AOK Guide to Lisbon, Portugal

Travel blogger Amanda's OK shares a guide for visiting Lisbon, Portugal

Have you ever traveled somewhere that completely blew your expectations out of the water? That was Lisbon for me! I was immediately in love with the lively and vibrant atmosphere, the architecture, the colorful and hilly streets, the fresh food and the friendly people of Lisbon. In my opinion, Lisbon is one of the most underrated destinations in Europe - I would go back in a heartbeat and would recommend it to anyone!

We originally planned to only visit Spain but decided to include Portugal, as well, since it was so close. We wanted to get another country added to our travel list and wow am I glad we did! Lisbon was my favorite destination of our three-part Spain & Portugal vacation (see my guide to Seville, Spain here). Believe it or not, we arrived in Lisbon via private car from Seville - it was the cheapest and fastest way to get there! So fancy. We hit the ground running and didn't waist a second. I'm sharing all of my favorite sites, restaurants and more below! 

Lisbon Travel Tips

  • It was really easy to get around Lisbon! Though the hills were steep, most things were within a walking distance for us. If they weren't, it was easy to catch a cab or an Uber. You can also ride a tram! 
  • Almost everyone spoke English and most restaurants had English menus. 
  • Watch out for pickpockets, especially on a tram / cable car! We were also offered drugs multiple times by people in touristy areas..?? We felt safe for the most part, but just stay alert and be aware! 
  • Lisbon is HILLY. Think San Francisco hilly! There are lots of cable cars that were originally put in place to help people get around. That being said, be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable to climb steep hills in. 

The Bica Funicular street car in Lisbon

What to do in Lisbon

  • Belem Tower - the ceremonial gateway to Lisbon! This castle-esque tower is  from the 16th century and is right on the water. It served as the point of embarkment and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers. Sometimes you can tour the inside, but when we visited it was closed. If you visit, be sure to walk down the Tagus River to see the Padrao dos Descobrimentos - it is a giant stone monument honoring the Portuguese explorers. If you want to get a picture without people, visit early in the morning. 
  • Find the Bica Funicular - the most photographed tram in Lisbon! I used this blog post to help locate the tram, we arrived early in the morning (around 7:30) and were able to catch it at the top of the hill without any people around! Do it for the gram. 
  • Climb to the Miradouros - maradouros are "viewpoints" in Portuguese. You can view a list here! We visited the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, it almost felt like we were in Santorini! 
  • Walk down the Rua Nova do Carvalho - Lison, the city with streets of pink! This street (yes, it is actually pink) used to be a part of the red light district but has since been transformed to an Instagrammers heaven. It is lined with hip bars and shops and covered with hanging umbrellas overhead. 
  • Ride the Elevator de Santa Justa - this elevator was designed by the same guy who designed the Eiffel Tower! It was installed to help people get to the top of a hill - from a low street on one side of the elevator to a high street on the other side. 
  • Visit the Carmo Convent - I really enjoyed seeing the ruins of this Roman Gothic church. It was destroyed during the earthquake of 1755 but part of the structure still stands and can be toured. 
  • Explore the Castle de S. Jorge - we didn't make it to the castle but it looked so cool! It sits on top of one of Lisbon's hills and overlooks the city and even dates back to the 8th century! 
  • Snap a pic at the Arco da Rua Augusta - this arch was built to commemorate the city's reconstruction after the earthquake of 1755.
  • Take a day trip to Sintra - this is a MUST do! Sintra is only about a 40 minute train ride from Lisbon. Back in the day, Sintra was where the kings and queens and lords and ladies had their summer homes, so it is more or less a mountain town filled with historic castles and mansions. Honestly, I could have spent more than a day in Sintra, it was wonderful. We visited Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and the Castle of the Moors.

Travel blogger Amanda Martin of @amandasok visits the Arco da Rua Augusta in Lisbon
The Arco da Rua Augusta | Shop this look here

Oklahoma based travel blogger Amanda Martin visits the Tower of Belem in Lisbon
The Tower of Belem & Padrao dos Descobrimentos | Shop this look here

Oklahoma blogger @amandasOK wears a dress from Oklahoma boutique Amanda Moore & Company at the Bica Funicular in Lisbon
The Bica Funicular | Shop this dress here and use code AMANDASOK15

@amandasok visits the Carmo Convent in Lisbon, Portugal
The Carmo Convent | Shop this look here

The elevator de santa justa in lisbon
Elevator de Santa Justa

Amanda Martin of @amandasok soaks in the view from a Miradouro in Lisbon
Miradouro de Santa Luzia | Shop this look here

Amanda Martin of OKC based lifestyle blog Amanda's OK visits the pink street in Lisbon, Portugal
Pink Street | Shop this look here

Amanda Martin of Amanda's OK Blog visits castles in Sintra, Portugal
Pena Palace & Castle of the Moors in Sintra | Shop this look here

Where to Eat & Drink in Lisbon

  • Taberna Da Rua Das Flores - our favorite meal in Lisbon! This spot was very small, did not take reservations and had a line at opening time. Get there early!! They serve traditional Portuguese dishes with their own tapas flare. 
  • Landeau Chocolate - if you love a good chocolate cake, this is the place for you! 
  • Pasteis de Belem - Pasteis, aka custard tarts, are a Lisbon specialty! This bakery is one of the most popular places to get them (and of course they have other treats, too). 
  • Manteigaria - I tried a lot of custard tarts in Lisbon and this one was my favorite! 
  • Topo Chiado - if you're looking for a romantic, fun place for drinks with a view, I can't recommend this rooftop bar enough! It took us a few tries to find it, but it was worth it. Their cocktails were unique and delicious and the sunset view was incredible. It is located behind the Carmo Convent, between it and the Elevator de Santa Justa. 
  • Dear Breakfast - I was blown away by Lisbon's breakfast scene! Dear Breakfast was SO CUTE, so Instagrammable, and so delicious. And they gave us soooo much food! They serve brunch all day, yes and amen. 
  • The Mill - another solid breakfast find! This cafe had an Aussie vibe and made their own ceramics (you could even buy them!). I recommend the Breakfast Bagel, YUM. 
  • Time Out Market - you can't visit Lisbon and not go to Time Out Market! They have a ton of food stalls and you honestly can't go wrong with any of them. 

breakfast in Lisbon, Portugal
Dear Breakfast & The Mill

Amanda Martin of @amandasOK has a sunset drink at Topo Chiado overlooking Lisbon
Topo Chiado | Shop this look here

where to eat in Lisbon, Portugal according to travel and lifestyle blogger Amanda's OK

Where to Shop in Lisbon
  • Avenida da Liberdade - this is basically the 5th Avenue or Champs-Elysees of Lisbon! All of the high-end designer stores can be found here as well as popular chains. 
  • LX Factory - this is a fun, quirky little area of co-op working spaces, boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. It was fun to walk through and it had a few good shops with more unique/less touristy gift items. 

LX Factory in Lisbon is full of great local shops
LX Factory

Where to Stay in Lisbon

We stayed at an AirBNB in Chiado / Barrio Alto neighborhood. Though I wouldn't recommend our specific apartment or host, the area in general was super convenient and close to everything! We were able to walk most places with ease (minus the hills!). 

There you have it! I'm so glad we included Lisbon on this trip, it's beauty and charm will stay with me for a long time. Have you ever been to Lisbon, Sintra or Portugal? If so, I'd love to hear about it. 

Thanks for reading and happy travels! 

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