Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. This week is a luxury guide to Lisbon, Portugal. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
Tips on Visiting Lisbon
- If you haven’t booked your flights yet, check Kiwi for the best possible prices. I swear by it!
- Always check to make sure you don’t need a visa! US Citizens don’t but use iVisa to see for your country.
- Get travel insurance! I know someone who had an allergic reaction to a bee sting in Lisbon, and an ER visit would have put her out 200 euros! Use World Nomads to get a quote for your trip
A Luxury Guide to Lisbon
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you can write this luxury guide to Lisbon.
I discovered Lisbon when I was a baby because my mother is from there. I still go back often because I love it so much. It combines everything I consider luxurious – sunlight, charming architecture, friendly people, nightlife, music, art, and culture. Upon arrival, I immediately feel happy and relaxed.
What makes Lisbon a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Lisbon has a lot to offer. It’s bathed in a very special light that poets write about and artists try to capture on film and through painting. It has great natural beaches that haven’t been destroyed by commercialism, a castle with gorgeous views, the most romantic miradouros (lookout points), historical architecture and delicacies you won’t be able to resist. There’s also really good shopping. Portuguese designers are very much in touch with tradition, but they know how to adapt their traditions and update them according to the latest trends. There is nice street life and when you go out you may have the chance to hear Portuguese, Brazilian or perhaps Angolan music.
There’s also really good shopping. Portuguese designers are very much in touch with tradition, but they know how to adapt their traditions and update them according to the latest trends. There is nice street life and when you go out you may have the chance to hear Portuguese, Brazilian or perhaps Angolan music.
What’s 5-star hotel the best in Lisbon?
I haven’t gotten to stay in a 5-star hotel yet, but I have my eyes set on Olissippo Lapa Palace. It’s supposed to have the best view of Tagus River. It’s also built inside a 19th-century palace and has a spa, wifi, and a pool.
What about boutique hotels in Lisbon, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?
If you want a really authentic experience, stay at my place in Mouraria, located in the ancient heart of Lisbon. You’ll be right downtown in a completely renovated one-bedroom stylish flat that fits up to four people and is equipped with the latest kitchen appliances, shower, living room and cable television.
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler in Lisbon?
Lisbon is the birthplace of Fado music, which is on UNESCO’s world heritage list. Definitely reserve an evening visit to a Fado House to hear this beautiful Portuguese tradition with your own ears. For more things to do in Lisbon, check out that link.
Where are the best hang outs in Lisbon during the day?
In Lisbon, any time of day is good to stop for a coffee at a café terrace. There are really intriguing jardins (gardens) throughout the city with fantastic views, ancient plants, and interesting monuments. Take a train along the marginal and you have a choice of beaches just a few minutes outside the city center. Some of the best places to hang out for the day:
Costa Da Caparica (Beach)
It’s one of the favorite beaches thanks to its smooth sand, fantastic view and a various restaurants. This is not just perfect for a day trip, you can enjoy the nightlife there too, with bars open until early morning.
À MARGEM (Café)
This is an ideal place if you want to have a light meal, some tea and a chat with a friend. The ambiance is perfect as you can marvel at the Tagus river. Prices are quite reasonable.
Parque Eduardo VII (Park)
This is the biggest park in central Lisbon and was named after Britain’s king, Edward II. You can see mosaic patterned walkways and different tropical and exotic plants.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Lisbon and what are their best dishes?
Chapitô à Mesa
Portuguese food with a modern and sophisticated twist. This is one of the most original places you can go to eat – it’s actually a circus school! It is not the cheapest, but on top of good food, you’ll get funky, bohemian vibes, great views of the castle and perhaps a performance. It’s on an unassuming street leading up to the castle, so keep your eyes peeled in order not to miss it!
If you want to impress your date, then this is a good choice. Although, you have to make a reservation. The food is exceptional and they have a variety of wine selection. Lastly, you will keep coming back for more because of their service.
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best in Lisbon?
The must-try pastry in Lisbon is the Pastel de Belém. The secret recipe, invented in the Jerónimos monastery, is guarded to this day. You may have to queue (expect to see both locals and tourists standing in line!) – but the line moves quickly and will be worth it!
Tell us all the hot shopping spots in Lisbon; who’s carrying the trendy local designers?
A Vida Portuguesa
If you’re on a hunt for authentic Portuguese souvenirs, then one of the best places to shop is A Vida Portuguesa. They have maintained the old-school packaging of their items to remind you of the past. From toys to soaps, notebooks, clothes, teapots and a whole lot more. The space is so nicely designed it’s worth a visit just to window shop.
Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?
Head to São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint in Bairro Alto. From there, you can see a different perspective of Castelo São Jorge, stunning gardens and a sunset you’ll never forget.
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
Bairro Alto has been the hub for nightlife for years. In the past five years, Pink Street near Cais do Sodré became popular. Now, most people consider the revived Mouraria Quarter with places like Anos 60 and Casa Independente as the most fashionable.
If you end the night at a fancy club in Lisbon, which one do you head towards?
There’s an outdoor sandy beach area, hence the name. The overall vibe is great for mingling and dancing until morning.
You can enjoy their special drinks and make use of the huge balcony boasting an incredible view. One of the biggest and best-known nightclubs in Lisbon with multiple music halls.
For More Luxury Guides in Europe:
Dalia is the video blogger on the Getting Close to travel series. When she’s not capturing people’s stories, making random friends in the street or editing footage from her travels, you’ll find her trying to save the world doing multimedia and communications work for international organizations. You can follow her adventures at gettingcloseto.com.