Pink streets and Pasteis de Belems in Lisbon
July 11th, 2017
Bom Dia Lisbon!
Lisbon has become one of the top European cities to visit in the last few years – and after spending a few days here I can see why. With culture, architecture, fresh seafood and close approximation to the beach all at cheap prices it ticks all the right boxes.
I stayed at the BessaHotel Liberdade (£170 per night) this is at the higher end of the price scale but I’d say it was good value for money. The bedrooms are very modern with a high attention to detail in interior design and the bathrooms are extremely spacious and futuristic. The hotel is located right in the heart of Lisbon close to the Rossio Square. Oh and there’s also an indoor pool and outdoor lounge area.
The city is split into different neighbourhoods and everything is walkable distance. I saw Alfama in one night and Baixa, Chiado and Bairro Alto all in another night. Belem is the only one where you’ll need to take a train to get to.
- Alfama – this is the oldest district in Lisbon surviving the 1755 earthquake. It has a strong medieval atmosphere with tiny streets, winding high up into the hills (travel tip: wear comfortable shoes as Lisbon is pretty hilly). You’ll find the Cathedral, Pantheon and Castelo Sao Jorge here.
- Baixa –this is the shopping and banking district of the city, located right in the centre of the city it extends all the way down to the Tagus River. You’ll find Praca do Comercio* (Terreiro do Paco) and Rossio Square here. *Praca do Comercio is one of the biggest squares in Europe-it is the stylish area in downtown Lisbon showcasing beautiful art work and sculpture, perfect for a romantic stroll (or a lonely one with your camera if you’re single like me haha)! Check out TOPO rooftop bar which is in this area.
- Bairro Alto – if you’re looking for nightlife, drinking spots and Lisbon’s best clubs here’s the place!
- Chiado – the slightly “posher” part of Lisbon which sits between Baixa and Bairro Alto. With numerous boutiques and little restaurants here perfect for a more sophisticated evening (or at least the beginning of the night).
- Belem – about 10 minutes by train from the centre of Lisbon, Belem has lots to see and do but is far more relaxed. Set along the river you’ll find Torre de Belem, the Jeronimos Monastery and the Monument to the Discoveries. The Pasteis de Belem is also here, which is the birthplace of the famous custard tart.
For food I would say the Time out market is obviously a must visit and secondly Palacio Chiado. Only read on if you’re looking to spend slightly more on good quality food with beautiful atmosphere.
The Palacio Chiado is located in the Baixa neighbourhood (10 min walk from Time out market). It is basically an 18th century restored palace with 8 restaurants and bars inside to choose from. The architecture is beautiful, almost something like what you see in those Roman musuems. Spread over two floors there are plenty of nooks in which to chat or have a drink.
I really recommend eating at Sushi Chiado (Prices range from 25-30 euros per person).
For cheaper options Maria Catita is perfect for steak and seafood. The octopus is a must order (not chewy)! For a more healthy option check out Organi Chiado.
For yummy ice cream and good coffee Augusto Lisboa is the perfect place located in the Alfama area.
And of course dessert, when in Lisbon you must try the famous custard pastries (now for anyone who knows what Chinese ‘Dan Tarts’ are – they basically taste like these but better! Alcoa sell the best pastel de natas.
The Pantheon of the House of Braganza (Panteão da Casa de Bragança) is located in the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon which is the final resting place for many of the members of the House of Braganza, including Portuguese monarchs and Infantes of Portugal.
For that mandatory sunset photo, which I believe every traveller should want to see I would 100% recommend going to the observatory decks in Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.
Of course visiting the Rossio square (in Baixa neighbourhood) is a must. Here’s one for the keen photographers and Instagrammers. Lisbon’s famous pink street. If you type ‘Cais do Sodré’ google maps should take you there! Happy snapping!
Located a 5 min walk from the pink street is the Time out market. With a range of fresh cuisines to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice. The market is beautifully located just off the Tagus river front (again perfect for those romantic walks and photography opportunities). I think the fact that there isn’t one of these markets in London makes it all more special.