Why Lisbon? I hear you ask
For staters you can indulge in fine wine, Superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, listen to Fado – a genre of 18th century Portuguese music whilst you soak up the Iberian spring wether on offer.
Lisbon was also the first city in the world to import Guinness and has the worlds only public tie mirror… at least that I know of, there’s no other city in the world with a public mirror like this one. You’ll find it in Rossio, close to door number 115 on D. Pedro IV square.
It reads something like: “tidy your tie’s knot” (componha o nó da sua gravata).
There are few well know places around Europe where you can park yourself on a sunny terrace of a trendy cafe surrounded by such historic beauty and not get stung for an over priced beer or coffee. Welcome to the exception – Lisbon.
This is one of the best value major Cities you can visit and I can fly you there in just 2hr 45min from London. This enchanting city feels anything but cheap.
Food and drink
It’s all about Presunto (dried ham), port, seafood, and the original Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken. 🐔 🍤 🍷 It’s all absolutely delicious and reasonably priced.
’13 sardines per second’ 🎣
The timeout food hall is a must visit for any foodie. Whilst the dishes on offer aren’t all strictly Portuguese, it is a pretty cool place with so much to choose from. You’ll find stalls run by some of the best chefs in Portugal, selling some of the best food you from around the world. The choice is almost overwhelming so make sure you have plenty of time.
Desert leaves you with other option other than one created by the catholic monks of the 18th century- the Pastel de Nata or Portuguese custard tart. Made using layer upon layer of puff pastry and dollops of set custard. Im salivating at at the thought of one… or 3. In fact if you want to bring some back they come in sleeves of 6. I frequent the airport terminal if we don’t have the luxury of staying in Lisbon. But be warned they don’t always make it back to London (irresistible when warm).
Visit in June ☀️
June is the perfect time of year to visit Lisbon. The flowers are in bloom and street festivals create a friendly buzz around the city. The feast of St Anthony being one of the festivals in June and its all about sardines! 🐟 In fact its reported that on average 13 sardines are consumed per second!
Take tram 28 for a tour of the city – touristy but marvellous
Be sure to hop on tram 15 to see Torre de Belém and Jeronimos Monastery and make sure you try the Pastel de Nata at the top. They’re devine and its a rite of passage!
The Metro system runs from the airport to the city centre easy to navigate and use on arrival with your bags at the airport as an alternative to a taxi/Uber.
Uber is widely used in Lisbon and its cheap. I took a ride to the top of the hill and started my day with a walk around the castle and magnificent views over the city. It was then pleasant to meander through the streets down towards the port and the food hall rather than the other way round.
Where to stay
If you want convenience and character Pick accommodation in the Alfama, Baixa or Bairro Alto districts. There are plenty of options from Air BnB’s, to hotels to hostels.
Jonny’s Top tips
- Tram 28 is a favourite for pickpockets. Absolutely no need to be paranoid just be aware of your belongings and take sensible precautions
- Other months: Apr-Sept – Warm Oct-March – Cooler, more rain.
- Cascais is only 26km on the train – Beaches, great surf, buzzing nightlife
- Sintra is only 27km on the train – Fairytale palaces, subtropical gardens, lush forests
- Mafra is 40km by car – extravagant monastery-palace, beautiful parkland