Lisbon is absolutely breathtaking. My little family and I loved our first time here, and to be honest, we would fly back in a heartbeat if given the chance. Everything about it appeals to us–from the cascading hills, the Mediterranean climate, fresh seafood, centuries old buildings (and gorgeous architecture), the touristy trams and tuk-tuks, quaint little shops and restaurants, and steep and narrow cobblestone roads–we had an amazing time here, and seriously, we didn’t want to leave (we were literally asking our tour guide how can we become Portuguese citizens hahaha).
First off, we hit the jackpot with our Airbnb flat. We got the best apartment–spacious, modern, super trendy and chic, with an unobstructed view of the Tagus River. Really unbeatable, and it was right in the oldest district in Lisbon, Alfama. That made a huge difference because we were right in the heart of the city–exploring it was so easy! We walked to where we needed to go, and when we wanted to go to a different district, we would just ride a tuk-tuk and go there.
The weather when we went was quite warm, but not as stifling as Manila so we kept cool in the shade and warm under the sun. It was really perfect, as you can wear a summer dress and put on a light cardigan or scarf when the temperature drops. We were so lucky to have sunshine the entire week–it was the best vacation!
But there is so much more to love about Lisbon. The food is just so fresh and delicious. We would dine at random little restaurants and absolutely love their dishes. Although I have to say, if there is one place you should go to eat, it is the Time Out Market Lisboa. This is located in Mercado da Ribeira and the food is just spectacular there! We went back a couple of times because we loved the local dishes (Bacalhau, of course, or salt cod, which is the Portuguese national dish; fresh Sardines with rice porridge; Octopus in olive oil; and Pasteis de nata or their world famous egg tarts from Pasteis de Belem). It has a very open and friendly vibe over there. You basically share tables with everyone (they have huge long tables in the food hall) and after a few glasses of wine you are guaranteed to make friends with your seat mates. You have to visit this place and indulge in the food, pastries, and definitely the local wines.
Oh and of course, be sure to go to all the wonderful photo-worthy places in the city like the Belem Tower, Sao Jorge Caste, Santa Justa Lift, Bairro Alto, Lisbon Cathedral, Rossio Square. Be a tourist for a least a day and take photos in these places, then you can go ahead and feel like a local! And if you have time, make a trip out to Sintra, Fatima (my mom is a devotee), and Cascais–we booked tours via http://www.lisbonpickuptransfer.com and we had an amazing time! Our tour guide/driver immediately became our good friend, they are so friendly, accommodating and they wont charge you an arm and a leg! Excellent service (we also did airport pickup and dropoff, which was super convenient), I highly recommend them!
Drop me a line if you’re planning a trip to Lisbon! I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about traveling here. I’ll be blogging more about our Airbnb flat and our trips out of Lisbon. In the meantime, enjoy!