Hello everyone! It’s been too long since I’ve written a blog post, so I thought I would come on and fill you all in and what I’ve been up to lately, starting with an amazing five-day holiday!
Myself and my boyfriend decided to book Lisbon early in the year as we had heard such good things! We really wanted a pool as we wanted a nice relaxing holiday, however we struggled to find a nice hotel, in the city centre with a pool. We ended up getting flights for great value and came across a lovely hotel called ‘Hotel Mercure’ a little outside of the city centre. It had great reviews and didn’t seem like too much of a distance so we went ahead and booked this on booking.com.
We booked flights leaving on Wednesday the 24th of May and returning on Sunday the 28th. In my opinion, this was the perfect amount of time to spend here. When we arrived on the Wednesday, the weather was amazing and we got a taxi for around €15 from the airport to our hotel. We were really happy with our hotel when we pulled up, it looked clean, well decorated and very modern. However, we didn’t seem to be around much liveliness and we soon found out that although it was rated as a great location online it was actually a 20 minute taxi away from most tourist attractions which isn’t ideal when you’re there for such a short period of time, as you can’t walk anywhere. It didn’t bother us much as taxis were cheap and always available but if I were to return I would want to be closer to the city centre. Despite this we loved our room and the pool area was beautiful to have in a city! I would definitely recommend this hotel to others! The pool area is on a rooftop and opens until 9pm every day as Lisbon is still hot in the evening time, in fact sometimes a lot higher temperature after 3pm. It looks out over the entire city and you can ring downstairs to reception to have cocktails delivered up..the dream!
I found Lisbon one of the hardest cities to navigate around as everyone is quite spread out. This isn’t a bad thing as there is just so many stunning places to visit but I think it is somewhere that is great to have some advice and tips going to so you don’t miss out on all the hidden gems! Thankfully one of my dad’s friend’s is married to a woman from Lisbon and he sent me an email full of things to do, which I will now pass on to you all !
PLACES TO VISIT:
Areas of Alfama e Castelo
This area is one of the most scenic parts of Lisbon. It is a huge tourist attraction and you could stroll around for hours on end, every corner is as beautiful as the next. You can get a taxi or take a tram from Baixa (downtown) and get out when you reach the top of the hill at Miradouro de Santa Luzia. There is a little church here and on your right hand side after the church there is a patio giving you a view of the town and tagus. Lisbon is covered in bright purple Jacaranda trees and you will see them blooming all over the city from this viewpoint.
Castelo De Jorge is just around the corner, an old castle which also has a sightseeing patio, It is €17 in here. You can walk all around the ancient castle.
There is a beautiful bar/restaurant/circus school a five-minute walk from here which serves argentinian tapas called Chapito. Don’t be fooled by the downstairs as this is the circus school part, you will be guided upstairs to eat with again, a stunning view. I could have eaten everything on the menu.
There is also a lovely spot called Esplanada Das Portas do Sol which serves drinks and little bites and has couches to lay on and swings!
You will see lots of trams, segways and oldschool mopeds! this is their way of living.
Chiado is a square bang in the middle of downtown. It has lots of bars with strong cocktails! There is a place in the corner of the Rossio square which serves a strong cherry liquor called ‘ginginha’, it is just beside a hat shop and you just get it and leave, it is traditional is Lisbon. They have lots of boutqiues in this area also and you will also notice shops which look like amusement centres but when you enter they are actually a whole shop dedicated to cans of sardines! There are thousands of tins of sardines in the stores and you can go look at the tin with your date of birth on it and it has lots of facts about the day you were born. These are all over Lisbon, strange but worth seeing. They also sometimes have food markets around this area on a Sunday which is really cool, they have lots of fruit, meat and sangria stalls.
You can also get the elevator of Santa Justa in this area, which looked absolutely terrifying to me but is meant to be great to do if you have the courage.
Try to go to Mezo Giorno pizzeria and cocktail bar, the cocktails are so refreshing and the pizzas were so fresh and thin crusted! The cocktails were much nicer and cheaper here than the main square.
Area Bairro Alto
This area is all about the nightlife! It was one of my favourite parts of Lisbon, it is so lively at any time of the day and there are endless bars and restaurants to choose from! We did come across some pretty bad food in tourist areas of Lisbon so make sure to check out restaurants on tripadvisor before trying, we learned our lesson after our first two days of taking chances!
My favourite food we had all week was in Alto do Bairro, a tapas bar in the middle of Bairro Alto. It is absolutely tiny with only six tables (two outdoors) and you cannot book it, as it is so popular, you just queue and wait and it is worth every minute! We ordered 6 tapas between us, prawns in garlic and chilli, chicken satay skewers, calamari, garlic cheese beard, garlic cheese bread with iberio ham and cooked potatoes with a ranch sauce. We were absolutely stuffed and still ordered more again and it was so cheap! everything was cooked to perfection, do not go to Lisbon without going here, trust me!
We then went to O Bom, O Mau, O Vileo (The good, the bad and the ugly) on Rua do Alecrim and this street was full of cocktail bars and clubs. This cocktail bar was like an old house with live DJ’s playing every hour and it was so chilled. Every room was different, it reminded me of a much more calm replacement of the old ‘Lost Society.’ The cocktails were so nice too!
There are lots of great Irish bars in this area also, for anyone who’s boyfriend panicks after a few hours to find one for a match, like mine!
Area Rato e Amoreiras
This place is a perfect example of why a bit of advice beforehand goes a long way! We never would have come across this amazing, quiet area if my dad’s friend hadn’t advised me. We came here on our last night and it was one of my favourite nights. We booked dinner in a more up market restaurant here called Casa da Comida after hearing great things, while yes it was expensive, it was worth every penny! The food here was to die for and I loved the decor and peaceful vibes here, they sit you in the beautiful garden to wait to be seated and the restaurant is covered in chandeliers and has a little book where all guests can write messages, I would return again and again!
We then went to my favourite bar in Lisbon, Procopio! this bar opened in 1972 and is one of the smallest bars in Lisbon. It is a two minute walk from the restaurant, make sure to ring the bell to be let in! It is so old fashioned in side, lit by tiny lamps on each table, the waiters serve you in tuxedos and bowties and they make all cocktails from fresh fruit infront of you, accompanied by freshly made popcorn each time! The staff are so lovely and they make any cocktail you name! It is also legal to smoke indoors in Lisbon, by choice of the pub for anyone who wasn’t aware. We were surprised to walk into The Corner Irish pub on our first night to see everyone lighting up around us!
The Lisbon Zoo was a 5 minute walk from our hotel and it was the prettiest zoo I’ve ever been to, it’s huge and has every animal you can name but is also surrounded by gardens and flowers and monuments. They have whale and dolphin shows, a petting zoo and lots of other things to see! It’s worth a visit for a day.
Avenida Da Liberdade
Avenida Da Liberdade is the high end area of Lisbon! This boulevard, built in the 19th century in the style of the Champs-Elysees in Paris, is the main avenue of the city. This is where to go for all your fashion needs, from stores like Dior, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton to Zara, H&M etc they have everything you want. They are really ahead of the game with their fashion so I would take a few hours to see it all if I were you, I wanted EVERYTHING! It is just a short walk from Chiado.
All in all, Lisbon is a beautiful city with lots to offer!
Just Jodie x