I was lucky to call Lisbon my home during 6 months. It doesn’t take much to fall in love with this nostalgic city. Since its quickly gaining in popularity more and more travellers are ready to discover the historical Portuguese capital whether by plane or cruises. Good food, shopping, a lively night scene, budget friendly prices and a magical mix of old versus new neighborhoods make Lisbon a city you will want to visit more than once.
1. Explore Portugal’s rich history in Belem
Belem is one of my favorite areas to go sightseeing in Lisbon and a full afternoon or day is best to explore the area. The Padrão de descubrimentos and Belem Tower are one of Lisbon’s most beautiful highlights and display Portugal’s rich history as world discoverers. If you pay attention that there are little references to their rich pas everywhere from the street names, metro stations, graffiti to buildings (Parque dos Nações).
Once in Belem you cannot miss out on the famous Pastel de Belem. Everyday many people stand in line to buy them at the Pasteis de Belem shop. They’re the only ones that make this delicious treat and today only 3 people know the secret Pastel de Belem recipe. It has been a family company for many years and continues to be a huge success among locals and tourists.
2. Get lost in the cozy streets of Baixa Chiado & Rossio
A lot of the social life happens at the malls because you find everything there. But when it’s sunny outside and I want to walk around my favorite place was Baixa Chiado & Rossio. Drink a ginjinha (a liqueur made by infusing ginja berries) on the streets, have a delicious plate of bacalhau, go shopping or simply sit on the Rossio square and watch people pass by. It’s one of the oldest city centers in Europe and last year they opened a new attraction worth visiting…
3. Visit The Triumphal Arch Rooftop Terrace
When I studied in Lisbon, Baixa Chiado was my favorite neighborhood in the city. Besides the cozy shopping streets, beautiful architecture and liveliness this hotspot makes it even better: the Triumphal Arch Rooftop Terrace :D. Seeing the whole area from a top view was magical and especially since I visited around sunset. The lighting was perfect and the view magical
4. Admire The Lisbon View One of the 15 Miradouros
Another view you can’t miss out on is the 15 Miradouros. Lisbon is known as the city of 7 hills and this means there are many, many places to go to admire a top view of the city. And it’s worth it! Lisbon is a beautiful, romantic, colorful city that can be admired from street- and top view. The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city. It’s located near the Baixa Chiado and Bairro Alto so you could easily come up here to see the sunrise, go down and shop & eat at the Baixa Chiado and go out at the Bairro Alto.
5. Visit the Fashion & Design Museum Mude
MUDE is one of the biggest fashion- and design museum in the world situated at the Rua Augusta. The museum presents over more than 1200 couture pieces from all over the world such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano. They regularly feature new collections so you’re always in for a surprise.
6. Go out in Bairro Alto
You haven’t really been in Lisbon if you didn’t go out in Bairro Alto. People who visited Rio de Janeiro know Lapa and I’d like to consider Bairro Alto as the smaller Portuguese version of it. The Lisbon nightlife is fun, vibrant and cheap! You’ll find many bars, pubs and clubs next to one another in this neighborhood which comes to life during the weekends. Wether you love house, rock, gay clubs or African music, here you’ll find it all. Most bars are free entrance and for a tequila shot you’ll pay approximately 2 EUR and 4 EUR for a cocktail.
7. Attend a Fado performance
Fado never appealed to me as it’s very nostalgic. During a press trip I had the chance to attend a Fado performance which was very impressive. Some things need to be experienced at the place of origin like a samba dance in Brazil, a chorizo in Spain, a scone in London or a Fado performance in Lisbon. Listening to Fado felt right, the ambiance was romantic & the music nostalgic. An experience only Lisbon can offer.
8. Visit Parque dos Nações
The Parque dos Nações offers a modern contrast to the historical city centre of Lisbon. Created in 1998 for the occasion of the Expo ’98 this neighborhood has incorporated many elements of the ocean and Portugal’s rich history as navigators into the design. The rooftop of the buildings resemble ship masts, there are many water fountains across the area, the flags and colors. Once I was told this I noticed how many elements refer to Portugal’s rich history as world explorers. Everything refers to the ocean from metro signs, street names, architecture and more.
9. Visit the Oceanario
A big aquarium has a hypnotic effect on me and the Oceanario is probably one of the biggest I saw. They used to have a cool activity for kids where they could sleep one night ‘among the sharks’ and be picked up in the morning. But the Oceonario also has a magical effect on adults so if you like water and fishes, this place is a must
10. Go Shopping at Colombo
Colombo is one of the biggest shopping malls in Europe (and one of the most beautiful ones!). When I studied in Lisbon I was lucky because my school was next to the mall so I would basically live here The mall counts three flours and has different shops from Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius (almost as cheap as in Spain), Sephora (beauty), Douglas (beauty), Fnac (cd, books, dvd’s, technology), Loja do Gato Preto (home decor), Continente (grocery store) & more. On the top floor you’ll find the food corner with many places where you can eat. My favorite was Vitaminas which is a salad bar where you can create your own salad. Choose the base (lettuce or pasta), 5 ingredients and the sauce. Usually when I crave food I go for fast food but with this easy concept I would eat more salads
Thanks for reading!