While in central Europe there is still deep winter in February, the south of Europe offers warmer temperatures and the perfect weather for a city trip. When I visited Lisbon this February for the very first time, I did not expect too much. But let me tell you, I was astonished by the beautiful Portuguese capital and it’s charming miradoures and vegan friendly hospitality.
Lisbon is perfect for a weekend trip or a 4 days holiday. I spent a whole week in the capital and it was plenty of time to relax and even visit the nearby area.
Transport & Stay
The airport of Lisbon is very close to the city center and a direct metro line (the red one) takes about 20 minutes to San Sebastiao. There are various hostels or very affordable hotels around the town. I would recommend to stay around San Sebastiao and Parque Eduardo VII because it’s centrally located and connected to the most important metro stations.
Yes, there are indeed some ways to discover the City of Seven Hills (A Cidade das Sete Colinas). Whether classically on foot, by bike, by hop-on hop-off bus, metro or the famous tram 28E. According to many travel guides, Lisbon’s old town is best explored on foot. This is true, however, only for a very small radius, as you quickly get out of breath due to the steep incline.
Who doesn’t know it, the famous line 28E? The yellow tram is probably one of the most famous symbols and landmarks of the hilly city on the Tagus and a ride in the historic tram car is considered an absolute must. By the way: the “E” stands for “Eléctrico” and was added as in all other Lisbon tram lines only in 1994, however, the line 28 has existed already since 1928.
Eat & Drink
Traditionally, Portugal isn’t the easiest country to be a vegan in. Portuguese dishes are mostly made of either meat or fish and for many Portuguese people anything else would just be a side salad. And furthermore, way too many veg dishes contain eggs. But that was in the past. Now you can find a plenty of variety of modern vegan-friendly places. And to my experience they are very popular among all age groups and be prepared to even queue for some. What I found interesting, that some cafés and places I only discovered by randomly walking by. Happy cow is definitely a good start, but Instagram was a lot more insightful for vegan places 😉
- Fauna and Flora – Remembered me of theFarm girl Café in London. Is definitely THE place to go. From Avocado Toast, Smoothie and Açai Bowls to Pancake stacks – Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or dinner heaven. I found the place through Instagram. And not only the food is very promising but also the interior with the wooden tables and plants invites you to stay a bit longer 🙂
- Eight- Health Lounge – Another amazing smoothie bowl place (green, with activated charcoal or classic raspberry….) and a wide range of savory dishes like rainbow bowls or toasts. (here
- Terra – This is one of the most popular vegan and vegetarian buffets in Lisbon, and it offers a diverse selection of salads and vegan main dishes that changes regularly.
- Jardim das Cerejas – Situated in Chiado, in the centre of Lisbon, Jardim das Cerejas offers a vegetarian buffet that typically features an excellent selection of vegan-friendly options. The food has a strong Indian influence and is ideal for those that want something a little more exotic. Perfectly for dinner or my secret tip: get a Take away lunch box and enjoy on one of the miradoures 🙂 (Perfect food & view = success)
- Time Out Market – The most popular food place along all meat and fish lovers. But you won’t be disappointed by the buzz and excitement. and for sure there are also great Vegan options and you won’t be disappointed!
- AO 26 Vegan Food Project – One of Lisbon’s most popular vegan restaurants, the Vegan Food Project offers a great selection of petiscos (tapas), salads, toasties, and a main meal, which changes daily.
- Miss Saigon – Situated in Parque das Nações outside of the centre close to the Oceanario – Miss Saigon is not a restaurant every visitor will come across. Miss Saigon has Beautifully decorated dishes and a daily-changing menu of international dishes that has previously included also vegan meatballs.
Do & See
There’s always something to see in this amazing city…
There is plenty to explore in Portugal’s capital. And you will for sure walk A LOT up and down the hills. But also be sure to get use of the traditional Trams and the new metro. And for overcoming heights get advantage of the (sometimes) hidden lifts!
Although Alfama district is recognised as the Fado district, you can enjoy many performances in the cobbled streets of Barrio Alto. This is the place to go on a night out, with door-to-door bars and restaurants where you can enjoy anything from live jazz to reggae bands. Plenty of hidden roof-top bars will offer an unforgettable experience and it’s also the meeting point for young people and many students.
Elevador de Justa
Hidden in the narrow streets close by Restauradores, the Elevador the Justa is not a conventional lift but rather a delicately constructed eye-catcher. You will naturally walk along it because it’s in the middle of the shopping streets and simply a MUST for every tourist 😉
Miradour de Santa Caterina
There are indeed many small and big miradoures. However, the miradour de Santa Caterina is the most prettiest in my opinion. There is a small café and when I visited the view point there were always various bands or singers playing live music. What else can you ask for, on a warm sunny day, music and a drink?!
Go to any market in Lisbon and you’ll find these along with other excellent-quality fruit and vegetables. And, because markets are still used for day-to-day shopping by many people in Portugal, the prices are extremely affordable as well. My favorite was Mercado Da Ribeira – Home to the newly-opened Time Out Market, the Mercado Da Ribeira is where you’ll find one of Lisbon’s largest and best fresh markets. As also listet below, the Time Out Market is also the place to try some amazing local and famous food. A great experience.
Explore the winding streets of Alfama and visit the Fado museum. There are many cafes and restaurants to relax in and make sure you take your camera to capture some true Portuguese culture. The narrow streets along the beautiful tile houses are perfect to dive into full holiday mode.
Torre de Belém
The Torre de Belém is one of the most famous landmarks of Lisbon. Since 1983 the lighthouse has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally there was a second tower on the opposite side, but it was destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755. The gloomy interior served as a prison and armory until the 19th century. Today, the 35-meter high tower serves as a viewing platform.
In walking distance from the Tower, also the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos has also been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1983. It is considered to be the most significant building of the Manueline, a Portuguese version of the late Gothic period.
Time out Market
The Time Out Market Lisboa is located in the Mercado da Ribeira. From the beginning of the 1990s, the first floor of the building was transformed into a cultural center, where various musical events have taken place.
In 2014 the west wing of the market hall was completely redesigned and the Time Out Market Lisboa was the first of several planned joint venture market halls to move in. Here, fast food, nouvelle cuisine as well as traditional Portuguese cuisine with 35 food stalls with wooden benches and tables for guests find a new urban attraction. The food stalls mainly offer regional products.
Praça do Comércio
The trade venue Praça do Comércio is one of the most important squares in Lisbon. Located directly at the Tagus River, the square is still known as Terreiro do Paço, because the royal palace Paço da Ribeira was located here until the devastating earthquake of 1755. Another wonderful place to watch the sunset and enjoy the beautiful view on ponte 25 de Abril.
Ponte 25 de Abril
The Ponte 25 de Abril is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Because of the red color and the framework-like stiffening beams, the two suspension bridges are in fact very similar, even though the Lisbon version is slightly shorter and lower.
However, it is the third longest suspension bridge with combined road and rail transport in the world. On six car and two railroad tracks, the Ponte 25 de Abril connects the Lisbon district of Alcântara with the city of Almada in north-south direction.
The statue of Christo Rei is located on the south side of the Ponte 25 de Abril and proudly watches from above on the Portuguese capital. The statue overlooks the city of Almada and you can either hike or walk uphills or take the bus 101 to the top 🙂
If you have several days in Lisbon then a day-trip to Sintra is a must. These rolling hills are scattered with palaces and the town is a quaint, beautiful place to experience. You can reach Sintra by train or there are many tour companies who do excursions. As much as I heard people dreaming of this town and all saw all the amazing pictures I was so excited, however, on our day-trip it was immensely cloudy that you could barely see your own hand in front of you….
Therefore, Sintra will be the first place to go on my next Portugal trip 😀
Are you planning a trip to Lisbon soon? If you have any questions feel free to drop me a message.