Sunday, 26 February 2017

Lisbon City Guide: Where to Eat and What to Do

I have to admit before I went to Lisbon I had never really considered it to be in my top travel destinations. Myself and my boyfriend however decided we both wanted to go to a city neither of us had been before and also that wasn't crazy expensive... And so we landed on Lisbon!

Since we've been to Lisbon and we are only back a few weeks at the time of writing this I have noticed three other couples travelling there so it really must be picking up as the place to go. We went there first! ;) 

We booked our flights over with Ryanair and our flights home with Aerlingus. Booking with two different airlines ensured we got the best price and the best flight times to suit our schedule. A handy tip as well to keep in mind is Ryanair allow you to FREELY allocate your seats 24 hours before your flight so don't waste money booking them ahead of time unless you really have to.

We stayed in the Lisbon Marriott hotel. It is a gorgeous hotel located 15 minutes walk from the Metro so not central but very close to public transport so if you want to stay in a nice hotel but save some money I definitely recommend. The staff couldn't be more helpful or friendly and they had the most unbelievable buffet breakfast I have ever seen!

Our first night we stayed in the hotel for tapas and wine; while it wasn't super cheap the food was absolutely gorgeous and the tapas portions are so generous!

We also found a great little restaurant around the corner from where we were staying called Mr.Papas where we went for lunch. It was a casual place but the glasses of wine were only €1.50, the beers were €2 and we had a three course meal and drink each for a total of €36. It was unbelievable value so if you are staying in the area definitely worth checking out if you are on a budget.

The highlight of our trip was definitely taking the train to Sintra. It was a short 35 minute journey and is a must visit if you are in Lisbon. There are so many gorgeous castles and palaces located near this quaint little village on a mountain top it is ideal for some seriously picturesque views, great photo opportunities and also a serious work out as those hills are steep!!

We chose to visit Palacio de Pena and Castelo dos Mouros. There is a bus that you can pay around €5.50 return which will bring you up and down the mountain and you can hop off and visit the castles. It cost €17 each to visit the two sites.

The views from the top of Castelo dos Mouros were absolutely stunning

Something to bear in mind when visiting Lisbon is that it is a very hilly city and involves a lot of walking - so wear comfortable shoes that won't make you slip on the cobbles!

Shopping in Lisbon is fantastic, they have Sephora, Kiko, Bershka, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger - all the brand names and what was even better was they seemed to be all having sales when we visited so we got some great bargains.

After walking around Lisbon we stumbled across a very quirky restaurant/museum called La Farmacia. It was a medical museum and the restaurant was themed as such with your water served in medicine bottles on little hospital carts and all the cocktails named after drugs. We got the LSD and Morphina. Beware: we order the sirloin steak mini sliders and they literally barely cooked the meat - its like a delicacy over there apparently. If you don't like to think of your cow just after having stopped mooing then I would recommend against this as I couldn't eat them.

If you are looking for things to do in Lisbon apart from the usual sightseeing I would recommend going to the zoo. We didn't actually get a chance to go when we were there but it seemed to be very popular.

You know your nearby or heading in the right direction when you start seeing artistic murals of animals like the ones above all over the walls near the subway stations.

We found Lisbon really easy to get around with the Metro, good value and very quick so I definitely recommend using it. All the same taxis were extremely cheap - never spent over a tenner on them even to the airport when we were there so if you are out at night and don't fancy the Metro or walking I would definitely make use of them!

On our last night we visited Chapitos restaurant - this was a recommendation I actually got on my Instagram account. It did not disappoint! We highly recommend the steak which comes with smoked ham on top and scrambled eggs which was a new thing I hadn't tried before, the cod was also delicious. Steak and cod are two of Portugal's specialities.

Our served also introduced us to 'espresso martinis' he was so funny and thought these were an unusual phenomenon even though back home they are one of my favourite cocktails! I have to say, they do espresso martinis better than Dublin! Definitely try one as well as the traditional capirinhas if you do decide to visit.

To top off your trip to Lisbon, Park bar is one of the best hidden secret spots you can go to for a drink in the city. Its situated at the top of a 6 storey car park in Bairro Alto. You walk in and around to the very, very dodgy looking graffiti covered lift and take it to the top. Then walk out and around to what appears to be a normal car park and then you start to see greenery, a terrace and you have found Park bar! This has some of the best views of the city, great cocktails and they also do food. The best time to go we were recommended was just before sunset but as it was quite overcast and a grey day when we were there we didn't get the luxury of seeing the setting sun from Park. If you are looking for a few drinks and some tapas to pick at after some shopping it is a must visit but beware because it is very popular and can get busy!

I would definitely visit Lisbon again but I think it is probably best experienced when it's not overcast and has a bit of that Portuguese sun! We travelled in early February and it was grey and drizzly while we were there however the last day had the most gorgeous sun and we spent the day sitting out on the hotel terrace soaking up the sun until we had to catch our flight so you just never know. 

Let me know if this blog post was helpful and if you are planning a trip to Lisbon anytime soon!



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