First city trip in Lisbon
In February, we took our passports and flew from Luxembourg airport to the Portuguese capital.
We couldn't have been luckier about the weather since we had about twenty degrees. Outside the school holiday period, we did not walk on the feet of other tourists although very numerous for a month of February.... Lisbon never sleeps.
It should be noted that we always choose a hotel that is ideally located and has a certain charm. For this trip, we quickly chose Lisboa Pessoa Hotel (in a room called "Quarto Duplo Unique"). In breakfast formula, for 7 nights, the room came back to us at around 900€.
This article is written as a diary because we think that it is the easier way to transmit our full excitation about the fantastic city trip!
Departure Saturday, February 9 at 9:20 pm, we arrived at the hotel tired but happy around 1 am local time. Time to order a small MacDonald's and fall into Morphée's arms to be in shape the next day.
In Lisbon, Uber prices are cheaper than public transport when you are with several people (10€ for the airport to city centre trip for example).
We start this first day after a hearty breakfast at the hotel (fruit, pastries, bacon, eggs, bread, jam, etc.) while enjoying the panoramic view of the restaurant.
We first strolled through the "Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara" for the view, then walked without any real purpose to immerse ourselves in the city's atmosphere. We found ourselves in front of the Palace of the Assembleia da República.
Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara
All these steps having made us hungry, we stopped in a small restaurant called “COMOBA Lisboa” which is only 15 minute-walk from Praça Do Comércio.
On the menu: Matcha pancakes and vegan porridge made with Chia, all this accompanied of course by 2 smoothies. Although more expensive than other similar restaurants, the prices are correct, and we were full after the meal.
Then, we continued our journey towards the city's iconic landmark: Praça Do Comércio via the Chiado district.
The pink street Lisbon
Praça Do Comércio
As the sky was threatening, we decided to head for the hotel to enjoy the pool.
For those who are interested, in the evening, we decided to eat sushi (we know it's not very local ...) at Sushi do Sà Morais restaurant and it was very good (know that via the application The Fork you get a 30% discount on sushi, it's always good to take).
On the meter: 16km covered (equivalent to 40 floors covered).
After breakfast, the program was pretty clear: direction 25 Abril bridge, the Santuário Nacional de Cristo Rei and Belém (with a visit to the monastery, as well as the tower of Belém).
We went to Praça Do Comércio to wait for our Uber. The journey is not very long and cheap since we have paid about 13€ (we know that it is not very ecological but unfortunately, the site is not well served by public transport).
Once we had dropped off next to the Cristo Rei (which is free and a copy of the statue of Christ in Rio), we had time to take the famous pictures of the bridge and contemplate the view.
We then moved closer to this impressive statue with a small chapel in it. However, we did not climb "up" the statue via the elevator because we felt that the view would not be more impressive.
View from Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei
Don't be afraid to wait for a new Uber since yours will probably not have moved.
So, we headed back to Belém.
Be careful if you want to make museums, the tower of Belem or the monastery of the Hieronymites are closed on Mondays! (This also explained the small number of people on site).
We were almost leaving on foot for Padrão dos Descobrimentos when suddenly, it became obvious to us that a black-white-green car was involved: I no longer present it: the electric scooter! There are different operators and our choice turned to the Lime application which is very easy to use.
They have invaded the capital and it is easy to find them everywhere. However, the city does not lend itself to this 100% if you want to use them as the only mean of transport. Indeed, for example in the Alfama district, they cannot be parked there, and the steep slopes of Lisbon are not always the best friends of these scooters that can reach up to 22km/h!
So, we drove along the Torre de Belém - Padrão dos Descobrimentos path on a scooter with a smile on our faces, our hair in the wind and under a beautiful blue sky.
We took the opportunity to taste the famous Pastéis de Belém without having to make a long line that goes with this institution in normal times (this 150-year institution is really very touristic; it is possible to find equivalent and cheaper products in other pastries).
Finally, we went back to the center to go for a walk in the Alfama district.
Alfama - largo sao Miguel
Yellow tram in Alfama
We went to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which, as its name suggests, will give you a magnificent panoramic view of part of Lisbon.
With the energy still present, we set off for Castelo de São Jorge. This castle overlooking the city is very large and consists of several parts to visit. Admission is charged, but is not overpriced and reduced for students, children and seniors.
In addition, it offers a sublime panoramic view of Lisbon with the Cristo Rei and Ponte 25 Abril in the background.
We then returned to the hotel to relax at the pool.
In the evening, we went to the restaurant "Café Portugal by My Story Hotel" which is located on Praça Dom Predo IV in the centre. We have benefited from a 40% discount on food thanks to The Fork (yes, we regularly use this application which has not disappointed us...). I recommend the tuna steak!
On the meter: 12km covered (equivalent to 50 floors covered).
After learning the lesson on Monday, we returned to the Hieronymite Monastery.
Bingo, it was open! We took our tickets and started by visiting Santa Maria church and the royal necropolis of the church. The vaults and the nave are magnificent!
Then we went back out to the National Archaeology Museum (the museum is included in the price, but we were slightly disappointed).
Finally, we arrived in the cloister of the monastery which consists of two floors, the architecture is fabulous.
To the Torre de Belém! A small disappointment for us because we expected something else to be honest since it is one of the city's must-see attractions.
However, it is very pleasant to visit (be careful in the middle of summer the line is in the sun and you will be cramped inside).
You have access to several floors, there is even a small cloister in the enclosure. You can go down into the basements, but we do not recommend going there if you are claustrophobic. Indeed, it is very narrow, and the ceilings are very low. And with the world, the atmosphere may be very stifling.
Once this was over, we went to the Museu do Palacio National da Ajuda. To reach it on foot, you have to walk a little and climb a big hill. But the fatigue and sweat are worth it.
The palace was huge, and the rooms were furnished. Being in low season, there were not many people, which was quite pleasant. So, we were able to enjoy the rooms without having 45 people gathered in front of the security cords.
From there we took an Uber to go to Time Out Lisbon.
Time Out is a dining room surrounded by restaurants but compared to the prices in Lisbon, we found it a little expensive (it is really a tourist attraction!). If you go there, don't hesitate to walk around the very center of the room, you will also find food there.
To finish the day, we drove back to the hotel on an electric scooter.
In the evening, still thanks to The Fork (never 2 without 3), we went to the restaurant "Lumi Rooftop" (30% discount on food) which is really delicious: at least their duck breast with its risotto and brownie were.
On the meter: 14km covered (equivalent to 35 floors covered).
In the morning, we had not prepared to roam so much in the streets of Lisbon. Yet the program was going to be loaded.
Let's start at the beginning: we went to see the Convento do Carmo housing the Museu Arqueologico do Carmo which is located on a small square just next to the hotel!
The ruins of the church are impressive and the fact that it has no roof is unusual. The archaeological museum is not very large.
When we left, we were next to the Elevador do Carmo / Elevador de Santa Justa. The elevator itself and the panoramic view are not linked. The price of a view is relatively expensive compared to other tourist attractions, but worth it. In fact, there are often lines to borrow it.
Once again being in off-peak period, there were not many people (which is not at all the case in summer) and we were able to fully enjoy the view that was "offered" to us.
View from the elevator
As we were motivated, we left for Panteão Nacional, the old church of Santa Engracia. The entrance is really cheap and also includes the Museu do Azulejos which is 20 minute-walk from there.
You can visit almost the entire Hall and the highlight of the show is of course when you climb the steps to wait for the roof of the Hall. This one offers a 360° view of Lisbon (beware of sunburn there is no shade at all up there).
Finally, we set off for the Museu do Azulejos.
It must be admitted that the entrance does not look like a mine (or even the district) but the interior shows different types of Azulejos, as well as its cloister and magnificent walls decorated with Azulejos.
Once the visit was over we returned to the hotel where we enjoyed the pool and spent a quiet evening there as the next day was a busy one.
On the meter: 15km covered (equivalent to 55 floors covered).
Sintra being located 40 minutes from Lisbon, we decided to visit it because many people present this city as a must when you stay a few days in Lisbon. To get there, the easiest solution is to take the train, which is absolutely cheap: we paid around €5 per person (€4.5 for the round trip + €0.5 for the reusable travel card afterwards).
We can only advise you to take a day (or even several days) to get there. It is humanly impossible to visit all the castles in one day. To solve this problem, we have decided to select the most important ones:
- Palácio Da Pena
- Palácio Nacional de Sintra
- Castelo Dos Mouros
In order to avoid queues, it is interesting to buy tickets online and take tickets with several entries (reduced price online but discounts for students or seniors for example are not available).
To get around the city, we took a Hop on - Hop off bus that toured several sites and is extremely convenient (and well filled at the same time - count around 8 euros per person).
We started with the Palácio Nacional de Sintra. It is quick to visit, but we were pleasantly surprised. It is the first palace to be seen at the exit of the station and is located in the middle of the city. The latter has a particular silhouette thanks to its 2 white chimneys of 33 meters each.
Next stop: Castelo Dos Mouros which are ruins but walking on the ramparts is very pleasant and offers a panoramic view of Sintra and beyond. If you are afraid of heights, we do not recommend going on the turrets. It is important to know that there are no real ramps or paths and that appropriate shoes are recommended (avoid flip-flops or heels for example).
Castelo dos Mouros
Finally, we have saved the best (of our 3 choices) for last: the magnificent Palácio Da Pena! Overlooking its park, it is impossible to miss it with its yellow-red colors. We did not go down at the foot of the palace but a little further, which allowed us to walk through the park before reaching the imposing architecture. So, we started with the ramparts, which give way to a breathtaking view.
Once the exterior of the castle was made, we entered the enclosure and the show continued: the furnished and decorated rooms followed one another, and we were still amazed.
Pena Palace, Sintra
After the visit was over, we walked through the park to return to take the shuttle back to the station where the train was waiting for us. As they are quite frequent, the waiting time is not very long.
Back in Lisbon, on Valentine's Day, we booked a table in the delicious restaurant "Cave 23" which had prepared a special menu for the occasion (135€ per person).
On the meter: 13km covered (equivalent to 100 floors covered).
For the last full day on site, we decided to walk around the city and visit what we hadn't had time to do before.
First of all, we went to Igreja de São Vicente da Fora. This church and also monastery offers a magnificent view once mounted on the roof.
Inside, you can see a beautiful architecture as well as contemplate a collection of objects of Catholic worship and a collection of Azulejos panels representing the fables of La Fontaine.
On the way down, we entered Santa Maria Maior Cathedral in Lisbon / Lisboa Patriarchal Cathedral. With its two high towers, it is very imposing, and many people are crowded there.
We then crossed the city to go to the restaurant "Fauna & Flora". This small restaurant (a real star of social networks) with its delicious menu, full of charm and 20 minutes' walk from Place du Commerce is often full at weekends. The restaurant does not allow you to book a table so we advise you to go there during the week if you can.
Finally, we went back to enjoy the pool, and then went to dinner. We discovered a restaurant "By The Wine" (as you can imagine it is a wine bar) to enjoy a delicious very Portuguese meal: I name it: wine & cheese (in our defense, the wine was Portuguese like some cheeses). Good evening guaranteed in this arched room with its vaulted ceiling entirely covered with old bottles!
On the meter: 20km covered (equivalent to 75 floors covered).
Day 7: Last day
We enjoy a last breakfast at the hotel before packing.
Once the luggage is folded, we leave it at the hotel to enjoy the last few hours in Lisbon.
We went to the Triumph arc on Augusta Street, which offers a very different view of the Place du Commerce.
View from the Augustus arc (place de commerce)
Once again, we can't tell you if during busy periods it is also pleasant to spend a little time there because it's not very big and the stairs are narrow (2.5€ to climb on the panoramic terrace).
Finally, we had a coffee on the square before heading to the hotel to pick up our luggage.
The return flight being at 5pm, we took a Uber at 3pm to go to the airport. Please note that Terminal B (low cost companies) is a kind of large hangar in which there is not much.
On the meter: 9km covered (equivalent to 19 floors covered).
And that's how our journey ends, many memories of which will remain engraved in our minds.
Lisbon is a very nice city to do as a couple or as a family and the cost of living is not very high, compared to Luxembourg! It is simply necessary to know that this city is not located on a plain: descents and climbs punctuate the walks which could pose a problem for people with a more reduced mobility.
We hope that this first article has more to offer you. Feel free to share your criticisms with us so that we can move forward but also to share, in the comments, your addresses of restaurants or places to visit!
PS: we would like to point out that the restaurants we are citing have not granted us any additional discounts to mention them, nor even the application The Forks. We simply want to provide you with our good plans and give you our good addresses.
We are a young couple of law students who like sharing our trips and advices to help you with your trip and enjoy it at 200%.
You can find more of our travels here A Globe Trotter World