Lisbon, Portugal

Wow, where is the year going? I can’t believe how behind I am on my blog posts, so please bear with me.

I really liked Lisbon. Yes, it’s hilly (trainers are definitely a must) and a bit rough around the edges but to be honest that’s why I liked it. It feels European with a bit of North Africa thrown into the mix and I loved that contrast. It reminded me of Barcelona about 15 years ago. Exciting, arty and edgy.

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It’s not what I would call a particularly glamorous city but I did feel safe and would happily travel here on my own.

Even though we were based in the North of the city we still pretty much walked everywhere. We went on the tram once (and I wouldn’t be bothered again) but taxis are cheap and the metro was amazing.

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If you’re visiting at a busy time of year the trams can be quite claustrophobic and you need to watch out for pick-pockets. It probably didn’t help that we were traveling with kids but we were quite relieved to get off  as it was quite stressful! I’m sure though if you can get a seat it’s much more pleasurable.

I was amazed by the metro which in the heat of the Summer was an altogether more relaxed and impressively clean, hassle-free experience:

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Our metro stop Rato (above) looked like an art gallery! It is quite an expensive way to travel though and is worth getting a 24 hour ticket. If there are a few of you, taxi’s are probably the cheapest option.

Of course, when talking about Lisbon the first thing that comes to mind are the tiles and Pastel de Nata!

Tiles and ceramics abound in Lisbon and they really are impressive. Even when they are in a slightly distressed state they are still beautifully grand.

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Although Lisbon is best known for its custard tarts it really is quite the foodie destination in general. We didn’t  have a bad meal here and loved how enthusiastic the Portuguese were about their own country’s produce. We didn’t have time to go to the birthplace of Pastel de Nata – Pasteis de Belem but our youngest son ate them wherever we went. Unfortunately I couldn’t compare them (I am gluten intolerant) as one has sadly never passed my lips.

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The pics above were taken at Pau de Canela, Avenida de Igreja 2. The ice creams were good here too and it was quite a feast for the eyes as well:

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Another foodie place we really liked was the Mercado da Figueira, Praca da Figueira 10. If you want a quick snack, some gifts or need to stock up an Airbnb fridge go here! You can get a coffee and Pasteis de nata for €1.

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We definitely made the most of all the fresh fish whilst in Portugal and one of our most memorable meals was at Peixaria da Esquin We spent the most interesting evening here, with the most amazing host who so kindly talked us through all the Portuguese fish, shellfish and wine on offer and the differences between them.  We really enjoyed the Blackbelly Rosefish and I still daydream about the Entorna cheese.

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Of course we went to the Alfama quarter of Lisbon which is the oldest district. We made the mistake of going in the hottest part of the day which I wouldn’t recommend, although it was very quiet! Lots of narrow streets, cobbles and charm but I’m not sure we did it justice.

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Probably one of my favourite areas of Lisbon was the Bairro Alto:

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I loved all the independent boutiques and relaxed, bohemian feel (although in the evening it is meant to be really busy).

Another must for me was visiting the tower at Belem – a short bus or taxi ride from Lisbon:

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The open spaces and sea breeze here are extremely welcoming on a hot Summer’s day.

The great thing about Lisbon being so undulating is that you’re never too far from a great view. We skipped the very long queue at the impressive Santa Justa lift and headed to the nearby rooftop of Hotel do Chiado:

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Lisbon is definitely a city I would like to return to.

For further details of where we stayed click here.

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