Lisbon, Portugal’s coastal and hilly capital is the European twin sister of California’s San Francisco.
With it’s Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge mirroring the Golden Gate bridge, Lisbon’s centuries-old decorative tiles and cobbled streets encompass the city. It’s the warmest city in Europe. Here you will find plenty of places to soak up the sun, enjoy a glass of green wine “vinho verde” (a Portuguese speciality), a myriad of colorful tiles, and hilly views. There are many vantage points in Lisbon and after spending the rest of the week in Sintra, the hills of Lisbon weren’t as much of a challenge.
Related: A One Day Guide To San Francisco
We arrived in Lisbon at 1 pm by purchasing a day pass for the train for €6.15. We took the train from Sintra to Lisbon’s Rossio station. Our first stop was the rooftop terrace of Madame Petisca, with a view of the suspension bridge and boats sailing by. Madame Petisca is a shared building with a hotel. There is a lift you can take to the top. There is outdoor seating on the patio, however, the air con makes the inside very appealing, and allows you to enjoy the panoramic views without having to break a sweat.
For the next stop, you simply can’t miss the views at Miradouro de Sao Pedro, a terraced garden in central Lisbon adjacent to the Principe Real Area. Here you will have views to St. George’s Castle and more.
From here we decided to take the famous 28E Lisbon tram towards Alfama. Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon, with its endless options of street labyrinths, artisanry, and plazas. Alfama was once the district of the impoverished and today is the artisan district, with plenty of places to find a unique souvenir or two.
Make sure to get off at Miradouro das Portas do Sol, conveniently located on the route of the the historical 28E tram. It is said to be the easiest viewpoint to get to. Here, you can take in views of the Tagus and all the red roofs while watching the sunset – it’s a real treat!
If you’re still not sick of Lisbon views and reminiscing of San Francisco (like I do fondly), have a late afternoon drink at the Park Bar’s rooftop bar, where after a few drinks you may get confused about whether you’re in the city by the Bay, or send a cheeky photo to your family to see if they can guess where you are. Finding Park bar is your first job, because you have to get there via a public car-park/parking lot! It’s a real hidden gem, with quality drinks made by skilled bar staff, making this a truly trendy spot.
On the topic of hidden gems, you simply must head to Cantinho Lusitano, however, you must have a reservation! This inconspicuous, little restaurant is a really modest little place with so much character, set among the narrow apartments of a residential street. It’s small and cosy with basic furniture, and nothing flash about it, and lets the food do all the talking. Well not quite all… the head waiter speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian flawlessly, not to mention a little German and Romanian!
The idea of this restaurant is to enjoy authentic Portuguese food of the highest quality, in small but numerous dishes. For us, this was the most enjoyable way to experience the cuisine. The dishes came out of the kitchen, one or two at a time, which naturally took some time – but was totally worth it. The food and service was brilliant throughout.
- Lunch at Madame Petisca Rua de Santa Catarina 17 3º, 1200-128 Lisboa
- Manteigaria (Pastries/custard pie factory) 6 mins walk from the restaurant
- Miradouro de Sao Pedro – R. de São Pedro de Alcântara, 1200-470 Lisboa
- Principe Real Area
- Pasteis de Belem
- Portas do Sol – Miradouro Portas do Sol, Largo das Portas (Bairro Alto.)
- Explore Alfama/ Trame 28 E
- Bairro Alto
- Park Bar – Calçada do Combro, 58, Bairro Alto
- Venha Vinho – Travessa da BicaGrande 4A, Lisbon, 1200-060
- Grapes & Bites – R. do Norte 83, Lisbon.
Shopping: Prado Merceari
Dinner :Cantinho Lusitano
Miradou San Pedro
Portas do Sol, São Pedro de Alcântara, da Graça, da Senhora do Monte, Santa Luzia and, of course, Castelo de São Jorge
Santa Amaro Docks
Prado Merceari (near Alfama)
35, R. Pedras Negras, 1100-500 Lisboa, Portugal
Estrela Da Bica
Cantinho Lusitano 22 min train from Rossio or 25 min walk*
Madame Petisca lunch special €15**
Taberna da Rua das Flores
Pinoquio near Restaudores metro stop and Rossio train station
Nannarella (near Palacio and Cantinho) best ice cream *
Manteigaria (Pastries/custard pie factory) *
Pasteis de Belem (Belem neighborhood) *
Venha Vinho – Travessa da BicaGrande 4A, Lisbon, 1200-060
Grapes & Bites – R. do Norte 83, Lisbon.