Portugal is a country I’ve been wanting to visit for years, and on my most recent visit to Europe, I had my excuse – meeting up with friends. After taking a Viking Cruise around Provence with my mom, I stopped in Paris, and eventually made my way to Lisbon. This city has been on my radar, but for some reason, I never seemed to get myself there. But, once I got myself there, it was hard to leave.
As always, I had no plans for my time in the city, or the country for that matter, but that was what I loved most about travel. I’d let the city suck me in and have its way with me, showing me all of its unfiltered angles and sides. As is usual, I fell and I fell hard. There was a lot of wandering, eating, and drinking, as well as celebrating Portugal Day in the city streets with Sangria and traditional music. Lisbon worked its way into my heart and I couldn’t help but fall in love fast.
This spot was one of the best places I’ve ever stayed while traveling. Not only did it have a great little hostel community, but it was formally a convent and the beauty of the building and the tiles in the interior were one of my favorite parts. It’s also in an ideal location, as it’s set in Bairro Alto, a hip neighborhood in the city, which quickly became my favorite spot to wander around. On our first few nights, we stayed in the apartments, which conveniently had two bathrooms, a kitchen, laundry services, and common areas. We were there with friends, so it was the ideal set up for us. On my last night, I also stayed in the hostel, but in a private room with a shared bath. In both situations, I was impressed with the cleanliness and the minimalist decor of the rooms.
The community areas were also the perfect spot to hang out with friends and grab a drink at the bar. We spent a night here before heading out on the street for the street party. The best part though? The hostel has a ball pit! After a few drinks, this was a fun place to have fun with friends and embrace our inner children.
Eat & Drink
Babete is one of the many restaurants situated on the walkways down towards the Rossio Train Station from Bairro Alto. We choose this spot because the vegetarian options seemed promising. I got the eggplant stew that is featured about, and it was delicious. We also got to enjoy it while sitting outside and watching people go by, my favorite way to eat in a new city.
Located around the corner from Hub New Lisbon, this hamburger joint was not only stylish and well decorated, but the food was awesome. Based on the name, I wasn’t sure they’d have the vegetarian options I was hoping for. But, as soon as we walked in, I was pleasantly surprised when I read the menu on the wall. There were four different burgers offered for vegetarians, including a falafel burger and portabella. I went with the seitan burger, and it was delicious and filling. I’d easily recommend this spot for both meat eaters and vegetarians.
Restaurante Meson Andaluz
While we didn’t eat here, we did find it the perfect spot for some sangria. What made it even better was that they had sparkling wine sangria, and it was some of the best I’ve ever had. While I can’t vouch for the food, it did look good. Either way, this place it worth a visit for the sangria alone, especially because you can sit outside and watch life go by.
This vegetarian and vegan cafe is located in an 18th century building with a shaded outdoor dining patio in the back. Just around the corner from Hub New Lisbon, it’s a buffet with delicious, healthy options that even a meat eater would love. There are seemingly endless options and as each dish is finished a new one is brought out; I could have spent all day eating everything that was brought out. The setting is also beautiful and quiet, which makes it an ideal spot for a late afternoon lunch.
Farm Food Ink
This cafe serves organic vegetarian food and juices, and while there are really no frills to what they are serving, it’s basic goodness makes it a worthwhile stop while in town. The simple dishes are healthy and light, making it a perfect lunch spot. It was probably one of the healthiest meals I had while in Lisbon, and I’d definitely recommend their juices.
This place has a large menu, which made it perfect for figuring out a vegetarian option. The cafe, located near the Rossio train station, has a large and comfortable outdoor seating area and some of the best sangria in town. Twice, we indulged in rosé sangria and delicious pizza with lots of veggies. Some nights there’s great live music playing nearby, while other times it’s the perfect spot to watch a soccer game.
Located up the block from Hub New Lisbon, this spot is an ideal place to grab a bite to eat, but not super vegetarian-friendly. I had an omelet, which was just alright, but the meat options looked amazing. Also, the cheese and bread at the beginning of the meal were fantastic. It also seemed quite popular in the neighborhood, as there was often a wait for a table. It’s small, quaint, and full of locals.
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
Pictured in the photo above, this was one of my favorite spots to enjoy sunset nearby Hub New Lisbon. With views of the city and São Jorge Castle, plus stalls set up for Portugal Day, the sangria was flowing and the sunsets were magical. If you’re looking for a place to end the day, this is it.
São Jorge Castle
This Moorish castle overlooks the city and offers some of the best views in town. The castle itself is also fun to wander around, although I visited rather late in the day, and only to catch the sunset. To help with the waiting, you can order wine, which makes waiting for sunset even more enjoyable.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina
This is another great lookout with views of the bridge, as well as the city. There are plenty of places to sit and soak up the view any time of day. I was only there once, but it was full of people enjoying the day and soaking up the surrounding views of Lisbon.
Praça do Comércio
This plaza is a great place to wander around and take in the beauty of the city. While we were in town, it was the spot to watch the Euro Cup and there was a concert for Portugal Day. The plaza sits on the waterfront and is ideal for people watching and soaking up the views. Surrounding the plaza are several restaurants, so it’s probably also a great place to have a pitcher of sangria and enjoy the day.
Check out the local street art
I love street art while I’m traveling and I found some I really loved in Lisbon. While walking to São Jorge Castle, we traveled up Rua da Madalena and then up the Escadinhas de São Cristovão. This spot is covered in unique artwork, some of the best I’ve seen in my travels. It livens up the alleyways and brings beauty to the surrounding buildings.
My advice for Lisbon, or any city for that matter, wander the streets and take it all in. Get off the beaten path and away from the crowds. Let the city take hold of you, and you’re likely to fall in love just as easily as I did.
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I was a guest of Hub New Lisbon, but that in no way affected my views. As always, all opinions are mine.