We wanted to visit Portugal for a long time now, finally, we had a chance to visit Lisbon last May with a couple of friends, just for a weekend, and now we want to go back there!
Discover our weekend in Lisbon. The city is not a very big city, but there is a lot to see and to do that two days are not enough, a long weekend is recommended. The weather hasn’t been great, what a piece of luck right? It rarely rains over there and for us living in London has been a bummer, but since we can’t control the weather we explored anyway.
First of all, get ready to hike, wear comfortable shoes as the city has crazy steep hills and when it rains they tend to be very slippery. You will find many times that to reach your destination you will have to go up a hill, then down then up again. If you’re lazy or just don’t feel it, several cable cars around the city travel up and down the hills.
The trams are very useful too to travel around the city or if you want to reach places to visit out of the city center like Belém.
From the Airport there are multiple ways to reach the city centre, we choose the underground even if it was late, it takes about 30 minutes, 45/50 at night. You need to buy a paper card/ticket that is valid for a year, you can do so at the machines at the underground station. the card itself costs 0,5 € and you can put credit in or buy a daily card that you can top up for 6,30€; one trip on the underground/tram costs 1,50€ except for the historical tram 28 that costs 3€, we’ll talk about it later in the post.
We arrived late in the evening and we fancied a beer so we headed to the Duque brewpub as it was the only local open until 2 am. It has a good selection of local craft beers on draft and bottles to drink in or take away. The pub was only 8 minutes away (google maps) from our accommodation, although we had to climb up to a hill and a lot of steps so after all this effort one beer wasn’t enough so we stayed for two!
Day 1 – weekend in Lisbon
On the next day, we had a quick breakfast at Fábrica Coffee Roasters before heading to Belém, we took the tram 15 all the way there, is quite a long journey, but it is nice. We headed off at the stop called Belém as we fancied a walk and wanted to try the very famous Pásteis the Nata at the Pásteis the Bélem where they’ve been invented, the place is huge with over 400 tables, but the queue outside was so long that we went inside to take a look and we carried on walking.
Another great place to have the pásteis de nata (1 euro) is Manteigaria, very high quality and cheap, there are two branches in Lisbon one in the city centre and the other one in the now known as Time Out Market or Mercado da Ribeira, the market is divided into two, the Time Out Market is all about food stalls and drinks, the other side is like a farmers market.
We walked to the Torre de Belém passing by the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos on the way back. You can go up on the tower to see the panorama, but there was a long queue and we were happy just to have a wander around. We decided then to have lunch at the Time Out Market as it is a must go, it was very busy and crowded, but plenty of choices. Here it comes the hard part for me, in the Portuguese cuisine garlic is used in enormous quantity and I did struggle to find something without (I’m allergic), in restaurants might be easier, but still as very often happen they don’t take me too seriously. Overall the food was great, we finished the meal with some Pasteis de Nata from Manteigaria and a good espresso.
On the road again to try some local craft beers at the Crafty Corner but it wasn’t open yet so we moved on to explore the Chiado or Baixo and the Barrio Alto areas, it was very nice to get lost in all the little streets, we stopped at the Cervejaria Artesanal Adamastor for a couple of refreshing beers and then on the move again direction Carmo Convent, a big church without the roof, damaged by an earthquake in 1969 a very interesting space, the ticket to get in is 4€ per person.
We then headed down to the sea directed to Cais das Colunas walking by the Arco da Rua Augusta and the Praca do Comércio.
A bit tired and hungry we headed to the Outro Lado former
LisBeer, a nice pub with a great atmosphere and a decent selection of local and international craft beers, we ordered a mixed cheese board that came with bread, it was very good, but we never expected to find a cheese that contained garlic pieces inside, gladly we asked and I’ve skipped it. After a few beers, we went for another wander around and we stopped next door for more cheese and some Porto wine at Tábuas Porto the staff is very kind and prepared, we had a great time.
With our full stomach and some energy recovered we decided to close the evening with a visit to the Crafty Corner that was closed earlier. The environment was great, the place is cosy and the live music was quite nice. After a few beers, we headed back to our accommodation in order to get some rest as we had another pretty busy day ahead.
Day 2 – weekend in Lisbon
After a quick breakfast, we made our way to the initial stop of the historical tram 28 to reach St George’s Castle few trams are going just the castle and back, others are going all the way to Campo Orique, we queued for about one hour under the rain, but here’s the trick…go to the next stop and wait there, you won’t have to queue as we did and if you would like just to go to the castle you will probably get a seat too, cool right?
The trams are from the 1930s and they have been refurbished, but they won’t be changed with modern ones as the route is not suitable for modern trams, in fact, you should hold tight even when being seated as the trams brakes very sharply! Beware of pickpockets too!
Once off at the castle stop, you will have to climb up on a hill to reach the castle. It was lunchtime and it was pouring down rain so we decided not to go inside the castle and find shelter into a little local wine/beer shop and while having a beer we did a quick research for a restaurant nearby. We found a nice place literally behind the corner, Petisqueira Conqvistador the food was great.
After lunch, we went for a wander around the Alfama area all the way down to the sea. It was time to head off to the airport to fly back to London, we wished to have more time as two days are not enough to see everything in Lisbon. We’ll be back for sure, but here’s a list of what we missed and what we think should be seen. Also at the bottom of this post, there is a useful map with the points of interest, places to eat and drink…Enjoy!