Like my blogger friend Sara Somewhere, and like pretty much every single person on social media, I recently went to Lisbon for the first time. It's pretty rare to visit a new place and start thinking about when you're going to come back before you've even left, but Portugal had that impression on me.
So, also like @sara_somewhere_, I decided to write a blog post about some of my favorite experiences from my week-long escapade. From the food, to the sights, to the nightlife, here are my top recommendations for when you, too, inevitably go to Lisbon.
A lovely guest house slightly outside the city center with clean, comfy rooms, shared bathrooms and an adorable breakfast nook.
A hip hotel off the main luxury shopping street with delicious breakfast, a serene pool and a chic bar.
Palacio da Ramalhete
An intimate hotel set in an old palace with spacious rooms, a pool, friendly staff and beautiful bougainvilleas offering much-needed shade and shelter from the outside world.
Instant Crunchy | BRUNCH
A lovely outdoor patio with inventive menu combinations – I had a crepe cake and a bright, colorful eggs Benedict.
As Bifanas do Afonso | PORTUGUESE
A Portuguese classic, this pork sandwich was simple and delicious, especially washed down by a beer. Bring cash, smile and try to say hello and thank you in Portuguese.
Rosamar | SEAFOOD
I had one of the best oysters of my life here. The menu stated: "green tomatillo and habanero mignonette, homemade pomegranate gelée, coriander stems, orange supreme," but when it hit my tongue it was simply a tart, creamy, briny explosion of flavor. Nice patio too.
Pasteis de Belém | PORTUGUESE
Of course, get a warm egg custard tart here, and don't forget to shower it in powdered sugar and cinnamon. Let it cool a tiny bit before you excitedly bite in.
JNcQUOI Asia | ASIAN FUSION
This sceney spot, which I visited with my lovely and chic aunt, was stunning – from the designer shop on the way in, all the way to the bathrooms, and especially on the plates. Fun cocktails, a killer wagyu beef sandwich, and the best fried rice I've ever had. Did I mention the giant bottle of aged port?
TimeOut Market | FOOD HALL
Who goes to Lisbon and doesn't mention this famous food hall? I tried delicious cod risotto from Michelin-starred chef Marlene Vieira, and it blew me away (once I found a seat so I could finally dig in).
Lupita | PIZZA
The coolest tiny corner spot, perfect for a glass of wine, a creative pizza (mine had lemon-spiked ricotta and caramelized onions) and people-watching at all hours of the day.
Altar | PORTUGUESE
A lovely discovery on the way home from the flea market, this beautifully decorated traditional restaurant offered the perfect respite from the heat for lunch. Get the goat cheese.
Armazém Clandestino | MEXICAN
This meal that I shared with my loved ones was a highlight of my trip, if not my year. Tasked with choosing a spot for our last dinner together, I ended up at this Mexican restaurant that didn't look like much. But when we sat down, sipped on the unbelievably delicious Clandestina margarita, dug into homemade quesadillas, enchiladas and pozole, and were serenaded mid-meal by the owner and chef... I knew I had bet on a good one. If you're in the Lapa area of Lisbon, don't miss it.
Ponto Final | PORTUGUESE
We lucked out for this TikTok famous restaurant, arriving an hour before it opened and grabbing the number two spot on the steps for those without reservations. We shivered for over an hour before we were finally called and led to a spot right on the water, overlooking the Ponte 25 de Abril. Get the house soup and anything with fish. Bring a warm jacket.
Via Graça | PORTUGUESE
For a more upscale Portuguese experience and an incredible view. The most tender octopus I've ever eaten and a fun "chocolate spoon" dessert, which was just enough sweetness after a big meal.
You won't even feel like you're in Lisbon in this enormous botanic garden in the Parque Eduardo VII. There's plenty of spots to explore, so take your time.
The lookout points are some of the coolest parts of Lisbon. Definitely check out the Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara (get ready to HIKE) and the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, with a beautiful vine-draped balcony.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Belém)
Worth the line (especially when you can get pasteis de nata right afterwards). On a sunny day, this monastery is breathtaking.
Feira da Ladra
So much fun to wander around this flea market. You might not find anything worthwhile, but you'll definitely have a good time exploring all the vendors' knick-knacks.
Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum)
A nice spot to learn more about Portugal's tradition of azulejos, or colorful tiles that cover different surfaces all over town. The more contemporary versions were interesting to look at, as well, and the café was the perfect place for a snack.
Sintra Day Trip
You absolutely must take the train to Sintra for a day trip. The organization was a little stressful, but we absolutely loved the peaceful gardens and fairytale castles at the Quinta da Regaleira and the Palacio da Pena. Book ahead, and don't be late!
Definitely swing by this wine bar if you speak French, in particular. The owner was so kind and spent time talking with me and introducing me to her friends, who I ended up spending the evening chatting with! Super welcoming and friendly, if you are, too.
A must-visit for pre-drinks at sunset. This restaurant and bar with a fun outdoor garden/patio is set inside the Pharmacy Museum, and the tongue-in-cheek menu is absolutely incredible. We bypassed the "Placebo," or mocktail, and instead opted for the Hypertensive and the Hypnotic. A gimmick that's worth it.
Tasca do Chico
Another event that might require extra planning or organization is listening to fado (soulful Portuguese music). We arrived at this famous spot in the evening and stood in line for about 20 minutes (imagine you're trying to get into a NYC bar – be chill). Finally, we got ushered in and landed a spot at a table, which we shared with a fun brother-sister pair from the States. The music was haunting and we got to hear three different singers. It was excellent, a real high point.
I hope this list helps you on your next visit to Lisbon. Feel free to send some more recommendations my way – like I said, I'm already planning my next trip!