The city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a magical city that combines classic and modern and offers a variety of activities and attractions. In the city center, you can visit medieval castles and monasteries and wander its winding streets and narrow alleys.
Lisbon is an intriguing and unique tourist city, whose history is present in almost every step. Lisbon is considered one of the oldest capitals in Europe and is built on seven hills. At the top of each hill, there is a unique viewpoint with a different angle of the city and its scenery.
Lisbon sits on the north bank of the Tejo River and serves as a gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. Its port is considered one of the largest natural ports in the world.
Lisbon’s “golden age” was in the 15th and 16th centuries when Portugal became a naval empire and from which departed the great explorers, Vasco de Gama and Magellan, to discover the world. It became the capital of a kingdom that ruled countries on different continents. During this period, impressive monasteries and palaces were built around the city.
The people of Lisbon are friendly, tolerant, relaxed and most of them speak excellent English. It’s easy and convenient to get along in English. Lisbon is considered one of the cheapest capital cities in Europe, one can find coffee or pastry in one euro and wine and beer at a cheap price.
The city has a highly developed culture of cafes as well as nightlife and is considered one of the most vibrant capitals in Europe. In addition, it is considered one of the safest capitals in Europe.
We visited Lisbon twice, in the first time it was for a half-day of during a long connection. The second time was for three days of pure fun to celebrate one of our kids’ birthday. In both cases, we enjoyed the city very much and promised to return and explore it more.
Lisbon has a convenient and efficient subway in addition to buses and trams. You can even use a famous tourist line – Tram no. 28 which is an old yellow tram that travels in a circular route between the tourist quarters in the city center. However, the most fun way to explore the city is to walk around – roaming the streets and alleys, thanks to the city’s relatively compact size. Another convenient way to get around town is with Uber. We are five people so we found that walking and using the metro were the most convenient means of transportation for us.
We arrived at the airport and immediately took the metro to Cais do Sodré station. From there, a 5 minutes’ walk and we arrived at the Timeout market for a quick bite. This is a lovely market with lots of food stalls that offer a variety of options. You can find there all sorts of cuisines under one roof like Asian, Portuguese, Italian, and more. It is situated in the pretty Mercado da Ribeira and has a great atmosphere.
Praca do Comercio
From the Timeout market, we took a stroll in the streets of Baixa district on our way to Praca do Comercio. This square is located on the banks of the River Tejo and is a very wide and beautiful square. We reached down to the waterfront and relaxed watching the amazing views from all directions. In the middle of the square stands the statue of one of the kings of Portugal, King Jose. In the 18th century, there was a terrible earthquake in Lisbon that destroyed the city, it also destroyed the square and this one is a restored square.
Baxia and Rua Augusta
At the exit towards Rua Augusta stands an impressive gate – Arco Da Victoria, whose construction was completed in 1873 and can be seen in sculpted figures, some of which played a significant role in the history of Portugal.
From the arch, we headed to Rua Augusta which is one of the main pedestrian streets in Lisbon. There you can find lovely shops and café but even if you don’t stop by, just walking through the street and enjoying the atmosphere is worth it.
This area of Lisbon is called Baxia.
Baixa is Lisbon’s lower and fancy quarter, with wide avenues, well-designed sidewalks, beautiful plazas, and French fountains. Baxia was built after the terrible earthquake and it gave the opportunity to build a new and modern area.
We continued to walk on Rua Augusta until we reached The Rossio Square. Its official name is “Praça Dom Pedro IV”, honoring the Portuguese King Dom Pedro I, who was also Brazil’s first Emperor. However, everyone knows it as “Rossio”. It is a lovely square surrounded by historic buildings. Rossio is a colorful and lively area with many shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Our recommendation: a10 minutes walk of Rossio square (Praça Dom Pedro IV) you will find an excellent place for breakfast or brunch called “Zenith”. This is a really nice place offering delicious food and great music. This café restaurant has a fun vibe, the staff is very polite and friendly, and the food is fresh and tasty. Keep in mind that sometimes it can be full, so you might have to wait for a table.
Adress: Rua do Telhal 4A, Lisbon 1150-346 Portugal
Three days of pure-fun in Lisbon
This time we arrived just before Christmas for two nights and almost three days in Lisbon. Our intention was to have as much fun as we can to celebrate our kid’s birthday. Our fun attractions included three escape rooms, good food, and shopping. We also did a lot of walking throughout the Baxia-Chiado area, and in the time before Christmas with was absolutely magnificent.
We’ve decided to stay in the middle of Chiado so we will have all the fun within walking distance. The Chiado district is one of the hippest shopping areas in the city and the most bohemian and colorful center of Lisbon. It has designer stores, cafes and restaurants, and lovely boutiques. Apart from shopping, you can see the colorful houses in the neighborhood, walk the pedestrians, and enjoy beautiful views.
We picked “Your second home in Chiado” which is situated in the perfect location. It is near Baxia-Chiado metro station so it is easy to arrive there immediately from the airport. It provided many amenities such as free WiFi and a flat-screen TV. We also had a balcony with city views. The air-conditioned apartment consists of 2 bedrooms, a living room, and a fully equipped kitchen. We really liked our stay here and the host is super nice and helpful. The apartment is clean, comfortable, and very well designed. WE highly recommend this place!
Escape Room is a realistic group game where people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use the various objects in the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, decipher ciphers, and escape the room in a limited amount of time, usually about 60 minutes.
Game Over: Walking Death
This place is really nice and it occupies six different rooms. The place is well organized, clean, and offers good service.
The story line is that your team has survived a nightmare, having to fight not only against the dead but also the hostile human cores. A few days ago you have found this abandoned prison and were lucky to be able to eliminate the several zombies that were stuck in there. Now you are trying to establish a settlement and after exploring every section you have found that Section 3, the Isolation Sector, is your target. You have 60 minutes to enter it. Notice that this game is a bit scary therefore it is not recommended for small children.
Rua de O Seculo 4B, Lisbon 1200-433
Game Over: Jack the Ripper
In this room the scenery is London, 1888. Another murder happened this night, Jack the Ripper struck again. People are frightened; almost no one is on the streets, except for you. If the clues that you have in your hands are correct, tonight everything will end, or not? It’s up to you. We found this room difficult with clues that are hard to understand. Although in general, we enjoyed the experience it was less fun than the walking dead.
Rua de O Seculo 4B, Lisbon 1200-433
Escape Hunt: Introduction to a secret society
‘The Society’ is a secret society that almost nothing is known, therefore they are considered extremely dangerous. To earn their trust you must successfully complete the difficult initiation ceremony. You will have 60 minutes to try to pass the test and get into The Society.
We enjoyed this room the most!
Address: Rua dos Douradores nº 13, 1100-203 Lisbon
Where To Eat (Vegan and vegetarian friendly)
As already stated, this is a really nice place with excellent vibes, great music, and delicious food.
Adress: Rua do Telhal 4A, Lisbon
Frutaria is a lovely and cozy place for breakfast or brunch. They have excellent service and great food. We really enjoyed it! Nice variety of dishes for vegetarians and also vegans.
Address: R. dos Fanqueiros 269, 1100-232 Lisbon
This is a Nepali / Indian restaurant. It is very small, which adds to its charm. Usually, it is very busy so it is recommended to book in advance. The staff is super nice and welcoming and the food is excellent. There are many vegetarian and vegan options. The bottom line, Sanskar Nepal is highly recommended!
Address: Rua das Chagas 25, Lisbon 1200-106 Portugal
This ice-cream place has delicious ice cream with many flavors to choose from. It is also served beautifully. They have stores in Chiado and Baxia.
Chiado: Rua Garrett, Lisbon 1200-203 Portugal
Baxia: Rua Augusta 209, Lisbon 1100-051 Portugal
Alcoa has a great selection of pastries, which makes it very difficult to choose. There you can find all kinds of typical Portuguese pastries, including the famous Pastel de nata.
Address: Rua Garrett 37 Chiado, Lisbon 1200-203 Portugal
Sapato Verde – Eco-Vegan Store
A little gem in the alleys of Chiado. It offers vegan-friendly shoes, bags, cosmetics, and food items. It also has a little café in the back with nice vegan pastries.
Address: R. Chagas 33, 1200-106 Lisboa, Portugal
Centro Colombo (shopping mall)
A huge shopping mall with all the well known international brands and also some local ones. It has a great food court with a variety of options. You’ll need a few hours to explore it all. We took the metro which arrives directly at the entrance.
Address: Centro Comercial Colombo Avenida Lusiada, Lisbon 1500-392 Portugal
For those who have even a few hours to visit Lisbon, it is worth it! We are definitely going to come back to Lisbon and explore it more.