I love to travel, a lot, so me going on another trip was inevitable. I travelled to Portugal’s beautiful capital, Lisbon! This time, with my boyfriend, some sort of a romantic get away for two you can say. But even if you are planning on spending time in Lisbon with a group of friends or family, it is a welcoming, beautiful city either way.

Last time I went to Portugal I was four years old, so obviously I couldn’t remember anything about it! Except for the St. Jacobs scallops, which I totally loved as a child. So Portugal was actually a complete surprise to me and in a good way. I loved the culture, its people and the food and OMG, the food…I gained 3 kilos during this trip so another Kayla kind of challenge is more then welcome.

My boyfriend and I stayed for a long week so we had all the time in the world! Since this city has so much to offer I will divide my trip in to pieces so you will get a nice overview. I will give you several daytrips tips in my personal Lisbon must see overview.

Lisbon must see / Week calender:

Day 1: Arrival in Baixa – Chiado
Day 2: Exploring Sintra
Day 3: Beach day
Day 4: Visit to Cascais
Day 5: Exploring Belém
Day 6: Streets of Alfama
Day 7: Over the river, Almada
Day 8: Relaxing and shopping, trip home ☹

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Day 1: Arrival in Baixa – Chiado
We arrived at Lisbon airport which is a really easy airport to manoeuvre your way thru. It has a good overview, just like the Metro system in Lisbon. We got the metro to the Baixo-Chiado area, where the apartment was located. We stayed at Sandra’s place, she lets her apartment via AirBnB. In the beginning we were a bit shocked, since we did not read the description well, it turned out we would be sharing this apartment with her. Normally we always found AirBnB’s where we were alone. But once we were over the first shock, it turned out that Sandra is the easiest person to share an apartment with.

After we were settled in, we started to explore the area. It has really nice breakfast, lunch and dinner places and the area is really livid and has a high energy! It also has a really nice shopping area. We had an easygoing day just wondering around, drinking espressos and eating pastries. OMG, the pastries, I warn you guys, they are lethal…

Our first day we ended in the Cerveteca, a nice place with friendly people to enjoy some craft- and local beers and some small bites.

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Day 2: Exploring Sintra
We decided to visit an UNESCO village called Sintra. It is located 30 minutes out of Lisbon but easy to reach by train. Ok, it is not located, but still high on my Lisbon must see / to do list! Public transport is really cheap in Lisbon, so if you can, just get a transport card and reload it each time with 5 Euros. In total we spent € 20,- per person for the entire week, not expensive I think! We arrived at 11:00 in the morning in Sintra. The city is located in a valley and thus surrounded by hills. On the hills there are a couple of really impressive old buildings located, two of them are actual Castles.

The first one we visited was Castelo dos Mouros, which is built in de 8th century by the Moors. The second one was the colourful Castelo de Pena. That palace was built in the 19th century and it looks like Disney! It is a colourful palace with different influences from all over the world. Sintra is a day filling trip. Besides the two castles there is a botanic garden and the village you can visit. We decided to take the train back and have diner in Lisbon. Here we ended up in Oficina do Ducque. A star-worthy restaurant we obviously enjoyed!

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Day 3: Beach day
When you are planning on visiting Lisbon for a week, you have some spare time to actually go have a beach day. Since we wanted to visit beaches a bit further out of Lisbon we rented a car. But, beach days are also possible in the Cascais area that is reachable by train and bus. We actually decided to go to Praia da Arrabida, which is located 50 minutes outside Lisbon. The beaches outside Lisbon are really nice, so also this one is outside Libon, but if you have some spare time, put in on your own Lisbon must see / do list.

The ride to the beach is thru mountain roads that are surrounded by green trees. The beach itself is clean, white and has, besides the bigger beach also smaller areas where you can sunbath more privately. We found our ‘secret beach’ and had a lovely day sunbathing. Be aware of the tides though, we had to hurry ourselves to make sure our towels would not get dragged out into the ocean. After the sun set we drove to Sesimbra to have a local diner.

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Day 4: Visit Cascais
Cascais is located 30 minutes outside of Lisbon and easy to reach by train. It is a small beach village. Royals started to head out and buy houses over there and soon it became the place to be and live for the rich. It still has that reputation. It’s a nice village, but I wasn’t really impressed. But, the houses are really pretty and when you want to go shopping it has some nice shops. I would recommend having lunch next to the sea; an ocean breeze and good food is never a bad combination.

We made a reservation at the Decadente…because some of our friends recommended us to visit this restaurant / hostel. The place looks absolutely stunning and the food is super! They gave us the best spot in the restaurant…a small table next to a large open window. How romantic.

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Day 5: Exploring Belém
This area has some really nice historical statues that are worth paying a visit. It is the most monumental and historical area in Lisbon. Discoveries Monument and Jeronimos Monastery are worth paying a visit! Belém Tower was built in 1515. The fortress was built to guard Lisbon’s harbour. It was also a really important starting point for the discovery voyages that took off from the harbour. For many sailors Belém Tower was the last sight of their homeland.

Next to it the Discoveries Monument is located. This monument, shaped like a ship’s prow, stands for the starting point of many of Portugal’s explorers. Vasco da Gama left from this place on his voyage to India in 1497 and in 1493 Cristopher Columbus was forced to anchor here on his way back from discovering America. Pretty impressive history I think! The Jeronimos Monastery is the third really impressive building in this area. During the age of discovery, this area became wealthy and this building is a symbol of this era. All three buildings are classified world heritage by UNESCO. After all the cultural visits I would recommend a visit to the best pastry shop in Belem, or actually in Lisbon: ‘Pasteis de Belém’. You will not regret it!

After the snack-time we walked all the way to LX Factory. An old industrial area which is transformed into a very trendy, alternative shopping and dining area. It is a really cool place with a lot of streetart! Lovely area to spend a couple hours. For dinner we’ve asked a guy at the Decadente the night before what other restaurants he would recommend. He came up with Estrela de Bica, so this is where we went. This restaurant is really cute with old maps and vintage items all over. We had some nice tapas and the waitress was awesome!

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Day 6: Streets of Alfama
We first took the Metro to the Mouraria area and from there we walked our way to Alfama. The streets there are actually breathtaking and have the typical Lisbon look! The streets are really small and are built in the typical Portuguese style. The area is really photogenic! Do you have a photography hobby? Do not forget your camera! We just walked around in this area, every street has something that grabs your attention. The old trams are riding thru these small streets and if you do not want to walk the tram 28 is a good way to see the streets as well.

Stop by in the local shops or have a break with Port and some Azorean cheese. We finally walked back to the square of Praça do Comércio, also known as Terreiro do Paço. There used to be a palace but it was destroyed after the earthquake in 1755. The big square is located next to the Taag River. The arc the triumph entering this square is the most impressive.

My boyfriend wanted to visit a football match, and luckily Sporting Lissabon was playing Sunday night. We got tickets just before the game started and experienced a great vibe in the stadium. Sporting 5 – Vitória 1. After the game we went for a small bite and a good glass of wine at By the Wine, A must visit if you like good wine…and almond pie.

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Day 7: Over the river, Almada
The 7th day we started slow. Slept in, had a late breakfast close by the area we stayed and then decided to spend the afternoon discovering the area across the river. You have to take the ferryboat to get to the other side that leaves from the railway station; Cais do Sodre. We took the ferry around 15:00 in the afternoon. Our friends advised us to go to the area since they had found a lovely place to have lunch. We decided to go there. When we arrived we walked by the shore towards the bridge. The buildings are abandoned and the only people you come across are fisherman. All the buildings look really old but because of the deserted look it becomes interesting.

At the end of the dock you find a really nice restaurant, Atira te ao, with white walls and turquoise furniture. We had lunch over there, which I would recommend. After our late lunch we took the elevator up the hill. Yes, there is an elevator; you pay one euro to go up. Up there you have an amazing view over the city, the bridge and the Jesus statue that looks a lot like the one in Rio the Janeiro. Eventually we walked back to the ferry dock in a different way, down hill, thru the village itself.

A good holiday deserves a good last dinner. We already walked by A Taberna da Rua das Flores a couple of times and noticed that a lot of people were waiting outside to get a table…so it must be good! We were lucky to get a table and I had some lovely St. Jacob scallops.

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Day 8: Relaxing and shopping, trip home.
The last day we took our time for some more shopping. We did some serious shopping in the Baixa – Chiado area and on Avenue da Liberdade. Couldn’t resist buying at the Cos and Levi’s store! After shopping we decided to have a late lunch at the Food Market. That way we thought wouldn’t have to eat crap at the airport and have a look around at the Market. This place is seriously something I would recommend. It offers various types of dishes from the best restaurants in Lisbon!

Eventually we grabbed our stuff at Sandra’s apartment and travelled back to the airport. Somehow we still ended up buying McDonalds while waiting for departure. A not so classy restaurant to end our trip.. But hey, couldn’t help myself.

Hopefully you enjoyed my travel journal and it will help you while making your own Lisbon must see planning!

I loved to get lost in Lisbon! Maybe I should get lost again someday soon…

Danielle

P.S. Scroll down for some more shopping / restaurant tips.

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Restaurants:

Cerveteca
Quiosque Principe Real
A Taberna da Rua Flores
Oficina do Duque
The Decadente
Estrela de Bica
By the Wine
Quinoa
Vestigius
Pub Lisboeta
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira
Atira te ao

Shops:

21 PR Conceptstore
LX Factory
Embaixada shopping gallery
Vintage in Calcada do Carmo
Baixa Chiado area (Levi’s, Replay, Zara)
Avenue da Liberdade (high fashion brands & my favorite: COS!!)