So we’ll have to excuse the film photos once again – I love them although I appreciate they’re not the best quality for use on the internet. But seriously, isn’t it nice to have a photo to hold once in a while, instead of hidden away inside your phone? The only issue is that I actually went to Lisbon nearly a year ago but never quite got around to getting them developed – and that really is one of the big problems of having film photos!
Anyway, on to the matter at hand. Last year (!) I headed off to Lisbon for a little bit of time before heading off to Baleal in Portugal for a surfing trip. I’d been to Lisbon before, with my family, for a very short amount of time, but this was a little longer and this time I was with some friends and was over the legal drinking age which always makes a bit of difference when it comes to holidays I reckon.48 hours probably isn’t enough time to get to grips with all that Lisbon has to offer, but it is a great amount of time to get a taste for what the city has to offer.
Visit Sao Jorge Castle
We stayed in a little Airbnb pretty close by to the castle and so we made it one of our first stops. You can see it from pretty much anywhere in Lisbon. It’s perfect for walking along the towers and the ramparts to get a wicked view of the rest of Lisbon. You get a cracking view f the 25 de Abril Bridge across the River Tagus too. It was quite busy when we arrived but not busy enough to put you off. We paid the 8.50 euro fee to get inside so we could try and take photos of the peacocks which are everywhere inside the castle grounds.
Eat at Grapes and Bites
Hidden away on Rua do Norte, this was one of our favourite places to grab some food while we were in Lisbon. I still think of it often even now. There was a wide range of petiscos – the Portuguese cousin to Spanish tapas – hot and cold, brilliantly presented and thousands of different wines to choose from too. The food was great and the service brilliant. Best of all was that it wasn’t too expensive either. We even treated ourselves to the lemon tart for pudding. It remains to this day one of the best I’ve ever eaten.
Explore hilly streets
Even though it nearly killed me and my fat bum, exploring some of Lisbon’s back streets was one of my favourite things to do. I never once managed to get my bearings and considered myself truly lost most of the time, but you won’t get much of a better work out walking up and down the thousands of steps that connect one street to the next. You won’t get much better views either. They always seem to sneak up on you when you least expect it.
Take a ride on tram 28
Most of Lisbon’s trams have been replaced by more modern and efficient trains. One line, the 28, still retains the trams which were commissioned in the 1930s. Not only that, but the route is one of the longest in Lisbon. It means it’s a great way to explore. You get to see a whole lot of the city for a whole lot less than you would on a double-decker tour bus. The only downside of doing this is that you have to put up with an absolutely massive queue that you just don’t have to with other trams. But you just won’t get the same level of charm exploring the city in any other way. When we were in Lisbon and it rained one afternoon, this tram was a lifesaver. It kept us dry while we explored the city for a bit.
I’d never even heard of ginijnha until a friend I was with in Lisbon decided we had to make our way to a little shop to pick up a shot. It’s a thick sweet liqueur made from sour cherries, and it’s apparently been around in Portugal for over 200 years. We picked ours up from A Ginjinha on Largo de Sao Domingos, where it cost around 1.4 euros. Personally, it’s not a drink for me. Having said that, I’m not one to turn down a shot if I can help it!
Snack on Pasteis De Nata
I think it’s the truth that if you don’t have at least a million of these little custard tarts when you’re in Lisbon, then you have to question if you actually made it to Lisbon at all? You can pretty much get them everywhere. You could probably spend days just looking for the best ones. Popular opinion seems to be that the best and most authentic tarts can be found at Pastéis de Belém. It’s not too hard to find others to compare them to.
Look out for tiles
This was seriously one of my favourite things to do in Lisbon. I came home with more photos of tiles than I did of anything else. I didn’t go quite as far as visiting Lisbon’s tile museum
, but to be honest, I came pretty close. They’re a pretty important part of Lisbon’s architecture. I was constantly surprised by the sheer range of tiles that there are. You can find every single pattern and colour. It’s a pretty big shame that at eye level a lot of the tiles are covered in graffiti. I suppose that’s a reminder to keep looking up and to keep searching.Also worth a mention is to head to the Jerónimos Monastery
. It’s not something I personally did, but some of the friends I was with took a visit and really enjoyed it. I’m ashamed to say I passed thanks to a slightly sore head…
So that’s my little guide to how to spend 48 hours in Lisbon. Afterwards, we caught the coach and headed up to Baleal for another five days in Portugal. Had I had longer near Lisbon, I would have loved to have headed to Sintra. Maybe next time? I’m pretty sure I’ll be back.
Have you been to Lisbon? Do you have any more tips?