It’s left us wanting more
This was our first trip to mainland Portugal, I’m not too sure why we had never been previously. However, that meant we have a whole new country to discover
As usual, Gary and I always find ourselves chatting about our previous trips, and recalling particularly moments that stand out for us.
With any break, there are always memories that remind you of an experience you had, a place you visited or even a dish you were eating.
So, we have selected our stand out high points from our Lisbon break to share them with you, and hopefully, they tempt you into creating your own adventure, and then you can share your memories with us.
I know this is probably clichéd; however, it has to be said that Lisbon is such a great city. It has a genuine local feel about it, and in particular, the people were extremely welcoming.
Just a short hop along the River Tagus from the centre of Lisbon, you’ll find Belém. This area of Lisbon has three sites to lure you to visit;
First on the banks of the River Tagus is the 52 metre (171ft) high Monument to the Discoveries.
Created to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.
Then the iconic Torre de Belém, which was built in 1514-1520 as a military outpost.
This unusual defensive tower has a great mixture of architectural styles and once stood on its own island.
Just along from the tower is the Monastery of the Hieronymites, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983 along with the Torre de Belém.
The cloisters and inner courtyard of this monastery are amazing, such intricate detail.
Palaces of Sintra
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must if you have a few days in Lisbon.
It’s around 18 miles from Lisbon. However, the trains are regular and reasonably priced.
The most popular Palace is Pena, with its colourful façade, but we particularly enjoyed Quinta da Regaleira which has underground walkways and amazing “subterranean towers”.
The Panteão Nacional; take a climb to the top for some spectacular views over the river and the city.
You can also wander around the inside of the dome, although not for the faint hearted.
In the heart of the Alfama district this is Lisbon’s oldest church, but due to numerous earthquakes, it has seen various architectural changes.
Largo do Carmo
Standing high overlooking the city, are the ruins of the 14th-century church & convent of Carmo.
This a fantastic place to wander through & admire the imposing Gothic pillars and arches towering above.
This square is where the bloodless coup of the Carnation Revolution took place on 25th April 1974, to end Portugal’s dictatorship.
A reference guide
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.
There are some amazing viewpoints scattered around Lisbon, in particular, Miradouro das Portas do sol & Miradouro Santa Luzia.
From here you can see across the roof tops and along the River Tagus.
The Feira da Ladra is only on Tuesdays & Saturdays, but this bustling, lively street market is worth a visit, you’d be amazed at what people are selling.
Squares to you and I.
Lisbon has some lovely social areas where you can admire the views or just sit and watch the world go by.
Pastel de Nata
A visit to Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without trying the local delicacy, the Portuguese custard tart.
Our favourites were from Pasteis de Belém – they are so moreish.
This was high on our to do list, as we had enjoyed Fado music for years.
Try and seek out a local’s bar and indulge yourself in the melancholic laments, from both men and women
This is a live clip from our evening, we like it so much we bought the CD.
This local tipple is a sour cherry liqueur you can get it in most bars, but the best places to try it is out of the two little shop fronts by Rossio Square.
You really should give it a go, you are served with a brimming shot glass full of the liqueur, and as a treat when you finish it, there is an infused ginja berry at the bottom.
Around Lisbon are some lovely historical cafes, offering pastries and that little bit of sophistication.
Look out for Café Nicola in Rossio Square & Brasileira in Chiado.
Point of Note
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Have our memories of this mini break inspired you?
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