Lisbon blew me away! The hills are killer but the food, views, and endless adventures make it one of my favorite cities in europe.
1.DO A COUPLE WALKING TOURS! I cannot stress this enough-Lisbon is a walking heavy city. It is built on a bunch of hills and most roads are too narrow for anything larger than a car, so the public transport really only exists underground and on the main roads. That being said, it’s a city that is best explored on foot, and there are so many great options for free walking tours. I used two separate companies–I perused through Barrio Alto, Chiado, and Baxia with my tour guide Bruno with Sandemans New Europe and trudged through Alfama in the pouring rain with Sophia from Wild Walkers and both were outstanding. Free walking tours are hands down ALWAYS better than paid ones, since the guides really have to impress in order to get their tip.
2.Eat every pastel de nata you’re blessed to come across. They’re rich and buttery and flaky and sweet and creamy and just amazing honestly. Portugal’s pastry scene is so underrated and honestly blows France out of the water. For one, I found bakeries much easier to find in Lisbon than I did in Paris. They’re also HELLA CHEAP. I’m talking about 2 euros for 4 pasteis. The original maker of the pastel is found in Belem, so just go for it. Eat the pastries. Regret nothing.
3.Take the tram over to Belem for sunset. Found about a 20 minute tram or bus ride down the river from Lisbon, it is a perfect way to spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Most of the museums in the Lisbon area are actually located in Belem! After stepping off the tram, you’re greeted by the famous Pasteis de Belem, the home of the original pastel de nata. You’ll likely have to wait in line, but it moves quickly and is well worth it, so make sure you stock up! Walk a few more steps and you’ll come to the magnificent 400 year-old Jeronimos Monestary, which is worth a (free) look inside before heading over to the Monument to the Discoveries and getting a great view of the waterfront. I definitely recommend getting here for sunset, as you can walk along the water down to Belem Tower and enjoy your pasteis while watching the sky turn pink and the sun sink below the waves.
4. Visit a miradouro. Watch the sky turn cotton candy colored over the city of Lisbon at one of the many miradouros (viewpoints) that sit atop the hills of the city. While you’re on your walking tour, be sure to ask your guide where the best miradouros are. Hint: most are in Alfama since those hills are significantly higher than on the opposite side of the city.
5. Day trip over to Sintra. Best known for the bright colors of Pena Palance, the 8th century Castle of the Moors, and the inverted tower of Quinta da Regaleira, it’s a MUST to hop over to Sintra from Lisbon for a day or two. You can choose to take a train or bus over as the easiest option, but I ended up splitting a Kaptan ride (Portuguese Uber) with a couple of new friends–it ended up being the same price as a train plus the bus up to the castles, and it was door to door!