Mosaic covered buildings, Steep hills draped with patriotic flags and not so patriotic laundry lines, the feeling I cant put my finger on when I walk onto one of the balconies looking over Lisbon in the Airbnb we were staying in!
Lisbon is like a hidden little shop in the back allies of your favourite area, which once you find you cant stop talking about it or thinking about it
I was there in October 2017, and 4 days wasn’t enough to see all of this intriguing city!… Full of architecture, history and culture. Where do you start?
Hint of History
You only have to look up to see the strong history of Lisbon coming from the top of the hill in the form of the Castle of Sao Jorge. With glimpses of the iconic trams going past you between the cracks of the narrow high streets, a visit to the Moorish Castle is a must for 360 degree views of the entire city, but also for the beautiful gardens that surround it. The beaten down street buildings that surround the hill leading up is where you will have to dodge the trams which have been running through the city for more than 400 years. The final stop is the Keep protecting the entrance to Lisbon , St Vincent Belem tower, an original medieval building , surrounded by water… A must see!
Architecture and Art
The brightly coloured buildings, the tight narrow steep streets , along with the cobbles on the pathways… To top it all off the famous main mosaic street floor of Rua Augusta with the Arch of Augusta dominating the entrance to it… which then guides you into the main square surrounded by bold block buildings and the contrasting sea right ahead basically as you walk more and more your eyes are amazed by the colours, detail and the Portugese architecture provides throughout the city. As you wander and lose yourself more I found myself in an area called Alfama, back streets covered in graffiti art, mosaic covered facades on buildings, and doors full of flowers growing up and around, you cant help but fall in love with the old and new colliding to create an impressive rainbow all through Lisbon city
Right on the coast of the Atlantic, it would be unheard of to not smell the fresh array of fish cooking all around the restaurants of Lisbon. One of the best markets I found was the Lisbon Timeout Market, close to the sea front , with so many different cuisines and flavours to try, as well as getting swept up in the hustle and bustle of the market stall owners selling fresh fruits and veg… I got a sense of community and energy!… Apart from that I ate way too many sweet custard tarts (Pastaie de Nata), found everywhere along the main streets in little bakeries.
Further afield – Fairy tale Sintra
I wasn’t over Lisbon’s city feels, when we headed out on a 40 minute train to Sintra , Tip to enjoy this day as much as you want get there early! We arrived before 8am before the crowds and enjoyed some serenity at the top of the Palace of Pena the striking bold colours seen from miles away, but the details of the architecture only seen with the eye when you get up close. Its like fairy tale castle up high on a hill looking over the whole region of Sintra. The next place was the Moorish Castle of Sintra , only stone ruins now but so beautiful and contrasted to the Palace , the walk around the castle walls which still stand offer amazing views, and pretending to be playing forts like I was 5 again! The last place we visited was lush and green Park of Sintra, with its gothic mansion, and the hidden Quinta da Regaleira aka the most romantic well I have ever seen its like something out of Snow white! End of just visit it and the whole park! from the grottos, to the fairy castle towers, all the way to the art deco style benches and tunnels its beautiful and totally for your next profile picture all over it!
Day to Night Fiesta
When the fairy lights go on and the sun sets over the city, the only place you want to head to the bohemian Bairro Alto full of fun, food and did I say food? The area is full of music, fresh food and beaut cocktails the best thing is getting the famous Santa Justa tram elevator so no stairs!! If you weren’t already chilled from watching the sun go down, you will after a few drinks here! The people are so friendly, we even got a few free cocktails due to staying at the same bar so long! Great way to finish the holiday off
I came back from Lisbon wanting to go straight back to wandering around the streets again and again, I hope you do to now!