I rarely go to a city that I could see myself living in, but Lisbon is one of them. New York is the other…
We went for a sun-soaked four-day break last June with our friends, when world cup fever was high and the city was in the throws of the Feast of St Anthony, aka the sardine festival.
Winding streets, bedecked with decorations, were crammed with vendors selling grilled sardines and pasteis de nata as carnival music soaked into the night. Truly epic and happening 12-14 June this year.
But at any time, if you are lucky enough to be taking a trip there, here are my top recommendations
Grilled sardines and fresh seafood are scrumptious at the relaxed and bustling Cervejaria Ramiro – a favourite of Rick Stein’s, or so I’m told.
Original and succulent piri piri chicken in a family-esque setting (think big tables and lots of chatter), Restaurante Casa dos Frangos near Sintra is a winner. After all the walking, it’s also a fantastic carb-load and sells cheap wine.
Feast at the The Mercado Da Ribeira food market (Time Out Market). For a foodie, it is a literal treasure-trove of eateries. Go with an empty stomach and time to spare – I aimed for a course per stall.
Dip in and out of the Bairro Alto bars
Bairro Alto’s narrow streets and under-arches bars and dance halls are perfect to stumble in and out of. Avoid going in large groups as there’s not a whole lot of space…
Seeing the sea in Lisbon is so easy, with a train line that runs along the coast and cheap tickets. We went to Praia de Carcavelos, a mere 30 minutes from the city, to catch some rays on its stretching sandy beaches.
We went in thick fog and still loved it! There is a separate article here on BaldHiker for it. Sintra is a hilltop royal sanctuary, with forests, beautiful gardens and a fairytale-esque, pastel-coloured palace. Be prepared to hike though, with comfortable shoes and layers, as it operates as a total separate micro-climate to Lisbon.
Stroll around Alfama
Alfama is Lisbon’s old town – rambling streets set on the hills – and well worth a stroll in the sun.