I booked my trip to Lisbon and then squealed with excitement when I saw Condé Nast Traveler covering it as a destination to explore in 2017 in my Apple News feed. I was busy planning my wardrobe and thinking about what kind of pictures I could take. I immediately started learning Portuguese as one of my sorority sisters is fluent (how hard could it be?).
I was ready. Only I wasn’t… at all. Portuguese in Portugal is different than Brazil (rookie mistake). I arrived and set out to explore. It pays to be humble because I got an “E” for effort and the wonderful people in Lisboa taught me the difference between “obrigado” and “obrigada” helped me navigate the train the first time so I could get around on my own afterwards. I was comfortable using the metro system, talking to taxi drivers and explaining where I wanted to go in no time.
1908 Lisboa Hotel gave me tips on where to go shopping in Intendente and Fodor’s helped a bit too. My first stop was the market. This place was gold! Scarves, silk pants, antiques, shoes and everything in-between. One gentleman told me, “Our prices are better than America” and he wasn’t lying! This was another case where I wanted to know I could ship things home and still have a place to live. Lisbon is known for beautiful tiles but until you see them up close, you really cannot appreciate it. There was so much potential for a massive home I don’t own but again my interior designer brain was working overtime. Now I fully admit to taking way too many pictures in a new city but I spend more time talking to people. This market was the best places for getting to know people and learning a little bit about their stories. A word of advice… wear comfortable shoes. I was wearing authentic Greek sandals and God bless them because they know a thing or two about making good shoes. You will get some exercise walking around and I still don’t know how to find a taxi because I was so busy walking around taking pictures after I left.
I lost my bracelet from Crete here and had no idea it was missing. It was a bit emotional because I was so busy taking pictures and talking to locals, I didn’t notice it was gone until I got back to my hotel. If someone finds an eye of protection bracelet there, you know where it came from.
Monastery of São Vincente De Fora
This place was covered in the pretties pink blooms. The sunlight hit at just the right time and that’s what I was focused on. Not too deep but if I make it back, I’ll probably learn something more than what time to show up and take pictures of flowers.
Praça do Comércio
My favorite experience in Lisbon was here. You can sit and look out at the boats sailing on the water, play on the beach, but if you’re really lucky… catch live music. I stayed as the sun set over the Lisbon while a local group played the most beautiful sounds. Tourists joined in to dance and we had the best time.
There are so many places to snap picturesque photos of Lisbon. Two that I loved are below but remember timing is everything.
I stopped at São Nicolau Cafeteria (but really almost every one of these places will stop you and try to cajole you into dining at their little sidewalk tables). It was a light sandwich and sangria. The sandwich was fresh but I don’t remember if my order of fries ever came. The sangria through, that was worth the missing fries.
In Figueira Square I walked into Figu’s restaurant thinking I was going to be in a quiet dinner place but no, to my surprise they started playing Whitney Houston. I naturally started singing along because in my mind, I can sing. They followed up with Shania Twain and well, I of course know every single word happily gave another performance. Pasta, wine and creme brulee. That was one of the best dinners in Lisbon.
ChiCoração is the cutest boutique selling beautiful wool blankets and clothes. I had a blanket shipped home for fall and winter (they ship all over the world). I wanted the whole store. You could spent a lot of time in here and they are so sweet!
Stay: I did a full recap on 1908 Lisboa Hotel but they left the sweetest chocolate brownie like dessert on my bed when arrived back in my room at night. It was better than any brownie I’ve ever made. If you want to hang out and enjoy Lisbon at night, you don’t have to go far, you can order a cocktail and enjoy music on the patio of the hotel. The views from the rooms are also pretty great for watching the way the sun hits the pastel buildings as it falls during the evening.