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Best of Lisbon, Portugal: What to Visit, Eat and Experience!

Our first visit to Lisbon was a delight for me and my family.
This charming city is one of the oldest cities in the world, with very special details like the yellow tram and elevators, the old Alfama district, delicious food everywhere you go, with the most beautiful ancient castles and monasteries that make this place a total magic experience.

After a few weeks back, Nico is still asking when are we coming back to the city of seven hills (that I swear we walked them all with two strollers), when are we eating the delish and fresh bread (and boy, did I eat) and when are we taking the old trams all over again (seriously, the absolute cutest rides despite Oli’s reaction in the pictures)

Thanks to Air Transat this city has become one of our favorite destinations in Europe.

It’s no secret Portugal is THE hottest destination the past year and there are so many reasons why this country needs to be on your bucket list immediately. 

Here are my favorites: 

The coffee guys, the coffee: it’s the best gem in Portugal. I stopped at every possible spot everywhere we went to have a cafe simple and it’s as little as .70 euros. They’re one of the finest coffee producers in Europe, btw!

–  There’s a thing called fresh Pasteis de Nata: you’ll have them fresh from the oven, crunchy and made in heaven. 

The food is beyond yummy: one of the most fish-friendly places and yes, bacalhau will be your BFF during your visit. 

Trams are the cutest: who can resist a yellow, historical tram and elevator all over the city? This is a unique perk to go up and down the hills. 

Festivities are THE way to party: We were lucky enough to experience the Festas de Lisboa, where the city is a party in every single corner, the smell of grilled sardines, and colorful garlands in every street of the city will cheer you up all month long. 

They are serious about tiles: I was already obsessed with tiles, and Portugal tile art is next-level. Prepare yourself to see them everywhere!

You can do city and beach adventures in one single trip: Just taking a short train ride from Lisbon to Aveiro! 

The people will be the reason why you’ll come back every time: the hospitality of Portuguese people is one of the things we truly adored about Portugal. You’ll feel you are home, and for us coming from Venezuela, this was a bit more evident because it was one of the biggest expat influences of our country. 

The prettiest tiles, everywhere!
The famous Elevador da Bica

Lisboa is the biggest and capital city of Portugal and second oldest city after Athens so you can expect tons of cobblestone streets everywhere (leave your heels home) and some of the narrowest neighborhoods you’ll ever see.

Public transportation really works: the metro in Lisbon is small, trams and elevators are everywhere even in the most complicated hills. 

If you need to snack often, don’t worry! there’s a bakery in every corner: with tons of fresh bread, pastries, tarts, soups, salads, fresh fruits and squeezed orange juice. 

You’ll feel safe: Lisbon is a very walkable city and you’ll feel safe even at night. We walked everywhere with Nico and Oli and people even offered help with our strollers. 

Cash vs Cards: Unlike Porto, you’ll find more credit card friendly places in Lisbon. Don’t forget the cash anyway, just in case you’re craving some fresh fruits in the streets of Alfama.

The weather is unbelievably generous: if you’re planning a future trip to Portugal, the best months are May, June, and July! Fresh sunny and not crazy hot. 

You can fly direct: with Air Transat from Montreal like we did, only a 7-hour long flight with the best crew and menu (bye old days of having flavorless plane food) and welcome to the new era of traveling! We tried chef Vezina’s menu both ways and our beloved Option Plus, enjoying ton more privileges in economy class.

If I could only eat this cheese every day, I’ll be the happiest mama ever!

Old Alfama houses are a gem, just like this one.
The view from The Miradouro Santa Luzia

While walking its colorful streets, I pretty much ate all the Portuguese food I came across during our visit and it was so worth it. Eating out in Lisbon is inexpensive and delish, and here are the essentials you need to add to your list:

  • Mercado da Ribeira: The popular TimeOut market brought together the most popular and best foodie places of Lisbon in one place. You can find local beers, Portuguese chicken, seafood, steak, pastries, and flowers.

  • Oh Brigadeiro: These tiny Brazilian sweets are our favorites and you’ll find them in Lisbon as well, YAY! 

  • Pharmacia: If you need a prescription for eating amazing food, this is THE place. Located in the national association of pharmacies building, you’ll find a vintage styled resto with local ingredients and fantastic drinks.

  • Embaixada Principe Real: one of the most iconic buildings in Principe Real, this shopping center is home to spectacular restaurants like Atalho Real. 

  • Hello, Kristof: local and trendy coffee shop you can’t miss for a good cafe time. 

  • Nannarella: Gelato worth the hype, with the creamiest chocolate we tried during our Portugal stay. They only take cash or debit cards. 

  • Pasteis de Belem: THE OGs! We only did an Uber trip to Belem to try them and oh boy, they were so worth the ride. Opened in 1837, you can see their factory, sip some great coffee and of course have tons of Pasteis de Nata. 

  • Fauna & Flora: This is the newest trendy brunch spot in Lisbon serving cute avo-toasts, smoothies bowls, and bacon pancakes. 

  • Pratinho Feo: Lovely spot 5 minutes away from our Airbnb, we had THE best barbecue chicken, potatoes, and black beans. 

  • Gelato Davvero: YES. just go here, okay?

  • Heim Cafe: perfect for a coffee break or a brunch date. Their pancakes are the most popular item, ever!

  • A Cevicheria: We couldn’t find a table here with the kids (still crying) and I can’t wait to go back to try it. Cevicheria is THE spot for fresh seafood right now in Lisbon, note that! See you soon, Pisco sours!

The famous Pasteis de Belem!

In case you didn’t know, Lisbon has a real pink street.
They got the IG memo.

This flower wall, in the heart of Alfama. All heart eyes.

Hello, Kristof! 

I know we’ll be back a few more times to Lisbon after our first experience. I received a lot of recommendations from local friends and some in Montreal that helped us curate a perfect list of things to do (all kids friendly) in the city. Here are our faves:

  • Neighborhoods you need to visit: Baixa-Chiado where you’ll see the trendy shopping area of the city, Alfama as the oldest area with spectacular houses, churches, and viewpoints. Principe Real for its stunning restaurants and hotels, Bairro Alto for the hip coffee shops, brunch spots and colorful houses (where we stayed), Belem if you want to see the old tower and monasteries. 

  • Viewpoints: Santa Justa lift, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Miradouro Santa Caterina, Arco da Rua Augusta, Miradouro Porta do Sol and the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte (the highest view of the city).

  • Artsy places: You can’t miss the LX Factory. this old fabric factory is now the heart of a trendy Lisbon, full of coffee shops, local & design spots, restaurants, and coworking spaces. Don’t leave without visiting Wish, a small coffee/concept store.

  • Books pit stop: While you visit LX Factory, Ler Devagar is a must! This bookstore has bookshelves that reach the ceiling and it’s considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. 

  • O Mundo Fantastico das Sardinas Portuguesas: A unique spot in Lisbon where you’ll find a world of canned sardines with different oils, and you can even pick your year you were born with a personalized design.
  • Pequeno Jardim: The prettiest flower shop in the heart of Chiado.

  • Elevador da Bica: Nico was so lucky to have a prime spot during our ride, this funicular system is in the heart of downtown Lisbon and the lift works with two simultaneous cars running in opposite directions. 
  • Rua Augusta Arch: The most iconic triumphal arch of the city and major attraction with views to the Praca do Comercio, and the spectacular views of the city (our favorite of the trip)
  • Tram 28: This tram is THE most touristic ride in Lisbon and connects the old Alfama district, Graca and Baixa. We didn’t take it with our kiddos (the way was over 4 hours in the initial stop) and instead, we rented a tuk-tuk and did the same route. 
  • Luvraria Ulises: The oldest and most antique gloves store in Lisbon, this facade is to die for! 
  • Rua Nova do Carvalho: The famous pink street! The famous pink street! 

Chiado Streets
We LOVED discovering M Bar Family Cafe, a coffee spot for kids with a play area and a special menu for the little ones.
The only spot in Lisbon where we found changing tables and everything mini sized. 
LX Factory finds. I got some Portuguese gems for Oli here.
Over here, sir!
LX Factory lil’ shops. 

Thank you Air Transat for partnering with us hosting the most amazing days in Portugal.
All opinions expressed here are entirely mine. 

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One Comment

  1. Maca. This post makes my heart so happy. We need a vacation and this looks just like the place for us. I cannot wait to go. xoDanielleclarkandaldine.com

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