Lisbon is fast becoming one of the hottest short break destinations in Europe – and for good reason. Maybe its the cool riverside location, maybe its the ornately-tiled streets and alleys brimming with atmosphere, or maybe its the incredible food and drink you’ll find in every area of the city. Whatever your reason for flocking to Lisbon (did I mention short flight times from the UK?), follow this guide to make sure you get the most out of the city and leave wanting more!
[responsive-image id=’3548′ align=’right’ caption=’Breakfast at Tartine, Lisbon’ alt=’Breakfast at Tartine, Lisbon’] 9:00 am: Breakfast at Tartine
There’s no greater way to get an instant taste of Lisbon than to start your day with the nation’s most famous pastry: pastéis de nata (aka custard tarts). Stop for a few of these – go on, they’re only small – at Tartine Bakery in Chiado. Sip on a coffee whilst watching this smart neighbourhood come to life.
9:30 – 10:00 am: Tram back in time
Take a short walk from the bakery to the tram stop at Rua Vítor Cordon and catch the number 28E tram to Castelo de São Jorge, the iconic castle perched on a hill above the city. The tram ride alone is a must when visiting Portugal and you’ll feel like you’re travelling back in time as you chug along up the hill in one of the traditional yellow cars.
Top Tip: You can buy tram tickets at the metro station or on-board for around €3 one way
[responsive-image id=’3552′ align=’left’ caption=’Portuguese flag at Castelo de São Jorge’ alt=’Portuguese flag at castle, Lisbon’]10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Storm the castle
Entry to Castelo de São Jorge will cost €7.50 and you can pick up a free map to help you explore this restored fortification. Start by wandering the ramparts and gardens that offer spectacular views across the city, including the River Tagus and 25 de Abril Bridge.
Built in the mid-11th century as the Moorish stronghold of Lisbon, the castle has 11 towers, including the Tower of Ulysses. Head here to try out the new periscope, which gives a 360-degree view of the city in real time.
12:00 – 1:00 pm: The gateway to Lisbon
It’ll take about 20 minutes (downhill) to meander the lanes from the castle down to Praça Do Comercio, the square at the heart of the city. Anyone arriving by boat used to disembark here, and as such, it is fondly known as the gateway to Lisbon. Be sure to get a photo in front of the arch and handsome yellow building for the ultimate Lisbon postcard shot.
[responsive-image id=’3555′ align=’right’ caption=’A very Lisbon lunch at Mercado da Ribeira’ alt=’Potatoes at Mercado ds Ribeira (Lisbon)’]
1:00 – 2:30 pm: Take a Time Out
Just a 10 minute walk further along the Tagus River you’ll find food mecca: Mercado da Riberia. Owned by Time Out, this 13th Century market place brings together 35 food stalls and kiosks of the best in Lisbon’s culinary scene. This is the ultimate spot for posh foodies to taste-test as many Portuguese delicacies as possible, including hams, cheeses, sardines and cherry liqueur.
Top Tip: Can’t decide which tipple to try? You’re in luck: you can pour your own pints from the bar in the centre of the market
[responsive-image id=’3562′ align=’left’ caption=’Padrão dos Descobrimentos’ alt=’Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon’]2:30 – 4:00 pm: Bob down to Belém
Hop back on the tram (15 E towards Algés) at Cais Sodré and head to Belém, another of Lisbon’s monumental and historical areas. It was from here that many great Portuguese explores embarked on voyages of discovery; these are captured in the awe-inspiring Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This towering monument stands 52m high on the banks of the Tagus River and is an ultimate tribute to the Age of Discovery. Take the lift (or climb up 267 steps if you’re feeling fit!) to reach the viewpoint and a spectacular view over the river.
4:00 – 6:00 pm: Cocktails and cupcakes [responsive-image id=’3565′ align=’right’ caption=’Caipirinha & cupcake at Tease’ alt=’cocktails & cupcakes at Tease Lisbon’]
You’re on holiday so it would be plain rude not to indulge in an afternoon of sweet treats, accompanied by something slightly stronger should you wish! For a bakery with a difference, try Tease, complete with vintage armchairs, glitter ball and a cake counter displaying the stuff of sugary dreams. Grab a window seat for the perfect photo op beneath the ‘Tease’ sign and tuck into a Caipirinha (Lisbon’s signature cocktail) with a cupcake.
8:00 pm – until late: Dinner at the Press Club
For a unique way to finish off your Lisbon experience, book a table for dinner at Clube de Jornalistas (translation: the Press Club). Tucked away on a hilltop street where the Madragoa area meets Estrela, this restaurant is set within an 18th-century house and serves up a sumptuous Mediterranean-inspired menu. Small touches like a complementary glass of fizz on arrival and menus presented in envelopes, just like invitations, create a special experience and atmosphere that feeds into the food itself.[responsive-image id=’3570′ align=’center’ caption=’Dessert board at Clube de Jornalistas’ alt=’Dessert board at Clube de Jornalistas, Lisbon’]
Top tip: order the dessert board to share for pudding – it’s beautifully presented and totally instagram-worthy!
If you love this guide to Lisbon and can’t wait to put it to the test, why not stay at Guincho Campsite? If you’ve got any top Lisbon activity tips of your own, share them in the comments below or tell us over Facebook & Twitter!