Travel Guide Lisbon, Portugal

One of my best Amsterdam ladies, Kira, is getting married in the Algarve in Portugal next week (!!!) and many of her family and friends are flying into to Lisbon in advance of the wedding. As I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Lisbon (a little for work, a little for fun :) I offered to help pull together a list of recommendations for her guests who will be exploring the country’s capital prior to the wedding. And in the spirit of sharing, I’ve decided to post all of my favorite eateries, cocktail spots, cafes, and things to see and do in Lisbon on the blog here as well :) Hopefully this list is just a start, as I will soon be kicking off three weeks of travel in Portugal for the wedding and beyond (so expect more recommendations soon!) Portugal is such an amazing country, and I hope you love the people, the port, and the city as much as I do!

Where To Eat

Comoba – An incredible spot for breakfast serving delicious organic food. Get the matcha pancakes or breakfast burrito.

Cafe Boavida – An idyllic little coffee shop with great drinks and minimal decor. Located in an old pharmacy.

Heim Cafe – If you want a traditional breakfast with eggs, pancakes, and bacon, this is the spot for you! A cozy local with both inside and outside seating options. On the first day I noticed adorable cafe, I walked by at 8.50am and asked for a table, and they kindly said they would not be open for another 10 minutes. So I got a coffee around the corner and returned at 9.15am, only to find the restaurant COMPLETELY FULL. The eggs are magical, the pancakes are HUGE, and yes, there are even some salads too for those who want something lighter :)

Gleba – A doughy paradise serving sourdough straight from the hand of god. Go early on a Sunday or call in advance to reserve a load of the chocolate sourdough that is totally worth the hype.

Basilio – An adorable breakfast cafe with a pastel interior and scrumptious breakfast bowls. José Avillez is one of the most praised Portuguese chefs, and he has three restaurants in Lisbon that I would especially recommend! Beco is a fantastic evening experience that pairs Avillez’s phenomenal food with a cabaret show (in a secret restaurant! Recommended to book in advance). Bairro do Avillez is my personal favorite and has an incredibly dreamy interior, fantastic cocktails, and a menu with everything from squid ink risotto to tender steak (photos above and below). And Cantinho do Avillez is one of his newer hotspots, which has a smaller menu and plates that are great for sharing.

A Travesa– A traditional Portuguese restaurant set in an old monastery. Here you will have an unforgettable evening, with a selection of shared starters and traditional Portuguese dishes for mains. Wonderful wine, ambiance, and staff.The Decadente – Serves Portuguese food with a modern twist, and in addition to serving great eats, they have a rooftop bar with fantastic views of the city.While in Portugal, it’s mandatory to try pasteis de nata (above), and the best of the best pasteis de nata hail from Pasteis de Belém. A short metro ride or leisurely 30 minute walk outside of Lisbon, you will find Pasteis de Belém who serve world famous pasteis de nata. The line out front is usually long, but if you sneak around those ordering takeaway from the front window, you can usually score a table at their huge restaurant just around the back, and have some of Portugal’s best pastries served to your table. Olivier Avenida – If you’re into fancy, high end dining, this spot is for you. With a plush, elegant interior and a mouth watering Mediterranean menu, this will be a night out to remember (below). Get the octopus carpaccio OR stop by for brunch (which I have never tried, but have heard some great reviews about!) Bistro 100 MANEIRAS – A quirky restaurant with fun art deco decor, creative cocktails (my last drink there was served with a balloon!), and a fusion of food from around the world.

Casanova – A laid back spot for pizza on the water. Recommended to me by an Uber driver – and these are usually the best spots!

Where to Drink

Copenhagen Lab – You will find these delightful coffee spots throughout the city – they are similar to a Starbucks but with much more craft. Delicious overnight oats and a great selection of caffeinated beverages. Mercearia da Mila – An adorable market that serves light breakfast snacks and delicious coffee (below).Park – To get to Park, you must walk through a dodgy parking garage, but the journey to the 6th floor is well worth it! Here you will find an urban oasis, with lots of seats in the sun, beautiful views, and a vive that gets even more fun as the night goes on with regular DJ line ups and excellent cocktails. 

Casa dos Prazeres – You arrive at what looks like a takeout counter serving dumplings. You enter through the kitchen’s swinging doors, and suddenly, your in a sexy cocktail bar with moody reds and sumptuous velvets, candlelight, and amazing cocktails.

Lisbon is known for great rooftop bars, and Topo is my favorite for early afternoon sun and beautiful rooftop views of the city. Tends to wind down later in the afternoon as it’s then in the shade. A bit tricky to find (and the Google map location is incorrect) but ask the locals and they will point you in the right direction (below)!Baixa Chiado or Pink Street – Two fun areas for nightlife, bound to be swarming with people on Friday and Saturday evening. Baixa Chiado is a must if it’s your first time in Lisbon – all of the small bars in this neighborhood swing open their doors, and the area transforms into one big street party! There are many tiny, quaint bars, that despite only being able to seat 5 or 6 people, serve some of the BIGGEST MOJITOS known to man – for only €5!Lost In Bar – Another beautiful rooftop bar, less of a party vibe but great in the daytime for a cocktail, coffee, or juice and some panoramic views of the city (above).

What To Do

While I wish I had a bottomless stomach, you can’t spend your whole time in Lisbon eating and drinking, so here are some of my favorite things to see and do in the city besides gorging yourself! Praia do Tamariz (above) has the most dreamy beach club you will find in Portugal (the world?!) and is just outside of Lisbon. Take the train towards Cascais and get off at Estoril (about a 25 minute journey). Head to the beach club right in front of the Forte da Cruz, rent a lounge chair, and enjoy some cocktails and clams by the sea.Bisset – A boutique with lovely clothes and accessories.

MNAA Gardens – A museum in Lisbon with perhaps the most beautiful gardens in the city.

Take a walk up to the Castle of São Jorge for some beautiful views.

Take an afternoon to visit Sintra, home to the shockingly beautiful Palacio Nacional da Pena.Take a sail boat tour along the Tagus, which will allow you to see all of the main attractions along the water without having to fight the crowds. There are a ton of options for Tagus sailing excursions on Airbnb, such as this one.Stop in a sardine shop and stock up on some delicious canned fish! While in the US we have measly canned tuna, the preserved sardines in Portugal can be a gourmet experience, and there are many shops around Lisbon selling all different varieties and flavors of this delicious seafood. Eat with crusty bread and wine on the beach for a satisfyingly Portuguese experience.

LX Factory – An industrial complex in Lisbon with some cool artisanal shops and a colorful street market. A Tasca do Chico – If you want a truly unique and authentic Portuguese experience, attend a live fado show. A Tasca do Chico offers dinner and a show, which sets the scene for a chillingly beautiful night out. Reserve in advance.

Enjoy Lisbon, and let me know of any gems I might have missed in the comment below!

xo Ali

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