We spent two nights in Lisbon as part of our 5 night trip to Portugal for the March Easter weekend. Getting from Sintra to Lisbon was pretty easy although we did have some confusion when getting a ticket from the machine — it’s probably better to head into the main train station and buy a ticket from there.
I admit I didn’t do that much research for this trip, it was next to nothing truth be told. I had figured it would be a busy seaside port town, but hadn’t realised how hilly it was going to be! The weather was back to being sunny and warm again which was nice (once we’d finished hiking to our hotel with our luggage!).
Our hotel in Lisbon was a real treat. Flores Guest House hasn’t been open that long, but the owners and staff have got the service absolutely perfect. When we arrived, we were greeted with a drink and an explanation of the town and area, our breakfast order was taken and finally we were taken to our lovely clean and modern room. The internet was a bit problematic but there was an issue with it that was being looked into during our stay. Breakfast was adorable — a picnic basket full of bread, fruit, cheese, jam, and a “surprise” (which for us was pastéis de natas on the first day and croissants on the second) — and was served to our room at 8am.
On the subject of food, our first day began with lunch at a lovely vegetarian restaurant where we had a massive buffet but couldn’t quite manage a dessert (or maybe we were saving ourselves for more pastéis de nata!). I don’t know why vegetarian restaurants are so often buffet format, it works out great value for money but I can’t help feel sad that it might be the only way to convince non-vegetarians to visit!
Back to Lisbon. We spent a long time walking around the steep (!) hills of Lisbon, first to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara where we admired the view whilst doing some pretty silly foot selfies.
Then we went through the shopping district to the Praca do Comercio, a huge open square with a view of the sea and a beautiful arch (Arco da Victória) which we went up to fully admire the view of the square.
We had a short walk around the oldest district in Lisbon, where we had an unfortunate near-theft experience when a woman had managed to open Riz’s bag and looked as though she might be trying to lift his wallet. Luckily for him the bag has a dodgy zip and it got stuck opening which was enough time for him to notice. After we’d strolled around the old streets for a while, we were debating where we could find the route for the Tram 28, when it pulled up right in front of us! We couldn’t get a window seat but did enjoy the rickety old tram for a while before getting off and heading back to the hotel.
For dinner, we had a delicious meal at Cantinho do Avillez. Honestly we were trying to eat at the neighbouring Pizzaria Lisboa (by the same owner) but it was full and we didn’t fancy looking too far for food! It was delicious though, the truffle butter with the bread was particularly heavenly.
Our second day was spent in Belem. It’s a bit of a trek from Lisbon, about 20 minutes on the tram (which was one of the old Remodelado trams) but it’s well worth a visit. One thing to note — most tourist attractions seem to be closed on Mondays so it’s worth checking before you go there! We were pretty gutted to find the Mosteiro de Jerónimos closed, as well as the Belem tower. We did get to spend a while in the Berardo Museum of Modern Art before walking along the coast to the Belem tower, which was nice to see even if just from the outside. We finished the trip by eating more pastéis de natas at what the locals consider to be the best patisserie, Pastéis de Belem.
The Carmo Convent is closed on Sundays (as we’d discovered the previous day! We should learn our lesson..) so we visited that after we got back from Belem. It’s a spectacular place —it was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755 but it became a very beautiful gothic ruin so the city decided not to rebuild it. Inside the convent is a collection of (previously stolen) museum pieces that have been recovered, two of these being Peruvian mummies which someone bumped into and I saw them visibly shake (it wasn’t me!).
Lisbon is a lovely city, loads to see and do with great places to eat. What more can you ask for?