Lisbon & Sintra, Portugal
A colorful city full of beautiful surprises.
From the airport
From the International airport to the city you can take the taxi (about 25 Euros) or the subway, which is super easy and quite inexpensive. Follow the signs for Metro at the airport. The 'Aeroporto – Saldanha' line takes you to downtown Lisbon in about 20 minutes. I usually prefer to take trains out of the airport, they are usually fast, sometimes faster than the taxi, depending on the time you land.
Where to stay? I like staying in the heart of the city, which allows me to walk everywhere. Last time I went, I booked an apartment and the location at Praça Martim Moniz made it all very convenient. I also enjoyed my prior stay at the Sheraton Lisbon. The hotel is in a beautiful part of the city, close to parks, etc. It's less than 10 minutes cab ride to the heart of the old town, or only about 30 minutes walk. Along your walk, you will pass by the Avenida da Liberdade, perfect place for high-end shopping. Don't miss walking up and down Rua Augusta, which shops and cafes, that adds more charm to Lisbon.
From Rua Augusta, you certainly need to walk around the small streets until the Praca do Comercio. I wanted a small snack then, and I found this delicious Brazilian snack place, with fresh snacks and juices. The name is Feel Rio. I liked this place so much that I went there twice during my stay. On the same street you can get into the mall from the back of it, that is called Armazéns do Chiado. They have some fast food options there too, if you are trying just to get something fast and continue exploring. Being Brazilian, I did try the Sabor Gaucho Restaurant, and it was good food for the price I was paying.
From the Armazéns do Chiado, come out through the main door, and you will be right in front of a street called Garrett. Another lovely area to keep exploring. Since I enjoy walking, I explored the Chiado neighborhood until the Bairro Alto, where making a stop at the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is a must. There is the perfect spot to stop, enjoy the view, sit down for a bit, get a cold beverage before continuing to explore.
Very close to the Miradouro, there is the Igreja de São Roque (Church), and it's definitely a must. This church is absolutely stunning. One of the best churches in town, if not the best. Well worth a visit inside and taking your time to explore each of the altars. It's one of the earliest Jesuit churches, built in the 16th century, with several mainly baroque chapels.
You can also take the old tram to the Bairro Alto or back from Bairro Alto, depending where are you going or coming from. You will see the tram around the city, it's part of the Lisbon experience to take them.
If you want to keep going, one option is to take an Uber or a taxi to Torre de Belem. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries. To learn more and details for visit, please click here. From there you can walk to the beautiful Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (or Age of Exploration) during the 15th and 16th centuries.
A short cab ride from there, especially if you are hungry, do a stop at the Docas, known as the Santo Amaro docks, with bars and restaurants on the water front. I really enjoy this area.
Lisbon and the area is also known for the beautiful castles that are well worth the visit.
In Lisbon, don't miss visiting the São Jorge Castle. It's a Moorish castle built in the mid- 11th century, on the top of the hill at another lovely neighborhood called Alfama. From there you will have amazing views from the old town Lisbon. If you are in the area, don't miss trying an authentic Portuguese restaurant, with delicious food and very affordable: Restaurante Santa Rita.
if you enjoy exploring castles, you will certainly need to do a day trip to Sintra. You can go with the organized tours you can find online, or take public transportation to it. I found the train super easy, it's less than 5 euros for a return ticket, and it leaves from the train station Rossio in Lisbon. It takes you to the train station in SIntra and from there you can pay a full day of public transportation, that costs about 15 or 17 euros if I recall it correctly, and it drops you in all the main attractions of Sintra. Keep in mind this price is per person. It's actually cheaper to take an Uber. It was less than 10 euros from the Sintra train station to the Pena Palace, which can be much cheaper if you have more people with you. Keep in mind the palace is on the top of a hill, which can be a little cooler depending on the day. It's definitely worth a visit, exploring inside the castle and the surroundings. It's also very popular and busy, so be prepared to wait for long lines for tickets. Also, I'd suggest getting there or staying until later in the day, where the mass of people is mostly gone, and you can enjoy the place without being overwhelmed. If you have any questions or if you haev other great tips about Lisbon and/or Sintra, please feel free to leave your comment below.