Monday, August 15, 2022

You'll Love Lisbon

We visited Lisbon in August 2022. This city is one of our favorite capitals with it's azul tile obsession and beautiful architecture. If that's not enough, they also have really great desserts.

Where to Stay

Our first Airbnb in Lisbon was very close to Castelo de S. Jorge. As toursists we definitely fit in here. The streets are lined with souvenir shops and you can hear five different languages within one city block. This location worked really well for many of the sights on our list. However, this is a noisy area at night so you may want to bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper.

At the end of our trip, we stayed in the eastern part of the Principe Real neighborhood. This area houses more locals and isn't nearly as convenient for walking around the city, but is a fairly quiet neighborhood.

What to See

Castelo de S. Jorge

We walked the steep streets up to the castle and waited in a short queue to purchase tickets for 10€ each. Since the castle sits above the city, the views alone are worth the 10€. We were pleased to have a clear day so we could see all of Lisbon below us. The castle itself has some beautiful remains, however don't expect elaborate interior rooms. Stone steps, archways, and walls have been preserved well and tourists may access most areas. There is a small museum inside with some recovered artifacts.

Castelo de S. Jorge
Museu Nacional do Azulejo

Walk on any street in Lisbon and you will see their obsession with tiles. The beautiful works of art are incorporated into the architecture everywhere. For 5€ you can see a large collection of Portuguese tiles at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo. Since the museum is a good distance from the city center, we took an Uber to get here. We enjoyed seeing the variety of tiles, but some of the rooms started to feel the same. Perhaps the tiles alone wouldn't be worth a visit, but the chapel inside the museum is incredible. Additionally, the museum has a huge bonus of not being crowded. We were often the only people in a room. Overall, I would definitely recommend a stop here.

Chapel in Museu Nacional do Azulejo
Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Right on the shoreline, the Torre de Belém is a beautiful landmark. We did not enter the tower, but enjoyed the free photo op. A short walk away is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument to Portuguese explorers. Neither of these take long, but are worth a stop if you're in the area.

Torre de Belém
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

You can purchase timed tickets for the monastery online, but we waited in a short line after seeing the Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos to buy tickets for 10 each. We arrived here fairly late in the day hoping to view the monastery with fewer people, but were able to purchase tickets before 5pm when sales stop. The chapel area is free and beautiful, and you can view the tomb of Vasco da Gama here. The main attraction of the monastery is the courtyard which has two levels and amazing architecture. Our timing worked out well with not too many people and great lighting for pictures. Of our stops in Lisbon, this may have been my favorite.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Mercado de Santa Clara

If you're in Lisbon on a Saturday or Tuesday, the Mercado de Santa Clara runs from 9am-6pm. There is a huge range of products sold here, from an assortment of secondhand clothes, toys, and appliances to handmade jewelry. You could certainly buy some good souveniers at the market, or you could just enjoy taking it all in. Despite the assortment of goods for sale, there isn't much to eat here. We shopped in the morning and found a single vendor with homemade donuts and coffee, but no other food stalls.

Pink Street

Lisbon celebrates Pride on their Pink Street. Located very close to the Time Out Market, this is a fun stop for a picture.

Pink Street
Where to Eat

Time Out Market

We ate at the Time Out Market twice because it was such a fun experience. There are so many stalls with different types of food, many started by famous Portuguese chefs. Seating is cafeteria style, so it can be hard to grab a spot. One of the perks of eating here was having each of us get food from a different place to try more options. We also really enjoyed the wide variety of dessert options.

Time Out Market

O Trigueirinho

At 7:30pm O Trigueirinho opens for dinner, but you will be waiting for a table if you arrive then. We showed up at about 7:15, and there were a few people in line ahead of us. This restaurant is very well known among locals and tourists with good reason. We had a decadent Portuguese meal with a bread, cheese, and olive starter, fish entrees, and wine for about 30€. Unfortunately we were too full for dessert, but I'm sure it's great too!

Pastéis de Belém

Lisbon is famous for the pastel de nata, a custard tart. You can find them everywhere, but we held out for the ones at Pastéis de Belém which is very close to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos where the recipe originated. The lines outside seem ridiculous, but if you want to pick up some tarts to go you won't be waiting long. Just be sure you're in the right line. We took ours to the nearby park and enjoyed them in the shade.

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