Pastries, Pink Street, Port Wine and More: Why Lisbon, Portugal Needs to be Your Next Trip
You’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower, eaten pizza in Florence, and taken an iconic picture with Big Ben-- where to next? Well take a look at your travel bucket list and immediately move Lisbon to the top. Portugal is quickly becoming a sought-after travel destination, and after visiting for a week with my sister, it’s very clear why.
Where We Stayed:
Upon arriving Lisbon, we were taken to our hostel, Yes! Lisbon, which was one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. Complete with a bar that sold wine and beer for a whopping 1 euro, it was an awesome spot to meet other travelers who were ready to take Lisbon by storm. They offer tons of tours around the city and to Sintra and you can sign up for the dinner they offer which is basically a feast. The only bad experience I had there was when an Aussie heckled me for having luggage besides my backpack and told me I wasn’t a “hostel girl.” Still salty about that but overall I highly recommend.
What to Eat:
Pasteis de Belem for Pasteis de Nata
Pasteis de nata are the national pastry of Portugal and are flaky cups filled with egg cream and will probably keep you up at night because of the effect they will inevitably have on you. For the ultimate experience, head over to Pasteis de Belem to indulge in the best pasteis de nata in the WORLD! The portuguese basically insist on eating these for breakfast, as a snack, and after a night out which means that I ate about 20 in the 3 days we were in Lisbon. Stop by Pasteis de Belem to fill your custard fantasies and get a 6 pack because life is short. If you can’t make it to Pasteis de Belem, you can find pasteis de nata basically on every corner - but check if there’s a swirl on the bottom to make sure they’re the real deal.
Time Out Market
We started out our trip with a visit to the Time Out Market which is right near the water (as well as a replica of the Golden Gate bridge and the Christ statue in Rio De Janeiro-- not the most original on that side of town). There, we perused the stands of fresh seafood, port wine, and more before deciding on a delish dish of wild mushrooms and sausage. Disclaimer: Portugal is absurdly affordable so you can eat and drink to your heart’s content.
Sophia La Loca
One night, we went with a new friend to a tapas bar called Sophia La Loca and WOW. I still have dreams about this place. We ordered about 10 dishes which we devoured such as mussels, wild mushrooms, and more. Alongside our meal, the wine was flowing including green wine, a refreshing and young white wine which is perfect for hot summer nights. Travel tip: don’t order the wine you drink at home on vacation because live a little.
What to do:
Explore the famed Pink Street which is littered with bars and restaurants and really fills up at night with locals and travelers alike. However, do not be fooled. The street is not that vibrant in color. Everyone on Instagram is fooling you by upping the saturation on photos-- thank god for filters, right?
Santa Justa Lift
The Santa Justa Lift is an elevator which boasts the best views of the city and it’s beautiful lace-like steel was designed by the apprentice to Eiffel-- yes, that Eiffel. When it was first made, it was powered by steam but now is run by electricity (not mad). I definitely recommend checking it out for a great view of the city.
The second day we were in Lisbon, we took a tour with our hostel to Sintra, a medieval city at the foothills of the Sintra mountains. If you go to Lisbon, Sintra is a must. Explore Quinta de Regaleria, the main castle of the city and see the Initiation Well which looks like an inverted tower. Without a doubt, you’ll get all kinds of Game of Thrones vibes in Sintra.
Cabo da Roca
This is the westernmost part of continental Europe and is incredible. Apparently, people used to think this point was the end of the world and sailors used to leave without ever being sure of returning which is equal parts spooky and amazing.
Fado Music at Tasco Do Chico
Our last night, we went to Tasco Do Chico to listen to live fado music which is guaranteed to make you cry even if you don’t know why. Don’t leave Lisbon without listening to Fado at least once! It is a truly unparalled experience.
After Tasco Do Chicho, we went to an all-night street festival in Alfama which is the historical district. The Portuguese know how to have FUN. We drank and danced and ate pasteis de nata and had a merry time.
Overall, Lisbon was incredible. The people were fun and hospitable, the culture is rich, and there are endless things to explore. Do yourself a favor and book a trip before it becomes the next Paris or London!