4 Days in Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is one of the most charming places you'll ever visit. With its quintessentially European architecture, steeped cobble streets and storied history, this city feels like a walk through time. You'll see locals standing on the corner having a chat or sitting for a coffee, and the wine flows like water here. At any given time you're a stone's throw away from stunning churches, palaces and castles as well as incredible viewpoints that overlook the city and the sea. Relax, take is easy, and enjoy this vibrant, social city.
VISIT MERCADO DA RIBEIRA AND TIME OUT MARKET
Mercado Da Ribeira has been a city staple since the 1890's, and while Time Out Market has largely taken over the venue, the original farmer and fish market still operates from the morning hours until 2pm. Here, you'll find more of a local feel with fresh produce and flowers in abundance. Take a walk around and pick up some thoughtful souvenirs before entering the Time Out Market, a massive food hall with communal seating and any cuisine imaginable. Opt to dine at Portuguese favorite Balcão da Esquina for signature salt cod dishes.
SEE THE SIGHTS, ON FOOT
The steep cobbled streets and windy roads may seen daunting, but trust me when I say that Lisbon is best seen by foot. Photo opportunities abound, here are some of my favorite (and photo-worthy) sights: Comércio Square, Arco da Rua Augusta, Lisbon Cathedral, Santa Justa Lift (don't take the lift, just admire it - the line is crazy long and there are better ones), Carmo Convent, Rossio Square, Glória Elevator and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (for an epic sunset).
HAVE DINNER WITH A SIDE OF VIEWS AT TOPO CHIADO
This rooftop bar and restaurant overlooks São Jorge Castle and Mouraria, which would make it a worthy visit on its own, but the incredible atmosphere and food completely brings it home. Plenty of Portuguese and International options plus great cocktails makes this the spot for a night out.
BELEM FOR THE SIGHTS, BUT MOSTLY THE PORTUGUESE CUSTARD TARTS
Trust when I say that Belem, a suburb of Lisbon on the banks of the River Tagus, is completely picturesque and worth the short 15 minute train to have a look. It's leafy and residential with beautiful parks and gardens that you can't help but want to have a walk through. Your hit list is Belem Tower, Jeronimo Monastery and the Discoveries Monument, and all are a short distance off the train on foot. After, it's time for the main reason you're here: Pasteis de Belem. I can't explain WHY these are the best Portuguese custard tarts you'll ever have, but they are, so get a six-pack. Seriously. Take your goodies on a walk to Belem Garden (Jardim de Belem) a very small, local park across from some cute little pink, yellow and blue-colored buildings. If you're planning to stay for a drink or a bite, Enoteca de Belem, a wine bar on the very cool Marta Pinto street, is the way to go.
BEACH AFTERNOON IN CASCAIS
Cascais is a coastal resort town just 30-45 minutes outside of Lisbon and accessible by train. Those looking for a quick seaside escape with sandy beaches surrounded by lavish villas and well-kempt gardens, this is the place. Find a spot in the sand at Praia da Conceição, named after the small chapel located next to the beach. Here, there are a few little bars to grab a beer and a bite. Once you're ready for more exploring, take a walk towards the Piscina Oceânica Alberto Romano, a wading pool that overlooks the sea.
SOUL SEARCHING IN SINTRA
The beauty of Sintra is almost unexplainable - you have to see it to believe it. There's something about this town set in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains with pine-covered forests and pastel-colored palaces that just takes your breath away. You're submersed in nature and rugged terrain while also being among some of the most whimsical architecture and elaborate tile work you've ever seen. There's much to see here depending on how long you'd like to stay, but my top recommendations are Sintra National Palace, Castle of the Moors and Pena National Palace. There's a hike to the Castle of the Moors that is not for the faint of heart, but if you can brave it, the Villa Sassetti trail makes getting to your destination weirdly gratifying. The little shops in town are also a great place to pick up some hand painted tiles, a signature item in Portugal, or ones from old factories in the 50's.
BACK TO LISBON FOR SUNSET AT MIRADOURO DE SANTA CATARINA
This viewpoint, also known as Adamastor viewpoint, attracts a lot of young tourists and locals looking to relax, mingle and listen to street performers while taking in one of the best views in the city. Since it's located on one of Lisbon's seven hills, you have unobstructed views of the water, the bridge, rooftops and the Tagus estuary. Have a beer, strike up a conversation, and watch the sunset.
DINNER AT CERVEJARIA RAMIRO
Made super famous by Anthony Bourdain a few years back, this will be the number one meal recommendation from anyone who's visited Lisbon. That's not without good reason, it will absolutely rock your world, but you must be prepared to wait. Once you're seated, you will take in the magic that is this three-floor, informal eatery and indulge on all of the seafood, lobster and beer that your heart desires.
SOUVENIR SHOP AT A VIDA PORTUGUESA
This one-stop boutique gift shop houses a carefully curated mix of local, gourmet products from all across the country. While it's not cheap, you will find all things Portugal made: soap, perfume, sweets, chocolate, canned tuna (my favorite), souvenirs that are hand painted or made of cork, etc. Pick something up to commemorate your trip.
BEVVYS AT PARK BAR
Park Bar is hands down one of the coolest rooftop bars you'll ever seen, and definitely one of the most unsuspecting. Located on top of a parking garage, it's easy to miss the entrance if you're not looking hard enough. While this may seem a little sketch, once you climb the stairs to the top you'll be met by an elevated, garden terrace that oozes cool. Drinks, music and people watching makes for the perfect afternoon.
MEAL AT BYTHEWINE
Located in the trendy Chiado neighborhood, BytheWine is a vibe-y wine bar where it's easy to get a seat for one at the bar. Here, it's all about charcuterie, cheese, crusty bread and a glass of several of Portuguese red wine from their very extensive list. No matter the time of day it's always bustling with activity yet low-key and relaxed.