Trip to Europe Part II: Lisbon

This is part two of a three-part series based on this trip. We visited Barcelona, Lisbon, and Madrid on our vacation, so this second part will be all about Lisbon. Start with part one if you missed it!

Top Visits

Lisbon was the shortest part of our trip, with only two nights. Next time we would absolutely like to stay much longer as, while we did a lot of what we wanted to, it was an amazing city we'd have loved to explore more.

Centro Interpretativo da História do Bacalhau

This is a museum dedicated to only one thing - cod fish. Portugal has a rich history of cod fishing, and this museum shows it all off. We had a few hours to kill after landing in Lisbon before we could check-in to our AirBnB, so we decided to try it out since it only cost 4€. Turns out it was entirely empty and we never saw another person, but we ended up spending about 2 hours learning about Portuguese history (mostly as it relates to fish). It was for sure worth the stop and we enjoyed our time! They also had a fairly unique gift shop, and a nice restaurant that looked good but we didn't have a chance to try.

The museum is located right off the side of this square, so after visiting there was plenty to see, eat, and drink!

Time Out Market

Time out Market is a great market with a ton of food and drink options. Our first night we ordered a handful of different foods, grabbed a beer while we waited, and then took it back to our AirBnB to enjoy the city views while we ate delicious regional food, and cuisines from around the world. It's open late and really convenient, with a couple of wine bars and a bottle shop as well.

There is a ton of great food in Lisbon, so I don't recommend eating all your meals at the market, but it was so convenient to stay nearby so we could grab a drink or a bite to eat in between other activities, or late at night when we didn't want to wander too far.

Ride Tram no. 28

Nearly everyone has surely seen photos of the yellow trams in Lisbon, but it was such a fun experience to ride them for ourselves! Included in our metro pass, we could hop on and hop off as we wished. These trams are still very much used to get around the city, despite their age. We boarded tram 28 at Martim Moniz, which is the start of the line, so we had the best chance of getting a seat. In addition to riding it for fun, we also used the various tram lines frequently to get around and explore the city.

For our leisure rides, we focused on the Alfama District, since it's the most picturesque and the most famous line. This was a great way to see the area and mark down spots we wanted to check out when we had a chance to walk around.

The orange line in the map, starting at Martim Moniz, follows a nice route through the Alfama neighborhood.

Day Trip to Sintra

Contrary to our usual travel style, we chose one day to pre-arrange a guided tour. The city of Sintra is in the hills outside Lisbon and is home to many castles and estates that are fascinating to visit. We booked our experience through AirBnB and our tour guide took us around to see many of the different structures, and we stopped for lunch at an off-the-beaten-path restaurant, and another stop at the end to enjoy some pastries and port wine. This was a fun group tour in an open-air jeep with 4 other people, so still pretty small and private.

Wander the Alfama District

On the final morning, we had about half a day before our flight, so we decided to take it easy and have a relaxing stroll through this beautiful area. We had picked up a bottle of wine the night before at the Time Out Market, so once we found a shop that gave us a couple of coffee cups, our first stop was to find a nice spot along the shore to sit on a bench and enjoy our wine. We had a good time sitting near the cruise terminal and watching all the travelers hustle back to their ships.

After that, we just wandered! Whenever we came across an interesting alley or stairwell, we'd follow it and explore. We happened upon a woman selling small glasses of port wine from her front door, and a neat brunch spot. As long as you can avoid getting lost (I had my phone), I highly recommend this method of exploring!