My sister had one wish for her birthday: plan a Lisbon, Portugal trip. So guess what? We went to Lisbon. My m.o. when it comes to trip planning is to stalk the shit out of the destination. Needless to say, I knew what I wanted to eat, where I wanted to stay and the sights I needed to see before I even paid for my plane ticket.
There is one thing that I didn’t realize when I was planning my trip… and I may sound like a total idiot… but none of the pictures I saw online prepared me for how gorgeous Lisbon is. I know, I know. But I’m convinced that if Wes Anderson was a city planner, he would have designed Lisbon. No lie. Every inch is completely his aesthetic… down to the delicious pastries that you can find on every corner. NOM.
So let’s get to it. Here are my highlights from my trip to Lisbon.
(If you arrive in Lisbon too early to check in (and it’s raining), borrow an umbrella from your hotel and walk into town. Find a bottle of wine and eat all of the olives and bread. And Pasteis de Nata.
Friendly heads up… restaurants tend to put olives and bread on your table as soon as you sit down, this is NOT free. It’s delicious and worth it, but it’s not free.)
Where to eat
BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto
BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto is my favorite meal in Lisbon. An excellent wine bar with incredibly knowledgeable staff. You can do a range of pairings but we did an extensive wine pairing with meats and cheeses. We even tried anchovy, which I will never do again. Make a reservation as early as possible! This place is popular.
If you are looking for a food “experience” look no further than 100 Maneiras. We had an 8-course meal with wine pairing. It was emotional. Yep, emotional. It’s definitely not cheap so be prepared… but you’ll remember it forever.
Soooo we went to Restaurante Pinóquio twice while we were in Lisbon. The food is incredible – and cheap. The service is ok, but I wasn’t really expecting anything over the top. We had melon with ham, paella, all the steak. No reservation necessary.
What to do
A day trip to Belém
Buy a ticket to a Hop-on/Hop-off bus tour and hop off in Belém.
While there, eat all of the Pasteis de Nata at Pastéis de Belém. Then walk off the eggs and cream by checking out the Belém Tower. Stroll along the waterfront hop back on the bus stop.
A day trip to Sintra
Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s worth the 30-minute trip outside of Lisbon. FYI, there are a LOT of really expensive day trips to Sintra but if you head to the train station you can buy a ticket to Sintra for around €5. There’s a bus transfer right outside the Sintra train station and it will drop you off at each of castle. I believe it will cost you €2, but again, it’s worth it.
Sintra is home to a royal sanctuary. Its colorful Moorish castles are nestled in a VERY mountainous area. Pena National Palace is magical and absolutely worth a peek.
Where to stay
This incredible hotel is located in the Alfama district. Cozy and stylish rooms, amazing breakfast, friendly and helpful staff – and the views are outstanding! (If you don’t believe me, please refer to the below picture of the Lisbon rooftops. I took that from my room. Yeah.) I can’t recommend Memmo Alfama enough!