Vintage romance and Fado Music

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, looks like a beautiful, exuberant woman. ‘Exuberant’ both in appearance and personality. And so beautiful that she is called “Princess of the Ocean”.

A Crown on her head is the bastion of the castle of Sao Jorge. As a rich dress, she wears colourful houses spreading over seven hills. For bracelets and necklaces, cute wagons pass around her that enchant you as they cross the streets all day. Her feet are covered with elaborate sidewalks and nostalgic alleys, while she steps not on carpet nor cement but in the waters of the Tagus River.

Her perfume smells like seafood and sweet cream. It comes out of the bakeries and patisseries, pulls you by the nose to taste one of its many specialities, and quenches your thirst with her red wine. A spark shines in her gaze, that spiritual flame that inspired Fernando Pessoa and the Portuguese explorers. And her voice? When she opens her mouth, the tender, almost melancholic melody of traditional Portuguese Fado music nestles in your soul.

But… Like a true woman, Lisbon full of uphills and downhills, before ‘conquering’ her, she might challenge you a bit first.

If you dream of a luxurious high-tech capital, you may not appreciate it so much. But if you are looking for a place with authentic culture and strong tradition, Lisbon is your destination. Because here, culture and history don’t hide in museums, but they exist all around you. They are the streets you walk on, the building you live in, the tram you use and the air you breathe.

Table of Contents

Lisbon travel guide

Lisbon Itinerary

Let’s stroll around the city!

Baixa district

Our day starts in the city centre, the Baixa district, where is the famous Santa Justa elevator. It has been in operation since 1905, and from the top, it offers a panoramic view of the city. At the same time, it gives the shortest access to the highest districts of the city.

Leaving there, we walk along the main pedestrian street ‘Rua Augusta’ where we find boutiques, pastry shops and restaurants with local specialities. Our steps lead us to the ornate Rua Agusta Arch.

Passing under the arch, the largest square of Lisbon, Praca Do Comercio, emerges ahead of us. Here, there are a lot of chances to catch an outdoor concert or another event while admiring the glamorous architecture of the place and the beautiful view of the Tagus River.

On the banks of the river, many stalls offer refreshing cocktails, mainly Pina Colada, served in fresh pineapple. Lots of music, a positive mood and a daily party that starts early in the afternoon. Also, there are fine restaurants in a peaceful environment to enjoy a meal with a view of the river and the opposite bank.

We leave the river, and, at a very close distance, we find the imposing Cathedral of Lisbon. We walk uphill and enter the most beautiful district of the city, Alfama.

Timeless trams cross the stone-paved alleys, tiny boutiques with vintage clothes, and galleries with handcrafted works of art. This picturesque district is the heart of the culture and tradition of Lisbon.

Enticing smells of food waft from the galley kitchens while, in some restaurants, musicians play traditional fado music. We choose one of those and enjoy our meal listening to the sweet melody of the guitar.


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Castle district

We continue our walk uphill in the beautiful Alfama and reach the Castle Arch, the gate that leads us to the Castle of Saint George. 

The castle was built in the 10th century and constitutes part of the local history. Walking there is an opportunity to relax, admiring the panoramic view of the city from its bastions.

Then, we continue uphill in the quiet castle quarter, walking among graffiti and ruins, and reach the Miradouro da Graca viewpoint. A panoramic view, a nice cafeteria, and one of Lisbon’s oldest churches make the setting.

We enjoy our coffee and accompany it with a delicious dessert of pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese creamy pastry.

We enter the old church Igreja da Graca, which has operated since the 13th century. Inside, we admire the local art of azulejo tiles, and going up to the roof with the panoramic view, the nuns offer us a glass of wine.

As long as we still have strength, we continue to climb towards the highest and most famous point of view of Lisbon, the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. From this point, the first king of Portugal started his conquest of Lisbon, and today, it is the best place to admire the view of the city at sunset.

When night falls, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you want, walk, hop on a traditional tram, take a taxi or Uber and head to the Bairro Alto district, the heart of Lisbon’s nightlife.

If you are looking for entertainment, here you will find the best bars in the city for dancing and partying until the morning. If you want something more relaxing, enjoy a dinner with fado music in the picturesque alleys of this bohemian neighbourhood filled with a romantic aesthetic and a nice view.

Tomorrow, we are waiting for the monuments of the great explorers in the Belem district and the dreamy palace of Sintra.

Bairro Alto

TOP 10 list of Lisbon

Info about Lisbon

Language : Portuguese

Olá = Hello Obrigado = Thank you

Population : 548.703

Currency : Euro

Climate : Mild Mediterranean

National Day : 10 June. Death of the national poet Camoes.

Emergency number : 112 police and medical 

Chargers : European charger type C and F, same as in Greece or Spain.

Lisbon is situated across seven hills along the Tagus River, at its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean.

Odysseus found Lisbon and gave his name to the city until 714 when the Moorish renamed the area. At the time of the discovery of the New World, it was one of the richest cities in the world, thanks to the shipping power. Many expeditions of explorers started from its port, such as the one of Vasco Da Gama to the Indies.

Between the 15th and 17th centuries, it developed a unique style of architecture, resulting in two of its monuments being declared World Heritage by UNESCO. But then pandemics, earthquakes, and the permanent installation of the Inquisition in the city contributed to its decline. In 1755, a large earthquake with a tsunami and a subsequent fire levelled almost the entire city. Its reconstruction was done according to the standards of the time and gave it its current form.

In Lisbon, the main element of the interior and exterior decoration of the buildings are the traditional azulejo tiles that represent historical moments of the country. Also, from the middle of the 19th century, a unique art of pedestrianization and road construction began to develop in the city. This style is called ‘Calcada Portuguesa’ and uses stones to create elaborate patterns. It was born in Lisbon, spread to the rest of Portugal, and then adopted by other countries. The only downside is that these narrow cobblestone sidewalks are particularly slippery when it rains.

Also, parents planning to travel with pushchairs and toddlers, or people with mobility problems or wheelchairs should be aware that Lisbon is hilly and uphill roads cover a large area of the city.

Finally, in Lisbon, as in many other cities, you must be very careful with your bag and wallet, as there are frequent thefts, especially on public transport.

“The Story of the Siege of Lisbon” by Jose Saramago.

Listen to Fado de Lisboa – Francisco Fialho.

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The best time is spring and early summer. You can enjoy the city without high temperatures. It is the same during autumn, as long as it doesn’t rain because the sidewalks become slippery and make walking difficult.

By air to the city airport with code LIS AIRPORT. The airport is very close to the city centre. You can use the metro or the bus. Tickets are available at the metro station, or you can pay directly to the bus driver with cash. Another option is Uber, at an economical price (around 15 euros). Otherwise, you can walk. The airport is only 7 kilometres from the city centre and, if you don’t have a suitcase, you can walk for 1.5 hours to get to know the city for the first time.

As close to the city centre as possible, in the Baixa district. From there you can easily visit all the points, and the area is flat.

Flat shoes. The more non-slip, the better.

How many days in Lisbon?

Three days is an ideal time to enjoy the main points of interest and visit the monuments of Belem. If you have an extra day, it’s worth taking a short trip to picturesque Sintra.

Special Events in Lisbon

On the 12th and 13th of June, Lisbon is ornated and ready to host the most important local event ”O Dia de Santo Antonio”, the Day of Saint Anthony, the favourite Saint of the Portuguese.

Concerts, theatre performances and other events are held in many parts of the city, while the Fado performances in the courtyard of the Castle of Saint George are impressive.

The residents grill sardines, exchange pots of basil, and celebrate with dance parades. It’s a custom that brings residents together as they band together neighbourhood by neighbourhood and compete to see which group can do the best choreography and has the most spectacular costumes.

Finally, on that day, the municipality of Lisbon, wanting to support the new couples, organizes group weddings throughout the city. This bride parade, or ‘The brides of Saint Anthony’, gives another pleasant note to remember.

Famous Personalities

Many great explorers of the 15th century were born in Lisbon, including artists and footballers such as Figo. But the most famous personality is the poet Fernando Pessoa, one of the top writers of the 20th century.

What to see & what to do in Lisbon

Sightseeing, monuments, attractions and activities

Lisbon’s Cathedral dates from 1147. It is the first church of Lisbon and the seat of the Patriarchate. Since then, it has had to be restored many times, as a result of which it has different architectural styles. In 1910, it was declared a National Monument.

The Church of Grace has been operating since 1217 AD and is one of the oldest monasteries in the city. It belonged to the Order of the Hermits of Saint Augustine and hosts the tombs of the Patriarchs of Lisbon. At the interior, we can admire some unique frescoes of azulejo and access the terrace. There, the visitors enjoy a coffee or a wine from the nuns, with a panoramic view of the city and the castle.

The Church of Saint Rocco is the first Jesuit church in Portugal and dates since the 16th century. This baroque church has many chapels, is made entirely of gold and marble and is one of the most luxurious churches in Europe.

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The Tower of Belem or Tower of Saint Vincent was built in 1519 on the banks of the Tagus and was part of the fortifications of Lisbon. The tower symbolizes the glorious era of the Great Discoveries, as it was the departure point of great expeditions of the Portuguese explorers, such as the one that led to the discovery of Brazil. The magnificent bastion of the fortress seems to hang over the river, and its Manueline style of architecture is admirable. The stone facade decorates a rhinoceros, a gift from an Indian king to the king of Portugal, which we also see in the famous painting by the painter Durer. Then, the tower turned into a prison and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Monument of the Discoveries is located on the banks of the Tagus, in the district of Belem, and is a World Heritage Site. It was created in the late 1950s to commemorate the glorious period of discovery and represents 33 great explorers, scientists, and artists of the time. Among others, we see the statue of Magellan, Vasco Da Gama, Portugal’s national poet and the king of Portugal. Inside the monument, it is a museum and an exhibition. From the top, we admire the river, the city, and the rest of the area’s attractions.

In 1998, the second-largest aquarium in the world opened its doors in Lisbon. Visitors can admire nearly 500 sea species from the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Antarctic oceans.

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This majestic arch monument is at the entrance of the Square of Commerce. It symbolizes Lisbon’s reconstruction after the devastating earthquake and fire of 1955. Initially, they intended to build a bell tower on the top, but finally, they made the magnificent statues of Glory crowning Courage and Genius. From the top of the monument, we can admire the area panoramically.

It is the largest square in Lisbon, measuring 175 by 175 meters. Firstly, the Palace with the royal apartments was situated here until 1755, when it collapsed after the earthquake. Here is also where the King of Portugal, Carlos I, was ambushed and assassinated.

The castle of Agios George dates from the 2nd century BC and is an integral part of the history of Lisbon. The Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and then the Moors initially had their troops there until finally, the Portuguese established themselves in 1147 AD. It served as a royal residence, fortress, and prison. Tour its ramparts and bastions, admire the magnificent views and learn the castle’s history.

At the beginning of the 20th century, they created this historic elevator to solve the problem of residents getting around uphill in Lisbon. The preserved neo-Gothic lift is 40 meters high and operates daily as a means of transport for the residents. The beautiful view from the top and its bizarre architecture often attract the attention of travellers.

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The Hieronymite monastery was built in 1501 AD by order of the Portuguese King Manuel I in honour of the explorer Da Gama. The majestic building has an impressive Manueline decoration, combining Gothic and Moorish architecture. It is in the district of Belem, from where Vasco da Gama started his first mission. Inside are the tombs of the great explorers and kings of the country, the national poet Camoes and the great writer Pessoa.

It is a baroque church of the 17th century, which operates as a national mausoleum of famous personalities. In 1630, when the construction of the primary temple began, a theft took place, and the citizens accused a man who claimed to be innocent. Before he was killed, according to legend, he cursed that the temple would never be complete. The curse somehow took hold as the temple collapsed while being built. Then, its construction took centuries, and it was only in 1966 that the temple was ready.

The Vasco da Gama cable bridge connects the two banks of the Tagus and is 17.2 kilometres long. It is Europe’s longest bridge and opened on the 500th anniversary of Da Gama’s discovery of Europe’s sea route to the Indies.

Azulejos are glazed ceramic tiles and are the protagonists of Portuguese art. In this specialized museum, we can admire collected creations and look back at historical events and artistic trends.

In this specialized museum with spectacular scenery and effects, visitors live the devastating earthquake of 1755. Walk through medieval Lisbon, talk to the residents, and live the terrifying experience that shook the city. Beyond the interactive part of this experience, visitors are informed about earthquakes, fires and tsunamis so they can protect themselves in the future.

If you fell in love with Fado or are a music lover, you will find the small specialized Fado Museum in Alfama. The visitors put on their headphones and learn the history of local music, the different styles and the most important representatives.

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Tasty cod, potato and cheese croquettes in cream. They are sold in all bakeries and are the perfect snack while walking around town. They cost about one euro.

Croquettes of shrimp and cream cheese, in a perfect combination of taste.

A staple of the restaurant catalogue and the city’s biggest celebration. It is a great appetizer to start your meal.

Baked cod with potatoes in the oven. A simple recipe that will delight you with this version of fresh cod, which is the national food.

One of the most famous traditional recipes is said to have been created by a tavern keeper, Brass. It is a mixture of cod, chips, eggs, and olives.

Cod cooked in cream.

Octopus and rice with coriander in a rich red sauce. It is a super tasty combination, something between risotto and soup.

A combination of layers of beef tenderloin, sausage, bacon, egg and cheese make up this traditional dish with a delicious sauce and French fries. Bad for cholesterol, very good for the mouth.

Soft pastry filled with sweet cream. We find them everywhere, but the best ones are in Fabrica da Nata and Nata de Lisboa shops.


You will find delicious cod croquettes everywhere, costing approximately one euro. But it would be nice to try them at the ‘Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau’ factory. The price here is quite a bit higher, but the size, quality and taste are worth it. Also, they offer a combo with a glass of sweet port wine. The perfect experience of Portugal, and they offer the glass as a gift souvenir.

If you are in the mood for a quick lunch during the day, another suggestion is the traditional ‘The Bifanas of Afonso’. It is a small restaurant with the most delicious Portuguese sandwiches (Bifanas) and cooked food, costing about 2 euros. The combination of the savoury sandwiches and the low prices are worth the wait until you order.

Another good idea for a walk and a meal is the Time Out Market Lisboa multi hall, on the banks of the Tagus. About 40 of the city’s best restaurants share the same roof, creating a feast of taste. Smells from local and international recipes dominate this modern multi-venue hall, while there is no shortage of musical spectacle.

Lisbon Gastronomy

What to eat and where in Lisbon?

A key element of Lisbon’s gastronomy is seafood, with cod being the star. They say that Portugal has more than 365 cod recipes, one for each day of the year. Fresh fish, octopus and prawns at an affordable price will fill your table, while the gourmands will have the opportunity to enjoy the local recipe with snails. Whatever you choose, don’t neglect the dessert, the delicious pastel de nata.

Shopping in Lisbon

When wandering around the retro window shops, we find several remarkable boutiques with handmade creations. Also, the lovers of vintage clothing stores will be delighted with the abundance.

What to buy from Lisbon?

Souvenirs and local products.

A staple of Portugal, cork is offered for sale in all kinds of creations like jewellery, bags and objects for everyday use. All in excellent quality, they are a perfect gift idea for everyone.

Useful objects and decorative items crafted with traditional azulejo tiles.

The colourful rooster is the national symbol of Portugal. According to the legend, he rose and cried out to save an innocent citizen from the gallows. Magnetic and other cute decorations could not be missing.

A Vida portuguesa

One of the prettiest shops in the city is the ‘A Vida Portuguesa’. The traditional Portuguese style meets the minimal contemporary aesthetic, creating great products.

Decorative items, handmade traditional toiletries of high-quality ingredients, and much more to choose your souvenirs from Lisbon.

The shop and the surrounding area are worth your visit as it operates in a preserved tile factory – an attraction.

Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 23, 1100-285 Lisboa

Era Uma Vez Um Sonho

A remarkable place that will take you on a journey with its marvellous ambience is the ‘Era Uma Vez Um Sonho’ boutique, with its wonderful handmade toys, traditional dolls and marionettes.

All creations are made exclusively by hand, using only natural materials, and executed with excellent craftsmanship. Sweet princesses, cute little witches and colourful elves. Here, you will find the most unique gifts you can offer from Lisbon to your loved ones.

The creator, Mrs Julieta, with great passion and love for the toys, combines materials and colours, creating a fairytale universe that enchants young and old ones.

Augusto Rosa 27, 1100-058 Lisboa

Travel Pass lisbon

Lisboa Card

Before travelling, or upon arrival at the airport, you can buy the official tourist “Lisbon Card”, which provides free entry to the main attractions and free access to public transport. It lasts one to three days, and the price starts from 22 euros. See the options on the official website

Viva Viagem Card

Another precious travel card is the Viva Viagem top-up card. It costs 0.50 euros and offers a discount of almost 50% on public transport. You purchase it from the ticket offices in the metro stations and the Tourist Offices in the city. You can load it with money or one-way tickets. See more at

Interview with a local

Lisbon through the eyes of Julieta

”Living in Lisbon is like always being on holiday.”

From Lisbon with love x

For many years, I wanted to come to Lisbon, as my favourite author, José Saramago, makes a lot of references to this city in his books, and it piqued my interest. Constantly, another trip came up, and Lisbon remained on the list.

My birthday was coming up, and I wanted to spend it with my family, but that was impossible because the flights to Greece didn’t fit into my schedule. So that was a perfect opportunity for another trip, and it seemed that Lisbon’s time had come.

People are surprised when they hear that I travel alone. Someone recently told me: ”I’m crazy, I want to travel with friends”. I smiled because I didn’t see any madness in his opinion. That is the most conventional and safe practice.

Also, often people tell me ‘I’d like to travel alone, but I’m afraid I’ll get bored’. This thought makes me wonder a lot. While in an unknown place, you have many things to see, landscapes to admire, and new neighbourhoods to wander… I am not bored in my room either, will I be bored in a new city?

I don’t get into the process of comparing which is better. It is definitely a lot of fun travelling with friends, but also by ourselves is very interesting. For me, what works for better or worse is that I prefer going somewhere alone to never waiting to go with others.

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