6 Things You Must Do in Lisbon, Portugal
An architectural (and instagrammable) dream, rolling hills and a buzzing nightlife await in Portugal's coastal capital. I spent 3 days getting swept in by Lisbon's cobbled streets, mosaic buildings and quaint charm. Here is my list of 10 things to do in this beautiful city.
1) Visit Sintra
By far the highlight of my short trip. Sintra's charming village is typically overrun with tourists, but for good reason. It's the perfect place to immerse yourself in historical Portugal, from its Moorish influences at Castelho dos Moros to the lives of the Portuguese royalty at Palacio da Pena. I loved the colourful, decadent and romantic Palacio da Pena. It's cheap and easy to get to Sintra from Lisbon - there are regular trains to Sintra from Rossio station and a return ticket is only €6. Pro-tip, wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket, Sintra's location in the Sintra mountains means this day trip is full of windy hikes.
2) Listen to Live Fado Music
Fado is traditional Portuguese folk music. The guitars coupled with the storytelling lyrics create a sense of nostalgia, helping to really illustrate what it might have been like to live in Portugal in the 19th century. I would highly recommend booking dinner and the Fado show at D. Alfonso o Gordo. Their intimate Fado shows are set in the rustic cavernous dining room to the back of the restaurant, making for a truly magical experience. Moreover, their food is exquisite (I'd recommend the Duck, followed by their Pasteis de Nata of course) and the service is impeccable, I felt so welcomed and the staff even put up with my struggle Portuguese!
3) Ride Tram 28 up to one of Lisbon's Miradouro's
This was a hilarious experience. The winding hills and stop start traffic made my journey to Largo das Portas de Sol a bumpy one. This coupled with the fact that the tram drivers fill up the trams till there is literally no more space definitely made for an interesting ride. I was literally stood on the doorstep for half of my journey desperately trying to keep my balance and avoid falling out of the tram altogether. Nonetheless these yellow trams are synonymous with Lisbon so no trip can be complete without at least one ride.
4) Visit Igreja de São Roque
Unassuming from the outside but magnificent on the inside. Igreja de São Roque sits in Barrio Alto and boasts some incredible gilt-laden alcoves. I was even luckier as I happened to stumble in during a choir practice!
5) Go Bar Hopping on Pink Street and end your night in Lust in Rio or Ela Party for the more adventurous!
Don't be fooled by the seeming tranquility pictured above. Come Friday night, this street is heaving with revellers, ready to lose themselves in one of the many bars on Pink Street. We headed to Lust in Rio afterwards which was a cool club on the sea front with a gorgeous open air terrace and a nostalgic RnB playlist .
6) For solo travellers: Stay at Urban Garden Hostel
If, like me, you're balling on a budget and you're jet-setting solo Urban Garden is the perfect hostel for you. The staff are super friendly and take an effort to get to know the guests. Their family ethos and chilled vibes attract lots of friendly, outgoing people, whom you can meet in their centralised living room/dinning room area. Like many hostels they host regular evening events which are budget friendly. They even feed you - your bed reservation includes a pancake breakfast every morning and their nightly "family dinner" is only €7. Plus it's located fairly centrally - a 20 minute walk down Avenida da Liberdade and you're in the centre of town!