My boyfriend and I stayed at HUB hostel, it was a great budget space, and the huge mixed dorms were intelligently set up for maximal privacy through use of a 4 sided cube containing cube-sized sleeping spaces. We also booked through Air Bnb with our host Joao, a super nice guy who even picked us up from the bus stop and told us all his favourite spots in Lisbon to get us going. Book any Airbnb through the referral here and you will receive a free 30€ credit (full disclosure: so will I, it’s a good old win-win situation)!
– Take a bus out to the district of Belém and queue up for a famous pasteis de Belém (the original Portuguese Pasteis de Nata you see popping up all around Belgium lately). Afterwards pay a visit to the Berardo Museum of Modern Art to make the most out of this delicious sugar rush.
– Take a day trip to the Quinta da Regaleira palace in Sintra, it’s only 40 minutes by train. Take a few hours to get lost in these weird Harry-Potter-In-Wonderland gardens. Click here to read more (blogpost online soon).
– Pick up a big box of sushi at Sushi Buddha for 3,5€ and eat it sitting in the grass at the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint on the other side of the street. Granted, it’s not the best sushi in the world, but it’s ridiculously cheap and the view alone transforms it into a five star meal. Rua São Pedro de Alcântara 65
– Go to Bica and Bairro Alto, and stay away from the touristy Alfama district.
– Feelin’ hot? Go chill out at Jardim da Estrela or Jardim Botanico. It’s worth the walk.
– All the locals drink their coffee/wine at the kiosks spread around town. Why? Because it’s hella cheap & cosy.
– Miradouro de Santa Catarina was my favourite viewpoint, with loads of locals bringing out their guitars and best bottles of vinho tinto.
Eat & Drink
– Don’t go to Mercado da Ribeira (or Time Out Market) unless you brought a suitcase full of cash. Bring some pretty clothes instead and walk to the square at Martim Moniz, a local hang-out for skaters and commuters. You get the same broad choice of foodstalls from all corners of the world, but more tasty and a lot cheaper. Recommended: the tiny pizza kiosk and the Chinese food truck run by a cute asian couple. Great dim sum! This way you have some money left to burn at the Topo rooftop bar (beautiful view!) on top of the shopping mall nearby. Commercial Center Martim Moniz, Praça Martim Moniz
– At the western waterfront you will find the LX Factory. Enjoy the gritty industrial surroundings, mesmerizing bridge and great street art all around. Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103
– Score a brainfreeze at Santini Gelati, a delicous Italian ice-cream chain. Rua do Carmo 9
– Hidden in plain sight lies THE gem of Lisbon. Montana, a craft beer bar/graffiti shop & expo serving rainbow bagels and the tastiest buns with a great view of the tide rolling in at Lisbon’s feet. Rua da Cintura do Porto de armazém A, no° 20, Cais do sodré
– Café Tati for wine and live jazz. Rua Ribeira Nova 36
– Sol e Pesca is one of my personal favourites, a charming fishing-themed bar where all the surprisingly tasty seafood is served from colourful cans. Rua Nova do Carvalho 44
– Grab a quick vegetarian lunch & cleansing juice from Farm Food Ink Café. Rua Mal. Saldanha 10
– Hidden in an alley lies the cosy Lost In Esplanada Bar. They serve great Indian food/drinks with a view. Rua D. Pedro V 56-D
– Come lunchtime, look for the the ugliest restaurant in your neighbourhood (paper menu outside, grandma in the kitchen, and over-the-top kitsch interior), and order a “bifana” (a steak sandwich) with some fresh sumo. Why do you think it’s filled with locals?
– Caulino handmade ceramics, for pretty pottery and tableware. Rua de S. Mamede 28
– A vida portuguesa, a souvenir shop stacked with canned fish, cute soaps, olive oil and more. Rua Anchieta 11
Good to know
– Get a “green card” in any public transport shop to enjoy free substantial discounts on all public transport
– A typical tourist trap is to place all kinds of bread and snacks on your restaurant table. If you eat it, you will be charged a premium for it.
– Take your time to get lost. For realz, keep the Google maps down to a minimum. I can’t count how many beautiful things I discovered by just going with the flow.