I Want To Move To Lisbon
Updated: Feb 2
Look, I’ll be honest, a week ago I knew next to nothing about Portugal apart from the fact that Nandos chicken is loosely based on their cuisine.
But now, Portugal, and Lisbon, in particular is up there with one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited – maybe that’s the key to travelling, go in with zero expectations and you’ll leave surprised and very impressed.
I was lucky enough to spend a week there and have got the lowdown for you on the best things to do in this part of the globe.
I did an amazing walking tour of Lisbon (twice, since I was there with two different groups of friends) and it was probably the best way to start the trip. Chill Out Lisbon do free (although you do have to tip them so I use that word figuratively) walking tours around the city. They’re in no ways a commercial business and the guides are all locals that bring you to their favourite parts of the city.
It’s the most comprehensive way to see the city and gives you a great insight into the culture, particularly the area of Alfama which is beautifully historic. If you’re lucky they’ll also let you stop for some Gingja on the way, a sour cherry liqueur which gives you the pep up you need to climb those steep hills.
Timeout Lisbon is a huge indoor food market, with a million different types of food to choose from, including traditional Portuguese food but also different cultures too (I had a pretty good Chow Mein).
Pastais de Belem
Belem is an area of Lisbon about 30 minutes by tram from the centre and is the home of the custard tart. I kid you not, after being in Portugal for a week I ate maybe, 50 custard tarts. The ‘pastel de nata’ as they’re called in Portuguese come from this famous patisserie in Belem and at 1.10 euro each, you’ll probably have about 6 in one sitting.
Life hack, if you bypass the line of people waiting for takeaway pastel de natas, and slip inside to the cue to be seated, you’ll get your hands on these sweeties faster and you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious beverage with your treats.
Cascais (pronounced cash-cay-ish) is a 40 minute train ride from Lisbon and is a great day trip if you want to see the seaside and get some sunshine on your face. I spent two nights there in an amazing hotel, Pestana Cidadela Cascais, which is built inside the walls of an old castle.
Another great day trip away from Lisbon is Sintra, which is basically a town full of old castles. We got a little bit duped and paid for a guide to bring us to all the hot spots which was actually a blessing in disguise because it would have been an 8km walk otherwise. He also told us which restaurant to go to for lunch which was super Portuguese and delicious.
Fado is traditional Portuguese music and really needs to be heard, instead of me trying to explain what it is. Head to the area of Bairro Alto in Lisbon to a bar playing Fado to experience it first hand. Be careful because there are a lot of tourist traps in this area so head to one that is full of Portuguese people, Tasco Do Chico is a good one to try.
Lisbon is basically a million hills so it makes the perfect city for the humble rooftop bar. There are a number of rooftop bars in Lisbon – we had Sangria at Lost In Lisbon which I picked mostly because of the pink seats.
The list goes on – if you have the chance, get yourself to this cool city, it’s exciting and relaxing all at once and is definitely a jewel in the crown that is Europe.