Lisbon is a city that has recently gained so much popularity in the travel world. Of all the cities my feet have walked through, I believe Lisbon is my favorite of them all! This city has so much charm, color, culture, and some incredible people!
If you’re like me, when planning a trip to a big city and there is SO much to do and see, it can be a little overwhelming planning out the best places to stay, where to eat, and what to see! After plenty of research and spending 5 days in Lisbon, here is your beginners guide to Lisbon!
Out of all the “old towns” and historic corners that Europe has to offer, Alfama is extra special. Cobblestone streets, colorful tiled buildings everywhere, and the cutest cafes and shops. Lisbon is broken up into different districts, and all of them are worth spending a day/evening in! Something that is a must do when in Lisbon and in the Alfama district, is seeing a Fado show. Every night these streets sing with Fado music, the folk music of Lisboa. This was one of my favorite experiences in Portugal! I recommend making Fado reservations in advance! We didn’t, and had a hard time finding room for two more in these restaurants. As we walked, we stumbled upon this little hole in the wall restaurant that was filled with candlelight, wine, and the sweetest family that owned it. We enjoyed the Fado music with some great food. This place was called A Viela Do Fado, and I highly recommend it!
Random tips: Fado is meant to be listened to in very dim lighting! It’s rude to have your phone out, flash lights on, or to talk during a performance!
If you’re in Lisbon, a quick trip to Belem is a must! Explore the Tower for the perfect photo spot, but no need to pay to go inside- we heard it was overrated! When walking around Belem, make sure to check out the bakery, Pasteis de Belem, they make specific pastries for the Belem area and are quite famous for them.
This place is a must! Picture a giant adult cafeteria with octopus hotdogs, sushi heaven, wine by the glass to go, and so much more! Lisbon has some incredible food and there are countless fun rooftop bars to enjoy the views that Lisbon offers.
We also ate a brazilian gaucho place where we had an incredible meal. Its called Fogo De Chao and it can’t be missed!
Lisbon has some beautifully charming and affordable airbnb options over many other cities I’ve seen. I really recommend staying near the Alfama District or atleast within walking distance to it! During our stay, we partnered with Hotel Inspira and could not have worked with a more comfortable, cozy, modern, and green friendly hotel if we tried! Check out my other blog posts for an entire review on Hotel Inspira!
Go to a soccer (football) game!
An actual life tip- if you’re ever in a city in Europe and there is a professional soccer game going on, get tickets and go! It is quite the experience and I had a blast watching all of my husbands dreams come true (seriously, he didn’t sit down the entire game)!
Please take this advice! If you’re in Lisbon and don’t take a day trip to Sintra, you are really missing out! Sintra is a castle land that is something straight out of a fairytale. The train departs from Lisbon multiple times a day and costs about $8 USD pp. We went on a very rainy, chilly day and it was still BEAUTIFUL!
There are plenty of castles to explore, but we personally loved and chose Pena Palace, which looks like it came from a coloring book. It is literally bright yellow! Ticket prices were $24 USD pp to explore the castle grounds.
We also explored through the gardens of Quinta Da Regaleira, which was my personal favorite and I had a blast feeling like Rapunzel all day. I highly recommend going to both of these places on a weekday and before or after 12pm, because all the tour buses come around that time!
To put it simply, if you’re in Portugal, Lisbon cannot be missed. You could spend hours walking through these streets and trying the different wines and pastries. You’ll also want to add a bunch of color to your design style when you return home because Lisbon knows how to do color! There is so much to do and see in Lisbon from the sights, to the Tram, to the tile museum, and so much more! Remember, this is just a beginners guide 🙂 Take your time, soak it all in, and enjoy Lisbon the way it’s meant to be enjoyed!