Highlights from Lisbon

Hi everyone! Today will be the final post in my Portugal travel journals, and the final leg of my journey. After exploring Porto, drinking my way down the Douro River, and hiking up mountains in Sintra, we had a short but sweet visit in the capital of Lisbon.

What to do in Lisbon

Our flight heading home was super early (like 4AM), so we only had one full day and the half day left after visiting Sintra. We tried to make the most of it!  Here's what we did-

Day 1

Hotel Lisboa Plaza

Avenida da Liberdade

We made the quick drive from Sintra to Lisbon, and pulled up to the most gorgeous and historic hotel. Everything here felt old fashioned- the room had an actual key (no cards here!), wooden grand staircases, and grand balconies. The area was really cute too- the hotel was located right by the Avenida da Liberdade, which is a beautiful main street with wide tree-lined sidewalks.

Praça do Comércio

Praça do Comércio lisbon

After getting our stuff situated in the room and changing, we made our way down the Avenida da Liberdade and headed towards the water. We didn't really have any plan in mind, so we just wandered around and walked towards anything that looked interesting! Along the way we saw the famous Santa Justa Lift elevator, which you can ride to get to the Carmo Convent! Lisbon is super hilly, so we saw a lot of interesting transportation to get around the hills.

Praça do Comércio what to do

We eventually made our way to the Praça do Comércio, one of the biggest squares in Lisbon. The buildings that lined it had restaurants and other shops, and there was so much energy in the area! We sat on a bench by the water and listened to some live music and enjoyed the views.

Pink Street

pink street lisboa portugal

After relaxing for a bit and enjoying the view (and people watching), we made our way to dinner. Along the way I wanted to see a street I saw on Instagram called the Pink Street! This is a little area located under a bridge where the road is painted pink and is lined with colorful buildings. It's a great place for a photo opp and demonstrates all the colorful buildings and houses I've noticed in Portugal. This street also has an interesting history as the former red-light district in Lisbon, but is now a hip area with lots of bars and fun eateries.

Time Out Market

fun places to eat lisbon

By this point we were pretty hungry, so we headed to nearby Time Out Market for lunch. I absolutely loved this place- it was a collection of restaurants, breweries, wineries, and bakeries all in one spot. We ended up going back a second time the following day and I loved it both times! The options were almost overwhelming, but I ended up getting good food (and some beers to help wash it down). While we were here we also tried the specialty drink called Ginjinha, which is a sour cherry liqueur. We drank it out of chocolate shot glasses and it was an experience!

Carmo Convento

carmo convento lisboa

Our second to last stop of the day was to a old convent which was located by the Santa Justa Lift. During earthquakes in 1755, the main structure was destroyed and was never fully repaired. You can still see the majority of the walls, but it's completely open on the top which was really beautiful. We also got to tour inside and see some historic books and artifacts that were saved.

elevator lisbon

Since I talked about the Lift a few times, here's a look at how amazing it looks (along with the huge line to take it..we passed.)

Restaurante a Gina

Restaurante a Gina lisbon

Before heading to bed, we went out for dinner at a restaurant close to our hotel. This was actually recommended in the Rick Steve's Portugal guidebook, and it was a fantastic meal. The servers were all really friendly, and I got a delicious seafood rice dish. We also got the house wine to go with it, and it ended up being one of my favorite wines of all time! As we were leaving, the waiter offered us our second shot of Ginjinha which tasted great after all the delicious food.

Day 2

Jeronimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery belem

We wanted to take advantage of our one full day in Lisbon, so we woke up nice and early to get breakfast before heading out on the subway to make our way to the little town of Belem. This is an area that I heard a lot about, and had a lot of historic features and UNESCO sites to visit. The downside was that this was the one day that had horrible weather, and we were pretty much drenched the entire day! The show had to go on though, so we bundled up in rain jackets and hurried to our first stop of Jeronimos Monastery.

Jeronimos Monastery belem

Our spirits were immediately warmed upon entering- the building was constructed in 1501 and is still in fantastic condition. From the exterior to the main chapel, there were so many details to take in and I was overwhelmed by the shear size of the building!

cloisters belem

After we wandered around the chapel, we made our way to the cloisters (which you have to pay to enter, but it was definitely worth the money). The two floors have views of a square courtyard and ornate window arches, giving beautiful views of the bell tower. It was incredible to take in and was a great first stop of the day.

cloisters belem

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Padrão dos Descobrimentos belem

It was still raining really hard after we finished up, so we decided to head towards the water to see this famous monument (celebrating the Age of Discovery in Portugal) and try to find food. After stumbling upon a popular pizza chain called Nosolo Italia, we popped in because nothing at that moment sounded better than a piping hot pizza and some wine! I tried vinho verde (green wine) for the first time, which is called green referring to it being a "young wine", with wine being released three to six months after the grapes are harvested.  After we were done eating the weather finally cleared- just look at the beautiful clear blue skies!

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Torre de Belem

belem tower

Our final stop in Belem was to the famous tower, which also serves as a symbol of the Age of Discovery in Portugal.  This tower actually served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for explorers, and was a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon! 

belem portugal

Now it's can be toured by going across a bridge (that is sometimes underwater like when we went- people had to hustle to get across it before the tide came in!). It was a really beautiful tower and the views from the area were amazing.


napolean wine lisboa

One stop that we had to make before leaving was to a wine store. When I told friends about this trip, a few requested that we bring back some ports, so we had to get some (we ended up both checking bags going home, so we were able to bring back some bottles for friends and some for ourselves). I really liked this shop because the owners were really nice and helped us find some unique varieties. We also got to try some samples and ended up with a great deal on a few amazing bottles.

São Jorge Castle

alfama lisbon castle

The final main landmark that we visited was to a castle that sat up on top of a hill in the Alfama neighborhood (if you look at the very first picture in this post, you can see the castle at the very top of the hill!). The journey here was really fun - Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and is full of twisty, narrow roads and beautiful old buildings. We were serenaded by Fado singers and guitar players while we walked around, and it was really magical!

sunset São Jorge Castle

Another magical part was that we got to the castle right as the sun was beginning to set, so we were treated to this beautiful view of the city and got to see it lighting up for the night. It was really cool to see! The castle itself also had a few lights which came on, and it was fun to explore as it got darker out.

São Jorge Castle night

And with that- we made our way back to the hotel to pack and get an early sleep. We had a great trip to Portugal but have so much more to see!


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