Quick City Guide to Exploring Lisbon
After spending a wonderful activity-packed week exploring Morocco, I was looking forward to slowing things down on the next leg of my trip, Lisbon. While most of our week in Portugal was spent taking day trips from Lisbon, we spent about two days venturing off into the colorful neighborhoods of the city.
Here's a quick city guide to exploring Lisbon:
Getting Around Lisbon
Lisbon has an extensive public transportation system. The main public transportation options are trams (most iconic and great way to see the city), buses, lifts (helpful for climbing the many steep slopes in Lisbon), and the metro. Viva Viagem, is the rechargeable magnetic public transport ticket you can purchase at any metro station or newspaper stand. It can be used for buses, metro and trams. The card itself costs €0.50. It's €1.40 for a single ride and €6 for a day pass.
There are also tuk-tuks available for transportation, but I wouldn't recommend them for daily transport because they tend to be pricey.
Tram 28 will get you to most tourist spots. Take advantage of this cheap way to explore Lisbon. Ride the entire route or for a less drive-by approach, get off at different points of interest and explore them more.
Where to Stay
Living Lounge Hostel
The majority of our stay in Lisbon was at Living Lounge Hostel. I absolutely loved our time at Living Lounge! It was in a convenient location and only a few steps away from the Baixia Chiado metro stop. The Baixia and Chiado neighborhood is the historic center of Lisbon.
There was a more mature crowd staying at Living Lounge, so it wasn't obnoxiously loud. There were also plenty of opportunities to meet new people. It was very clean. A variety of tours were offered daily. They provided free breakfast which included crepes, cereal, bread, cheese, jam, coffee, tea, and fruit juice. They also provided a 3-course meal for €10. We ate dinner there once and it was delectable! We stayed in both a private room and a 8-person dorm. The dorms were really spacious and had a lot of storage space on the bottom of the bunk.
What to Do
Go on a Walking Tour
When traveling in Europe, I often start my trips with a walking tour to get a better picture of the city and to learn about the best spots to further explore. Our hostel arranged daily free (tip-based) walking tours with Wild Walkers Lisbon. Our tour guide Marco was a Portuguese-native, hilarious, and very knowledgeable. He gave us a great overview of the Baixia Chiado neighborhood and provided us with fantastic recommendations of things to do and places to eat.
Lisbon isn't nicknamed the "City of Seven Hills" for no reason. It is extremely hilly and sometimes slippery. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes with a good grip.
Attend a Fado Show
Fado is traditional Portuguese music, that features guitars and soulful singing about life and struggle. Although, I don't understand Portuguese, I certainly felt the passion through the music. Per the suggestion of Marco, we caught a Fado show at a traditional bar, Tasco do Chico. We arrived at 7pm and lucked out on getting a spot without a reservation. Before the show started, we ate delicious tapa style dishes at the bar.
As shown by the many celebrity pictures on their wall, Tasco do Chico, is very popular among locals and tourists alike. Make a reservation in advance. Although we lucked out by getting a spot, it wasn't the best location.
Grab a Drink at a Rooftop Bar
We went to the rooftop of the Bairro Alto Hotel for delicious cocktails and a stunning view of Lisbon.
We went to Barrio Latino to dance! Every Tuesday they have a free Kizomba lesson.
Rock out at a Pub Crawl
We didn't party much throughout this trip, so we decided to end our trip with a bang, by channeling our inner college girl selves and attending a pub crawl! We went with the Wild Walkers group. For €15 we went to 4 bars, 1 club, and had drink specials all night. The pub crawl happened in the Bairro Alto neighborhood which is the best place for for night life in Lisbon.
Catch a Sunset by the Waterfront
There are an abundance of places to relax by the water and watch a sunset. We caught a beautiful one by the Cais do Sodre metro station.
What to Eat
I have to preface this by letting you know I did not have a bad meal in Lisbon! Here are my two favorite places:
Pastelaria Restaurante Alfacinha
Pastelaria Restaurante Alfacinha was recommended by our guide. The moment I stepped inside I knew it was going to be good because it was filled with older locals and I know I can trust their taste buds. I had a delicious Octopus rice dish.
Time Out Market
If you are a foodie Time Out Market is the place for you! There were just the right amount of options where you aren't overwhelmed by the choices. We did a walk around once to see what was available and then bought items from multiple places.
Beautiful tiled buildings, vintage trolleys, unbelievable views, and delicious food. Lisbon, you were a treat!