We arrived in Lisbon from Manchester quite late Friday evening. Although we were hiring a car, we decided not to hire a car in Lisbon as the traffic and parking is quite bad and the hostel I had booked did not have parking available. It also saved us a bit of money for fewer days hire and enabled us to use the great public transport options which Lisbon has to offer.
We stayed in the Alfama area of Lisbon, which I would totally recommend; it’s close to all the best sights and within walking distance of almost everything that Pete and I wanted to do in Lisbon. Alfama is the old district of Lisbon and as such has narrow streets and traditional features (hence the bad parking), but is also the best place to catch the famous Lisbon tram.
On our first full day (after a poor nights’ sleep) we woke quite late and headed out on foot to the nearby Lisbon Cathedral. We had hoped to pick up the tram from here and do the famous circuit, but every tram which went past was completed rammed. We decided to delay this experience and wake up early on Sunday to try instead…
From here though, it is only a short walk to the main commercial square which is on the river Targus and very pretty.
We walked North from here into the Bairro Alto district where Pete bought some new trainers. The limestone cobbled streets of Lisbon may look pretty, but they’re so slippy! Even in the baking sun with not a drop of water! We found a lovely little cafe along the streets here called Organi Chiado which had a great range of vegan dishes. It was one of our favourite meals of the whole holiday. MMMmmm….
We stopped briefly at Luis de Camoes Square which was pleasant enough, before walking South again back down to the riverfront. It was such a hot day that we then just sat in the shade and drank a few cocktails.
By late afternoon we decided to finish the day up in the Castle which was a steep walk but the views were great and the Castle was pretty interesting. Although Pete’s favourite bit was seeing peacocks in a tree!
That evening we followed HappyCow to Lisbon Vegan Food Project which was quite nice although I think we chose the worst things on the menu 🙂
The following day we got up early and headed out to Martim Moniz metro station which is where the famous yellow trams begins it’s loop around Lisbon. We hopped on the tram and managed to get the best seats at the back 🙂
The tram ride itself is very touristy, I think it’s basically THE thing to do in Lisbon, so after a few stops it was very busy and packed out, not something I usually like. However, I must admit it was a lot of fun. The tram is very small and old, I think they were built in the 30s, they’re very cute but also very skilled at traversing the old tram routes through narrow undulating streets. It’s like being on a rollercoaster! The tram takes you past a lot of the main attractions of Lisbon, but I preferred just going through the narrow streets and seeing the daily life.
After the tram ride we began walking again, stopping briefly on Augusta street to sample the famous Pastel de Nata. We had planned to go on the Elevator de Santa Justa, but the queue was ridiculous, so we continued walking through the major squares; Rossio and Figueira.
It was a long weekend of walking in total, my fitbit was on overdrive, but luckily, we headed straight from Lisbon back to the airport to pick up our hire car for the rest of the trip. On the way out of Lisbon we stopped and ate at Veganeats Cafe which was very nice and waited for our Uber back to the airport at Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques Park.
Unfortunately, we had to wait over an hour in a queue to get our pre-booked car, but we were soon on our way West to Sinta…
Both Pete and I really liked Lisbon. It’s a pretty city with lots of different things to see and do. It was quite busy, but being a city it seemed able to cope with the number of tourists and it’s strong culture seems able to cope and stand up to the different cultures visiting it. We only have 1 and 1/2 days in Lisbon, but we were happy with that as we were itching to see more of Portugal!