The final stop on our honeymoon was a little over a day in Lisbon, Portugal. To spend a sunny day in Lisbon is to spend one day in a city lover’s paradise. Old meets new in Lisbon, a place where history, art, culture, food, wine all come together. It is beautiful.
It was a quick trip, but we saw many highlights. Here’s my take on Libson:
Where to Stay in Lisbon
Setting the tone for our whole stay, Andrew booked the perfect Airbnb in the Bairro Alto.
The location was perfect. Bairro Alto is lively and safe, within walking distance of many sights. There are many adorable restaurants, shops and bars along the streets.
The small streets give it lots of character and it was definitely our favourite part of the city. It is pretty hip!
The best part of our Airbnb was the beautiful roof deck that gave us views over Lisbon. Look at this view – and this is only one side!
The worst was a rogue peacock squawking somewhere nearby all through our last night on holiday. It kept me up the entire night since we needed the windows open to cool down the flat. A very strange travel predicament, indeed! He was in the general vicinity somewhere below:
What to do in one day in Lisbon
With really only a day to explore the city, we set out on foot to take in all the sights. It was a full, but fabulous day.
Since we visited during June, we were there during the Festas de Lisboa. All throughout the city, there were decorations and barbecues popping up to celebrate this annual festival.
It was fun to visit during such a festive time – there was an upbeat, neighbourhood feel to the city during our stay.
Castelo de São Jorge
After walking through we ventured to this Moorish castle built in the 11th century because we love castles. We walked on foot, up winding roads that looped around toward the entrance to the castle. We got a bit of a workout!
The beautiful grounds are befitting of an epic castle.
One of the highlights for many visitors (particularly those who did not stay in our Airbnb) is the view from this hilltop vantage point. The castle was built on a fairly high-up hill overlooking the city and Tagus, and it offers stunning views.
After the castle, our wanderings took us down to this stately square, where against the advice of most travel gurus, we decided to eat lunch. Sure, the restaurants are probably overpriced and not the best or most authentic food due to their touristy location, but you can’t really beat the view!
At this point the sun was beating down and we’d seen most of what we wanted to see around the city, so we hopped in a Tuk Tuk out to Belem Tower.
This ended up being a great choice and better than a cab because you get a tour guide and narration through your adventures through the city!
After seeing a photo of this monument during our research, I had to see it for myself. It is beautiful.
We took a Magnum break to refuel and walked along the Tagus to some other monuments.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
This beautiful monument, erected in 1940, pays tribute to the seafaring heroes whose voyages shaped Portugal as a world power. Meaning “Monument to the Discoveries,” 32 explorers are depicted on it.
By this point, we started to lose some steam (and I, of course, started to overheat). We popped across the street to have a look at the Gothic church within Jerónimos Monastery and discovered a huge wedding party just leaving, complete with a walking band, all the guests singing along, champagne toasts, men with machines worn like backpacks to shoot confetti around (with a photo of the bride and groom on the machine, no less) and a horse and carriage.
It was beautiful and fun to see such a lavish wedding (with so many beautiful people in beautiful dresses!).
What to Eat and Drink in Lisbon
One of the highlights of our stay in Lisbon was our fabulous tasting at Lisbon Winery located in Bairro Alto.
Wow! This is a must-do in Lisbon. It is the perfect way to spend an evening. We learned about Portuguese wines, cheese and charcuterie and got to enjoy plenty of each. For €65, it was a steal. For an aspiring bon vivant, it was heaven.
They started us off with white wines and an epic cheese plate. They were even able to accommodate my gluten allergy, which I sincerely appreciated.
Then came the reds and the epic meat plate.
But the real pièce de résistance was when they rolled out a full pig leg right to the table and began cutting off pieces of presunto for us, straight from the source.
This was special presunto, or perhaps I should say jamón, as I believe it was from Spain. The pigs had gotten fat from feasting on acorns, which gives the meat a slightly sweet flavor. We had actually watched a video about these very pigs months before on YouTube, coincidentally. It was pretty neat to get to try and from that video we knew just how much of a treat this was!
We also tried Caipirinhas during our stay in Lisbon! They are delicious, though sugary, and you can find them everywhere in Lisbon. And I really mean everywhere. There are little bar carts set up on the sidewalk all over the city. Even the little park by our Airbnb had a tiny bar that served them. I accidentally ordered us large ones at an adorable hole-in-the-wall in Bairro Alto. Next time I definitely will not do that, small is more than enough rum… 🙊
We ended our trip with a fabulous dinner at Momento HB. It was beautiful and delicious.
We didn’t have much time in Lisbon, but I think we made the most of it. It is a truly beautiful city and I highly, highly recommend visiting.