There is no other place where the colors are made out of so many colors.
José Cardos Pires
When the blue sky meets the tourquise ocean, the colorful tiles and walls ignore the tourists and all those red and orange roofs glow during the pink sunset, I couldn’t say it better than José Cardos Pires did.
I promise, Lisbon and its country steal your hear right away. It is versatile like no other place.
When I came first to Portugal in 2013 I lost my heart in this country. I came back 2014 to Lisbon and found it again and totally fell in love with this place so that 2017 I decided to call Lisbon my new home.
What’s so special about this town? The weather, the tiles, the people, the amazing views around every corner, the history it tries to tell you everywhere, the food, the architecture, every single sunset and the unique Atmosphere that get you in the very first moment.
I could keep writing about everything I love but I want to keep it short and rather tell you what not to miss, when you arrive here for the very first time and want to get a quick overview.
Praca do Comercio (Baixa)
This was one of the first places I saw when arriving in Lisbon and I already was hopeless in love by than. The atmosphere is incredible, the sound and smell of the water. The Music. The people. The beauty of this place. Everything there is one great love song, showing you what more to expect in this town.
Alfama & the Castle
The oldest part of the town, and the only one which survied the big earth quake 1755, is also one the prettiest and most fascinating parts of Lisbon. Around every corner you find hidden cafes with great views, cute streets, old ladies selling Licor de Ginja (Portuguese cherry liquor) and the most amazing views over town and the Tejo (spoken Teeescho, the river, that connects the city with the ocean).
Belem & Pasteis de Belém
Don’t miss out on Belem, the distirct in the north of Lisbon. Not only because they sell the best Pasteis de Nata, the Pasteis de Belem (founded there in 1837 by Monks) but also because of the pretty Torre de Belém, connected to land with a small bridge, and the discoveries monument with Heinrich the Sailor in front row. If you plan in enough time, visit the Monastery “Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which is a UNESCO heritage.
Beach & Cabo da Roca
The beaches best known for Lisbon are located in Cascais & Estoril. They are also know as the summer vacation towns of the rich people, but Cascais has much more to offer than beach and is not only for rich tourists. Take the bus 403 to get to Cabo da Roca, the most western European spot with is gigantic cliffs and the incredible view over the ocean.
This town feels like another world. It is a enchanted little town 40 mins away from the center. It’s easy to get there via train from Rossio and from there you can either walk everything or take one of many buses or Tuk Tuks. It’s another UNESCO heritage since 1995. The Highlights are for sure Quinta da Regaleira, Palacio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros. A little secret is the outlying Palacio de Monserrate.
This is almost a secret. Its not often listed in travel guides and not many find their ways to the best view over Lisbon. Up there it feels like you are in San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon at the same time. In town by the harbour you’ll find many great restaurants selling fresh seafood and fish and a nice “tip” is the Ponto Final restaurant, which is a little outside of town and offers an amazing view over the bridge. To go the place take the ferry from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas and from there take the bus 101 to Cristo Rei.
Sunset & Nightlife
In the most western country in Europe its not surprsing that you might find the best sunsets there. The light is magic, Portugal has the brightes sun in Europe, and the colors of the sunsets will paint the already colorful city in pink and violet and give every day a magical ending. As soon as the sun is down the town changes into a vibrant night life place with many bars and restaurants. You can find a lot of bars in Bairro Alto (Metro Baixa Chiado), Pink Street (Metro Cais do Sodre – Street: Rua Nova do Carvalho) and Prince Real. Those places are surreal good to party and have great cocktail places. If you like it more unhasty visit one of many roof top bars, for example “Topo” in Martim Moniz or “Park” in Chiado.
Rossio, Avenida da Liberdade & Parque Eduardo VII
When you take a walk along the Avenida, you will pass some of the most expensive shops in town, litte cafe huts under the trees and a great atmosphere you just can find likewise in Europe. At the end of this street you’ll find Park Eduardo VII and its nice labyrinth. On the right side is Pavilhão Carlos Lopes, which is freshly renovated and nice to look at, but unfortunately only open for “private” events (f.ex. my works christmas party ?.) On the left of the park you’ll find botanic houses and from the top you have an great view over the green carpet to the Tejo.
Walking & Get Lost
Believe it or not, this city is amazing to walk (everywhere). There is not often a city that is so great connected. Take the time to explore by foot. Start in Alfama, fight your way down to the Tejo, walk along the river until you end up in Cais do Sodre, enjoy the music and the atmosphere and take the way back up towards Bairro Alto, climbing the steep roads of Bica and turning a few times wrong to feel the magic of this great city.
The city of the seven hills has of course some of the best view points, Miradouros, to offer. Every step you get closer will make you realize, it is worth the steep hike. The view of the city and to the Tejo are always worth it. It’s for sure one of my Highlights in this magical city. You have a great view almost everywhere. The most famous ones are for example Miradouro da Sol and Miraoura de São Pedro de Alcântara. My favorite view is Santa Catarina. I love the view and I love the easy going vibe.
As you probably realised, these are even more than 10 things, and this is even only for a overview, to let you knowl, what to expect and not to miss. There is by far way more to do but it will be to much to write down in only one blog post, so there will be way more posts about Lisbon- Posts that will whsiks you away into the magic of this town.
But be warned. This city will enchant everybody and every single one will come back, called by the longing for this town by the Tejo.