Travel Guide – Beautiful Lisbon, Portugal

Downtown Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Oh Lisbon you are so stunning! With its old-world charm and beautiful weather, Lisbon was simply the perfect vacation for us! In fact, Lisbon experiences about 300 days of sun each year, making it a beautiful getaway if you’re looking for some sunshine. This was a very last minute trip for us. We booked our trip just one week in advance because we were trying to cling on to some sunny summer weather before Fall approaches. We escaped the cooler weather in the Netherlands for hot and sunny days in Lisbon. I love the spontaneity of being able to travel throughout Europe with little notice, it’s just the best!

First of all, Lisbon has now topped my list of one of my fave cities in Europe so far. I just love it. The Portuguese people are some of the nicest people we’ve met, and because Lisbon is a city that runs off of tourism, everyone spoke great English which is always nice. Our almost two-year-old daughter Hallie was treated so well here too! The restaurants we went to were all very accommodating for kids and Hallie even ended up with a heart shaped red balloon from one café, and another place cut her bread into heart shapes — how cute! We were really feeling the love.

where we stayed.

With just one week notice we were still able to find the most perfect Airbnb. This Airbnb topped our list of favorites for location and pretty much everything else! As always, if you’d like to know where we stayed in any location, just send me an email to angela@nutritiouslyrooted.com and I’m happy to give you all the details.

[balcony views.]Lisbon Views

Lisbon Views

I will always preach location, location, location, especially when you’re in a place for the first time and want to experience it like a local. We found a little third floor apartment overlooking the Mouraria neighborhood which is rich in history and has spectacular views! Just steps outside our apartment was an amazing restaurant [that we frequented!] and a small square with outdoor seating, which we always prefer. We were walking distance to bustling downtown Lisbon as well as just a five minute walk to one of the oldest and most famous neighborhoods in Lisbon called Alfama [more on this below!].

Lisbon Buildings

things to do.

[1] wander through the Alfama neighborhood.

Alfama is well-known for it’s steep and narrow cobblestone streets, and ancient buildings and houses. Not to mention, we found some of the most beautiful tile on the buildings in this neighborhood. We spent hours walking around and getting lost in this neighborhood, and my husband and I both agree that was one of our favorite parts about our trip to Lisbon.

Lisbon Tile

Hallie is at the age where she pretty much wants to walk everywhere. We love her independence, but those cobblestone streets aren’t usually the best for tiny feet. She walked when she could and my husband and I took turns holding her when we needed to. Let me just say that carrying a 20+ pound baby plus walking up steep hills and stairs equals a pretty good workout, which I’m always happy about.

Alfama Walking

Alfama Streets Walking

[2] visit the Belem Tower.

This famous Portuguese landmark built in 1515 is a site worth seeing [from the outside]! When we got to the tower in the afternoon, the line to get inside was long and didn’t seem to be moving. Many people agree that it’s not worth the time or the money to get inside, which we were totally fine with. After seeing the tower and taking some pictures we spent some time just walking along the sidewalk that lines the Tagus river, soaking in the views.

[hubs + baby in front of the Belem Tower.]Belem Tower Bryce

[3] ride Tram 28.

The historic tram 28 is worth the ride! They still use these specific trams for public transportation and they’re so unique because they can maneuver through tight turns and go up and down steep hills, which no modern tram could! The ride is noisy and jerky, but the experience is so fun, and you get to see many of Lisbon’s awesome sights! A word to the wise is to show up early if you want to get a seat, otherwise you’ll be standing in line for hours! You can pay with Euros when you board the tram or buy a public transportation card in advance. Also, the tram stops a few times and you must get off and wait to board another tram. If we didn’t have our toddler with us we would probably ride the entire route, but we still made it through a few stops and really enjoyed it!

[Hallie and mommy in front of Tram 28.]Tram 28

[4] soak in the views from the São Jorge Castle.

The views from the castle overlook all of Lisbon and it is simply breathtaking. The cost to enter the castle is minimal and worth it to walk around and take in all of the sites. The trek to the castle is a steep one, but if you’re looking for a little exercise [like we always are!], then it’s the perfect walk. There are cafés and shops to stop in along the way if you need to take a little break. We went in the morning so the line to get in wasn’t long, but it does get busier later in the day.

[family shot.]Castle Views Family2

Castle Viewpoint

[5] walk through the Praca do Comercio.

The Praca do Comercio is Lisbon’s largest square and one of the largest squares in Europe! It’s huge. We stumbled upon this area after exploring downtown Lisbon. It’s located right near the Tagus river where you can dip your toes in the water if you’re trying to beat the heat! And in the very center of this huge square is a beautiful statue of a Portuguese King, King José I.

Lisbon Square

Walking through the large archway, pictured below, leads you back to downtown Lisbon where there is plenty of shopping, eating and drinking to be had.

Lisbon Large Square

[6] check out the Time Out Market.

This place is a foodies dream. One half of the market is the “traditional market” which offers a variety of fresh fruit and veggies, seafood, meat, etc. The other half is the “Time Out Market” which is lined with tons of restaurants to please any palate! The restaurants line the outer rim of the market with tons of seating in the middle. This is a very busy place but definitely worth visiting in my opinion. And come hungry! There are so many food options to choose from that it’s hard to decide on just one place.

Time Out Market

[7] ride on a tuk tuk.

These little go cart type cars are everywhere in Lisbon and are a fun way to get around if you’re not feeling like walking or want a little tour of the city. Some tuk tuks provide city tours and others are like taxis and just take you where you want to go. We took one to the Belem Tower because it wasn’t within walking distance for us. Our tuk tuk driver was awesome! He told us some neat history of the city and also provided some restaurant recommendations!

[8] eat and drink and be merry.

Even if you don’t come to Lisbon with a plan, you’ll still find plenty to do here! Just go for a walk, pop into a local café for drinks or appetizers and just relax. Enjoy the weather, people watch, chat with the locals. Oh, and you should try the Ginja, a Portuguese liquor made from sour cherries. Overall, I promise that Lisbon, Portugal is a place worth visiting. One of my favorite places, in fact!

First Night Black and White

what to eat.

[1] eat the local seafood.

We were on the hunt for Seafood from the start! Seafood rice is a popular dish, and for good reason. We ordered it at two different restaurants and they were both delicious! Cod is also very popular here even though Cod is not actually native to Portugal. Whichever seafood you choose, it’s always fresh and delicious!

Seafood Dinner

[2] try the Pastel de Nata.

Native to Portugal, these flakey little egg custards are pretty much everywhere you walk. Try them, they are delicious! They have a slightly sweet egg custard nestled in the middle of a flakey and buttery crust. The perfect on-the-go treat, or order them with a cappuccino at breakfast.

The pastel de nata are on the bottom left of the picture. The others are mini quiches which were also delicious.

Pastel De Nata and Quiche

[3] eat at O Corvo Café.

This is the café I mentioned earlier that was right outside of our Airbnb. It could not have been more convenient or perfect! The food was absolutely delicious and the drinks were good, too! We ate here for dinner the first night and came back a few more times throughout our stay because it was just too convenient not to. They make homemade focaccia daily and offer a plethora of different sandwiches. I got the roasted veggie focaccia the first night and it sure hit the spot!

The appetizer pictured below was so fresh and delicious, and was the perfect first bite after a day of traveling. It was simple — just chickpeas, cod, lime, cilantro and salt. Simple but delicious! Alongside the appetizer was a super refreshing cocktail called a basil smash. Made up of just gin, soda water, lime and basil. It wasn’t sweet at all [which I love!] and was super basil-y — yum!

[appetizers + cocktails — a vacation must.]Chickpea Appetizer O Corvo
[roasted veggie focaccia.]Veggie Focaccia O Corvo

[4] Fabrica Lisboa – the most delicious breakfast ever.

Breakfast the first day was uh-mazing! Seriously the most delicious breakfast we’ve had since moving to Europe almost nine months ago. I researched some highly rated and authentic breakfast places on Yelp before venturing out on morning number one. We decided on this little café called Fabrica Lisboa. It happened to be just a few minute walk from our apartment which was perfect! The doors opened at 9am and within minutes there was a line out the door! Luckily we were one of the first to arrive so we were able to get a table. Fabrica Lisboa is known for its homemade croissants, so of course we had to try them. There are all different kinds of croissants to choose from – some with sweet options like Nutella and others with meat and cheese. We asked the waitress for recommendations so we ended up ordering the most popular: smoked salmon and cream cheese, as well as the waitresses favorite: the jam croissant. Both were equally delicious. The flakey and buttery-ness of the croissants was just out of this world and like nothing I’ve had before! In addition to the croissants we orders some homemade tomato pesto quiche which was also perfection. Our first breakfast in Lisbon was a smashing success!

Fabrica Lisboa Signage

[quiche. croissants. cappuccinos.]Fabrica Lisboa Breakfast Food

[5] Nicolau Café – a healthy green breakfast option!

By our forth and final day in Lisbon I was craving a light and healthy breakfast! Nicolau Café was just that! Located in downtown Lisbon and also within walking distance of our Airbnb, we headed here for a healthy breakfast to start our day. This café is known to fill up quickly so we made sure to arrive right when it opened at 8:30am. We started with a fresh green juice and followed that up with some avocado toast, a green smoothie bowl, and one of my favorites [and something I’ve never had before] was the acai bowl with fresh fruit and granola. Yum!

[my girl and her green juice.]Hallie Green Juice Nicolau

Nicolau Breakfast

 

 [6] eat at The Time Out Market.

On our final day in Lisbon we visited the Time Out Market. I loved it here. The restaurant portion of the market was crowded and loud but the experience was worth it in my opinion. We circled the market a couple of times [this was quite the feat with a stroller in tow!] before we decided where we wanted to eat. We chose to get Portuguese prego sandwiches which are a traditional steak sandwich eaten in Portugal. They were delicious and something we could easily eat standing up because most of the sit down tables were taken! We ate a quick lunch and then went outside to sit in the shade and relax. This was the perfect ending to our trip.

[the bustling Time Out Market.]Time Out Market Restaurants

until next time, Lisbon.

We packed a lot into our 4 day trip, but why not when you have the opportunity to explore a place you’ve never been? Even though our trip was busy, it was still very relaxing because we didn’t have any sort of timeline. No places to be or times to be there. We decided when and where and how long. And I love that. That’s what vacation is about no matter where you’re visiting. Just make your vacation your own and you wont be disappointed!

One thing we wish we would have done is visited a nearby beach, but that can be tough on scorching hot days with a toddler who needs her nap. Maybe next time, Lisbon.

Well — I hope this guide will give you some ideas on things to do and places to eat if you ever have the opportunity to visit Lisbon. If you have any questions at all or are looking to plan a trip here, please don’t hesitate to just ask me! Comment below or send me an email to angela@nutritiouslyrooted.com. I’m happy to help in any way that I can.

In health and happiness,

Angela

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Angela Freed

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