"If you like food as much as I do, Lisbon is the place for you!"
This beautiful jewel has been hiding at plain sight for quite some time, and in the last 3-4 years started attracting lots of attention to itself.
I can't begin to understand why it took so long for people to notice such a wonderful city. But whatever the reason was, I am happy it caught my attention, because visiting Lisbon was an unforgettable experience.
Lisbon is absolutely stunning.
No matter where you look you will find beauty. Besides the fact that every building is beautifully decorated with hand-painted azuleijos or painted in bright happy colors, their pavements are also breathtaking pieces of art. Such attention to detail makes it very hard for other cities to compete with such beauty, especially when the very charming tram 28 is passing by.
But it is after the sun starts to set that Lisbon really shines. In the late afternoon, a golden gorgeous light will embrace the city and that's when you should grab a bottle of Portuguese wine and run to the closest viewpoint to fully enjoy it.
My favorite was a quiet and small park in front of the Necessidade Palace, it gives us a beautiful view of the 25 de Abril Bridge together with the statue of the Christ the King. Another very popular place for those who don't mind spending 5€ on a beer, its a bar in the Barrio Alto called Park, a very fancy bar right on top of a parking lot.
But honestly, I didn't go to Lisbon for its beauty, I went for the food!
Lisbon is becoming a foodie must-go destination and I now understand why. Lisbon has a bakery in every corner and in every one of them, everything tastes amazing! Just be sure to go to Manteigaria to get the most famous pastéis in Lisbon and watch how they are made through the glass that separates the counter form the kitchen. Lisbon is also the home of Belcanto, one of the top 100 restaurants in the World (according to "The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List") with menus made by the great José Avillez that will take you in a beautifully crafted food journey.
But Lisbon it is also a collection of more popular and fantastic restaurants such as Ramiro (seafood madness with the best atmosphere) or Cabaças (get a big piece of raw Nabo and watch it cook right in front of your eyes) that make Lisbon unbelievably fun and memorable.
And don't forget to stop by the wonderful Time Out Market and have a taste of all possible Portuguese delights at once and, of course, the very hype Lx Factory.
Lisbon is very close to other wonderful little towns. And a place you shouldn't miss is Sintra!
From Lisbon, you can get a roundtrip ticket to Sintra for only 5€ and spend an entire day in a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by magnificent palaces and splendid nature giving it a peaceful fairytale-ish feeling!
If you are thinking of proposing, that's definitely the place to do so!
And while there, don't forget to try the fluffy and delicious Almofadas, the typical dessert from this area!
In Sintra just go with the flow, walk around and try to see as much as you can. And, of course, stop by the Quinta da Regaleira to see the most curious gardens and constructions of your life!
Last but not least, Belém! The place of origin and home of the best pastéis in the World.
Belém is a 20min ride away from Lisbon and is a place packed with History. Apparently, all famous Portuguese conquistadores left from there to explore the World. That explains the great monument build in their honor.
Be sure to stop by the Belém tower and the beautiful Monastery, but mostly, be sure to stop by Pastéis de Belém and buy a box of one of the most delicious sweets you'll eat in your life. Don't even bother trying anything else in the menu, just go for what they are known for and you won't regret it!
In Belém, you will also find the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology) a new and important cultural center in Lisbon. It has a stunning architecture that gives Belém's riverfront a pleasant modern look.
If all this food talk scared you, don't worry. Lisbon (and its surroundings) is very far from being flat.
Just by walking up and down those hills you'll get your daily workout done. So, be sure to pack a comfortable pair of shoes, grab a pastel and off you go!