Lisbon is such a romantic city with its winding, cobblestoned alleys where you can stroll around during the day and where, in the evening, a good meal and a fado singer are never far away.
If you live in Europe, Lisbon is a great destination for a weekend get-away. Its size is manageable and especially in spring and autumn the temperature is very nice.
Below are my Lisboa tips, including my favorite food hotspots and healthy (vegetarian/vegan) restaurants.
Start your day at the Mercado Da Ribeira, Lisbon’s premier food market. If you come before 2 pm you can still see the fish market in the old part of the market. Time Out Lisboa transformed one part of the market in 2014 to the food hotspot that it is now. Several restaurants have a stall in the renovated hall, so there’s something for everyone. My favorite is Mozza&Co where they have a vegetarian sandwich with mozzarella and grilled vegetables on artisan bread.
Full of fuel to walk up and down Lisboa’s seven hills, you can stroll around the old, winding streets of Alfama. You can visit Castelo de São Jorge on top of the hill for beautiful views.
Nice bars with outside tables are never far away in Lisbon. In Alfama you can relax at Portas Do Sol with its beach bar feel. Or go to Terraco Santa Luzia for the beautiful view.
Alfama even caters vegans, which is quite unique in meat and fish loving Portugal. Sao Tome 48 is a cute little vegan pizzaria.
If it’s getting close to sunset, head up to Miradouro da graca, a viewpoint where you can see the sun go down. Esplanada Igreja de Graça takes care of your beer or wine at this romantic terrace.
After the sun has set, go to one of the many fado cafes in Alfama or join the crowds in Bairro Alto. Is it touristic? Yes, definitely. But that also means there’s a buzzing atmosphere.
Have a nice dinner in Bairro Alto, don’t worry if you’re late. It’s no exception if you start dinner at 11pm.
If you like Indian food, I recommend Calcuta. It was the Portuguese Vasco Da Gamma who discovered the sea route to India after all. Their garlic cheese naan is the best and they have great vegetarian/vegan options like their aubergine tandoor.
Across the street is Blend, if you’re looking for a more upscale experience. We had great bacalhau (cod) here, a must when in Portugal. And their desserts are the best. I hope they’ll keep their red fruit tiramisu on the menu!
Bairro Alto is the neighborhood to go to for an evening filled with music, drinks and dances. The fado here is not authentic, so you can skip that. Instead go to Portas Largas for Portuguese music in a gay friendly setting. Or even better; go to SPOT. This whole in the wall has great artists singing songs we all know, which you can enjoy whilst sipping on a (cheap) cocktail.
Many recommend a trip to Sintra, but to be honest I think there’s plenty to see in Lisbon itself. If you have a day to spare, you might want to walk around this Unesco World Heritage town. But if you’re short on time, I don’t think it’s wort the train ride.
Instead, take a taxi to Belém to visit one of its many museums and to eat the best Pastel de Natas. Antiga Confeitaria de Belém has been baking their Pastéis de Bélem since 1837, expect a long queue.
There are many pastelerias in Lisbon, all selling pasteis de natas. According to the Lisboans a Pastel de Belem is a totally different experience than eating a Pastel de Nata. Our local taxi driver showed us his favorite pasteleria. It’s called A Chique de Belém and it’s next to the coaches museum, just a block away from the confeitaria de Belem.
If you’re looking for something less sweet to eat in Belém Pão Pão Queijo Queijo has got you covered with their wide varieties of baguettes. Even though they have many meat and fish options, they also have a few vegan options like eggplant or couscous. But I recommend their signature dish: a pita falafel.
Lisbon is not taking full use of its river front, but in Belém you can have a nice stroll at the boardwalk or climb the steps of either Torre de Belém or Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Near the latter there are often a couple of food trucks. Including the adorable little caravan Weeel, which sells frozen yogurt.
From Belém it’s only a short taxi ride to LX Factory. This former factory now houses great restaurants like 1300 Taberna, cute coffee spots like Wish and nice outdoor seating for simple bar food like Cafe da Fabrica.
Even if you wouldn’t go to any of my suggestions, you’ll still have many lovely outdoor dining options and restaurants that serve great food.
So check your calendar to see when you can go!