Just to say, this is Part 1 of 2 from Lisbon’s Travel Guide. Part two will be about where to eat while this Post is about where to go. I decided to separate these topics since there is a lot to see and eat although this is also just a little sneak peek of my favourites from many more options.
I first met Lisbon through my boyfriend who studied there for half a year and showed me around the city twice, in 2013 and 2014 for about 4 weeks in total. This city has many reasons to be loved and a magic atmosphere which made me go there again in April 2017. Meanwhile, lots of things have changed but lots stayed the same.
Then there is this beautiful lady – Kerstin – from @curlew_and_dragonfly (www.offwhiteblog.com). She had been so kind to send me all her secret Lisbon spots. I don’t know how often she had been in Lisbon but she is flight assistant and Lisbon had become her favourite city so I’m sure we can count several times.
We only had 5 days, 2 for the beach, which makes 3 to explore Lisbon again.
Here is my “What to do in 5 days Lisbon Travel Guide”
Lisbon Travel Guide:
Viewpoints, Parks, Beach, Nightlife, Doors
First of all, I’ll list you all the spots where you want to go to enjoy Lisbon from above. The viewpoints are stunning and kind of touristic but with exceptions. Of course, it depends if you’ll go there at peak times. Besides, there are no less than two wonderful parks and a street where you have to go by night if you want to get to know the typical ‘lisboa nightlife’. At least, life is better at the beach, right?
Not all the spots are easy to reach by foot which made us finding a great way how to see the most in a couple of hours.
- Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
is a super cute one and I think the most romantic lookout point of Lisbon. It is to be found in Bairro Alto district and close by where the ‘Elevador da Glória’ arrives.
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
is the highest point of Lisbon and one of the few spots to perfectly watch the sunset. Sadly we couldn’t make it for sunset this time but I honestly keep my fingers crossed that you will. Please share your experience with us if you have been there to see the sun setting.
- Miradouro da Graça
on the way to the Miradouro just mentioned you might come across this beautiful spot. It got also a wonderful view, a little typical Portuguese café, and not seldom people making street music.
- Miradouro das Portas do Sol
stand over Alfama’s rooftops, domes, and church towers and enjoy a medieval scenic and whitewashed facades from a hilltop terrace.
- Miradouro de Santa Catarina
is a great place for the afternoon to enjoy drinks and a snack. There is a little fruit market around the corner to get some berries, nuts and a cool drink. We had been there nearly every evening and since it’s more crowded with locals than with tourists, you can get a sense for the Lisbon culture, enjoy the music from people around and listen to the birds ;).
- Castelo de São Jorge
stand’s for the most complete view of Lisbon. You’ll find there a beautiful place to see the city’s squares, a sea of rooftops, the river, and 25 de Abril Bridge (which looks like the Golden Gate Bridge).
Since this spot is the only one where you have to pay an entrance fee, it might make sense just to go to the first two I mentioned (Miradouro da Senhora do Monte + Miradouro da Graça) and get a similar view. If you want to see the castle I’d recommend to go there.
Garden + Park:
- Jardim do Príncipe Real
This place is not a must see but a wonderful place to stop by if you are around. It’s a lovely and romantic small park, full of flowers, trees, benches (cuddling couples) a lake and a café. My favourite reason to go there is the atmosphere. It’s peaceful, calm and good to have a break of crowded squares.
- Jardim da Estrela
Since we had a pretty tough time schedule we only had half an hour to enjoy this beautiful Jardim (which was way too short). The park is quite un-central so we couldn’t make it twice to go there. In case you want to do a ride with Lisbon’s famous and historic tram anyway, it’s a good combination to take the E28 and stop by. Tip: Ticket – use zapping value of your metro card.
The garden is named the prettiest of Lisbon’s public green spaces, which is beautiful all over the year but esp. in spring/summer time when everything is blooming and vibrant. Find there a little lake, café, playground and as ALWAYS a local FRUIT market around the corner. We took LOTS of bananas from there ;).
- Praia de Carcavelos, Lisbon
There are some beautiful beaches around Lisbon whereas my favourite (of the ones to reach with public transport) is this one. Carcavelos beach is renowned for its reliable surf, soft sand and bars. Hence, in summer and especially holiday month, you have to expect lots of people.
How to get there:
Go by train from Cais do Sodré, one way is less than 2 Euro – use zapping value of your metro card
Lisbon by Night:
- Rua da Atalaia – late night street scene
Is THE PLACE or better to say THE STREET to go by night and join Portuguese partying. The Street has more than a dozen little Bar-clubs with unreal cheap drinks. Well, I have to admit, we can’t expect the best quality for a Sangria which costs 1 Euro. While the Beer is actually as always the good Superbock or Sagres even for 1 Euro (my boyfriend told me).
The picture reflects the beloved night street scene pretty good.
HOW TO GET AROUND to see the most in a short time:
We actually didn’t plan to rent a bike but somehow we stumbled about this place called LISBON BIKE RENTALS. My boyfriend said, “just a short look” (he studied ‘Energy Technology’ and is into bikes), me “ok BUT SHORT”. We went in and the desk guy who turned out to be the owner was really charming. Their mission is to provide an alternative, ecological and enjoyable way of getting to know Portugal. He convinced us in no time to come again and rent a bike. They provide Bikes for all wishes to fair prices.
Since we had plans for the night we went there the next morning and rent two bikes 40 Euro, 3 hours. We got FAT-E-Bikes (with FAT-tires ;)) which are perfectly made for the rough non-biker-friendly streets of Lisbon. It was definitely the highlight of our trip because we had great fun on the bikes and could make it to all those beautiful places within 3 hours.
- starting point: Bike Rental Shop
- riverside nearby Praça do Comércio
- Portas do Sol in Alfama
- Miradouro da Graça
- Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
- Jardim do Principé Real and
- Jardim da Estrela
- Back to the Bike Rental Shop trough Bairro Alto passing by Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
We made sure to bike to all the places which are not the easiest to reach by foot. Lisbon is quite hilly and got some really steep streets.
Have a special look at the doors and walls:
The first things I recognised in Lisbon are actually all the beautiful, vibrant doors and coloured walls. You’ll get everything you want, pink, yellow, blue, purple… this list could be endless. My boyfriend and I started to take door pictures to make a collage. I’m sure it will be fun to look back at it and maybe continue this play with other doors in different cities.
As we only had a couple of days, for a wonderful city with magical places, streets and also doors 😉 these are just a few experiences of many. I hope it can be a little help for your trip to Lisbon. I’ll come back Lisboa! xX Annelina