Tarts & Trams: Inspiration for Lisbon, Portugal

In Europe, Inspiration, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Portugal, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Here’s why we wanted a taster…

Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal is a country we had missed until this year - I had visited the Portuguese Island of Madeira, and we had fallen in love with Piri-Piri Chicken in Macau back in 1997.

We have a love of Port, and had long threatened a Portuguese road trip, but this was to be our first visit to the mainland.

Another draw was the music of Fado. We had been lured to the music through the artist Mariza, featured on the 'Later with Jools Holland' show. I also remember hearing the moving melodies back in Madeira many years ago.

Also, Lisbon, rightly or wrongly, is not seen as a must-go destination for a European city break. From what we have seen, this is a massive oversight - will we be right or wrong?

History & Culture

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. There's so much we want to experience.

Being recent converts to the beauty of Spain, we want to experience the Portuguese differences.


Despite the devastation of the 1755 earthquake on All Saints Day, which reached 8.7 on the Richter scale, there's some amazing architecture we'll be seeking out. There's the castle, many amazing churches, including the Sé Cathedral and the narrow streets that intersect the city. There's also the remains of the Carmo Convent in the city centre.

Along the river Tagus is the Belém region with the amazing tower.

Talking of towers there's also the observation tower - Elevador de Santa Justa - a must.

Praças (Squares to you & me)

Lisbon seems to be dotted with many wonderful squares for you to sit and watch the world go by. Some large, some small - all to be explored.


It looks like there's some amazing café's & bars, with wonderful Art Nouveau/Deco interiors - it just so happens they'll offer the weary traveller a touch of refreshment.


This will be the first time in 2017 when we can break out the shorts & sunnies. Lisbon is one of Europe's sunniest capital cities, so the expectations are high.

Temperatures are hopefully going to be around 20C/68F for late March.


We'll be searching out fresh seafood, amazing pork, salt cod (bacalhau), and Pastel de Nata - those irresistible Portuguese custard tarts.

Pastéis de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal

To whet our appetite the British celebrity Chef, Rick Stein, presented an hour long show on Lisbon after we had booked it.

We now have his cookbook from the series on our shelf, so recipes are to be tried after we've tasted the real deal.

We've also got our eye on espetada, bringing back memories of my visit to Madeira.

Then there's Mercado Da Ribeira - a re-invigorated food hall, offering a chance to taste both traditional, and modern Lisbon.


We've long been fans of the wonderfully crisp Vinho Verde. A crisp glass sitting in the Portuguese sun just sounds like a little slice of heaven.

Interested to see if we can sample a Port or two. Research seems to indicate that this is not a bar staple, and in Portugal is special drink, reserved for the family home.

From another show, Travel Man, presented by Richard Ayoade featured an interesting cherry drink called Ginjinha, or Ginja - That has to be a must.

City Views

With Lisbon being built on seven hills, just like Rome, it affords some stunning views over the terracotta tiled roofs and the river Tagus.


Those bright historic trams that tackle the winding streets & hills. Route 28 & 15 are on the list to get us around the town and out to Belem. Then there's the funicular railways to take the strain out of the hills that Lisbon had been built upon.

A little further afield

It seems defacto that any visit to Lisbon should include in a visit to Sintra - Our trip will be no different. We've planned a day at this Unesco World Heritage site.

We are so looking forward to this trip

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.

Have You?

Been to Lisbon? What inspired you? And did it meet your expectations? We'd love to here your stories.

Inspired to visit Lisbon?

Follow us to find out if the trip lived up to our expectations, and what we learnt from actually visiting Lisbon.

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Pastéis de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal

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    1. Cara, I hope you love it as much as we did, try and catch a Fado show and enjoy the Pastel de Nata. Lisbon was our first trip to Portugal, we have now decided to plan a road trip for this year to discover more. Happy travels

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