I spent 1 month and 6 days in Lisbon, Portugal. Out of all the European countries I went to in 2016, Portugal (and Germany) are places I could see myself making as home bases in the longer term!
People say Lisbon resembles San Francisco because of its steep streets and its red bridge that looks a lot like the Golden Gate:
The view from my plane seat
It’s quite true that the city can resemble San Francisco in ways. But Lisbon’s vibrant culture, traditional-style pavement, live music, yellow and pink buildings, and local delicacies make the city a truly unique place to visit!
Below are some of my recommendations from my month stay in Lisbon.
To be honest, I love Asian food, so whenever I moved around Europe I would end up eating Asian cuisines. I am guilty of having done this in Lisbon. However, I managed to try some of the city’s amazing seafood before I left:
Sol Pesca for Canned Fish, Beer, and Other Appetizers
Sol Pesca is a little bit “hipster” as you can see below:
Its quirky atmosphere makes the restaurant an experience in itself. The food is in cans. You can pick and choose which cans of fish you’d like to eat and they will serve it up for you.
Fishing rod menus!
I would say sardines are one of the must-eats in Lisbon as it’s quite known for these little fishes. I’d recommend trying them from the cans at Sol Pesca (or freshly cooked at any local restaurant).
Cervejaria Ramiro is one of Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant recommendations. Personally I thought the food was slightly salty but it was still amazing to eat and quite the experience itself. I mean – just look at the pictures!
Time Out Market
If you don’t know exactly what type of food you want, just visit Time Out Market. Time Out Market is close to the shore and city center, and is kind of like a nice food court for you to pick whatever you want to eat. It can be a bit pricier than the standard cost of Lisbon food and can be difficult to find a seat because of its popularity as a tourist attraction. However, it is still a great option for people like me who have a hard time figuring out what to eat.
I enjoyed visiting Vitaminas, a salad bar chain that’s served Chipotle-style. You can pick and choose the different ingredients you want in your salad (and the assortment also includes fish like salmon, shrimp, and tuna). It made me feel a bit healthier every time I ate it!
My end product!
Sushi Buddha & Kiku Sushi
I frequented two sushi buffets…Sushi Buddha had unlimited mangoes when I went so it was awesome (and it was only around 8-10 Euros for a meal!). I believe Kiku Sushi was around 12-14 Euros. Though I went to Sushi Buddha for its mangoes, I would say Kiku Sushi is of higher quality and you can custom order whatever you want.
Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém Egg Tarts
I don’t like eggs so I didn’t eat them, but Lisbon is also famous for its egg tarts. The best place to get them (supposedly) is Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém. There is usually a long line, but it is close to a lot of attractions like the Palace of Belém and Belém Tower so you might as well visit all at the same time. However, if you can’t stand the wait, my friend who is a local told me that many other restaurants serve the same quality of egg tarts as well.
Things To Do
Check out the Pop Cereal Cafe
If you need to get some work done, require Wi-Fi, want a place to sit down, and enjoy eating cereal, the Pop Cereal Cafe is the place to be.
I actually organized a digital nomad meetup (unintentionally) and we all ended up at this cafe.
Visit the Praca do Comercio
Praca do Comercio is close to the city center and is next to the waters. It’s a nice place to take those obligatory Lisbon yellow building photos.
Enjoy the views and the (mini) beach
I frequently visited the shore to do work and enjoy the view!
Ride Tram 28 and Visit Elevador da Gloria
The 28 Lisbon tram goes through a lot of popular tourist districts. I rode the tram through the entire route to get a good idea of the city. Ride 28 and take a photo with it!
Elevador da Gloria is located near the lookout and provides another great photo opportunity:
Elevador da Gloria
The drinking culture in Lisbon is interesting. Many places serve $1-2 sangria or beer. There are a few nightclubs, but people mainly drink outside in alleyways or outside bars on Pink Street and Bairro Alto. I’m sure there are other locations, but these are the popular areas near the city center, especially for students.
Wine bottles for $3
Also, if you hit up the supermarket you can buy insanely cheap wine bottles for $2-4. I believe they are this cheap because they aren’t taxed. Crazy.
If you want to spend a little more, port wines in Portugal are delicious!
Places to Go Outside of Lisbon
If you have time to explore outside of Lisbon, there are some cool places to check out. Below are some of my recommendations. Porto requires a flight out, but the rest are accessible by car/train/bus and are much closer to Lisbon.
I loved Porto! I may make a separate post on the city. I stayed a few nights there and was shown around by one of my blog readers over at digitalnomadquest.com.
Livraria Lello – The library J.K. Rowling frequented
You can get to Sintra by bus. One of the cool spots in Sintra is the Quinta da Regaleira, the palace just outside of the city center:
When we drove and left Sintra, we stopped here and enjoyed the view:
Cascais is 30km west of Lisbon and is a beach area that is known to be more “upscale”. I loved the view here:
Almada – Christ the King Statue overlooking Lisbon
If you cross the river, you’ll visit Almada and see the Christ the King statue. This statue was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (and looks extremely alike). It’s funny going to Lisbon and seeing this statue as well as the Golden Gate bridge lookalike. It’s like you’re visiting two countries at once 😛
I’ve also compiled a list of solid budget friendly hostels here.
You can see why Lisbon is one of my favorite European cities! Its vibrant culture, beautiful views, amazing food and music, and affordable prices had me hooked. Hope you enjoyed the post, and if you have any other solid recommendations please comment below!