by Janis / 2 comments - Orginally published:28th April 2020

So this post is our light-hearted view of Lisbon

It has some of the interesting stuff, a few trivial facts, and our thoughts on this Portuguese city.
The pin image from our post - 'Lisbon – Truths & Trivia'
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The Location

The Three C's



The beautiful city of Lisbon is the most westerly capital in mainland Europe.

On 1st November 1755, Lisbon experienced a devastating natural disaster, an earthquake, which reached an incredible 9 on the Richter Scale. This awful event subsequently caused a tsunami along the coastline.

Unbelievably Portugal has only been liberated since 1974. On 25th April 1974, the Carnation Revolution (military coup) took place to overthrow the then-current regime. During the coup, very few shots were fired, hence the name of the revolution.

Where's Lisbon in the world?

Lisbon Up Close

Lisbon is an ideal location for a mini-break, and I’d highly recommend that you stay for at least 3 or 4 nights. There is so much to see and do in Lisbon and so many intriguing districts to discover on foot. You may also want to allow a day to visit the captivating palaces at Sintra.

In my opinion, Lisbon’s architecture, people and food, are second to none in this charming city.

National Flag

Portuguese Flag

Regional Flag

Lisbon's Flag
It’s good to talk
Portuguese (English is widely spoken)
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Did you know?

  • That Lisbon is built across seven ancient hills, believe me, it feels like there are certainly more than seven when you stroll around. The name of these hills are; São Jorge, São Vicente, São Roque, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas and Sant’Ana.
  • Lisbon is the second oldest European city after Athens. Portugal’s ancient capital can boast of being one of the world’s oldest cities.
  • There’s a Sardine Festival held in Lisbon every June, also known as the Feast of St Anthony. They like their sardines here, there is also a shop dedicated to tinned sardines Conserveira de Lisboa.
  • The delicious egg-based pastel de nata was first created by the Catholic Monks in the Hieronymites Monastery in Belém.
  • The similarity with San Francisco doesn’t just stop at the trams, the red Ponte 25 de Abril has a likeness to the Golden Gate Bridge too.  They both also have fantastic seafood and don’t get me started on those hills again.
  • The Panteão Nacional houses the tombs of some of Portugal’s significant historical figures, including the legendary footballer Eusébio.
  • You can share a seat with a poet. Outside of the café Brasileira is a lovely bronze statue to Lisbon’s renowned poet Fernando Pessoa, who sits amongst other café dwellers.

Food and drink

Pastel de Nata
These delicious creamy custard tarts are so moreish; you’ll struggle to pass a bakery without buying one.
This locally dried salted cod is served in many different ways, keep a lookout for it.
Frango Assado
Known as Piri-Piri chicken can be found at many places around Lisbon. We found a small local restaurant named ‘Casa Da India’, it had a great atmosphere and very down to earth.
The best place to grab one of these shots of soured cherry liqueurs is at one of the little ‘hole-in-the-wall’ booths near Rossio Square. Some folks down it in one and if you’re lucky you’ll get a ginja berry at the bottom of your glass.
Historic café’s
Lisbon is also known for its stylish cafés. Overlooking Rossio Square is 18th century Nicola, serving fine pastries. Another not to be missed is the Art Nouveau A Brasileira in Chiado.

I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide was invaluable to us.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Lisbon mini-break, now you can grab the revised copy.

What to see & do in Lisbon

Discover the districts
We loved just strolling around the ancient streets of Lisbon. Enjoying the friendly, family vibes and dodging the washing lines hanging across the balconies high above.
Largo do Carmo
This a delightful square to sit and relax in, and just nearby here is the magnificent Carmo Convent and the Elevador de Santa Justa.
You must head to one of Lisbon’s many viewpoints, as Lisbon is a hilly city the vistas are magnificent.
Take a tram
Ahh yes it goes without saying that you’ll want to experience a tram ride through the tiny streets of Alfama. Also, why not jump on one of the three funicular trams, named Glória, Bica & Lavra, adorned with local art.
In Belém not only will you be able to visit Belém Tower and the ancient Jerónimos Monastery. But you can also stroll along the River Tagus and see the incredible Monument to the Discoveries.
Palaces at Sintra
If time allows, I highly recommend visiting the UNESCO landscape and colourful palaces of Sintra. You’ll need to have a bit of a plan to which places you’d like to see as they may be on different bus routes.

Movies & Music

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Yes, in 1969 George Lazenby appears in Lisbon as ‘Bond’ James Bond. It was his one and only portrayal of 007 the secret agent.
Night Train to Lisbon
This 2013 film stars the English actor Jeremy Irons. He plays a Swiss teacher who decides to leave his career behind in search adventure.

Visiting a Fado bar was one of the highlights of our visit.

Listening to the melancholic tones and thought-provoking laments are so moving.

We discovered ‘Tasca do Chico’ in Bairro Alto, we pushed open the heavy entrance door to reveal another world beyond it.

Where we stayed in Lisbon

Lisbon Rentals Chiado
This apartment was fantastic, located in the heart of Lisbon on the edge of Chiado & Bairro Alto and quite large for 2 people. Extremely clean and very well equipped.


or What are the chances of us revisiting?
(0% - You'll have to drag us over hot coals to go back 100% - Why am I not there now?)


I would not hesitate to return; I feel there was so much more for us to see and experience. Our visit to Lisbon then inspired our return to Portugal the following year to embark on a two-week road trip from north to south.

Value for Money

Our value for money index.
Don't forget we're Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.

(0% - How much? I wanted to buy a drink, not the bar 100% - How much? I'll take two.)


We found the prices for food and drink in Lisbon fairly reasonable, although once we toured more of Portugal, it is even cheaper out of the cities.

Getting around town

What's it like discovering the city?
Is it walkable? do you need to use public transport? did we leave with weary feet?

(0% - It's mountainous and public transport's a joke 100% - I'm in paradise.)


In the heart of the city, it is reasonably walkable, although there are quite a few hills in places. We used a train to get to Belém and also to Sintra, which was very easy and sensibly priced.

Just for the fun of it we jumped on one of the iconic trams and also took a trip on Glória, one of Lisbon’s three funicular trams.

Tourist information for Lisbon

Do you want to discover more about Portugal's capital? Why not check out Visit Lisbon's website?

Janis's Hi's & Lo's


I loved visiting Lisbon, the architecture, the vibe and the friendliness of the city were incredible. I must admit though stopping at the ‘Tasca do Chico’ Fado bar until the early hours of the morning was definitely one of my outstanding memories.


I’m really struggling to think of anything, other than I wasn’t quite prepared for the change in weather when we reached Sintra. Another layer or two would have been helpful.

Gary's Hi's & Lo's


I had a ball in Lisbon, but my highlight was Sintra, it was a magical playground, and I wished we had more time there. The Fado evening touched my soul too, a fabulous experience not to miss.


Going to sound so British now, the weather, I expected more sun, but there's nothing you can do about that - Oh and those hills. So really nothing at all.

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      Gary and I loved Lisbon and Portugal in general, it still feels undiscovered in places. The people were so welcoming and also food and drink were pretty reasonably priced. We did a two-week road trip and just touched the surface.

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