Lisbon is an incredibly beautiful city with many different attractions to fill a long weekend. My recent trip to Lisbon was a jam packed four days that were filled with sore calves from walking up and down hills, pretty tiled houses, far too many custard tarts and yes, a few beautiful views of the city. Of all the little things this idyllic city has to offer, I found my top 10 not to miss activities for your next trip to Lisbon!
1.Eat a World Famous Custard Tart Roadside
The custard tarts alone are reason enough to visit Lisbon. If you’re lucky enough to experience this culinary delight (technically called Pastel de nata) in Lisbon, then make sure you get the best of the best. The best and most popular (read: queuing will be necessary!) is located in Belem at the Pasteis de Belem. I recommend waiting in the shorter, take away queue and splurging on a six pack (you’ll thank me) to eat along the water or outside the bustling cafe.
2. Visit The Thieves Market
The aptly named Thieves Market or Fiera de Ladra, is a vintage flea market where literally anything can be found. Located quite close to the São Jorge Castle and easily accessible from Tram 28, this market is far from the ordinary western markets with candles, soaps and pet rocks. We were in awe walking around the market, trying to decide what the most obscure knick knack we could find. From old cameras, headless dolls and even vintage family photographs, every corner there was something new and intriguing. Most tourist guides will tell you to be careful of your bags at this market (there is a reason its called Thieves Market), but living in London has taught me to always be aware of your belongings, and we saw nothing out of the ordinary and no one got pick pocketed!
3. Find As Many Pretty Tiled Houses As You Can
I couldn’t help but take a photo every time I came across a new tiled house with a pretty print. Just walking down the streets of the old town I got excited at every corner, embarrassingly having to snap another photo.
4. Ride Tram 28
Well, this was definitely an experience. To say I love public transport would be an outright lie, but I figured, do what the Portuguese do (even though we chose the horrific line that is always filled with tourists) and take a ride on a yellow tram. As a daily commuter on the Victoria line tube from Victoria to Oxford Circus Station in London, I thought I’d be well versed in the art of finding personal space in a crowd and looking dignified while three centimetres from a strangers armpit. Apparently not. Tram 28 is always extremely packed, with very few seats available to anyone and the hot, jerky, rocking ride made us get off a few stops earlier then planned just to get out of there. However, it is the easiest and quickest way to São Jorge Castle and it’s definitely one to tick off that list (and never, ever do again).
5. Try Ginjinha – in a Chocolate Cup
This is one local tradition that is not hard to take part in. Ginjinha is a yummy cherry- like liquer drink that you take as a shot. Either taken as a normal shot – or my personal favourite, in a mini chocolate cup!
6. Visit The Castle
São Jorge Castle is a beautiful Moorish castle that is located on a hill overlooking Lisbon. It has a very fairytale vibe as the classic castle walls, turrets, towers and footbridges all look as you would have imagined as a child reading stories.
And the view is pretty nice too.
7. Find a Hidden Rooftop Bar
Yes, this does seem to be one of my favourite things to do in every city I visit. But how can you beat that view? This bar was called Park and was located at the top of a carpark – no name, no signage, you just had to know that is was there (or researched slightly earlier on TripAdvisor…). Of course after we snagged some seats we just had to stay until sunset…
8. Eat Yourself Silly At Timeout Market Lisboa
The Time Out Market is the place to find delicious food of every kind. We met a couple that had been in Lisbon four days and eaten three meals at the market because it was just that good.
9. Go Dancing on The Pink Street
Rua Nova do Carvalho or ‘The Pink Street’ was once considered Libson’s version of the Red Light district. Now days though, it’s where many of the biggest clubs and bars in Lisbon are located and most nights the street is filled with crowds of locals and tourists spilling out from the clubs.
10. Find Some Lisbon Street Art
My main regret in Lisbon is that we didn’t go searching too far for the amazing street art that is plastered on many of the buildings. I loved the art we did find, but next trip to Lisbon, I’m definitely dedicating an afternoon to wandering and discovering more incredible street art.