Lisbon – Best Bits

Husband needed to take a work trip to Portugal, we managed to schedule this during Son’s Easter holidays so we could tag along as well. A choice of basing ourselves in either Porto or Lisbon for the five day break – we opted for Lisbon, a tough choice but a good one, we loved it.

I could rave on forever about this place, one of the most laid back and family friendly European cities ever. We found a host of attractions suitable for young and old alike plus it has the most perfect location nearΒ the Atlantic coast. Lisbon has been the world’s richest city twice in history and the glorious buildings that line every street bear witness to this fact. It has had periods of decay and many of those buildings are faded and crumbing but that just adds to the charm. Life is good here, the atmosphere is buzzing andΒ we all just loved it.

Lisbon is more or less in the centre of the country and the areas around it offer beaches, countryside, mountains and more. We found some stunning scenery and dramatic coastline less than an hour’s drive away.

I just fell in love with the city though, so charming and so beautiful. It is full of bleached limestone buildings, narrow winding streets and cobblestone hills. Yellow trams clatter through the hilly streets, locals stroll through the old quarters and there are no end of wonderful places to eat and drink.

It is a city of contrasts too, we found everything from modern high rise blocks to Art Nouveau buildings as well as glass skyscrapers in the Expo area. All that plus the most gorgeous mosiac tiled buildings in the Alfama and you just about get the idea.

We loved everything about Lisbon but our highlights included:

Riding Tram 28 – the old vintage yellow tram that clatters through the city streets and up and down the hills at break neck speed. It is a wonderful experience and a tram ride quite unlike any other I’ve ever experienced.

A day trip to Sintra to see the fairy tale castle there – despite pouring rain we were still enchanted. Colourful and unusual it was loads of fun to explore then we headed to the coast to the most westerly point of Europe and after that spent an hour on the beach at lovely Cascais.

Wandering the streets of Lisbon, climbing up to the castle perched at the top of the steepest hill ever and then enjoying the most incredible views over the roofs of the tiled houses down to the river.

Taking the Santa Justa elevator – this is a stunning old lift in the middle of the city, beautiful just to ride it but the views from the top (especially at night) are incredible.

Visiting the Expo part of the city – a real contrast to old Lisbon but still impressive we really enjoyed taking a cable car ride for a bird’s eye view.

Spending a morning at Belem, checking out all the monuments there and imagining the explorers who once set sail from this place then feasting on custard tarts from the famous bakery there.



93 thoughts on “Lisbon – Best Bits

    • We had such a great time there – it’s a beautiful city with so much to see and do. I’d been wanting to visit for a long time too and I wasn’t disappointed when we finally made it there.

  1. Ah, yes, we loved Lisbon, too. A friend recently told me her husband and daughter are running a race there soon and I told her about the hills. I was relieved to hear the route is along the water! Beautiful photos; they brought back our lovely trip just a year ago.

    • Definitely would not fancy running up those hills – along the water sounds like a much better option!! It is a gorgeous city, we took so many photos it is quite the job to go through them but that’s all part of the fun!

    • It is simply gorgeous Pam, I’m sure you would love strolling around and taking in all the wonderful sights. We really enjoyed it here, now to get round to sorting through all the photos and writing up more posts!!

  2. My family went to Lisbon after my sister’s GCSEs, but I missed out as I was in the midst of university exams. It looks like a fantastic destination, with tons to see in and around the city – the panoramic views of the city look quite something, and I love the vintage trams!

    • The trams are gorgeous, we rode one and it was quite an experience I can tell you!! It is a gorgeous city, shame you missed out but hopefully you make it there sometime Rosie.

      • They certainly look like great fun – Lisbon looks rather hilly, so I imagine the ride must be somewhat similar to riding the trams/ cable cars in San Francisco! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that πŸ™‚

  3. Wow! Looks amazing, if I ever get to Lisbon your highlights will sure be on my list πŸ™‚ Thanks for the insight.

  4. Libson looks fantastic, and it looks like you had a fantastic time. The view of the tiled roofs was breathtaking even in picture, so I can only imagine how amazing it was in person.

    • I think it’s definitely up there with my favourites too. We loved it – we did visit the monastery and really enjoyed that too plus strolling along the water’s edge at Belem.

  5. Nice post and very useful. We are going to Lisbon later this year as part of our annual holiday. Fly to Lisbon and then take the train to Porto and fly home. Thanks for the information.

  6. Joy,
    Lisbon is an amazing city, we always love to return to and discover amazing new places. You should go to Porto as well sometime, I’m sure you would enjoy it there just as much,

    • We just loved Lisbon Vanessa, I have long wanted to go there but didn’t realise I would fall in love with the city quite so much. My husband and I visited Porto years and years ago when we first got married, I remember loving it too but it is such a long time ago I think we definitely need to make a trip back there.

      • Same here, we went to Porto for the first time in 2004, it has changed quite a bit since then. There are definitely a lot more tourists around but worth another visit for sure. Just like Lisbon!

  7. I’ve never been to Portugal. Had we still been in Scotland, our next city breaks were going to be Berlin and then Lisbon. Hopefully some day I will make it. The city looks and sounds like it has a great deal to commend itself for a vacation.

    • Berlin is next on our list – not sure when we’ll make it there but hopefully in the not too distant future. We did really love Lisbon – it is gorgeous, the atmosphere is wonderful and I haven’t a bad thing to say about it!! Hopefully you do get to go sometime Laura.

  8. Nice Joy – I love Lisbon too! I can hear your love of the city through your words. And how lucky you could go on your husband’s business trip – I wish my husband travelled for work! πŸ˜‰

    • We’re really lucky Corey to sometimes be able to tag along on his work trips. He did have to work a few days but was also able to spend some time sightseeing with us as well. My son is great company though and loves exploring a new place with me. My husband will have to go back to Portugal sometime soon, I’m crossing my fingers we can go back with him and do something similar in Porto.

  9. I visited Lisbon 2 years ago and your post brought all the memories back, I had the best time there and fell in love with the city at the first sight. Thanks for sharing your experience I loved it, can’t wait to visit again as soon as I can πŸ™‚

  10. Gorgeous Photos! We also loved Lisbon, and I’m hoping to get back one day, there is just so much to do and see there! We were surprised and delighted!

  11. Oh, it looks so wonderful. I have never been to Portugal but it’s definitely on my list… πŸ™‚

  12. Lisbon is definitely on top of my list for our next trip to Europe as I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. I’m glad to read in your post that it’s a city great for both young and old though as that’s what I often worry about whether my kids would like a place as much as I do. πŸ™‚

    • Our son absolutely loved it here and said he would definitely go back so it got the kids thumbs up in our family! The sights around the city are fantastic and there’s plenty to keep kids occupied and engaged for sure.

  13. Looks wonderful Joy – Lisbon is definitely on my wish list! Our daughter has visited and loved the castles and character. I would love to ride around on the tram and soak in the atmosphere – it looks a great place to visit! Hope you’re having a good week – will be on here from time to time whilst away so look forward to reading more about Lisbon! πŸ˜‰

  14. My good friend is Portuguese and she makes yummy Portuguese dishes. I bet you had some great ones there. Spending Easter at a very catholic country must have been amazing. (At least for me anyway 😊). Great photos.! When I first followed your blog I remember your son was still small. He’ now looks like a young man πŸ˜‰

    • Definitely ride Tram 28, go to the castle for the views and we also enjoyed taking the ferry across the river and seeing the city from a different perspective. It’s lovely to just wander though and soak up the amazing atmosphere.

    • Hadn’t thought about that aspect – you forget very quickly the baby stage but I can imagine what a nightmare it would be with a baby, the hills are hard enough when you just have to drag yourself up them!!

    • We had such a great time in Lisbon – it is really a wonderful city and the trip out to Sintra was great too. The weather wasn’t too great but we still enjoyed exploring.

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