Last year while planning our annual Eurotrip, my husband and I decided we wanted to go somewhere different. I love Italy, obviously, but four trips in a row was a bit much for the poor guy so we compromised. Four days in Paris, five days in Lisbon and the last few days in Milan.
Why Lisbon? My friend is from Portugal and went back recently. She raved about how beautiful and inexpensive it was. That was pretty much all it took to convince us! Lisbon became one of our favourite cities – so much so we’re going back to Portgual this year!
Here’s what we loved about Lisbon:
Lisbon was founded in the middle of seven hills. Luckily, there are trams to take you up to the top (or walk and get a great leg work out in) but the views once you’re there are incredible.
Because Portugal’s coastline is mostly the Atlantic Ocean, there is a ton of delicious and fresh fish to eat! Not a fan? Traditional Portuguese chicken is to die for! My personal favourite food from Portugal, though? Pastel de natas (which you can try in the next door town of Belem, where they originated). Crispy pasty, warm egg custard, topped with icing sugar and cinnamon. I’m drooling just thinking about them.
Portugal is known for it’s beaches, and boasts the biggest surfing wave in the world. After a day of exploring, you can enjoy some relaxing time by the water.
Everyone we encountered in Portugal during our trip was friendly, accommodating and spoke at least broken English!
Lisbon and the surrounding area has a ton of castles! Sao Jorge Castle is right in the heart of Lisbon, but take a quick trip outside of the city and you can find castles of all types!
Lisbon is a pretty small capital city, so during our stay we took a few days trips out of the city – Belem (for the tower, above, and pastry), Cascais (for the beach), Sintra (for the castles). All easily accessible by train (or cab), and all very beautiful.
The Classic Tram
As I mentioned, Lisbon is a hilly city and the easiest way to get to the top of the hills is the classic (pre World War 2) yellow tram.
Extending from the Rua Augusta Arch on Commerce Square, up to Rossio Square the is a pedestrian only street filled with cafes, stores, restaurants and street artists.