I was so caught off guard by how much I loved and connected with Portugal during our 6-day visit. So many people that had visited before told me the country was so "untouched." To be honest, I had no idea what that really meant...until I arrived, of course.
Our first 3-day leg was in Porto (which I promise I'll write a separate post on that later because...wine), and then we ended with 3 days in Lisbon. From the moment you enter the city, you are swept away by the colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, Tagus river, beautiful tile work, and the faint sounds of Fado music echoing in the alleyways.
You would think 3 days wouldn't be enough time for a wino like me to really indulge, but I was able to get a good grasp on what's good, and I'm so excited to share my Lisbon favorites with you.
Where To Stay:
Alfama. To be honest, this isn't even a question. Not only does it house some of the most important historic buildings including the Se Cathedral, the Castelo de São Jorge, the Panteão Nacional, and the Igreja de Santo António, but the charm of the old town looking down over the river is unmatched. Find an Airbnb with a balcony so you can crack open some Vinho Verde and listen to the sweet echos of Fado.
Where to Eat:
Manteigaria ($)- THE BEST PASTEL DE NATA IN LISBON! OK, maybe I don't have the credentials to make that kind of statement, but Manteigaria was recommended to us by locals a thousand times over. Grab an espresso and custard tart for a few euro, and walk towards the back to watch the pastry chefs live in action. Does anyone have a napkin? I'm drooling just thinking about them.
Audrey's ($$)- this was our favorite lunch spot right in the center of Alfama. Sit outside with a beautiful view of the Igreja de Santiago and order the Seafood Skewer! After lunch, you can walk over to Miradouro de Santa Luzia for some great photo ops!
Sala de Corte ($$$)- Calling all red meat lovers! Nestled in the Bairro Alto, Chef Luís Gaspar's cuts will not disappoint. Once ordered, they will bring the cut right to your table so that you get to see the meat before it's cooked. Before dinner make sure to check out the Time Out Market across the street and grab a beer or quick glass of wine!
ALMA Henrique Sá Pessoa ($$$$)- Just awarded TWO Michelin Stars in 2019, Alma will take you on a serious culinary journey. The choreography, the wine, and the food come together to create a harmonious symphony of greatness. Make sure to give yourself at least three hours to make it through all the courses (including "surprise" courses)!
Agulha no Palheiro (Needle in a Haystack) ($$)- Honestly this was probably our favorite meal. With only about 12 tables in the whole restaurant and a menu only in Portuguese, we knew were in for some authentic cuisine. The kitchen is completely exposed to the dining room with 2 chefs and 2 servers on the floor. The food is served tapas-style, and it just kind of feels like you're in someone's home being cooked for. Pro tip: the warm chocolate cake is not to be missed!
Where to Sip:
Entretano Rooftop Bar at Hotel Chiado- If you know anything about me, you know that I love sipping with a view. Order yourself a glass of Portuguese sparkling wine and look out at the magic. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
Nova Wine Bar- Discover Portuguese wines from lesser-known producers and have some local bites before heading to dinner. The knowledgeable staff will help guide you through the wine list, and my FAVORITE part about this bar is that most of the wines on the list are available for purchase. Have a sip then take a bottle home.
BA Wine Bar Bairro Alto- I have to admit, I tried booking this bar and was too late! I wanted to include it here because YOU should go if you have the chance. With only 16 seats available, I would highly recommend booking WAY in advance. BA Wine Bar has over 500 wines and wine experts full of passion. Grab a glass and listen to the stories behind it.
By The Wine- Go for the cool atmosphere, stay for the wine. When you first walk in, you may feel like you're entering a tunnel of wine bottles...and that's because you are. Order some wine from the Douro and complement it with a plate of chorizo or jamon.
Other Things to Do:
Visit LxFactory- An old fabric production plant from 1846 is now home to more than 200 businesses including cafes, restaurants, antique shops, showrooms, tattoo parlors, barbershops and more. Get lost for lunch and grab a craft beer outside while admiring some graffiti art.
Sunset Cruise- Airbnb has it going on with their "Experiences" page. Tati and Angelo will welcome you on their vintage sailboat as you take off for a two-hour cruise up and down the Tagus. Learn about cultural landmarks along the way while sipping rosé and enjoying some light fare.
Photo Shoot- One of my favorite ways to see the city was by doing a two-hour photoshoot, again booked with Airbnb Experiences. Our guide, Yulia was patient, kind, knowledgeable and knew the best locations to get great shots. We were able to get our photos back in only a week, and now we have a great way to remember our time in Lisbon!