Lisbon: Places Where Young People Go, What They Eat, and Where to See the Best Sunset of Your Life

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

Most people consider their country to be the best at everything. But when the Portuguese say that their cuisine is the best in the world, you can only agree – it sounds too convincing. After spending a week in Lisbon, I made sure of this 100 percent!

Village Underground Lisboa - creative hub and multicultural venue
Village Underground Lisboa – creative hub and multicultural venue

I think everyone here will find something to their liking. Places to eat are a dime a dozen here – cafes, restaurants, markets, street food, and pastry. I can’t even imagine how the Portuguese manage to stay so slim when there is so much delicious food around!

Want to see and try everything at once? Go to the market on the Figueira square​​. It takes place once a month – last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the month. There is music, drinks, snacks, cheeses, sausages, and other different products from local producers.

Local cheese on the market
Local cheese on the market

I advise you to try the sangria, which is prepared with Porto wine and sandwiches with soft cheese and Jamon.

traditional grilled sandwich with soft cheese and Jamon
traditional grilled sandwich with soft cheese and Jamon

Another interesting, but more expensive place to eat – Time Out Market.

Time Out Market - Lisbon
Time Out Market – Lisbon

It appeared a few years ago at the location of the fish market. Now it is a popular place where hundreds of people, including locals, gather every day. There is a market zone with groceries and a separate area with restaurants. I came here a few times, and it was always crowded!

funny sardines lovers visitors in Time Out Market
funny sardines lovers visitors in Time Out Market

If you want to find a more private place for dinner, I advise you to go to Tasca, which is not a restaurant or a cafe – a traditional format of Lisbon establishments that keep families from generation to generation. Prices are relatively low, so for the traditional bitoque – steak with scrambled eggs, I paid 9 euros.

Portuguese bitoque - steak with scrambled eggs
Portuguese bitoque – steak with scrambled eggs

The most affordable food option is the A Padaria Portuguesa network. Here you can take coffee and pastries, or you can have a full meal. There are special offers for breakfast – freshly squeezed orange juice, sandwich, and coffee for only 2.5 euros. And if you came for lunch, then for a set menu of 2-3 dishes you will pay only 6-7 euros!

Want to try sardines? Go to one of the colorful shops O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa. Racks with hundreds of cans of different shapes and colors, lanterns, carousels, photo zones – each store of the network look like a fairytale. Even if you are not going to buy sardines for yourself or as a souvenir, be sure to visit at least one store for the sake of the atmosphere.

O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa - sardines shop
O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa – sardines shop

Now let’s walk along the Tagus River to the bridge on April 25th.

LX Factory entrance
LX Factory entrance

Here is the art center LX Factory. Previously, it was a weaving factory, and now it is a space to assemble galleries, a handmade market, cafes, restaurants, and bookstores.

LX Factory handmade market
LX Factory handmade market

Tourists and locals, artists, musicians, chefs, and creators gather here in a relaxed atmosphere. Held every weekend evening are concerts – a place worth to come! Stroll through the open-air market and go to the Ler Devagar bookstore. I am sure you will be impressed by the number of books and the unique atmosphere of the place. Here you can drink coffee, read and take a few pictures to remember.

Ler Devagar bookstore
Ler Devagar bookstore

Be sure to go to the main factory building to the top floor – bar Rio Maravilha. Please note that it is closed on Mondays, and on other days it opens at lunch and runs until 2 am.

Rio Maravilha bar terrace
Rio Maravilha bar terrace

The size of the bar is impressive, but most importantly – the terrace overlooking the bridge and the statue of Jesus on the other side of the river.

On the last day, I decided to go outside the city and went to the Sintra.

Train to Sintra
Train to Sintra

Right in the center of Lisbon, there is a train station where you can buy a one-way ticket for 4 euros. The road takes only half an hour.

Pena Palace in Sintra city
Pena Palace in Sintra city

Situated on one of the high hills of Sintra is the fabulous Pena Palace. Entry is not free, and I immediately advise you not to take a full ticket. Some too many people want to get inside the palace – you have to stand in line for 40 minutes.

queue for the Pena Palace entrance
queue for the Pena Palace entrance

Garden + terraces ticket costs 7 euros, full – 14 euros. Moreover, in contrast to the bright appearance, inside it is not particularly interesting so that you won’t be missing much. There is a huge park around the palace, where in the shade of trees you can walk all day.

terraces of Pena Palace
terraces of Pena Palace

And now I will tell you about the most unlikely place that impressed me.
Despite all the concerns about the multitude of tourists, I went to Cabo da Roca – the most western point of Europe. I made the right call! So I chose the evening time and arrived there at sunset. There were only a few tourists in the area, and I was able to enjoy the beauty of this place alone.

Cabo da Roca - the most western point of Europe
Cabo da Roca – the most western point of Europe

Now I understand why this place previously considered to be the end of the world – the waves of the endless ocean, high cliffs, the salty wind that blows you off. It is a place where you can feel the power of our planet and see its beauty.
Do not forget to take warm clothes; it’s freezing in the evenings here.

The ocean floor is rocky, and many ships used to crash right off the coast earlier. That is why there is a lighthouse on the hill – a guide for seafarers. The lighthouse, built in the 18th century, is one of the oldest in Portugal!

This evening was the perfect end to my acquaintance with Lisbon. However, my journey through Portugal continues. Stay tuned for blog updates!

– Romanna

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visit SkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

To read more of Romanna’s SkySurf.Travel adventure blogs, click here.

Lisbon Travel Tips – Part 2 of Romanna’s Trip to Lisbon, Portugal

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

Want to know how Lisbon looked like before the earthquake? Go to Alfama! This area is entirely different from all else as if it was accidentally built right into the capital of Portugal. Here is another pace of life, customs, and even prices. Most local people also do not speak English.

Alfama area in Lisbon
Alfama area in Lisbon

However, neither of these features is negative. On the contrary, it feels like you find yourself in another city with an incredible atmosphere. There is no longer an understanding of who is a tourist, and who is local – the people of Lisbon themselves come to this area and seem out of the crowd. Initially, the Arabs inhabited this quarter and gave it the new name. Springs – this is what Alfama means in Arabic. Earlier, there were many baths in this quarter, which served not only as a hygienic role but also as curative. Despite this, the quarter is now considered one of the oldest and poorest. There is no sewage system in some houses still, and people are forced to go to public toilets. That seems crazy nowadays!

I don’t know if I was lucky or not, but I left Lisbon precisely one day before the main holiday, St. Anthony’s Day. Locals say that during such fun the city goes crazy. Anyway, I had some fun, because the Portuguese began celebrations in advance. While planning your visit to Lisbon, be sure to check the calendar of events, maybe something grand will happen!

Celebration time in Alfama
Celebration time in Alfama

On the advice of the locals, we went to Alfama again on Saturday evening. Fragrant food at every step, smoke from the grill, the smell of sardines, noisy people – all this to the rhythms of the Portuguese Fado and most importantly, with the smiles of passersby.

Grilled food preparing
Grilled food preparing

Be sure to try the local cherry liquor “ginja” from the chocolate cup and order the sardines – they are grilled just in front of you in only a few minutes!

want some sardines?
want some sardines?

Walking through the old town, you can see graffiti on walls. Do not think it is rowdyism. In this area, houses were built tightly to each other, and if the building becomes uninhabitable, it does not get demolished, but closed and allowed to turn it into a canvas for art. In Lisbon, there are special projects for street art – artists are invited to paint on these houses. Often, such drawings do not just decorate walls, but also tell a particular story.

Take a look at the photo below.

old graffiti of Maria Severa
old graffiti of Maria Severa

The graffiti shows Maria Severa – one of the first Fado performers. No one can say for sure how this musical genre appeared. Someone thinks that it came from the Arabs; someone says – from the troubadours, and my favored theory says that Fado appeared at the time of the navigators. These are sad songs about sailors who have not returned, about lost love, about sadness and fleeting time.

It is precisely known, however, that sad motives took their origin in taverns and brothels. In those days, Fado was a mix of song and dance, and the women who performed it were “easily accessible.” In one of these public places, Maria Severa worked. Thanks to her beauty and voice, she became very famous, and so the musical genre of poor neighborhoods began to appear in high society.

Fado is still a popular music genre. Even without knowing the Portuguese language, you will be imbued with these songs and understand exactly which feeling the singer is trying to convey. That feeling is Saudade. This word cannot be translated, interestingly, into any language. It was a Portuguese notion, initially, which means a mixture of nostalgia, love, and sadness, for what was earlier and for what will never become real.

Saudade – the main part of Fado.

Another impressive quarter, absolutely not similar to others – Belem.
Ships departed to new lands right from here! You can get here by bus, train, and scooter!

Lime scooters in Lisbon
Lime scooters in Lisbon

In Lisbon, at every corner, you can find this little green transport. It is enough to install the application on the phone, attach a bank card, and now you have your private transportation. At any time, you can scan the scooter by the QR code and ride with the wind.

Let’s return to Belem. There are many historical sites, such as museums, cultural centers, monuments, a palace, and a monastery. If you are interested in visiting these places, I advise you to buy a tourist card – it will help you save money. If you do not want to wander through the museums, there is another plan! Relax in the shade of the trees – here is a beautiful park where people come with families and companies for a picnic or to rest on the grass.

Monastery of Jeronimos in Belem
Monastery of Jeronimos in Belem

Be inspired by the beauty of the Monastery of Jeronimos and do not forget to visit the most famous confectionery in Lisbon!

World known Pasteis de Belem
World known Pasteis de Belem

Pasteis de Belem is a cafe that produces Portuguese Pasteis de Nata – the world-famous Portuguese cream cakes. The recipe was invented by monks right here. Of course, there are a lot of people who want to try them here – prepare to stand in a long line.

Waiters in Pasteis de Belem work amazingly quick - every minute two-three people receive their orders!
Waiters in Pasteis de Belem work amazingly quick – every minute two-three people receive their orders!

Do not worry; it moves quickly. 15-20 minutes, and now you already have the cherished Pasteis! Just do not eat them right away – go to the embankment overlooking the Tagus River and the 25th of April Bridge and enjoy all together.

Pasteis de Nata - traditional Portuguese pastry
Pasteis de Nata – traditional Portuguese pastry

I will tell you in secret; I liked Pasteis de Nata in other pastry shops more – too much cream here. But everyone’s tastes differ!

Of course, Lisbon is not only history but also modernity. In the next article, I will tell you about places where young people go, what they eat and where to meet the best sunset in your life.

See you! Romanna

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visit SkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

To read more of Romanna’s SkySurf.Travel adventure blogs, click here.

Discovering New Countries – Part 1 of Romanna’s Trip to Lisbon, Portugal

This is a series of blog entries from SkySurf.Travel’s first travel hiree, Romanna.

Many stories about Portugal I have heard from my friends, saw lots of photos on the internet and read dozens of articles. It was my first time in Portugal, and it exceeded all expectations! More and more tourists come here every year, and now I know why. Today, I will tell you about my third direction – Lisbon.

Commerce Square near the Tagus river in Lisbon
Commerce Square near the Tagus river in Lisbon

City of Contrasts
It is noisy and calm at the same time. It seems reticent, but at the same time, so friendly and cozy. The first visit decides everything – either you love it or you will hate it. You need to feel it – to observe, listen, and taste it. I hope I can convince you to come here!

The first thing that made me happy from the first minutes in Lisbon was the location of the airport. Surprisingly, there are only a few metro stations, and you are very close to the city center! Lisbon has a very convenient transportation system: the metro is the most popular way to travel. There are four lines in total with short distances between stations. There are maps and pointers everywhere, just impossible to get lost! The cost of a single trip is 1.45 euros.

Zapping system card for transport
Zapping system card for transport

* Budget tip – the first time you buy a card, you should keep it so you may replenish it for upcoming trips. Zapping system is the way to save time and money – the cost will equal to 1.30 euros.

The ground transportation is buses, trams, and funiculars. The cost is the same as in the subway. Please note that when you pay the fare directly at the driver, you overpay 1.05 euros! It is much more convenient to replenish the card in the machine with the same Zapping system.

The primary association with Lisbon are old trams. There are five routes, which among them are the world-famous 28 and 12 routes. The trams are always full of people, and I did not understand why everyone is so eager to ride them. At least from the outside, they look much prettier, and it is easier to breathe.

Lisbon tram
Lisbon tram

Lisbon is a city that will keep your muscles in shape! On top of seven hills, the city has you always walking down sharply; then climbing back up. I was surprised by the old part of the city with its sloping streets, narrow passages, many stairs, lifts, and elevators. Their main task is to carry people up and down. But some elevators have a tourist function. To ride the most famous elevator of Santa Justa you have to wait in a queue of 20 minutes.

Another essential feature of the streets is the mosaic underfoot – calcada. Local girls manage to walk on it in heels gracefully, but for visitors, I advise to wear comfortable shoes.

Monument to the Restorers on the Restauradores Square
Monument to the Restorers on the Restauradores Square

Lisbon has always been a small but significant city. All because of the port, which was opened in the 8th century and now it is the third cruise port in Europe. Throughout its history, the city has experienced difficult times. So in 1755, there has occurred an earthquake, which claimed many lives and destroyed the city. The philosopher Voltaire said that there is no God, and many great minds of that time supported him. The fact that the earthquake began on Saturday, right during Mass. It lasted for 7 minutes; most people died right in the churches as a result. Just imagine, after that, a tsunami covered the city, and soon a fire, even more, destroyed the city from a candle in one of the churches.

Lisbon city view from the top of Sao Vicente De Fora monastery
Lisbon city view from the top of Sao Vicente De Fora monastery

These incidents were decisive in Lisbon architecture that we see now. Walking around the city, you can see a vast difference between districts and in areas exceptionally well seen. The communities, built according to new rules with money from the government and those that were of no interest to the authorities, were built by locals. So the center of the city is Baixa area, which has always been a “place of business” – wide, parallel streets and spacious squares. At the same moment, poor local people rebuilt the narrow and tangled streets on their own as they were before.

Old city area Alfama
Old city area Alfama

Right in the city center, you can easily find affordable accommodation. Even though I was planning to find a place to stay on Couchsurfing, the circumstances made their adjustments. The host urgently changed plans, and on the third day of staying in the city, I had to look for another option. Maybe the reason was in Lisbon’s particular popularity among travelers, or it was the holiday time, or even all together – I could not find a host. The cost of one night in the hostel starts at 10 euros. For 15-20 euros you can find excellent options if you are not embarrassed to live in a standard room with other people. That’s what I did!

It was a great decision – in the hostel I met a lot of travelers and found out that there are free walk tours! Walks are carried out every day at a specific time. There are several route options, and they vary depending on the day of the week.

Look for the yellow t-shirts - free walking tour sign
Look for the yellow t-shirts – free walking tour sign

I was lucky to get to the group to the guide Nuno. Thanks to him, I discovered Lisbon in a completely different way, learned a lot of exciting facts, and understood the mood of the city.

Nuno - the guide in Free Walking Tours Lisbon
Nuno – the guide in Free Walking Tours Lisbon

Although I am not particularly delighted with the cities and a large number of tourists, Lisbon left great impressions. New and unusual for me, it inspired for long walks, gastronomic experiments and new musical discoveries. Can’t wait to tell you more in the next article, do not forget to follow the updates!

~ Romanna

Romanna’s trip to eight cities (five islands) in Europe cost a total of $815 (flights only).  To build your own cheap multicity itinerary, visit SkySurf.Travel.

View more photos of Romanna’s European SkySurf.Travel adventure on Instagram

To read more of Romanna’s SkySurf.Travel adventure blogs, click here.