A Weekend in... Lisbon
Enchanting visitors with its bleached white buildings, intimate alleyways and modest charm, Lisbon offers all of the allures you would expect from a European capital, with a much more inviting price tag. Often associated with being cheap, this city doesn’t beat its chest as one of Europe’s greatest destinations. But don’t let this fool you - Lisbon is rapidly developing into an energetic, lively location, well worthy of a spot on your travel bucket list. It doesn’t take long to become enamoured with this exquisite city, a weekend is all you need…
9:00am – Lisbon’s eclectic community of hipster kids and passionate creatives have been swarming the fast-rising Principe Real Square, full of trendy independent cafés, art galleries, and beautiful design shops. This is the perfect spot to catch some breakfast and set the tone for the rest of your day, or, visit back at lunch time to fully experience the parade of energy and life that fills the square.
11:00am – After a slow breakfast in the Square, head to the popular MUDE Design and Fashion Museum. The collection derives from the hard work and dedication of Francisco Capelo, who started collecting work in the 1990s, and now exhibits over 1,200 design pieces and 1,500 fashion pieces from all over the world. Formerly a bank, the space was converted and has hosted to over 75,000 visitors since its open in 2009. Expect high fashion and avant-garde design.
1:00pm - We expect your bellies may be rumbling by the afternoon, so why not indulge in some of the city’s most well-known lunch spots. We would recommend heading to Royal Café for remarkable décor and a delicious gourmet menu, infusing classic Portuguese dishes with the traditional flavours and spices of the Mediterranean.
3:00pm – It’s time for more adventure! Travel by one of Lisbon’s famous yellow trams to the magnificent 16th Century Monastery of Jeronimos, one of Lisbon’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. It takes a short while to get there, but expect to be blown away by the gorgeous sculptures and ancient gothic architecture of this historical landmark. Not to be missed!
6:30pm – As the day begins to end, head to the Cais do Sodre ferry terminal and hop on one of the regular boats which cross the river to Cacilhas. After a short walk on the waterside path, you will arrive at Atira-Te Ao Rio. Whilst the river absorbs the deep orange glow of the setting sun and covers Lisbon’s hilly cityscape and bridges, enjoy a fantastic dinner with a refreshing glass of Portuguese wine.
10:00pm – For nightlife, Lisbon boasts a fantastic variety of entertainment for your pleasure. There is plenty to see and do and it's obvious that the Portuguese know how to have a good time, especially in the hilltop district of Bairro Alto where dozens of restaurants and bars line the narrow streets with jazz, reggae, electronica and fado filling the air. We would recommend the celebrated Park bar, an elevated rooftop bar that sits on the top floor of an old car park. The vibe is cool and creative, with DJ’s blaring jazz and house whilst the view stretches all the way down to the Tejo. If you’re lucky, you might even catch on of the open-air cinema nights!
10:00am – Start your Sunday right with one of our favourite breakfast spots in the city! Head to the popular Quinoa café for a unique breakfast experience. With a fantastic blend of vintage and modern interior design, it's easy to settle into this attractive setting as you choose from home baked scones, croissants, baguettes, or rolls sprinkles with sesame seeds, waiting to be filled with a variety of hams, cheeses and jams. Quinoa also is well-known amongst vegetarians and dieters, as it offers organic bread and gluten free ingredients for customers with special dietary needs, and offers fruits, yoghurts and fresh juices to those that want to go healthy!
11:30am – Its time to venture down the road less travelled and wander through Alfama’s steep, narrow, cobble stoned streets to get a real feel of the traditional lifestyle of Lisbon, before it too is gentrified. Through these narrow residential roads, expect plenty of photo opportunities with local characters parading the streets, colourful washing hanging out from every window, fresh grocery stores all around and women selling fresh fish from their doorways. Directionless travel through the streets of Alfama turns out to be quite the adventure.
1:00pm – A common pastime for travellers is people watching and there is no better place to enjoy Lisbon’s landscape than Portas do Sol. Enjoy a gorgeous view overlooking the sun-kissed Alfama rooftops and busy streets, and the beautiful Tagus River. A really pleasant experience, with fantastic food and drink to top it all off.
3:30pm – You’re not scared of sharks are you? If visiting Lisbon, we would definitely recommend experiencing its incredible Aquariam, Oceanario. “The closest you’ll get to scuba-diving without a wetsuit” says Lonely Planet, as this particular park is home to over 8000 species. The huge wraparound tanks make you feel as if you are underwater whilst you feast your eyes on some of the world’s most popular animals, from zebra sharks to sea turtles. You are even able to organise events such as ‘Sleeping With Sharks.’
6:30pm – There is plenty to choose from for a perfect early dinner in Lisbon. Many of Lisbon’s local seafood lovers rave about Cervejaria Ramiro, which has provided rich plates of giant tiger prawns, lobster, grab and other popular seafood dishes. The atmosphere is laidback and lively. We would recommend arriving early to beat queues. Majority of reviewers on Trip Advisor proclaim it as some of the best seafood they’ve ever tried, so it is well worth a visit!
9:00pm – You can’t visit Lisbon without experiencing the mournful ballads being belted in the numerous fado bars. Clube de Fado hosts the cream of the fado crop with big names performing whilst you eat and drink.
Lisbon remains one of those rare capital cities, that have so much to offer, yet are frequently overlooked. In the last decade or so, the city has had life breathed into it with a new, youthful energy parading through the streets and filling windows and properties with attractive café’s, restaurants and bars, promising hope for this beautiful city. And the best thing? It remains a fantastic bargain.