After Sintra, we headed to Lisbon. A city on the water with lots of hills, Lisbon reminded me a bit of my hometown San Francisco. A very old, European version of San Francisco. It even had its own Golden Gate Bridge (called the Ponte 25 de Abril).
We started each morning with coffee and pastries (we ended up here quite a few times) and spent the afternoons exploring the city, either by walking or hopping on one of the old trams. Conveniently, Tram 28 winds through Lisbon’s neighborhoods and brings you to most of the “must see” spots in the city.
I couldn’t get enough of the intricate tiles covering the buildings throughout Lisbon. Basically half of my pictures from the trip are of tiles and doors.
The highlight of every day (aside from checking out Portuguese tiles) was walking to a miradouro, also known as a look out spot, and watching the sunset. There are miradouros throughout the city and they usually have a small cafe that sells coffee, beer and wine.
Food & Drink: We had the best meal of the trip on our first night in Lisbon. Taberna da Rua das Flores (Rua das Flores, 103) was a quick walk from our apartment and had a delicious variety of Portuguese tapas (called petiscos).
While in town, I wanted to check out one of José Avillez’s restaurants. Avillez is one of Portugal’s top chefs and has a number of restaurants in Lisbon, including Belcanto, which has two Michelin stars. We opted to visit one of Avillez’s casual restaurants, Pizzeria Lisboa (Rua dos Duques de Bragança, 5H).
Another highlight of the trip was eating bacalao, drinking Portuguese wine and listening to Fado at Restaurante Adega do Ribatejo (Rua do Diário de Notícias, 23). The no-frills restaurant was the perfect place to enjoy a hearty meal (see the picture above) and listen to performers sing traditional Portuguese music.
Our apartment was conveniently located on the main (pink!) drag of Cais do Sodré, a neighborhood that used to be home to Lisbon’s sailors and famous for its brothels. It is now known for its nightlife and fortunately for us, some of Lisbon’s best bars were just a few steps from our apartment. My favorites were Sol e Pesca (Rua Nova do Carvalho, 44) and Pensão Amor (Rua Alecrim, 19).
Pro tip: If you are going to Potugual, pick up the Rick Steves’ guide to Portugal. As someone who grew up without cable and relied on PBS for entertainment, I have a soft spot in my heart for Rick Steves. His book on Portugal was incredibly helpful on this trip – especially the neighborhood maps – and was small enough to throw in my purse.