You may recall our Guest Traveller Sarah Harrison, aka Little Miss Melbourne (LMM), was our Guest Editor a couple of months back? Well, LMM has been on the move – currently in London and sojourning in Lisbon on one of her regular “city escapes”. Sarah believes that life is delicious, and we should savour it, which is probably why she has ever so kindly dispatched the following report from the Portugal capital. And a warning: Reading it WILL make you hungry!
From beachside day trips to rooftop bars, historic sites and co-working spaces, Lisbon has just about something for everyone. While the things to see and do in this hilly coastal town seem almost endless, I’ve put together a whirlwind itinerary to get a mere taste of this incredible city in just one day.
Start your day at The Mill
Get in early enough and you may just avoid the generous queues of eager breakfast beavers vying for a great brunch at The Mill. Open from 8am on weekdays, this place serves up Portuguese produce with an Aussie twist featuring dishes like smashed avo with piri piri and the breakfast stack with Portuguese sausage. Tip: they also serve Vegemite on toast, and the coffee is on point.
Shop it off around Baixa-Chiado
The glamorous Avenida da Liberdade may hold all the high-end brands a retail addict could dream of, but Baixa-Chaido is just a 15-minute stroll from The Mill and offers a blend of retail therapy and historical sight-seeing, like the Charafiz do Carmo – a pretty, 18th-Century fountain surrounded by Jacaranda Trees – or the Carmo Archaeological Museum in the ruins of an old church.
Tram and laptop time at LX Factory
Shopping in tow, get yourself a Lisbon tram experience en route to what is being dubbed by some as the trendiest quarter of Lisbon. The LX Factory is accessible via the Linha de Cascais and offers a community of cafes, restaurants, stores and co-working spaces that attract the hipsters and remote workers alike. To see it at its most vibrant, visit on a Sunday for the weekly open-air flea market.
Refuel from picturesque Almada
You started the day early and you deserve an unsuspecting yet iconic Lisboan lunch. Almada is across the Targus River from Lisbon city and is a small water-side town that’s part tourist, part residential, part victim of harder economic times. A short Uber ride from LX Factory, past the prominent Cristo Rei Criststatue, and you can be transported from cliff-top to the calm, largely unpopulated waterfront below via the Elevador Panorâmico da Boca do Vento. Make your way down a somewhat run-down but very safe narrow promenade and you’ll discover two fantastic riverside restaurants with traditional Portuguese fare. Continue strolling and you’ll find the small village town of Almada along with ferry, tram and bus terminals.
Ferry back to Lisbon
From Almada, you can tram, ferry, drive or bus back to Lisbon but as time is precious today we’re suggesting the ferry – the journey takes around 20 minutes and costs less than a fiver.
Get your Portuguese Tarts
It would be rude not to partake in some serious Portuguese tart action while in the capital; the best I sampled was from Tartine on the outer perimeter of Bairro Alto which had me in a state of bliss and wishing I’d bought two.
Unwind at Lumiares
Rest those weary legs and get some downtime before the evening ahead with a treatment at the heavenly spa within the Lumiares Hotel: truly sumptuous!
Pisco sours and ceviche
It’s almost a rite of passage in Lisbon to enjoy a mixologist-prepared Pisco Sour at the window of A Cevicheria, as you wait for your seat at this very popular dining destination. Located at the top of Bairro Alto, the ceviche here is as creative as it is famous. There’s a tempting six-course tasting menu but we recommend just a nibble as we have more amazing food in store for you.
Peruse Pavilhao Chines
If you needed to put your name down at A Cevicheria to return in an hour or so, we’ve got you covered with a visit to nearby Pavilhao Chines. This old Chinese restaurant-turned-bar is home to an overwhelmingly large collection of wartime relics and drinks served by non-plussed, waistcoat-wearing wait staff. You’ll see something different every time you look.
Pizza and pasta at Zero Zero
A stone’s throw from A Cevicheria you’ll find insanely good (albeit not Portuguese) pizza and pasta at Zero Zero. This is best enjoyed from the back terrace overlooking the Botanical Gardens but as you can’t book here either, it may take some tactical timing.
Take it all in with a night cap with a view
Enjoy one of the best views of Lisbon with a nightcap from a tub chair or beanbag at the super-chilled Portas Do Sol. Located up a few steep hills, just above Alfama and the Targus River, this is an amazing spot to unwind and reflect on your big day in the lovely city of Lisbon.
There’s a great deal more you can see and do in Lisbon if you have more than a day, like the Time Out Market, historic sites of Belem and a day trip to Sintra. For tips and tricks on what else you can see and do get in touch and let us know we can help.
About Sarah Harrison