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Welcome to a perfect day in Lisbon
Welcome to one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe and to your perfect day in Lisbon. Before we begin, and to get into the city’s mood, there will be plenty of walking and a lot of public transport riding. We will make the best use of our great public transport system: for six euros you can purchase a twenty-four hour ticket, valid for both companies Carris (buses and trams) and Metro (subway). As an alternative you can purchase the Lisboa Card, that not only allows you to use all the transportations for free, it also gets you free entrances and discounts on most of the must-visit places.
Breakfast at Pastelaria Suica
As you probably have been hearing since you were a child, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How about pairing it with the emblematic Pastelaria Suica, between Praca da Figueira and Rossio, where you can enjoy eating outside? It is said that famous personalities like Maria Callas and Orson Welles have once visited this cafe. Portuguese are known as coffee lovers, so take it the way we do: “bica” style – an espresso shot, creamy and full bodied, to kick start your morning.
Explore Lisbon on the Tram 28 Route
Well now after an indulging breakfast, you are busting up with energy to spend aren’t you? Let’s take a walk to the nearby neighborhood of Martim Moniz and catch the old 28 tram (or as we say in Portuguese “eletrico”). Take note of the mandatory stops: Miradouro Santa Luzia to overlook the city and to walk down to visit the nearby National Pantheon, the Sao Vicente de Fora church, on Sundays and Tuesdays Lisbon’s Flea Market called “Feira da Ladra” and to visit the St. George’s Castle; Se to visit Lisbon’s Cathedral built in the 12th century; and finally Chiado where we will drop off for some mid-day exploring and relaxing.
Taking a break in Chiado
Before there were shopping malls and high end stores, Chiado was the commercial hub of Lisbon with its old warehouses and traditional shops. In 1988 a fire that started in one of the most famous buildings destroyed all this and with it a part of Lisbon’s history. Nowadays, after some serious restoration work, Chiado is again filled with the energy of the past. To take a moment to embrace all this, after maybe browsing some of the shops for souvenirs, let’s go up Rua Garrett and take a break at Brasileira — the art deco cafe with the bronze statue of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa sitting outside.
Lunch at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
Lunch at a Museum? Yes. And more: lunch in a garden with a view at the National Museum of Ancient Art. The access to the Restaurant and the gardens is free, but take some time before to visit the collections from the 12th to the 19th centuries: on the first floor, European Paintings and Decorative Arts; on the second floor, Portuguese jewelry, pottery, Portuguese glass and Oriental arts; on the third floor, Portuguese paintings and sculpture. The entrance is six euros only or free if you are visiting on the first Sunday of the month or if you purchased the Lisbon Card.
From Belem to the world
You are enjoying the view delighted with your Portuguese cuisine lunch, sipping a nice Portuguese red wine or beer, overlooking the Tagus river wondering where river ends and ocean begins. The Portuguese history has been linked for centuries to the ocean, the Age of Discoveries, our need to go and explore. Let’s follow the trail of the men who made history, taking the 714 bus just outside the Museum and dropping off in Belem. The first monument that you lay your eyes on is the Jeronimos Monastery, in its 16th century Manueline style architecture magnitude, a UNESCO World Heritage site, built by Infante Henrique O Navegador (Henry the navigator, a crucial figure in the early Portuguese Empire and the Age of Discoveries). If you’re not too overwhelmed by the beauty of the Monastery, let’s head to another World Heritage site: the Belem Tower near the river. Also built in the 16th century as part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon, it now stands as one of the most famous symbols of Lisbon.
Secret Recipe Pastries For Afternoon Snack
All this History around you and the sight of the river really opens up your appetite doesn’t it? Fortunately we don’t have to walk very far. Let’s go to Pasteis de Belem for a cup of coffee (another “bica” if you will) and a couple of these pastries. These treats have been around since 1837 and no one knows (except for those who bake them) the secret recipe behind them. What can be revealed, is the best way to eat them: warm and sprinkled with powder cinnamon. Absolutely divine!
Sunset by the river
The city is quieting down, people returning home from work are starting to fill the buses and the trams, but somehow you still can’t feel it’s crowded. From Belem, just across the street from Pasteis de Belem, we’re taking tram 15E and dropping off at Praca do Comercio (also known as Terreiro do Paco). This great open space is a large pedestrian area, surrounded by many cafes and restaurants, but that’s not what brings us here today. After dropping off, we’re crossing the square and reaching the river, to the beginning of newly restored Ribeira das Naus. Sit here, watch the ferries cross hundreds of people back and forth to and from Tagus southbank, wait for sun to set. Let all your energy flow because night is coming and we have great things planned.
Dinner and a song
Let’s walk along Ribeira das Naus until Cais do Sodre. From Cais do Sodre we’ll go up Rua do Alecrim, then Rua da Misericordia and take a left turn to Travessa da Queimada at the famous Bairro Alto. A beautiful sunset deserves a dinner with the live music of the traditional Fado at Cafe Luso. Nothing goes better with Fado than the typical Caldo Verde (a rich cream soup made with chopped cabbages), served with “broa” (corn bread) and “chourico” (pork sausage) and a bottle of one of their selected red wines. Truth be told, anything from their menu goes amazingly well with Fado.
When in Bairro Alto…
You just finished your dinner, stepped out of the restaurant and this energy of the people around you invades you. That’s because we’re in Bairro Alto, a quiet residential neighborhood of narrow streets by day, with a few shops, that turns into bar town at night. Since the bars are so small, most people will be outside drinking and talking. You can stroll down and up the streets to find a place that suits your mood, which isn’t hard. You find something for every taste, with an original decoration to go with it.
Before you go
Are you sure you can’t stay for a little longer? We have so much more to show you and places to take you! Oh well, if you must… We enjoyed showing you a perfect day in Lisbon. Just a final suggestion before you leave: shopping for souvenirs. Let’s buy something original and that supports our local designers and entrepreneurs, shall we? Visit one of these shops: Lisbonlovers (for original gifts like wine bottles with custom made labels) and Portugal Gifts (for the typical Portuguese crafts with a contemporary twist).
Thanks Sandra from Tripper for this awesome introduction to Lisbon! We cannot wait to take your advice when we visit the city next year! Also don’t forget to visit Tripper on facebook and follow them on twitter at @TheTripperApp to learn more about their new app coming out about how to escape off the beaten path!