We said goodbye to 2018, hello 2019 in a beautiful manner as Julien and i headed to Portugal, more specifically Lisbon.
We planned a 7 days trip and we could not have make a better choice ! Sun was at the rendez vous and we got to discover beautiful natural places on our way to the southern region of Portugal: Algarve.
I have gathered here under spots we stopped at and loved.
/ Lisbon and its surroundings
We were staying at a friend’s place in Bairro Alto so for breakfasts we would head to Hello Kristof. We loved it so much we came back three times. Another option is the simple Copenhaguen Coffee Lab.
As we visited LX Factory, an art center for contemporary artists, we stopped for lunch at A Praca. We loved the fried green beans (Peixinhos da horta) they served, that translates as the “little fish from the garden”…
On our way to Alfama we stopped at Pois Cafe, a cozy cafe with simple lunch dishes. Better to enjoy when it is grey and cold outside.
After much walking in town, you’ll probably will be in for a treat; why not try the Pastei de Nata. It is a must eat and we loved the “not to be missed” one from Pasteis de Belem shop near the Belem Tower. Don’t get scared by the waiting line, it goes very fast.
My favorite sunset drink place was on the the terrace of the Memmo hotel in Alfama. After a long day of walking around we were happy to enjoy the sunset from there.
Last but not least our favorite of all restaurant was the newly opened Nossa Casa in Bairro Alto. Book in advance as it gets easily crowded. So so yum !
I personally love enjoying a town by walking around and not especially ticking boxes on the “must see” list. Wander around, enter the monuments that appeal to you, follow the music at a corner of a street, follow the flow of this big city :).
One thing i really like doing was to hop on the tram. Hop on the Tram line 28 for a little tour ! But be ready to be squeezed like a lemon as you probably won’t be the only tourist hoping on the line. Still worth the ride til the Alfama. Alfama actually is a nice neighborhood to walk around. Located in the south east of Lisbon center it is very charming, hilly and less crowded with shops.
Miradouro da Graca is a nice viewpoint. At the top of the many hills of Lisbon we enjoyed there to have a moment, sit and look around. There was at that time, a wonderful guitar player that added to the magic of this moment.
A vida portuguesa: a shop that gathers great products made in Portugal. It is a bit pricey but at least nice to visit.
Cortico and Netos: a nice shop to visit if you’re interested in Azulejos, the traditional Portuguese tile.
Ceramicas na Linha: we bought lots of ceramics from there and it is well worth it. They sell them by kilos, so it remains relatively cheap.
> Obidos: medieval town
We found this city to be a bit touristy but loved seeing one of those medieval town in the countryside of Lisbon and walk on its remparts. Obidos is being know for its annual literature festival.
>Baleal: surfers spot
A cute town located an hour + out of LIsbon, was a nice escape from the city and feel the surfers traditions in this region.
/Down South: Lagos and the Algarve
> Casa Mae Hotel
A beautifully designed hotel perfectly located in the charming city of Lagos. We loved staying there and eating the greens from their local garden. The owner is a young french lady we loved chit chating with. You might cross her path downstairs at the restaurant. Composed of two parts, the hotels offers the “cheapest” room in the modern building, while the bigger room are in the old renovated house a bit further away. I strongly recommend to stay here.
> Praia da Bordeira
THE most beautiful part of our trip to Portugal. This place is located within a natural park making it a very well preserved heaven for birds. There was almost no one when we went there. It is a beautiful succession of landscapes, starting from desert of agave and cactus, we took the wooden bridge till we arrived at a beautiful sea loch… we dared to get barefoot and cross it (water would reach our knees) , to arrive to amazing sand dunes before reaching the sea. This place truly is surreal.
> The Seven Hanging Valley Trails
From Praia da Marinha, the whole trails takes around 5 hours to complete. But good news is if you’re short of time, just make an hour round trip and you’ll see stunning places including the Benagil caves.
We had a beautiful weather all way through (around 15C degrees). It was wonderful. For the most daring you can dip in the sea (that we have heard remains cold all year long, sorry !).
Please feel free to share in comments your own recommendations !