In February 2020, my husband and I visited Lisbon for the second time it was even better than I remember. It's hard not to love this beautiful city and there is truly something for everyone. Here are the top 3 reasons why I love Lisbon and will return one day.
THE ARCHITECTURE & PASTEL COLORS
I'm a travel photographer so I am VERY drawn to Lisbon's pastel hues but you don't have to be a photographer to love roaming the quaint and colorful streets. I particularly love the tiled buildings. The tiles are called azulejos. Many gift shops sell replicas, so pick one up as a souvenir.
Portuguese food and wine is such a delightful pair. Here are the restaurants we particularly loved and were near our hotel in Alfama.
· Prado - Farm to table, organic and a culinary adventure. Moderately priced at 15-20 Euros an entree.
· A Muralha Tasca Típica - Authentic Portuguese cuisine and quality wine bottles for 8-12 Euro. A glass of wine was 3 Euro. The average meal was about 8 Euro and the portions were large. Allergens are marked on the menu including gluten, dairy, soy and sulfites.
· Chapitô à Mesa - This restaurant is up the hill near the castle and is a hole in the wall spot with a spectacular view of Lisbon. Sit upstairs and order the fries because they are to die for. The prices are slightly higher here being that it is in a "touristy" area by the castle.
· Duetos da Sé - Before I get into food, the Fado show here was just beautiful. If you're unfamiliar, Fado is a traditional Portuguese musical performance that is melancholy in tone but mesmerizing to listen to. The food was great but definitely more expensive in the 15-20 Euro per plate. Don't forget you're getting a show for free so tip the performers. Also, make a reservation.
· Don't miss getting a pastel de nata. It's a custard filled pastry that will have you going back for seconds.
THE DAY TRIPS
Sintra and Porto are within 2-3 hours from Lisbon. Sintra is a small village that is home to Pena Palace. The castle sits high in the mountains overlooking Sintra and dates back to the 12th century. There's a terrace restaurant on site with stunning views of the valley.
Have you ever heard of Port wine? You'll find lots of this dessert wine in the port town of Porto, Portugal. The architecture and colors of this town are so unique. It has almost an industrial feel mixed in with bright colors and unexpected tile details. Not only is Porto aesthetically pleasing but the food and wine absolutely blew us away. Here are a few restaurants to consider:
· Yours Bistro - A tiny but pretty restaurant with a sweet garden in the back that has a lovely view of Porto. The food was five stars and priced between 10 and 15 Euros an entree.
· Vogue Café - Yes, THE Vogue has only a few locations of this restaurant and one is in Porto. Very chic, good food and perfectly instagrammable.
· Tapabento - A hole in the wall, outstanding dining experience. We ordered so much off of the menu and loved every bit of it. It's tiny so try to make a reservation.
We stayed at Memmo Alfama in the old town part of Lisbon called Alfama. The hotel has a terrace bar and restaurant and we ended every night there with a glass of local wine. The hotel is modern and so very chic. I would definitely stay here again.
I could go on for days about how great Lisbon is and Portugal in general! I hope you add this destination to your travel bucket list.