It’s difficult for me to describe exactly how I felt when I visited Lisbon for the first time after living there for 5 years. The best possible explanation would be: a state of complete happiness. I noticed I had a smile on my face during my whole stay, partly thanks to Sole’s hospitality, my brother from Lisbon.
A few weeks ago, I started reminiscing about my spent time in Lisbon and decided to go visit for the weekend. It was so nice to be back! Since I enjoyed my stay so much, I wanted to let you all know what a perfect day in Lisbon would be like for me.
Lisbon in the morning
First, let’s start our morning off right. In the centre of Lisbon, you’ll find three of the best and most famous cafés (and therefore, the most appealing for tourists): La Pastelaria Suiza and Café Nicola in Praça do Rossio and A Brasileira in Praça del Chiado. I must admit I never leave home without breakfast, but on the rare occasion that I skip the first meal of the day, I would happily enjoy one of Portugal’s famous pastries with a cappuccino, and take in the cosmopolitan environment at any of these cafés.
After breakfast, if you’re looking to stroll along one of the city’s most popular streets, you should go to rua Garret en el Chiado, which is always upbeat and full of energy. I’m among those who have a sense of well-being when entering a library (a habit my dear Nana passed down to me). That’s why, in this area, I always visit the iconic Livraria Bertrand library, even though there are more in the neighbourhood.
Then I would continue to walk along Baixa that, little by little, has been renovated with hotels and shops, enlivening one of Lisbon’s most frequented touristy areas. Before reaching Praça do Comércio, which finally opened to the sea after years of renovation, I would recommend visiting the Museu de Design e Moda. I personally love it.
At Praça do Comércio, there are lots of terraces and cool restaurants, while my favourite place is the Wine Tasting Room, a Portuguese wine promotional site where you can taste for free (and also buy) some wines from the region, for which I have a great passion.
Now, it’s time for the best lunch!
It’s time to take the trolley to Alfama and tell the driver to let us know when we’ve arrived at our stop: Escolas Gerais 54. There, you can find Ti Natércia, a small authentic restaurant that I absolutely love! Moreover, you will get the chance to meet the lovely owner, Natercia, and try the codfish in all its forms. However, the real house specialty is the “Rolo de Bacalhau”, which is simply divine.
If you’re looking for something more sophisticated and want to try the best seafood in Lisbon, then I have to tell you about Cervejaria Ramiro, for which I have no words to describe. That’s why I’m sharing some pictures of what you can find there and the Cervejaria da Esquina, located in one the most unknown and authentic neighborhoods of Lisbon, Campo de Ourique, and run by one of the best chefs in Portugal, Vitor Sobral. I’m also sharing pictures of what you can find there. Thank you Oki, my best friend from tennis, for the invitation to this magnificent restaurant.
Afternoons in Lisbon
Just a friendly warning – if you visit any of these three restaurants, you’ll need a little walk to help digest the food afterwards.
In case you go to the restaurant Ti Natércia, you can enjoy a cup of coffee in “O Terraço” (Calçada do Marquês de Tancos, 3) and take in the breathtakingly beautiful views of the river. Afterwards, you can visit the Castelo de S. Jorge, one of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments. If you want to extend your visit, then don’t hesitate to get yourself a mojito at Chapitô – always a good choice after wandering through Alfama, the area of fados par excellence. Now that I mention it, where’s the best place to enjoy a live fado performance in Alfama? My recommendation – check out Casa de Linhares.
After Ramiro, I highly recommended a visit to Plaza de Martim Moniz, recently revamped with street stalls. And if you want to visit one of the city’s coolest terraces, check out the rooftop of Hotel Mundial.
If you’ve eaten at la Cervejaria da Esquina, then head toward Campo de Ourique. What should you visit there? The Market of Campo de Ourique, to which I personally have not had the chance to visit but my friend, Anna Carreira, speaks wonders of.
Lisbon by night
At night, definitely go to Lisbon’s Barrio Alto, the city’s most famous neighborhood for a night out and fine dining. Just to mention two places: A Bota Alta (good codfish and value for your money) and Lisboa À Noite, one of the favorites for my friend, Alberto, from Lisbon. After that, the best thing to do is to get lost in the crowded streets and choose the most tempting place to grab a drink at. All of this brings back such fond memories of the many times I passed by theses streets with Ali, Fátima, Miguel Ángel, Raquel, Maria do Carmo, Dario and the rest of the gang.
Another area that boasts a fun nightlife scene is Santos, even though the very trendy one is Cais do Sodré, where you’ll find the famous Pensão Amor.
In a following post, I’ll let you know about my favourite places to go out in Lisbon so you’ll get a complete day and night guide.
Two last notes: If your visit in Lisbon is on a Tuesday or Saturday, you must visit the Feira da Ladra, an open-air market where you can find all sorts of trinkets and fun surprises. If it’s on a Sunday and you’re going with friends or family, then you should visit Belén (hmmm and those pastries) or the Campo de las Naciones.