4 days in Lisbon

Lisbon had been on my list for a long time and, to be perfectly honest, I am not sure what took me so long to visit! In the recent years, Lisbon has become a very trendy destination. The weather is good, prices are affordable, the food and bar scenes are excellent and there are some decent sights to visit between all the eating and drinking.

The city feels young, exciting and vibrant – like a coming of age destination. Now grab yourself a glass of Vinho Verde because this is a long one!

Day 1 – Arriving in Lisbon and Príncipe Real

We landed in Lisbon around lunch time and after getting the keys to our Airbnb, we headed straight out to do some groceries and explore Príncipe Real which was only 15 minutes from where we stayed.

Tiled house Príncipe Real Lisbon

Our Airbnb was on Avenue Almirante Reis which is perfect if you want to walk to most places during your stay. From there we headed toward Príncipe Real via Avenida da Liberdade.

Marquess Pombal Statue Lisbon

We spent the afternoon exploring the cobbled streets, admiring the tiled houses and grabbing a couple of drinks on the way.

Tiled house Príncipe Real Lisbon

We had a beer at Cerveteca Lisboa, a drink with a view at Lost In, followed with dinner at Bossa. All great places!

Cerveteca LisboaLost In LisbonBossa Lisbon

Day 2 – Alfama, Campo de Ourique, Jardim Estrela, Cais do Sodres and Ponto Final

We headed out early on our second day to explore the Alfama. The walk there was a workout in itself with all the hills and steps to climb.

Alfama stairs

After arriving at our first stop, the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte, we rewarded ourselves with a Pastel de Nata and a coffee, a regular occurrence during our trip to Portugal.

Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte LisbonClaire Imaginarium Lisbon

We then zigzagged through the streets of the Alfama to our next stop the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. Again we enjoyed the view and the break from the steps.

Claire Imaginarium LisbonMiradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen

Heading back down toward the Tagus, we swung by Church of São Vicente of Fora and the Panteão Nacional.

Panteão Nacional LisbonAlfama Lisbon

We ran into several tramways and armies of tourists before reaching Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

Tramway in Alfama LisbonMiradouro de Santa Luzia

It is good to note that even if Lisbon is packed with tourists, there are so many little streets to get lost in that crowds do not take away the charm of the city.

Street art Alfama Lisbon

We still had a bit of time before lunch and peeked inside Lisbon Cathedral.

Lisbon Cathedral

I happen to have a cousin living in Lisbon, which meant that we had to head to the opposite side of the city for lunch (which I will come to in a minute). BUT, if you do not have any other commitments, I would recommend you stay in the Alfama on that day and head to Castelo de San Jorge, which I talk about on day 3!

Tramways Alfama Lisbon

My cousin offered to meet for lunch at Mercado de Campo de Ourique, and we were so happy he did as otherwise we would have never found this amazing food market!

Mercado de Campo de Ourique Lisbon

We then spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and strolling in the Jardim Estrela, before heading back to the city centre. We grabbed a drink and enjoyed the sunset at Cais do Sodres before heading to the other side of the Tagus for a dinner at Ponto Final.

Sunset in Cais do Sodres LisbonPonto Final Lisbon

Day 3 – Baixa and Castelo de San Jorge

We started our third day in Baixa, in the city centre of Lisbon.

Tiled house Lisbon

We walked from our Airbnb to Praça Rossio and Praça dos Restauradores. Both squares are very beautiful and the cobbled floors reminded me of Copacabana’s beachfront. Here I could really recognise the Portuguese influences you can find in Brazil.

Praça Rossio LisbonBaixa Lisbon

Our next stop was the Elevador de Santa Justa. The queue takes a little while but nothing unbearable and the views and the architecture of the tower really worth going at the top!

Elevador de Santa Justa LisbonElevador de Santa Justa Lisbon

Unfortunately for us it started raining as soon as we reached the top of the tower… Just our luck…

Elevador de Santa Justa view Lisbon

But we didn’t get discouraged and after taking a few nice yet grey pictures we sheltered in the shops of Baixa for a spot of retail therapy (someone forgot to pack his swimshorts…). And just like that, the rain was gone.

Praça Rossio Lisbon

We picked up our visit where we left it the day before when meeting with my cousin and strolled across Praça do Comércio before heading to our lunch destination Time Out Market.

Praça do Comércio LisbonTime Out Market Lisbon

After a lovely lunch and in need of a digestive walk, we headed back up into the hills of the Alfama to visit Castelo de San Jorge.

Alfama stairs Lisbon

The views from there were amazing it was really interesting to learn more about the life at the Moorish castle.

Castelo de San Jorge LisbonCastelo de San Jorge view Lisbon

Plus, you can actually order glasses of wine to sip on while visiting the castle’s grounds. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Castelo de San Jorge Lisbon

We ended our day back at our flat for a glass of rose before heading back out for the most delicious meal at Banca de Pau.

Banca de Pau Lisbon

Day 4 – Belem and Lx Factory

Our final day was spent west of Lisbon in Belem. I would recommend getting the train there as it is fairly far from the more central neighbourhoods.

Tower of Belem Lisbon

We started our walk at the Museu do Combatente.

Museu do Combatente Lisbon

We then headed to the Tower of Belem. We skipped the tour as the queue was extremely long and enjoyed the view from the outside.

Tower of Belem Lisbon

After a coffee break at one of the cafes along the bank, we kept walking toward the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. The stroll along the Tagus is very pleasant with fishermen busy fishing and children busy playing.

Tagus seagul Lisbon

Our next stop was the famous Jerónimos Monastery.

Jerónimos Monastery Lisbon

Again the queues were so long, and the weather so lovely, that we decided to skip the full tour and limit our visit to the cathedral.

Jerónimos Monastery cathedral Lisbon

Working up an appetite we grabbed a couple of Pasteis de Nata at the very famous Pasteis de Belém and enjoyed these on a bench in the sun.

Pasteis de Belém Lisbon

Our final destination was Lx Factory where we had lunch, enjoyed the views of the Ponte 25 de Abril and spent the afternoon admiring the street art of local artists.

Ponte 25 de Abril LisbonLisbon tramwaysLx Factory Lisbon

Lisbon stole our heart! It is one of those few cities we visited where we actually considered moving too, and thus only after 4 days!

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4 days in Lisbon itinerary

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Under Lisbon bridge

You don’t really realise how big the 25 de Abril bridge is until you are under it. I also love the colour coordination between the bridge and its surroundings.

Lisbon – 2017

Under 25 de Abril bridge in Lisbon

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Lx Factory – Lisbon, Portugal

Some places are so unique that it hard to describe them! This is the case for Lx Factory, in Lisbon. Lx Factory is not a restaurant, not a food market, not a bar, not a shop or an art gallery… Lx Factory is all of the above!

Lx Factory Lisbon

Nested under the 25 de Abril bridge, Lx Factory used to be an old manufacturing complex which has been transformed into a trendy art and food district. The 23.000 m2 industrial site is now home to some creative companies, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. From breakfast to the last drink of the day, Lx Factory will keep you entertained.

Lx Factory Lisbon

We arrived there around lunchtime, after exploring the neighbourhood of Belem in the morning. On the hunt for a light bite to eat, we settled on LXeeseCake which had the most appetising salads on the menu. There are plenty of food options and you will find something for everyone’s’ taste.

Lx Factory Lisbon

Andrew went for a chicken salad, I went for a cheese and berries one. Both delicious and very welcome after days of eating fish, beans, rice and Pasteis de Nata.

LXeeseCake salad LisbonLXeeseCake salad Lisbon

We ended our lunch with some delicious yet slightly less healthy deserts. It is all about balance, right? I am not a cheesecake fan (I know, I know, how is that even possible?) but even I enjoyed it!

LXeeseCake cheesecake Lisbon

We went for a digestive walk and explored all the small alleyways of LxFactory.

Lx Factory LisbonLx Factory Lisbon

The street art scene is amazing in Lisbon, the locals fully embrace it and LxFactory really reflect this!

Street art Lx Factory LisbonLx Factory Lisbon

We visited all the shops! Some very trendy some… A lot more quirky!

Vintage shop Lx Factory Lisbon

We ended our visit on the south side and hopped on a train from Alcantara-Mar station back to Lisbon city centre.

Street art Lx Factory Lisbon

Lx Factory is definitely one of the trendiest spots in Lisbon and could easily compete with the very hype Shoreditch or Brooklyn. So make sure to add it to your Lisbon itinerary!

Street art Lx Factory Lisbon

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Lisbon by night

Sometimes there is nothing to say, just things to look at.

Lisbon – 2017

Lisbon by night

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The best food markets in Lisbon

Lisbon is such a vibrant city. It has a lot of shops and restaurants. People are very friendly and open-minded. It definitely has a very trendy and cosmopolitan vibe.

The food scene is also incredible, and, with the very good weather, the city is able to offer very various experiences to visitors, some indoor and some outdoor. Today, I am taking you to two places that are a mixture of both – covered food markets.

I will be talking about a very famous market which is in all the guides, and a lot less famous one where locals go to eat. So, ready for some food adventures? Let’s go!

Time Out Market

Time Out Market Lisbon

Time Out Market needs no introductions if you have been to Lisbon or even just read about Lisbon. The giant food market is just next to Cais dos Sodré metro station and a short walk away from Baixa neighbourhood. Inside you will find dozens of food stalls. This place is absolutely huge, I have never seen such a big food market even in London!

Time Out Market Lisbon

I also love the Time Out Market concept. The food vendors have been curated based on Time Out ratings and reviews. One of the chefs even owns a Michelin star restaurant!

Sardine bruschetta Time Out Market Lisbon

The ultimate destination for the foodies. Spy at other people’s plates, walk along the shops to see what’s on offer and enjoy a very tasty meal at a very soft price!

We opted for some octopus (you know me, I never say no to it!) and some risotto.

Octopus Time Out Market LisbonRisotto Time Out Market Lisbon

And for dessert? Make sure to have a pastel de nata at Manteigaria, of course!

Pasteis de nata Manteigaria Time Out Market Lisbon

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

If you want to get away from the touristy crowd of Time Out Market, head to Campo de Ourique, a neighbourhood north west of the city centre. It is only 15 minutes on the bus from Baixa. There you will find the eponymous Mercado de Campo de Ourique. This is where the locals (and a very few tourists) go!

Mercado de Campo de OuriqueMercado de Campo de Ourique

The venue is similar to Time Out Market except much smaller. There are a lot of food stalls with a sitting area in the middle.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Again, walk around the place and pick something you fancy! You will find everything from local charcuterie boards to sushi.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Grab a refreshing bottle of rosé and enjoy a tasty meal while people watching.

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

Two very different food market, two very tasty experiences!

Mercado de Campo de Ourique

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Ponto Final – Lisbon, Portugal

Today’s food destination is a popular one. Ponto Final is in most guides about Lisbon. Why? The food is good and authentic and the views of Lisbon are incredible. When visiting the city most attractions will keep you north of the Tagus. Ponto Final is a great excuse to go to the south bank and enjoy the views of the city centre.

To get there you will need to take the ferry from Cais de Sodre to Cacilhas. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the other side. Once there you will have to walk another 15 minutes along the shore. Be aware that at night, the path is very dark and can look a little bit intimidating, but don’t worry you will only run into other guests of the restaurant and some fishermen.

Lisbon and the Tagus by night

Make sure to take plenty of pictures on your way to Ponto Final, this is where you will get the best view of Lisbon north bank and the Ponte 25 de Abril.

Lisbon and the Tagus by night

Keep walking (in the dark, if like us you are going for dinner) and eventually you will be greeted by music, cheery voices and fairy lights. That is it! You have arrived at your destination!

Ponto Final Lisbon

We had booked a table outside but the nights in Lisbon can be quite chilly in the Autumn so we eventually had to move inside. No ones fault just the weather playing against us. It was a little bit of a shame as the view is one of the main reasons people eat at Ponto Final. So we took all the pictures we could and headed inside.

Ponto Final Lisbon

Luckily Ponto Final is also famous for its food! So we knew it wouldn’t be a disappointing evening. The main ingredient here is fish and the food is traditional and rustic. A great place to taste the real flavours of Portuguese food!

Ponto Final Lisbon

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will now that I love octopus, so of course, to start, I went for the octopus salad.

Octopus salad Ponto Final Lisbon

Andrew opted for the Ponto Final soup.

Ponto Final soup

For mains, I went for the mackerel with boiling hot tomato rice and Andrew for the cod fritters with bean rice.

Mackerels Ponto Final LisbonTomato rice Ponto Final Lisbon

Everything we had was tasty! Portuguese food is simple and unfussy which makes it easily accessible to anyone. You get what is written on the menu, and in a way, it is a nice break from the ‘sounds fancy but not sure what that means‘ menus you can often get in Europe.

Cod fritters and beans rice Ponto Final Lisbon

It is also good to note that the portions are extremely generous, so if you are a small eater you could easily share a main between two people.

Sticking with the Portuguese food theme, we shared a bottle of vinho verde, a wine only produced in Portugal. It is fresher than a regular white wine, easy to drink, and just delicious!

Vinho Verde Ponto Final Lisbon

So if you are in Lisbon, make sure to have some fish at Ponto Final, maybe for lunch though, so it is a bit warmer!

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Banca de Pau – Lisbon, Portugal

In the very trendy neighbourhood of Principe Real, just north of Lisbon city centre, you will find Banca de Pau a Portuguese tapas restaurant. Multitasking as a deli, a wine shop and an eatery, the place only serves Portuguese products.

Banca de Pau in Lisbon

I can honestly say that it was one of the best meals we had during our stay in Lisbon. The products are excellent and all sourced locally. The staff is ADORABLE and speaks excellent English (and a bit of French!) and the prices are very reasonable.

Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Banca de Pau seems to have been recently renovated. The place feels modern and is very easy to navigate. At the table next to ours, there was a guest with visual impairment and they had no problem navigating the space. The staff was also extremely attentive to their specific needs. I thought I would mention it as I am conscious some people have to take those things into consideration when travelling! At Banca de Pau you will be well taken care of!

With a wine shop on site, you can choose a glass or pitcher of any of the bottles they sell. If you need a little bit of help make a decision, the staff will select three wines for you to taste. We both settled for red Portuguese wines, both excellent.

Wine at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Now let’s talk about the food, I could just write that it was excellent and leave it there, but in case you need a few recommendations here is what we ordered and loved.

For starters, we ordered the tomato mousse and pistachios toats and the cheese and walnuts toasts. The tomato mousse toasts were to die for! The cheese toats were great too, but the tomato ones were just a level above. I wish we would have ordered another serving of these but we wanted to save our appetite for a few other things.

Tomato mousse and pistachios toats and cheese and walnuts toasts at Banca de Pau, Lisbon

For good measure after many Pastels de Nata during the day, we ordered some greens in the form of broad beans with strawberries and grilled smoked ham. These were tasty and naturally flavoured by the sweetness of the strawberries and the saltiness of the ham.

Broad beans with strawberries and grilled smoked ham at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Of course, we couldn’t eat at a tapas restaurant without ordering the mixed charcuterie and cheese platter. It doesn’t look like much in the picture but the portion was generous and definitely enough for 2 people.

Mixed charcuterie and cheese platter at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

Finally, we ordered the pork sausages with pears and figs. The savoury sausages mixed with the sweetness of the pears and figs made for delicious flavours.

Pork sausages with pears and figs at Banca de Pau in Lisbon

We left full and very satisfied, and our bank account was very happy too! I couldn’t recommend Banca de Pau enough if you are visiting Lisbon, the wine, the food, the staff – you will have a lovely time!

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My favourite pictures of 2017

Now this post took me A LONG time to write, not because of the number of words, but because I have a major problem – I take wayyyyyyyy too many pictures. I had to go through the 7000+ photographs I took this year. It was long, it was difficult to choose but I did it! I selected three of my most favourite pictures I took in 2017.

As I mentioned multiple times before, I am not a professional photographer, far from that! I am more of a point and shoot person. What I believe I am good at though is paying attention to the small things. I see moments and I try to take a picture before they vanished away into a crowd.

So please don’t judge my technical skills as they are rather poor, but I hope you will see some sort of beauty into the three pictures below.

The lovers in Kyoto

Where – Fushimi Inari Taisha

When – In early May 2017 during our trip to Japan

The story – One of this moment where I was just in the right place at the right time. I saw this couple walking ahead of us and was admiring their beautiful traditional outfits. They suddenly turned left heading to a small shrine. I quickly stepped out of the crowd, they were alone so I took a single picture. I usually take at least three shots at least, so I was lucky this one wasn’t completely blurry.

Couple in Fushimi Inari Taisha Kyoto

The tramways of Lisbon

Where – Rua 1º de Maio, Lisbon

When – Late September 2017 during our visit of Lisbon.

The story – We were walking from Jerónimos Monastery to LxFactory and Andrew told me to look to my right, through a metallic fence, we noticed what looked like old traditional tramways. I squeezed my arm through the fence and snapped a few times and, luckily for me, the pictures turned out to be pretty decent.

Tramways in Lisbon

A bridge to the Beach

Where – Chesil Beach

When – In late May when visiting the Jurassic Coast

The story – The weather was absolutely awful that day – rain and fog! We were disappointed of course but I found some magic in the colours. Everything was grey and beige. We drove past Chesil Beach, Andrew parked the car and actually stayed in it. I jumped out, took one step on the bridge and took this picture. It reminds me that even though the weather in England can be pretty terrible, there is so much beauty to be discovered.

Chesil Beach in Dorset

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