Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
The hilly heart of Lisbon lends itself to walking, so you can explore much of the center on foot (if you’re wearing decent shoes). The cobblestones can be slippery when it rains though, so forego the high heels for something comfortable and grippy. If you want to venture farther afield, public transport is cheap and easy. The metro runs directly from the airport to most surrounding neighborhoods. If you can, avoid the morning rush hour! For those looking to visit Sintra by train, get to the platform early in order to get a seat and watch out for pickpockets at the touristy stations, as well as in Bairro Alto.
Green wine and seafood
In Lisbon you can choose from over a dozen regional wines to have with your lunch or dinner - and most of them won’t set you back too much. The popular vinho verde, or ‘green wine’ as it’s known, is named for its youth rather than its color. It’s from the northern Minho region and is best enjoyed with seafood dishes. Luckily there’s plenty of that in the city! Try a hole-in-the-wall joint like famed Cervejaria Ramiro, where you can tuck into a feast of lobster, shrimp, crab, and prawns for around €15 per person. Or head over the river on the ferry and try a waterside treat at Ponto Final, with a side of breathtaking views of Lisbon’s old town.
Lisbon boasts an exciting blend of fast-paced metropolitan bustle and Iberian flair. Bairro Alto is a great starting point for a big night out. Then do a bar crawl from one cheap wine to the next in a string of cosy hangouts - or make like the locals and go for a cheap and tasty ‘Illegal Chinese’. These hidden restaurants are found in apartment buildings and alleys around the Martim Moniz metro station. Another popular area with some great bars and restaurants is Cais do Sodré square, while hipsters frequent the newer and slightly more upscale neighbourhood of Campo de Ourique where it’s cool to see and be seen.
Fado in Chiado
It not only rhymes, it’s also a cultural highlight! Fado in Chiado is an hour-long live show that’s regularly ranked a #1 activity on TripAdvisor. It’s also a great end-of-the-day activity for the whole family. If you don’t know what Fado is, think melodious guitar music and beautiful old ladies singing songs about local life and lost loves. There’s Fado all over Lisbon and many play while you’re eating dinner in local restaurants. This one comes with moving images of the city, adding to the musical spectacular. You’ll not only be captivated by the talent, you’ll also find a new appreciation for an art form that is so special it’s considered part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO!
Time Out Market Lisboa
Boasting two million hungry visitors a year, this crowded food hall will have you swimming in gourmet food. It only opened in 2014, but the Time Out Market has fast become a top tourist attraction (and the place locals like to come when they feel like splashing out). With top offerings from 24 restaurants, 8 bars, 12 shops and high-end musical acts, you can get a taste of anything you fancy, from steak, to burgers, to sushi, risotto and seafood. For the creamiest, most delectable pasteis de nata on earth (custard tarts to you and I) head to the bakery at the far end and ask for a whole bag, then sit at one of the long communal tables and tuck in. No one will judge you. They’re all doing the same thing.
Life’s a beach
Want to feel the sand between your toes instead of all those slippery Lisbon cobblestones? Families head to the Estoril-Cascais coastline, easily reachable by train from the city center. The Praia de Carcavelos is the biggest and best beach in the region, while the historic fishing port of Cascais makes a great place to stop for fresh seafood. The Atlantic-facing Serra de Sintra coastline has a number of excellent surfing beaches and wild, rugged scenery. Try a daytrip to the charming resort town of Praia das Maçãs. You’ll need to rent a car to explore the picturesque Serra da Arrábida coastline, while the Costa da Caparica has a mix of surfing and family-friendly beaches and a trendy bar scene.
Sintra, Cascais and Estoril
You can’t come to Lisbon and not spend a day in the stunning fairytale town of Sintra. On a sunny day you’ll feel like a character in an enchanted forest as you make your way through this longtime royal sanctuary. Explore dewy forests and hidden tunnels leading to gushing waterfalls. Pose in exotic gardens with mesmerizing views, skip across paving stones on lily ponds and make your way through secret caves using just a flashlight! Skip the line to the Pena Palace with our Tiqets day trip to Sintra and the surfing beaches of Cascais, which will also take you right to the magnificent Roca Cape Cliffs - Europe’s westernmost point. Get ready to take more photos than you’ve ever taken in your life!