Top things to do in Lisbon

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Travel vlog Lisbon : My top things to do for a long weekend in the Portuguese capital

Hey GlobeTolters,

A few months ago, I went to Lisbon for a long week-end. We discovered why it has become one of the most popular places in Europe. Learn more in this second episode of my cinematic vlog series.

1) Take a city tour

I’m not usually a big fan but we hopped on a bus city tour not long after we arrived. It is a perfect way to see the main monuments without spending too much time and money as you can stop anywhere you want, take a few pictures and then grab the next bus. Besides, the audio commentaries will help you learn a few interesting facts.

2) Feira da Ladra flea market

Lisbon’s flea market is called the Feira da Ladra, often thought to mean “Thieves’ Market” (because “ladra” means “woman thief” in Portuguese) but we learnt that it actually derives from “ladro,” a bug found in antiques.
There was a myriad of small stalls, which were selling all sorts of second-hand and new products. You can find there many hand-made artisan goods, CD’s, books, clothes, military objects, antiques….

3) St-George’s castle
St. George’s Castle, is perched atop Lisbon’s highest hill in Alfama, offering both excellent history and views of the city. We climbed there just before dusk to take some pictures, the castle served as a fortification for the Romans, Visigoths and the Moors, who turned it into a royal palace before it was eventually taken by Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques.
If you ever visit the castle, you will surely be gushed about the incredible views of the city and the tagus river but also its impressive quality preservation.

4) Enjoy night time
Walking down Alfama neighborhood at night you’ll probably end up in an improvised concert or party. You just have to cross a street corner or get down some stairs to see some bands and people partying, singing and clapping… Lisbon at night is an experience in itself !
At the very end of my trip, I also went to a Fado live show in the same neighborhood. There was a little concert in the restaurant, barely floodlit only by the red light of some candles, the singers were the focal point of everyone’s attention, I would say that it was a perfect way to end this citybreak.

5) Pavilhao chines
At the end of the second/third/fourth…. Day, we headed to one of the most unusual bars in the city: PAVILHÃO CHINÊS (Chinese pavilion in Portuguese) in bairro alto neighborhood. The night there was totally unique because the interior is decorated with an astonishing variety of collectibles, curious and bric-a-brac, in fact this “Chinese pavilion” resembles a museum.

6) Take a ferry and visit Cacilhas
The saturday afternoon, we took a ferryboat to cross the Tagus river and discover Cacilhas, the Cristo Rei statue (which we actually couldn’t visit as we arrived around 5pm, closing time…) and have dinner in Ponto Final restaurant. That was probably the highlight of the trip because the view on the river, the bridge, the sunlight… make the moment last forever. The food is also very good and not so expensive.

 7) Sintra
20 miles northwest of central Lisbon, the small city’s rolling hills of Sintra are a must-see!
I took a train to get there, and these magnificent 19th-century romantic architectural monuments were worth the travel ! No wonder why this site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To me the star of the show was the Palácio Nacional de Pena, which was built to be a romantic getaway for Queen Maria II and her husband. Everything there is so colorful, I wish I had spent more time there…
The climb up there is a bit long, especially if you’re carrying 10 kilos of filmming gear like I did, but still cool and cheaper than the shuttle.