Tiles, alleys, tram rides, graffiti – this describes the beautiful and lively Lisbon. I was really happy when it finally happened in June and I could fly to Lisbon. Lisbon, also called the city of the 7 hills, is located directly at the Tejo and you always have a guarantee for good weather and sunshine. Perfect conditions to explore this beautiful city. Beautiful lanes, house facades decorated with tiles, steep hills and fantastic views over the city are guaranteed. For all sun worshippers, here are my tips for a few unforgettable days in Lisbon.
The best viewpoints of the city
First and foremost, of course, THAT what Lisbon is all about, namely the breathtaking views. Many may not know it, but Lisbon rests on seven hills. The ups and downs are rewarded with breathtaking views. I have summarized the best and most beautiful ones for you here.
1.The Miradouro da Graça is a popular meeting place in Lisbon for watching the sunset in the evening. The view wanders over to the castle, over the Baixa to the Ponte 25 de Abril.
2.On the Miradouro Sao Pedro Alcantara in the Bairro Alto, Lisbon, one orders a drink in the evening at the pretty kiosk and looks together over to the castle.
3.The Elevator de Santa Justa connects the districts of Baixa (lower town), Chiado and Bairro Alto (upper town). It is located in a 45 metre high steel tower. Those who are at the top can climb two more floors. And exactly this is worth it twice, as above the exit, there is a café and a viewing platform with a great view over Lisbon.
4.The monastery of Igreja e Mosteiro Sao Vicente de Fora towers over the Graça district. Built in 1582 by King Philip II of Spain (Dom Filipe I of Portugal), the Renaissance building still attracts many visitors today. Marble and blue-white azulejos wait inside, a breathtaking view on the outside terrace. Today it is the seat of the Cardinal of Lisbon.
5.From the Miradouro de Santa Catarina you can count the ships that sail under the Ponte 25 de Abril. And many do that in Lisbon, especially in the evenings. Then one meets at the kiosk at the view point Santa Catarina for a sundowner.
6.From the Castelo de São Jorge the Romans already looked at the Tejo. Visitors can stroll around in the small gardens, enjoy the views over Lisbon from the Miradouros and take a break at the Café des Castelos.
7.the Calcada do Duque, Chiado, is a street of over 100 steps. At the roadside there are some Portuguese restaurants from which the guests can admire the view to the Castelo de São Jorge.
Christo Roi – the slightly different vantage point
On the south bank of the Tejo, the Cristo-Rei statue towers over Lisbon with outstretched arms. Right next to the Ponte de 25 Abril. Already at the foot of the Jesus statue you have a wonderful view over the river and the city.
The lift takes you up to the 82 metre high pedestal, on which the 28 metre high statue stands again. From up there, the view over the Tejo, Lisbon, Almada and even further to the Atlantic Ocean is gigantic. It is the impressive size of the pedestal and the statue combined with the view of Lisbon and the suspension bridge that make the place special.
Cristo-Rei stands by the way for „King Christ“ and is sometimes mistakenly written Christo-Rei. If you want to enjoy the view, you can do so on the square in front of the monument. There you can also see the large Cruz Alta cross, which was located at the Cova da Iria in Fatima from 1951 to 2007.
A lift and two staircases take you up to the viewing platform. They are a bit narrow, but you will be rewarded with a great panorama at the top. At the foot of the monument is the main chapel Capela de Nossa Senhora da Paz. Moreover, inside, there is another chapel on the upper floor, two halls and a souvenir shop. Next to the monument is the main building and the reception building.
Torre de Belém
At the port entrance is the Tower of Belém – one of the first things arriving ships see from Lisbon. This is also the reason why the Torre de Belém was built: To welcome arriving ships. In 1910, the Torre de Belém was declared a Portuguese National Monument and today, together with the nearby Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This mural in Lisbon, entitled „Lisbon Story“, describes the history of Lisbon from its foundation to recent times in a humorous comic strip. You can even book your own guide who will immerse you in the history of Lisbon.
The mural was painted by cartoonist Nuno Saraiva and is located on the arch of Rua Norberto de Araujo, near the Portas do Sol vantage point.
The Pink Street
Rua Nova do Carvalho, is better known by tourists as Pink Street. At the moment it is one of the most famous and popular areas for the nightlife of the locals, but you can also find tourists here. The bars in Bairro Alto close earlier than in Rua Nova do Carvalho, making it social late into the night (or early morning).
For a long time this area was one of the poor districts of Lisbon. A place for busy brothels and drunken sailors. But since 2011, Cais do Sodré has had a makeover. The main street Rua Nova do Carvalho got a pink runner (hence the nickname „Pink Street“), which invites to visit the many bars and restaurants in the street. During the day it is quiet here, but after midnight the street is full of people drinking outside.
Village Underground und LX Factory
A dozen old ship containers and discarded double-decker buses, all painted in bright colours, stand stacked crosswise on top of each other as if a Tetris game had become reality. Totally crazy – because I’ve never really seen anything like it before.
The complex includes offices, a café and restaurant, a skate ramp, conference rooms and a warehouse for concerts, parties and events. The Village Underground is the summer hot spot for Portuguese and international performances.
If you’re there, you should definitely look around the corner a few meters further to discover the hip grounds of the LX Factory. Great to stroll through and look at. Lots of street art and small fancy shops and bars. Here you can spend an many hours.
Good cuisine guaranteed – the Cantina with its wood stove and old furniture, the A Meza for its pizza, the Café na Fábrica in its small white wooden house or LXCheeseCake or LandeauChocolate for friends of sweet treats have made a real name for themselves.
A small highlight is the roof terrace of the Rio Maravilha.
It’s just a tram, isn’t it? No, it’s THE experience in Lisbon: The original cars from the 1930s are built entirely of wood inside. The ride goes up and down the hills of Lisbon in steep curves: past the most important sights of Lisbon and through incredibly narrow alleys. You won’t find a comparable tram in the world.
Costa da Caparica
In less than half an hour from Lisbon, you can lie on the beach of the Costa de Caparica. In order to get to this beach, you have to cross the Ponte 25 Abril, as it is located at the other side of the Tejo.
Costa da Caparica is known as one of the most popular beaches near Lisbon. It is a long and wide beach, each part of which has a different name. The different beaches are distinguished by the dams. The sea is not only inviting for fishing but also offers divers a wonderful view of the corals and fish of the Atlantic through the clear water. Simply a dream beach.
A trip over the Tejo at sunset is a must. The panorama of the city along all sightseeings from the water is incredibly beautiful. I recommend you to book the trip with a traditional wooden sailboat. They are not only beautiful to look at from the architecture but also a real tradition in Lisbon for many years.
Fresh wine is served during the trip, blankets for those who find it too cold and what should I say, the Portuguese are simply a very sociable and friendly people. On board there was a great atmosphere and Portuguese traditional music was playing in the background.
As the sun went down, the sails were hoisted and no one could sit on the seats anymore. Photos were taken and videos made to capture the perfect sunset. I hope you like my small selection of sunset shots 😉
Culinary on the road
There are things you have to try in Lisbon: The coffee, a pastel de belém, grilled fish and other typical dishes. I have summarized some of Lisbon’s delicacies for you here. Attention: can cause hunger 😉
1.coffee, café, bica
„Uma Bica, faz favor“ is one of the most important sentences in Lisbon. People here are crazy about coffee, which they call café or bica. They like to drink 4-6 of the small espressos a day, the time is (almost) irrelevant. So there are small cafés practically everywhere in Lisbon, where you simply take a coffee at the bar, chat briefly and then move on. Thereby, the coffee at the counter is usually cheaper than the seats.
Here are the varieties and vocabulary to order your coffee in Lisbon:
- Café or Bica: an Espresso
- Bica Cheia: Espresso with water
- Café duplo: double espresso
- Italiano or Café curot: short espresso with little water
- Pingado: Espresso with some milk
- Meia de Leite: Milk coffee (in the cup)
2.Pasteis de Belém
The Pasteis de Belém (or also Pasteis de Nata) are the famous Portuguese pudding puff pastry tartlets, without which no visit to Lisbon is really complete. The monks of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos baked these little tartlets according to a secret recipe already before the 18th century. Today, the Pastel de Nata is available practically everywhere in Lisbon and it goes perfectly with coffee.
But there is a very famous place where one gets the original: the traditional pastry shop Pastéis de Belém, with its blue counter and the tiled walls. Here the queue is almost always so long that one thing is clear: in Lisbon, this pastry shop is considered to be the best. The best time to come is on weekdays, when there is usually less activity than on weekends. Many people take their pasteis with them, so if you want to sit down on the spot, you can go inside past the „snake to take it with you“.
3.Bairro do Avillez
In the exciting Chiado district, star chef José Avillez (who already has two Michelin stars) has created a new gourmet wonderland. Bairro do Avillez offers a variety of food options, with Taberna being the favourite.
Under the roof hides a gourmet cabaret called „Beco“, Lisbon’s best Pisco bar, the „Cantina Peruana“ under the direction of Peruvian star chef Diego Munoz, the „Pateo“, the „Taberna“ and the „Mercearia“. The culinary hustle and bustle is strongly reminiscent of the „Markthalle Neun“ in Berlin.
The Gelados Santini is one of the best ice cream parlours chains in Lisbon and the surrounding area. Since 1949 Santini has been making its ice cream and since 2010 they have their own shop in Rua do Carmo.
This place is called Santini Chiado. The ice-cream parlour has been in existence for three generations, but it still manages to keep up with the times and to consider new tastes. Of course, the ice cream is prepared with fresh ingredients and you can taste it too.
This restaurant was a tip of our Tuk Tuk driver and people I have to say I had the best steak of all times there 🙂 The Palácio Chiado is located in the elegant district of the same name, which together with the Bairro Alto will turn out to be my favourite.
There are several restaurants, a bar with a gigantic golden chimera hovering over it, a tapas counter and the sushi. In addition to Japanese dishes, there is Asian inspiration from Portuguese cuisine.
It’s also great that you can find a lot of local fish on the map. Also the breaded Katsu Matsu pork schnitzel, the small Ebi Tempura rolls or scallops with pickled pumpkin, shitake and spinach are a great pleasure for lunch. And the STEAK is a great recommendation when you visit it!
So my loved ones what am I supposed to say – I LOST MY HEART IN LISBON <3
All in all it was one of my most beautiful if not the most beautiful city trips. Lisbon’s residents are friendly, helpful, love to eat, drink, dance and know how to enjoy life. As the Italians say, „La Dolce Vita“ – The sweet life, that’s what it feels like to dive into Lisbon’s city at the beautiful Tejo. If you have never been there before, you should make up for it as soon as possible 😉
Leave me a comment, I would be delighted enormously.