2 Days in Lisbon #1

Ete 2015 399

The last stop of our holidays was Lisbon, we did not enjoy it as much as we would have liked as we were depressed from returning home in a few days.

We arrived in Lisbon, capital city of Portugal on Thursday morning where we dropped our luggage in our hotel LX Boutique hotel located in the city center, near the Baixa district.

After dropping off our luggage we head off directly to the Praça do Comércio, main square of the city.

Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio

We took the Rua da Conceição, famously known for its haberdashery shops all the way. We then headed to Castelo de São Jorge, on the way we stopped at the Catedral Sé Patriarcal, an impressive church built by king dom Alfonso Henriques in 1128 where used to be a mosque. If you have a low budget, do not hesitate to go into any church they are all amazing and do not cost anything. We went to take pictures at the Miradoura de Santa Luzia next to the Igreja de Santa Luiza that we visited for free too. This belvedere has an amazing view overlooking Lisbon and is nicely decorated by purple bougainvilleas (love those flowers).

All around the Castelo you are in the Santa Cruz district, you must get lost in it and be surprised by the strange decorations (colorful tinsels, birds in cages, clothes drying by the wind…) I am surprised by how locals are not scared that anyone steals their cloths drying out, when you would in the streets you can actually smell the washing powder.

We decided not to visit the Castelo as according to our guide it was more about the view from it rather than the castle itself and as Lisbon has plenty of belvederes to offer we preferred not to pay 8,50€ for it.

We kept walking about in the Alfama district until we decided to take the famous 28 tram which gives its charm to the city.

Tram 28
Tram 28

Lisbon is a city with 7 hills, you might want to discover it entirely by trams and elevators however we preferred to walk all of it. Don’t be surprised by the queue at the tram stations, it is people waiting for available seats to do the entire journey by tram. We took it however we were standing up and could not see much of it, at some point I got a seat but I preferred to stand up with my partner. I preferred to get off of it quickly as I get motion sickness easily unfortunately. As I needed a bit of sugar to feel better again we went to the older pastry shop of the city called Confeitaria Nacional located on Praça da Figueira, the shop has a really good vintage look. It is a bit of the Portuguese version of Angelina, we went on the 1st floor and ordered 2 pastéis de nata and one Meia Lua (Half Moon), a dessert that I did not know made with chopped fruits, milled cinnamon and sugar. Perhaps you have never heard of pastéis de nata, but it is the most famously known dessert of Portugal, made with puff pastry, sugar, egg, cinnamon and milk. It was good but not my preferred one was I thought I could taste too much the egg. My favorite ones are made in the Algarve in a pastry shop called Venepão 92 located in Almancil.

After a sugar boost we went to Praça Dom Pedro IV, took the Avenida da Liberdade (wide avenue with luxury shops) up to Parque Eduardo VII where you can enjoy a beautiful view over Lisbon and the Taje.

View from Parque Eduardo VII
View from Parque Eduardo VII

After contemplating the view from the Parque, it was time for us to get back to our hotel through walking in the Chiado and Bairro Alto districts. We stopped at the Igreja de São Roque, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara and finished with the Rua Garrett filled with old looking shops.

 

Surprise at the LX Boutique Hotel we had been upgraded to the suite with balcony and panoramic view overlooking the Taje, which cheered us up from our end of holiday blues. We enjoyed the sun set with a bottle of Champagne that was offered to us for the occasion.

LX Boutique Hotel
LX Boutique Hotel

Once the bubbles reached our heads we headed to a Portuguese restaurant near the hotel where we enjoyed a live concert of Fado, typical Portuguese music. I am not a fan of Fado as it is a bit depressing however living it in Lisbon while enjoying a glass of wine in a restaurant was a very nice thing to do.

 

Day 2, after a regenerating night of sleep in our hotel and a huge breakfast we headed to Belém, a district of Lisbon accessible with the tram for our hotel. There you can find the Museu Nacional dos Coches (that my partner did not want to do unfortunately for me), the Mosteiro dos Jéronimos (which we did not do because of the queue), the Igreja Santa Maria located in the Mosteiro (which we found amazing where the famous explorer Vasco de Gama’s tomb is), the Museu de Marinha (which we enjoyed) and the famous Torre de Belém.

Torre de Belém
Torre de Belém

After sitting for a while in the sun by the stairs of the Torree de Belém we went to the famous Antiga Confeitaria de Belém where you must try the Pastéis de Nata however they are actually called Pastéis de Belém there. The queue seems massive but actually it goes down very quickly, they are served warm with cinnamon and icing sugar. We took them way and enjoyed them in garden in front of it called Praça Alfonso de Albuquerque, most people eat pastéis in the garden even though the pastry shop decorated of azulejos has 400 seats inside.

Pastéis de Belém
Pastéis de Belém

With only one hour left before we had to take the plane we headed off back to the Cais do Sodré & Bica district where we went to take a picture of the well-known Ascensor da Bica, created in 1892 to take you to the Bairo Alto. Even the driver enjoyed the photo 🙂

Ascensor da Bica
Ascensor da Bica

On the way to the Bica elevator we decided to walk through the Mercado da Ribeira eventhough we knew it was finished and we surprisingly found a food court sponsored by TimeOut where you can enjoy all sorts of food and eat with your family and friends in the middle of it. We wished we had known this place soon, it looks like a warehouse and all along the sides restaurants serve you street food that you take away with a tray to sit in the middle. So even if your friends or family members do not want to eat the same thing as you you still can eat together.

End of the two days, thankfully the airport is easily accessible by metro (only 4 lines in Lisbon).

Conclusion Lisbon is a very pretty city, perfect for people who love to walk and take panoramic photos. You can also find plenty of museums and churchs to visit. I think 3 days is good enough to visit the main of it, a good pair of trainers is a must to enjoy the city fully. Temperature in August were around 21°C, not too warm, we had to put jeans on for the first time of the summer in the evening.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts about Lisbon if you have been there 🙂

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