Unique light, stunning viewpoints, and heartbreaking beauty: if you are dreaming about a trip to Lisbon... I say don't stop! Lisbon is not going to let you down, so let's just raise those expectations and start planning your trip to Lisbon. Here are a few tips to make it easier. Let me give you some advice on what do to in Lisbon for three days, so get ready to take some notes.
Lisbon's heart beats at a sexy rhythm: it seduces you while you are walking along Alfama's winding streets and takes your breath away at stunning viewpoints (miradouro in Portuguese). Start your day in Alfama to enjoy one of the most spectacular Lisbon's viewpoint: Miradouro de Santa Luzia. This neighborhood is the perfect place to spend your morning. You will get a taste of Lisbon's beauty and São Jorge Castle will teach you the history of the city.
Time for a walk? Head to the second-best Lisbon's miradouro: Porta do Sol. While you stroll around Alfama's old streets you may easily get lost, but it's part of the charm. Go back to Baixa Chiado by jumping on the famous Lisbon yellow tram, or just take one of the elevators to get downhill. Any of these ways will do, as long as you stop for some coffee along the way.
Café Martinho da Arcada.
This café is a must. The coffee is amazing here and you will avoid the tourist swarms you'd get at the more popular café "A Brasileira". Don't forget to order a "pastel de nata", the typical Portuguese pastry. No wonder that the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa used to attend this bar: its charm is undeniable.
Café da Garagem
This is the perfect stop if you need to take a break from Lisbon's hikes. If you are planning to visit São Jorge Castle, this cute little bar will be on your way. You will enjoy a beautiful view of the city, a unique artistic vibe (the bar lives inside of a theatre) and you will have an interesting choice or food and drinks.
Menina e moça bar
You're wondering where to go out in Lisbon at night? The pink street is the answer! I recommend you Menina e Moça bar for an easy start. Pick up a beer and a book to get your night started in this tiny bar/ bookstore. When you're ready for some funkier vibe you can hit the Pensão Amor for a stylish DJ set or live show: check online to find out who's playing and go past the sketchy entrance: it's totally worth it.
If you don't know where to ear vegetarian in Lisbon, this place is the answer. You'll find a lot of options for your lunch break, but also drinks or snacks if you don't feel like eating too much. The place is filled up with plants and is beautifully designed: extra point for sustainable travel mindset like ourselves!
Lisbon is famous for its saudade, a feeling that can be hardly described with words, but easily felt through the Fado, the traditional Portuguese musical style. You can't leave Lisbon without having experienced a true Fado night. It's not that hard to find a live show, but most of the places you'll come across will be tourist traps. Lucky for you I can give you a good lead here, so if you don't know where to listen to Fado in Lisbon, follow my tips. These are the bars where you will enjoy a genuine music experience without being overcharged for it.
Tasca do Chico
This tiny bar offers a great Fado experience in an old tavern setting. There is only one downside: you might not be able to find a spot since the bar is really small. So either go early or go straight to advise #2.
Mascote da Atalaia.
This little bar offers great soups, wine and bears. Every night there's a different music show and musicians play amongst the tables without microphones, which makes the experience intimate and authentic. Price/quality ratio is very good so I say just go for it.
There are nights to take it easy and nights to go big, and if you're looking for some fancy music venue, then you should hit the Fado Club in R. de São João da Praça 86. Warning: the dress code is quite formal here, and so is the entrance compared to the rest of the bars. But if you are looking for a fine dinner with great style + best Fado in town, this is the place to go.
Every city has got well-kept secrets, and few travelers are lucky enough to get first-hand tips on how to find them. Here goes one for you: the Calouste Gulbenkian garden and art collection.
Go for a walk in the park that surrounds the museum, the stroll is beautifully designed. You'll be in good company, as the park is filled up with students laying in the sun or having a coffee at the museum's coffee shop. If you get bored and need to put some cultural sparkles into your afternoon, pay a visit to the private art collection. You'll travel in time with a selection of amazing art pieces from ancient to modern cultures. The Japanese section was one of my favorites: it made my afternoon!
Not every detail of your trip needs to be planned. In fact, leaving something to the unplanned will make it more exciting.
Cais do Sodré is a seaside square where you can go for a chilled sunset view and some exciting chance encounter. A relaxed crowd and good street music are two good reasons to hit this spot on the shore and enjoy Lisbon sunlight: it's unique!
Here you go with your 5 things to do in Lisbon, I hope you try them all!