Soi 55 Travels | A complete guide for 48 hours in Lisbon
The Soi 55 Travel Guide | 48 hours in Lisbon
With over 20 million passengers passing through the city's airport annually the city of Lisbon is no secret but theres something about the getting lost in the streets here that makes you feel like you are discovering it for the very first time. Lisbon's transport network is excellent for getting around the city and whether it be bus, train or tram you'll find traveling around pretty easy . Lisbon is also super accessible by foot so take the time to discover if you can.
Although we ticked off some obvious must-do's (tram 28, pastel de natas, etc) we decided to skip many of the major tourist attractions so we could spend as much time as possible eating, drinking and getting lost in the 'real Lisbon'. If you don't want to miss out on some of these bigger tourist attractions; the most popular in the city are Castelo de São George, Torre de Belem and Igreja de Sao Roque.
The Soi 55 lifestyle is all about wandering and wondering , exploring the backstreets, discovering the corners and sampling the local good stuff. Here's our take on 48 hours in Lisbon :
F R I D A Y
8PM : Arriving in Lisbon for the first time in the evening is a special experience. Jump on a metro to get you into the centre quickly. We stayed in the lively, bustling area called Bairro Alto which represents everything that is good about Lisbon's nightlife, drink and food scene. There are plenty of private rooms and apartments to be found onAir bnb or Booking.com . We stayed at the Palácio Camões Serviced Apartments (€80 per night) for great views and easy access.
9PM : Once you've slung you bags in head out around Bairro Alto to get your bearings and indulge in a nightcap. If you're lucky you'll stumble down R. da Barroca and find Tasca do Chico playing live fado music for free. This unassuming little bar gets packed to the rafters but don't rush off if you can't get in straight away; grab a beer from one of the adjacent bars until you can squeeze in. It's worth it!
11PM : Feeling suitably cultural finish up your beer or the local spirit : Medronho (hopefully just beer otherwise you WILL have a hangover) and head back for a solid nights sleep.
S A T U R D A Y
7AM : Beat the tourists by waking up early. Set out on foot down towards the river and admire all the colourful houses packed in like Portuguese sardines and throughly enjoy the calm before the crowds. Head along the water front towards Praça do Comércio before looping back towards the bottom of the Elevador da Bica tram. Kick back and enjoy the short, steep ride back to the heart of Bairro.
9AM : Time to grab your day bag and head out for breakfast. There is literally dozens of places to grab a traditional Tosa Mista (ham and cheese toastie) or Bifana (pork roll) just take your pick. If sweet is more your thing (and even if its not) do not leave without sampling a Pastéis de Nata or 3 from Manteigaria. For those who are not familiar with the Portuguese tart it is a 2 bite-sized cream custard filled pastry and it is delightful. I've been hardcore testing these things since I've been in Portugal and none have come even a little bit close to these sweet, creamy versions. There will likely be a queue coming out the door but the wait is worth it; choose to eat in and enjoy your freshly baked 'nata' whilst marvelling the chefs in the act.
11AM : If you're craving a coffee fix or maybe a more cosmopoliotan brunch grab a metro to Restauradores stop and seek out the seriously hipster coffee joint Fabrica Coffee Roasters. If you've come from anywhere in Portugal south of Lisbon its likely you won't have experienced a specialist coffee yet (the Portuguese generally enjoy drinking low quality beans with lots of sugar)! Fabrica buys their beans 100% Arabica straight from the producer’s farms guaranteeing you a tasty cup!
12:30PM : Buzzed up and ready to go nows the time to embrace spontinaeity and the crowds and get wandering the city. Think of this as 'free time' and let your senses guide you around the streets and tram tracks. If the city heights start to get overwhelming make a move for one of the welcoming green
spaces such as Jardim da Estrela for a breath of fresh air.
3:30PM : Feeling refreshed? Probably not as refreshed as you should be. 4pm is fast approaching so it is probably time for a cold beer to reward yourself for all that walking you've done today!
Grab the famous tram 28 and take a ride towards one of Lisbon's best view points : Miradouro de Santa Catarina. Here you can sink a few cold ones on the terrace and count all the different types of boats cruising up and down the Tagus. If you fancy a pre-dinner sangria walk the 15meters to the rooftop bar Noobai and if you're not in a rush to hit the town hang around for dinner with a cracking sunset.
8PM : The sun firmly set it's time to gather yourself, freshen up and find those bars you cleverly sussed out last night. Maybe start of civilised with a glass of vinho tinto from Portugal's Alentajo region
paired with some delicious sheep's cheese and olives at Artis Bar.
930PM : For the second time today let your feet take you on an adventure around the Bairro - there really is so many hidden spots to uncover. If you haven't eaten grab some Portuguese grub from one of the many street-side restaurants. End your night with a expertly made cocktail at Ta'berna and (of course) a Pateis de Nata for the walk home.
S U N D A Y
9AM : You might be feeling jaded this morning? Whether its from the dozens of km's you stomped or the amount of beverages you mixed don't worry; you've earned that badge! Stroll down to the bakery chain
A Padaria Portuguesa for a freshly squeezed OJ and a filled-to-the-brim sandwich prepped on site. Why not grab a take-away to enjoy later too?
10:30AM : Feeling like you've well and truly smashed the city 'wandering'? Then it's time to head west! Make your way to the Cais do Sodre train-station and grab a return ticket to Cascais (€5 return 40mins). To do this you'll need to load a Viva Viagem card (€0.50) which you can do easily at one of the ticket machines. If it's mega busy at the train section jump on an escalator to the metro station below and top up there. The trains to Cascais leave every 30 mins and take the scenic, coastal route...ahh bliss!
The former fishing village of Cascais is now a cosmopolitan beach destination and one of the richest municipalities in Portugal. Oh darling! The area really pulls in the crowds as summer approaches so brace yourself if you are planning a trip in the mid summer months. Don't let it put you off though Cascais has some stunning beaches and if you can't find a piece of sand under the picturesque cliffs at Praia de Rainha there's plenty more space on the equally pretty beaches further East.
11:30AM : Have a chill, take a dip and soak up some rays before taking your beach bag on an explore through the centre of town. Talk a walk through the pretty square, enjoy a gelato from Fabio Lupi and admire the palm fringed ocean walkway towards the harbour walls.
2PM : Take a stroll around the Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Luz or indulge in a glass of wine in one of the pretty, white squares. Finish the afternoon with a stroll back to the train via the most perfect bougainvillea framed houses you have ever seen. You'll find yourself working out how you can own one for yourself.
5PM : Jump back on the train to the city centre for your last meal of the trip. The Cascais train drops you just a short walk away from Lisbon's biggest and best food hall. The Time Out Market at Mercardo de Ribera offers 28 restaurants in one space and serves up wonderful Portuguese food, Asian specialities, epic burgers and Italian and not the mention a rainbow of dessert. It's a time to get cosy in a not-so-cosy environment. Take a lap of whats on offer, decide what takes your fancy, make your order and squeeze on a the first spot on the table you see. Once you've pigged out on your final (delicious) meal in Lisbon grab a Pastéis de Nata and find yourself some place beautifully Portuguese to enjoy it.
So that was our 48 hours in Lisbon. We obviously didn't get to do and see everything wonderful that Lisbon has to offer but we certainly got a taste for it. It tastes a little like a Pastéis de Nata which means we will definitely be back for more soon!
Have you explored Lisbon? Where did your wandering take you?
Got any tips for our next trip? We'd love to hear them!
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