As the real winter returns to Manchester, it might be time for a city break to one of Portugal’s most popular spots, Lisbon.
In under 3 hours you can be in a Portuguese paradise, and by paradise I mean as many pastillas as you can get your hands on, street art that will keep your Instagram stories stocked up for days and plenty of beautiful architecture.
Staying in an Airbnb in the heart of Lisbon, we were staying close to the Barrio Alto area and a short (downhill) walk to the train station, Time Out Market and lots of quirky bars and restaurants.
Lisbon is renowned for its hilly landscape, if you want to get some serious calf gains, it’s the city break for you. But, it’s also incredibly worth it. Around every turn are the infamous tram lines, laid back locals drinking beers in the street and creatively tiled buildings.
On our first day, we took a short train journey to Cascais – a beach town an hour away by train from Lisbon. Hiring bikes, we explored the Western coast, stopping off for sangria and to take in the views. As we got back into town and had some time on the beach, we headed to a Cafe Galeria, a recommended rooftop where we had a middle eastern platter to share, and a fruity cocktail jug.
One of Lisbon’s booming areas is LX Factory, a previous fabric production plant based in Alcântara, that was reborn in 2007 and now host to bars, restaurants, shops and galleries. Colourful, fun and loads to do, LX Factory has maintained its heritage but created a hub for both locals and visitors to enjoy the space. Don’t miss the rooftop bar – Rio Maravilha for a view of the bridge.
It wouldn’t have been a trip to Lisbon without heading to Aginjinha for a shot of cherry liquor in true Anthony Bourdain style and exploring the Alfama district. Cute shops, and plenty of street art, plus the odd guitar player if you’re lucky, it’s definitely worth an explore.
Sintra was on all of our lists and we headed there by train. The ease of getting to these spots via the affordable and relatively quick trains means that if you’ve got 4-5 days in Lisbon, you’re easily able to explore the surrounding areas.
Once we arrived, we booked an open top tour, with a tour guide who was incredibly flexible with us. From the city, we went to the most western point of Europe and explored the landmarks. We also made sure to try Bacalhau à bras which is a combination of salt cod, potato and eggs. Back just in time for sunset, we sat at a bar on the urban beach and watched the sunset.
A couple of other good spots to try:
Time Out Market – amazing food and great atmosphere
Sky Bar – Brilliant view of the city
As Salgadeiras – Amazing service and delicious food
Os Bons Malandros – ideal for a drink or food – ensure you book
We found wandering around the city really easy and stumbled across food markets, cafes, restaurants and bars. It’s a city filled with history, culture, friendly people and a huge variety of food on offer. Perfect for a long weekend.
Flights from Manchester Airport to Lisbon start at £145 return with TAP Air Portugal