Lisbon, I had high hopes for you and you definitely didn’t disappoint. My husband and I had talked about going to Portugal ever since we moved to London and finally pulled the EasyJet trigger for a random weekend in April. The weather was a bit chilly (about 50-65F) and rained in the mornings, but nothing could stop me from falling in love with this city.
We stayed in an AirBnB in Bairro Alto, and let me tell you – this neighborhood is a dream. The streets are fairly quiet during the days, but at night the pastel buildings come alive. To be fair, they came alive at around the same time I normally wake up, but just being around that vibrancy is exciting!
Our first day involved a port tasting, a quick exploration of the city and a seafood dinner – not a bad way to spend a Friday! Day 2 is where the fun continued! We took a day trip out to Sintra – a castle village about 45 minutes outside of the city and a must-see if you go. You can pick and choose which castles you go to, we did two of the main ones – including Pena (what I like to call the “Castle in the Sky”). You can probably see why…
The hike up to the top of the mountain was fairly strenuous, but the views were absolutely unforgettable. We were the only ones on the hiking trail and it made for such a relaxing and peaceful afternoon!
Once we got back to the city on Saturday night, we had one of the best meals I’ve had in a LONG time. We went to a hole-in-the-wall called Casa da India, it was recommended as a place to get the best Portuguese food at a fair price, locals included! Those are exactly what I look for when traveling – I HATE tourist traps, so much more fun to experience what the locals do and eat! Lets just say, we ate well that night…
If you go to Lisbon, this restaurant is one you should absolutely try – the food is simply prepared with minimal ingredients and perfectly done!
Day 3 was our last day and we definitely saw (and ate) our way through more of the city! In the morning we went out to Belem and saw the monastery and tower – if you have a few hours to spare, these are just beautiful! It’s about a 10 minute taxi ride or tram ride away, and worth the time to see – so much history here!
Then came something I was so excited for, the Time Out Market in the heart of the city – right on the water. This is an indoor prepared-food market with stalls from the best chefs in the city – the smells and vibrancy take your breath away when you walk in. It’s impossible to make a decision on what to eat with so many amazing options! I ended up with a tuna/sweet potato/avocado ceviche and my husband ordered garlic clams and garlic rice – the garlic rice was the surprising winner! I am going to try to recreate some of these wonders in the coming weeks.
Since it was our last day, there wasn’t any time to waste – we headed straight from lunch over to a neighborhood called Alfama. This reminded me so much of Italy – winding back alleys, beautiful colors, peaceful and exactly what you picture when you think of Europe. When you get to the top of the neighborhood, there are the most beautiful vantage points with people playing music as you overlook the entire city. It’s just perfection!
At this point, I thought my legs were going to fall off and we headed to our last meal of the trip – a perfect, traditional dinner in the Chiado neighborhood. It was filled with locals and served some of the best squid and chorizo I’ve had – just delicious!
It’s always so hard to go back to reality (aka work) after a weekend getaway like this one, but it also gets you inspired to plan the next trip! We are thinking of a Croatian beach vacation this summer…options are endless, it just comes down to picking a place!
If it isn’t already on your list, think about Lisbon for your next trip – if you are a foodie like me, you’ll just love it!