Back to reality, we go! After an entire week of enjoying the best that Lisbon has to offer, I must say that I cannot wait to return to this magnificent city! If you haven’t thought to add Lisbon to your travel list, do it now!
Here’s my roundup of the best parts of our trip to the City of Seven Hills! And my new favorite picture for your viewing <3
If you are anything like me, you appreciate your space. The people in Portugal have found the perfect balance of kindness and independence. Don’t get me wrong, the Portuguese are more than happy to help and accommodate you, but they lack that pesky need to con tourists that so many popular cities have adopted over the years. Perhaps this is because Lisbon is still a relatively “up and coming” destination. I guess I’ll just have to go back in 10 years to see if this still holds true!
The only place that we felt pressured into buying anything happened while we were in Sintra. The beautiful mountain village of Sintra is a must-see for anyone visiting Lisbon, but be aware of the swarm of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers that will inevitably pounce as soon as you exit the train station. I’m telling you, I’d imagine this experience is similar to celebrities being bombarded by paparazzi (in other words, if you’ve ever dreamt of being a celeb, nows your chance)!
We did not have a single bad meal while we were in Lisbon. I know that when you think of the food capitols of the world, Portugal doesn’t exactly ring any bells, but let me tell you, it was all so good. Portugal, being right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its seafood, but their other dishes were equally as impressive.
Some of our favorite food destinations included The Decadente, The Insolito (both of which were right in our hotel!), and The Timeout Market. I know that that doesn’t sound like a very diverse group of restaurants, but the two restaurants located in The Independente Hostel and Suites offered two totally different experiences!
The Decadente can be found in the lobby of The Independente and I definitely recommend it if you are looking for something a little more sophisticated without spending all of your money. Elliott and I recommend “Portugal No Prato” which was described to us as “Portugal on a plate”. It was so good, I kept sneaking bites off his plate! I had the steak and it was excellent! I’m a loyal steak sauce user (#noshame) and this steak was perfect without any! (In other words, Elliott shamed me out of asking for A1 and I still enjoyed it).
The Insolito is located on the terrace of The Independente and offers exceptional views of the city. One of the more popular attractions in Lisbon are rooftop bars and this restaurant is perfectly situated for that experience! Since the weather was bad, the terrace was enclosed to keep the water and wind out, but it was still an enjoyable experience for us! I can only imagine what it would be like on a warm, clear night! I had the ramen, which was fantastic, but the real stand out was the wine. Elliott and I will forever be in search of this perfect bottle of red wine! If you’re a red wine gal, you MUST try “Quinta das Camélias!”
The Timeout Market
The Timeout Market is nothing new to anyone who knows the tiniest bit about Lisbon but let me tell you, it is 100% worth all of the talk! Before going, I remember thinking that it was just a glorified food court… Boy, was I wrong (and kind of right?)! It is a glorified food court, but it offers the very best of Lisbon’s food scene! If you’re like me and you love a good meal, this is the place for you! Timeout is a magazine in Portugal and, supposedly, only the best restaurants are featured in the magazine. But if you’re better than best, you’re invited to set up a mini shop at the market! For some reason, we decided that both times we went to The Timeout Market, we were going to eat non-Portuguese food? It is what it is, but Pizza a Pezzi had the best pizza I have ever put in my mouth and Honorato gives you the best homemade mayo for your fries!
If you’re not in the best of shape (cough, cough, me) and you’re worried about the hills of Lisbon, don’t be! Here in Caen, there’s this terrible hill that I have to walk up every day, and I think it gets steeper every day. So when I realized that I was vacationing in a city built on inescapable hills, I accepted my fate. Rachel = death. But, y’all, it really was not too bad. Sure, I was out of breath at times. But there is always something so cool around you that taking breaks is not only necessary for your lungs but very important for your experience in Lisbon!
Lisbon is a very walkable city, too. There were so many times that I had looked at a map and thought that it was going to be a bus riding day, but it turned out to only be a 20-minute walk! Lisbon is so colorful in the form of tiles, with each mosaic being as unique as a snowflake. So pack your walking shoes and give yourself plenty of time to “get lost” on your way to your destination!
Where to stay
We stayed at The Independente Suites and Terrace and absolutely enjoyed our stay! They offer free breakfast (on the terrace, like what?!) and it is located in a beautiful part of town. I must admit that it’s in the heart of Bairro Alto, which is a more lively neighborhood, so street noise was a small problem. However, Elliott and I both agreed that we would definitely come back to The Independente (and he’s a bit of a hotel snob, so that’s saying something)! They are also in the hostel business, which I can’t comment on. But if you’re on a budget, definitely check them out! Don’t be frightened by their TripAdvisor reviews, I believe the construction that many people complained about has finished, as we didn’t have that problem.
Plan your trip to Sintra. I can’t stress this enough. Elliott and I both had a pretty “go with the flow” attitude when it came to this trip. But, we were completely overwhelmed when we got to Sintra (paparazzi, remember?) and I feel like we missed out on a lot of what the town had to offer because we were ill prepared. I definitely recommend finding a driver once you arrive who can take you to all the beautiful castles! Many of them offer trips for the same price as the bus and it really is a more enjoyable experience when you’re not worried about being pickpocketed. Unfortunately, I don’t have all of the answers for you, but this post from No Man Before is phenomenal and I wish I would have seen it sooner!
Conserveira de Lisboa
We went to both of Conserveira de Lisboa’s locations. This is Lisbon’s most well-known sardine shop and, while the stand-alone store is interesting to check out, we had a more enjoyable experience at their Timeout location. The store should definitely be on your list of things to check out, but if you’re clueless about the world of sardines, head to their Timeout location. Maybe we hit them on an off day (we all have them!) but that was our experience. And you won’t miss out on any flavors at the Timeout location!
Shew, that was a long one folks! I’m sorry if it’s too long, I’m sorry if I lost you halfway through. I just had such a great time in Lisbon and I wanted you guys to know just how good it was! As always, feel free to share and subscribe! And check me out on social media! I’d love to hear from you!