Wednesday, 29 July 2015

24 hours falling in love with Lisbon

No two ways about it: Lisbon is a super awesome city.

In the middle of our lovely beachside holiday, the fam and I drove up to the Portuguese capital for one night and one night only. Plus part of the days either side, obvs. 

Chums, we had an absolute cracker of a time and all fell absolutely in love with Lisbon. Quote Mum: “It’s my new fave European city!” Yup, Lisbon has knocked Paris off the top spot. Quite an achievement.

From the impression I got, Lisbon is characterised by its beautiful and unique architecture packed up and down the city’s many hills: pretty tiled walls, colourful pastel houses, tiled street signs and big open squares around incredible monuments and fountains.

I also absolutely love the fact that the sea – well, technically a river juuuust about to reach the sea – runs along the city. You can smell the sea air, the gulls squawk overhead and there are even beaches and a marina too. In a capital city. How cool is that?

The Torre de Belém
And crossing the river is… The Golden Gate Bridge!

Yeah, I know. But this is actually the 25 de Abril Bridge. It turns out the bridge was built by the same architects who built the aforementioned famous San Francisco bridge. So there you have it.

On the afternoon we arrived, team Hosie decided to explore the old area of Bairro Alto. We wandered up and down the narrow cobbled streets, admiring the colourful houses and peering into interesting little shops and cafés.

We stumbled upon an interesting-looking place called Paletaria and were drawn in by their fruity signage. It turned out it was Paletaria’s opening day! What a great find. The little shop sells absolutely scrumptious and totally unique ice lollies made with 70% fruit!

I chose peach, Mum went for mango and the Shrimp decided on strawberry. Oh my days, they were ALL so delicious and super fruity. Ideal on a hot day too.

Continuing to explore the city on foot into the evening, we discovered Lisbon is also home to all the chain stores you’d expect, but alas, there was no time for shopping. Not when it was dinner time, anyway. Although I totally love that all the shops stay open well into the evening. That just doesn’t happen back in the UK. Shame.

After a lot of wandering and an inability to agree on what we wanted to eat (standard family issues, am I right?), we settled upon a restaurant called Em Alta Na Baixa. It was Friday evening and totally full – we got lucky. 

After a delicious dinner (and a glass of white wine sangria – potensh my new fave summer drink), the Shrimp and I bid adieu to the oldies (love ya, Mum and Dad) and went to meet up with some fellow youths. (I'm still a youth at 22, right?)

The Shrimp's friend Lucy just happened to be in town with a couple of her other girlfriends, and they took us to the coolest bar!

Guys, if you're ever in Lisbon, go to Park Bar. It's the most amazing rooftop terrace bar, named thus due to its location on the top of a multi-storey car park. From the street below you'd have no idea it was there, and sure, you have to walk up some slightly grimey stairs to get there, but it is SO worth it!

The view is shamaze.

As you can imagine, it was totally packed with a cosmopolitan, trendy, young crowd. So obvs we fit in perfectly.

And even better was that I thought the cocktail prices were really quite reasonable, especially when compared to Bristol's snazziest cocktail bars.

We sipped and chatted and admired the view before calling it a night. There was still a lot of Lisbon to see the next day!

With only a few hours left to see as much of the city as possible, we decided the best way to make the most of Lisbon was with an open-top bus tour.

And what a great decision it was! We went with Gray Line and had a marvellous time sitting in the sunshine, learning about the history of the city through our headsets and being effortlessly taken to all the most interesting parts of Lisbon.

The amazing monastery

It was ace, and as much as I love exploring cities on foot, there was no way we'd have had time to see everything we did had we been walking.

But we needed a sit down after all that exhausting, um, sitting. Ahem. So there was only one thing for it: Pastéis de Belém, whose custard tarts are so wonderful they warranted their own blog post.

And then it was time to head back down south to the sea.

Lisbon, you've stolen my heart. I'll be back, and I recommend you - yes, YOU - get yourself over there for a mini- (or maxi-) break stat.


  1. Hi Rachel, I enjoyed the read. Looks like there is loads to do in Lisbon. Maybe it would be worth just going there, rather than up the coast? But maybe a week in Lisbon is too much?
    How was the shopping possibilities. I always like to buy a dress, a pair of shoes or a handbag when I am travelling to a new place. I went to Rome earlier this year and bought and Italian handbag in a small, independent shop. I have actually written a blog post about Italian leather handbags for Feel free to read about in their blog section.
    But for now I am keen to know what I can get in Portugal. You never hear about Portuguese dresses or handbags, but surely the women there are also buying local stuff?
    Thanks for the read and the many pictures.
    Iwona xXx

    1. Hi Iwona, thanks for your comment.
      No, I don't think a week in Lisbon would be too much at all - there's lots to do! And there were lots of great shops, don't worry. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to explore the shops enough but do let me know if you do! Enjoy :) x

  2. Hi, Rachel! It was amazing to read your lovely blog, how you liked your city and find our restaurant Em Alta na Baixa among your favourites! Thank you a lot, and Lisbon can't wait to see you all again :D

  3. What a pretty city! It looks like you guys had a great time!

  4. amazing city!!!

  5. Hi Rachel! I could not have stumbled across you blog at a better time! I'm off to Lisbon this weekend, and am totally procrastinating from planning by reading blogs (but actually managed to do both at the same time here!) Park is totally on my list of places to go! Can't wait to check it out!

    Jess | ThatGirlInTheAttic

    1. Amazing! Hope you had an amazing time in Lisbon and enjoyed Park. x


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