This past weekend I hopped on a night bus and headed from Madrid to Lisbon, where I spent the weekend taking in the stunning architecture, history and of course even the food Lisbon had to offer. I thought I’d share my fave places with you all while it is still fresh in my memory!
We stayed in a shared AirBnb for two nights, and slept on a night bus the other two (best way to save money!) located at the Alameda metro stop, which is about 4 stops away from downtown Lisbon and conveniently on two major metro lines. I could not have been more happy with the location! It was far from touristy and had locally run cafes nearby and a small park. Our room was actually designed after one of the older, medieval neighborhoods in Lisbon, called Alfama. I highly, highly recommend staying in this area, or at least in an AirBnb versus a hotel…makes all the difference!
Portugal’s national dish is bacalhau (cod) so of course I had to try it. We got a recommendation from our AirBnb host for a place nearby, but walking around town, it looked like everyone was serving it. I got the “cod cakes version” and they were SO GOOD, highly suggest those! Another thing I loved was caldo verde, essentially a soup made with potatoes, onion, and kale, yum!
I also made a really strange bucket list item to try pizza in every country I go to, so when I read about the Time Out Lisboa Market, it was perfect. If you’re with a group of people that are undecided on what to eat, head there and you’ll find everything from sushi to smoothies & even more traditional foods. On our walking tour, we were suggested not to go here due to it being a “tourist trap” but I say touristy places are popular for a reason! Besides…I HAD to get that whole pizza bucket list thing checked off
The other food I’d say you have to try is a pastel de nata, or a Portuguese custard tart. The original shop for these is located in the Baixa Chiado square, and called Manteigaria. You get to see the assembly line of how they are created and there was even a line out the door, so you know it was going to be good!
We decided to jump on a free walking tour through the city because we really didn’t know our way around. It was a three hour long, incredibly informational tour led by a local and it was wonderful. We took side streets, learned about architecture, history, and he even threw in some personal stories, which I loved. I learned about a word in Portuguese called “saudade” and it resonates so true with my life right now. He explained this feeling of saudade to be a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that you love. He said when he stands in the place we were and it’s the time of night where all the old street lamps turn on and have that yellow-y glow to them, that’s when he feels it most. I just found it interesting because I’m always on the go now, constantly wishing I could be in more than one place at a time.
One sight that only takes a 2 minute walk from the water is Pink Street. I had seen pictures of this little road for so long and I knew I had to see it. It was essentially empty during the day but at night there are tons and tons of people lining the streets. I grabbed a gelato (stracciatella of course) and hung out there for a bit. We then went down by the river and sat listening to the seagulls and then headed to a square where there happened to be a group of friends playing guitar and performing songs.
Day Trip: Sintra, Portugal
If you have the time (the train is €4.50 round trip and takes 30 min) I would wholeheartedly suggest checking this city out. It is known for their beautiful palaces and castles surrounded by waterfalls and old gardens. You can hop in little tuk tuks for about €5 and check most places out. The top two things I would recommend seeing are Pena Palace, a castle with mixed styles of architecture, and Quinta da Reglaraia, which is known for its famous well. Both places are stunning and the city is so close, making it easily doable in half a day.
I already want to make plans to visit again, truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you haven’t already, check out my guide to Barcelona! xx