large hotel in a historic looking building with an old theatre facade. The hotel is very central, and has comfortable, clean rooms. Breakfast is not included but we had a mini kitchenette.
  • Another time, on the way to the Azores islands, I was delayed and spent one night in Lisbon at the Sana Metropolitan Hotel. It was very comfortable and had a great breakfast. However, it is a bit out of the city centre so I would prefer to stay more centrally when visiting Lisbon again.
Manteigaria pasteis de nata
Manteigaria pasteis de nata
Restaurant Ribodouro
Restaurant Ribodouro
Portuguese Snack foods
Portuguese Snack foods
Pastéis de Belém
Pastéis de Belém

Food

First, if you like dessert at all then you should try to local pasteis de nata, custard tarts. The most famous place is probably the one in Belem. However, we also loved the ones from Manteigaria. They are especially nice when they are still warm from the oven!

In addition to the desserts, the snacks were delicious and unique. For example, the bacalhau fritters made from salted cod were flavourful and went well with the local beer.

A Ginjinha liqueur bar seemed very popular with the locals and people were drinking outside from plastic cups. We had to try it and it was interesting to try the liqueur which I think had cherry in it.

Our favourite meal was at the Cervejaria Ribadouro, located in a beautiful old building on a corner. The portions were huge and ordering for two meant we had enough food for at least four people. We had bread for starters. Then potatoes, meat and fish.

Finally, we had freshly grilled sardines which were flavourful and delicate. We were so excited to eat them that we forgot a photo.

National Pantheon, Lisbon
National Pantheon, Lisbon
View from St George Castle, Lisbon
View from St George Castle, Lisbon
Graffiti in Lisbon
Graffiti in Lisbon

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, the city is easily walkable. Most of the places of interest are on GoogleMaps and/or on travel guides

Q: Do people speak English?

A: A: Most people in the city do speak English, but it is also useful to have a translator app to hand such as GoogleTranslate. Every restaurant we ate at had English translations on the menu.

Q: Is it a walkable city?

A: Yes, but be prepared to do a lot of climbing, as it is a hilly city. However, the bus, trolley and metro system is also very good so you can make use of that.

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