To set the tone, Lisbon is one of my favourite cities. It’s an utter delight; a food and drink market of dreams, a UNESCO heritage site that lets you be a princess for a day, intricately tiled houses, alcohol dispensed through the wall…all in the warmth and by the sea. I apologise in advance of the below comes across as a brag rather than a blog.
We stayed in a great little air b n b at the entrance to the castle, perfectly situated in the heart of Alfama. Alfama, as countless guides will tell you is a hub for non touristy, touristy goods and has some great little cafes and vantage points over the city. Other great areas include Baixa (good shopping), Rossio (where the main square is) and Chiado (more good shopping).
Belem is also great, not only for the highly rated, and rightly so, palais de Belem custard tarts but also because strolling along the riverfront with a glass of Ginjinha is pretty close to the dream. Sellers of this cherry liquor are a plenty by the tore de Belem, the heat of the day makes it a much better accompaniment to the tarts than coffee, in my expert opinion.
Since I went to Lisbon with a couple of girl pals a more than average amount of time was spent seeking out great bars – we really nailed it. Park Bar is a must, if you live in London think Franks bar goes on holiday, a really nice holiday. The views were insane and the drinks matched, aperol spritz a plenty and gin in massive goblets with a side of a non tradition sangria, there wasn’t anything not to like. While Park Bar was our daytime haunt of choice, Pensao Amor captured 90% of what I like in a evening. Formerly a brothel this bar offers something different, yet great – decked out like an old, glamour heavy dining room in one room, a DJ playing a cracking mix in the next room and a slightly more brothel fitting themed room as you head further in. The cocktails are unrivalled, I’d rather say no more, just go get an espresso martini and love life.
Whether post dancing food is needed or you are looking to break up your day, the Time Out market is quite the treat. The many stalls surround the indoor market and the whole place has a buzz about it, in the back right hand corner they have a stall reserved for an up and coming food stall (the rest are assured restaurant standard), when we were there it had a croquette stall. Squid ink to Parma ham stuffed versions, they were great little morsels. At weekends the markets open to 2pm and they have a band on until one, worry not, dancing can continue.
The final must do to note is Sintra; a magical UNESCO site under an hour away from the city. Granted, we spent too much time eating lunch and guzzling prosecco in the cute streets above the park but we still made it round to Pena castle. Worth it in itself, although if you do have more time there’s a bus that stops off at the various sites.
Enjoy, you can’t but really!