Travel is a way for me to see clearer, it truly helps cleanse my head & gain so much confidence in myself and my abilities in life. I’ve been traveling since I was 6 months old, exploring my way to Greece to visit family solo at the age of 8, and even planning trips alone. So this year I wanted to get away before the holidays got started, and initially I wanted to visit Spain & Morocco but in an interesting turn of events, a beautiful angel, named Courtney, was in Europe at the time I wanted to travel and we met up, you can check out her blog at hey, Courto!
So we spent five days in Lisbon, and here are the most memorable parts of the trip!
Trip length: 5 days
Locations: Lisbon, Sintra, Cabo De Rocha
Colors, flavors & sea
Lisbon Day 1:
After my hectic travel to Lisbon, I arrived at my Airbnb in Bairro Alto around 9:00pm (a whole day after I left BWI), and sweet sweet Courtney made me dinner and grabbed a bottle of wine for us to enjoy while watching a movie.
Lisbon Day 2:
The following day we woke up early and enjoyed brunch at Noobai on the spectacular rooftop (see photo above) with a panoramic view of Lisbon. I enjoyed the Energy breakfast which consisted of scrambled eggs with fresh chives, bacon, roasted mushrooms, a grilled tomato, cottage cheese, mango, kiwi, watermelon & more fruits and veggies for 12 Euro (absolutely insane price!). Courtney enjoyed a large Yogurt bowl & a fruit bowl for 10 Euro!
Following our very large and delicious brunch we walked to Senhora do Monte which was a beautiful view of all of Lisbon, including castles, cathedrals, the ‘Golden Gate’ of Portugal and the ocean! Directly below was Jardim da Cerca da Graca, a stunning park centered in layers of colorful buildings. The park had a small cafe surrounded by a hundred orange tree’s on the perimeter which were beyond delicious to eat as a small snack before lunch.
For lunch we stumbled upon Cafe Restaurante o Cantinho when exploring and enjoyed a unique delicacy of cod and thinly sliced, almost potato chip, potatoes and egg with Azores goat cheese & olives.
Dinner was an evening at Cantinho do Avillez which is Jose Avillez’s restaurant. I ordered a very delicate cod over a wilted Caesar salad and Courtney ordered a Tagine dish with robust flavors of cinnamon and turmeric. After dinner we enjoyed several drinks at Park Bar, a bar on the top of a parking garage (you heard that right!) This place was ridiculously cool, there were several different large rooms with varying decor & an outdoor patio with a variety of trees and shrubs - not to mention delicious cocktails! (if you’re staying in Bairo Alto or Chiado this is the area to go out, as well as Pink lane).
We ended the night by having a glass of wine at a corner bar and making pasta back at our AirBnB, hehe ;)
Lisbon Day 3:
It rained in Lisbon on Sunday and we were a bit fatigued (aka we had some drinks) from the night before so we slept in late and walked to Talk To Me, a brunch restaurant about a 20 minute walk from our Airbnb through some beautiful and VERY steep streets. One our walk we discovered a beautiful outdoor market with one of the most stunning city overlooks i’ve ever seen. My favorite memories when traveling are the random, unplanned, stumbled upon scenario’s that just happen like magic - I feel so much more connected to myself when i’m outside of my comfort zone and in another land exploring at my own volition. Aaanyways, back to brunch!
Talk To Me provided an incredible brunch spread consisting of avocado toast with smoked salmon, yogurt, fresh granola and Portuguese apricot preserve, grapefruit and a small side salad with tea and coffee - all for under $20!
There was a beautiful park directly across the street from the restaurant so we decided to climb some prehistoric looking trees and enjoy our child like wonder adventuring around this colorful city.
Dinner was spent at Time Out Market which is an enormous food market with over 20 various food & bar stalls. I love love love food halls, in Baltimore R. House is one of my favorite locations to frequent because of all of the options available to me! Time Out Market was absurdly packed (it was a digital media conference the week we were in Lisbon) and so finding a seat for two people was like going on a scavenger hunt in the middle of a sea of visitors.
I enjoyed Grilled Octopus over potatoes gratin & Portuguese cod salad from the Marlene Vieria food stall - this was such a delicious meal I highly recommend you go check out the local delicacies here! For dessert Courtney and I shared a double scoop of cinnamon and chocolate gelato from Santini Gelato which was sooooooo freaking delicious and creamy and rich in flavor. After dinner, since we were a tad hungover from the evening before, we came back to our AirBnB and watched Bridesmaids while drinking some delicious Portuguese wine, not too shabby for a Sunday evening.
Lisbon Day 4:
We explored Sintra today and WOW was it a magical and mystical place - have you ever been to a location that vibrates at such a high frequency you feel like you’re floating? Well that was me all day while visiting the different locations in Sintra.
Our first stop, via the amazing Sintra Tour I found on AirBnB, was Pena Castle. Pena Castle was essentially Princess Jasmine & Cinderella’s castle’s combined with additional colorful flare. It was incredibly stunning, almost to the point of appearing fake.
Second stop was Quinta Regaleira which was an estate to a wealthy family - it was a literary jungle gym for adults. The original history can be found here and it illustrates the curious reasons behind some of the architecture. One of the most interesting facts about Quinta is the man made depiction of Dante’s Inferno. It is a 30 meter spiral staircase which you walk down and through leaving ‘cleansed’ as you exit surrounded by tropical plants while stepping on stones overtop a vibrant green algae covered stream. The architecture was served into ancient sea stone since this part of Portugal was under the ocean for millions of years which caused the rock and stone to form unique colors and craters throughout.
The Third and final stop of the day was Cabo De Rocha which is otherwise referred to as “the end of the world” according to our tour guide. Europeans considered the world to end at this point (being the western most point of Europe) and it makes total sense, the cliffs drop dramatically to crashing waves and sharp boulders below with a chest tightening vastness across the sea.
After our big day of sight seeing, we walked to 11 Tapas and enjoyed marinated mushrooms, Portuguese shrimp in a lemon garlic sauce and Courtney devoured pesto pasta.
Lisbon Day 5:
Woke up on our last day in Lisbon and spent the morning in Belem (a 20 minute ride from Bairo Alto) visiting Belem Tower & enjoying some of the famous Pasteis de Belem. Belem Tower has a view of the “Portuguese Golden Gate Bridge” and is connected to a park with a small beach and some fruit carts. During our time here we saw a tremendous amount of tourists, more than we had seen in all of Lisbon, and there was SO MUCH trash littered around. We picked up trash for about thirty minutes and then rewarded ourselves by enjoying Pasteis de Belem at the famous Pasteis de Belem.
We decided to take the 28 Tram, a super touristy but also unique feature of Lisbon, and rode it through all the vibrantly colorful neighborhoods and stunning ocean views. For lunch we stopped at Le Petit Cafe for an amazing last meal outside in Lisbon while a local musician played beautiful music. I enjoyed a Cod Salad which consisted of potatoes, cherry tomatoes, capers, red onions, radish, dill, parsley, olive oil and salt.
On the walk home we found a quaint little market selling hot wine, nuts, cheese, ham etc. and stopped to enjoy a glass of hot wine before we went back to our AirBnB to grab our items and head to the bus to Seville, Spain…. Spain guide coming next!
Food & Bar Recommendations:
Noobai for scenic overlook & delicious affordable brunch
Cafe Restaurante o Cantinho for a traditional neighborhood special
Time Out Market - amazing food hall with over 20 vendors
Cantinho do Avillez (Chef Jose Avillez) for an upscale version of Portuguese delicacies
Park Bar is a unique bar on top of a parking garage with an outdoor area and fantastic cocktails
Pasteis de Belem - only get the Pasteis de Belem
11 Tapas for delicious local tapas in Bairro Alto
Le Petite Cafe for the delicious Cod Salad
What to do:
Senhora do Monte (the neighborhoods all lead into one another) walk ALL around
Jardim da Cerca da Graca - spend an afternoon picking oranges in
Sintra - spend at least a whole day here!
Cabo De Rocha - known as the end of the world and it is breathtaking
Belem Tower - A tower in the middle of the water
Thanks for reading this guide! Let me know if it’s at all helpful & if you loved it please comment below!