Three and counting!
I've been to Lisbon a total of 4 times now - once in 2017 for a brief stop before heading to Madeira, once in 2019 for Thanksgiving with my family, and once in 2022 for a weekend away, and now once more in 2023.
The neighborhoods in Lisbon that I've enjoyed most are probably:
- Bairro Alto - lively and well connected spot, with lots of food and lots to see and do.
- Alfama - just having the miradouros and Castelo de São Jorge makes it a top hit.
- Graça - amazing ethnic foods and great access to beautiful views.
- Santa Catarina - fun, youthful vibe with great brunches.
Things to do while in Lisbon
- Go to Castelo de São Jorge for a panoramic view of all of Lisbon and some fun walls to climb up and down. The pavilion itself is worth the admission price, to just go and relax.
- Go to Sintra, and especially Quinta da Regaleira to explore the amazing gardens and pathways. The Castelo dos Mouros is also an excellent site, and although it's less fun on a cloudy day, it's still a wonderful site. If you decide to go, I'd recommend hiking up to the castle via the Villa Sassetti gardens, which theoretically lead up to the castle, although they were closed when we visited.
- Go to one of the many miradouros scattered around Alfama, such as Miradouro de Santa Luzia or a bit further out around Graça, such as Miradouro de Senhora do Monte.
- Go to the Torre de Belém for some pretty views of the estuary surrounding Lisbon, and for some tasty treats as well. The surrounding area is nice to explore for a half day.
- Go to the Oceanario and check out one of the coolest aquariums. It has an incredible set of sharks, rays, and fishes, and even has some large sea otters and cool amphibians to look at.
Places to go eat in Lisbon
Obviously, the classics. Get a pastel de nata for some delicious eggy goodness.
- Mantegaria for pastel de nata in Bairro Alto. This is a given, they're excellent.
- Pastéis de Belém also for pastel de nata, and possibly my favorite ones. They tend to feature a stiffer and flakier crust, with a gooier inside. Honestly just go for it.
- Taberna da Rua das Flores for a chalkboard menu and truly delicious food, also in Bairro Alto. They don't take reservations, so it can be a wait, but if you're a bit flexible it's 100% worth it. I had an excellent shark soup (Sopa de Cação) that had one of the best broths that I've tasted in a while.
- Time Out Market Lisbon for bites to eat when you can't decide what you want or you haven't booked a reservation in advance.
- Hello Kristof for a lovely brunch or snack while in Santa Catarina.
- Lumi Rooftop for great views from Bairro Alto of all of Lisbon, and good food and yummy cocktails to boot.
- Onda for excellent cocktails in a lovely neighborhood.