Exploring Lisbon


The way I want and like to travel has really changed over the past couple of years. I definitely prefer to go on a busy holiday with lots to do. Don’t get me wrong, laying by a pool with a good book and a cocktail everyday is also what I’d call a lil slice of heaven, but I love to wander and immerse myself into the country or city I’m in. Coming home from Lisbon I feel like we’ve done just that, and although we walked for miles and it was tiring, it was sooo relaxing for the mind.

I would describe the vibe of Lisbon as super laid back, charming and intriguing. It’s a city that’s full of history and the streets are so visually pleasing. Almost every building is either painted a vibrant colour or covered in beautiful tiles. Your camera will be spoilt for choice when taking snaps! It’s also worth noting how safe we felt in the city at every time of the day. I couldn’t recommend visiting Lisbon enough but be prepared to walk. Comfy shoes are a must because your thighs WILL burn and the hills be big!

The Places to Visit

Santa Justa Lift
This was the fanciest lift I’ve ever seen! It was built in 1902 to help people get from the lower streets in the Baixa District up to Largo do Carmo. Now it’s mainly a tourist attraction for the viewing platform over the city. We didn’t go up ourselves because the queue was huge and we wanted to explore but it was impressive just to look at.

Padrão dos Descobrimentos
This monument is dedicated to Portugal’s famous explorers and adventurers. It’s looks unusually modern for the area but the detail of the stone carvings when you’re up close is amazing.

Belém Tower
A short walk along from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is the Belém Tower which was built as a fortress to guard Lisbon’s harbour. You can go inside the tower but we opted to just sit on a bench opposite while Ben did his usual thing of googling the place and shouting out random facts about it.

Jerónimos Monastery
I knew it would be worth paying the 10 euros to walk around inside the monastery. We really enjoyed it and since the sun was scorching that day it was also nice to have some shade! The stone carvings were beautiful and the place had a really peaceful atmosphere.

25 de Abril Bridge
We sat and enjoyed the view of Lisbon’s famous suspension bridge from a fab bar one afternoon. It’s super long and is almost a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Comercio Square
This square is on the waterfront and holds the cities main tourism office, tram/bus stops and the metro station. Through the arch is Rua Augusta which is Lisbon’s main shopping street with beautiful mosaic tiled pavements.

LX Factory
Me and Ben loved the LX Factory. It’s a place where young creatives have taken over unused spaces and turned them into arty shops, coffee spots and amazing restaurants. We spent pretty much our whole day here and we didn’t half put away the food and drink on offer!

The Food & Drink

Pasteis de Belém
A Portuguese custard tart is a must when you’re in Lisbon. In fact, we ate them every day of the trip. The most famous and traditional place to buy your ‘Pastel de Nata’ is Pasteis de Belém, but be warned, you will queue. They’re worth the wait though!

Pistola y Corazon
This was a highly recommended eatery and I can honestly say it’s the best Mexican food I have ever eaten. If you love tacos as much as I do you have to visit. The food was delicious! I also loved that on the menu if they didn’t have something available they stamped across with ‘fuck it’.

Timeout Market
Another must if you’re a big foodie. It’s a food hall with about 30 restaurants and tons of seats in the centre. It’s like fancy dining from trays. What I love about this is if you were out with a friend who wanted asian food and you wanted pizza you can do just that. Me and Ben chose Asian Lab for our food and it was amazing. Worth noting – we had custard tarts from Manteigaria for dessert and we both preferred them over the famous Pasteis de Belém.

The CorkScrew Wine Bar
We wandered down to the this wine bar on our first night as it was just a five minute walk from our airbnb. They played the best jazz, had a huge selection of wines and put together a mighty fine cheese board for us. Highly recommend.

The Mill
They do a really good breakfast. If you love coffee, avocado and eggs you will most definitely like it here.

Landeau Chocolate
This small cafe is located inside the LX Factory and when doing my research before the trip the name kept coming up. People claiming it to be the best chocolate cake ever. I agree it was a perfect slice of chocolate cake.

Burger Factory
I know a burger is a generic thing you can get anywhere but I thought this place was worth a mention. Again, it’s located inside the LX Factory. Ben chose a more traditional Portuguese burger soaked in a sauce with an egg on top and I went for a Japanese style one which was so impressive. I wish I knew somewhere in the UK that made the same burger!

Rio Maravilha
You have to come to this bar just for the view. The decor is nothing fancy inside but who cares, I mean look at that view! The drinks were spot on, I started with a French 75 cocktail (just as good as my favourite bar at home) and continued with gin. We ended up spending a good few hours up here chatting and getting slightly tipsy.

The Transport 

The only method of transport we used was the Trams. We didn’t have a need for anything else although the day passes we bought could be used on the buses and ferries too. For the trip to Belem, use tram 15e, it takes around 20-25 minutes.

Tip – don’t pay on the tram for your journey. It’s way more expensive than it needs to be. If you find a metro station (they’re underground) head down and get a viva viagem card for 50 cents each and load them up to use. We just paid for the day pass which was 6.15 each but that will get you on all modes of transport (even the Santa Justa Lift is included!).

Tram 28
The famous tram 28 passes through most of the popular tourist districts. They’re always so full so we opted to hop on later in the evening when it was a little quieter. Even though they’re rickety it’s also really cool and a nice ride around the city to rest your feet!

The Shopping 

We didn’t do a whole lot of shopping as we wanted to fit in all the sights. If you want the usual shops like H&M and Zara you can go to the Rua Augusta. The pictures below are from some great shops located in the LX Factory. The book shop was amazing with a huge old printing machine in the centre.

exploring lisbon

We had a fab time in Lisbon and I’d love to go back to Portugal to explore more of the country. Hopefully this post was helpful to anyone considering a visit. If you’ve been to Lisbon and have any recommendations please leave a comment!



© Beth Waldron 2017. Designed by Ben Dixon