Architecture is fascinating. I know I always enjoyed checking out beautiful churches or interesting buildings when I was traveling but it wasn’t until I started working in architecture and design PR that I realised how much architecture influences the image of a city. And how much one new building can change the look of a city. This is why I decided to put together a post about my favourite “architectural master pieces” around the world. (I guess this will only be part 1…)
I wanted to go to Lisbon so badly. For ages. The more stories I’ve heard about it, the more I wanted to go. And it really is a city full of treasures and beauty.
Whatever corner you turn, there’s so much color in Lisbon – street art, tiles, painted buildings. But that’s not the only thing that’s exciting about this city. It’s all the small alleys you can easily get lost in, the authentic Portuguese restaurants and the viewpoints. Oh, those viewpoints. There are so many of them, and one’s prettier than the next.
Two of the viewpoints I enjoyed most (together with probably EVERYONE else in Lisbon at that time – meaning it was absolutely packed) are Miradouro de Santa Catalina and Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte. The first one offers a bit more areas to sit and enjoy the view, but they are both equally breathtaking. Definitely go and watch the sunset with a can of beer at least once while you are there.
We also took a trip to Belém. On our way there, we stopped to visit one of the coolest architectural buildings I’ve seen so far: the MAAT, Mueum of Art, Architecture and Technology. To see this modern piece of architecture with the the Ponte 25 de Abril (the bridge that almost makes it look like you’re in San Francisco) in the background was very impressive to me.
Belém itself is an area known for two things: Torre de Belém, a tower that was used as a lighthouse and prison before it became the viewing platform it is nowadays, and the Pasteis de Belém. Pasteis are the famous Portuguese pastries that you can actually find in places like Starbucks all around the world. But they are not the originals. So if you go to Torre del Belém, make sure to stop by the Café Pasteis de Belém and either get a Pasteis to go or sit down for a quick bite. It’s definitely worth it!
If you don’t want to take a trip out there (or you don’t have time for it) here’s another tip: The Manteigaria in town offers super delicious pasteis as well! But no matter where, don’t miss out on this Portuguese deliciousness!
Talking about deliciousness: There are a few places we’ve tried and I really enjoyed, so I want to give you a few tips:
- Copenhagen Coffee Lab. I guess that clean Scandinavia look for cafés has found its way into the shabby-chic Lisbon and Copenhagen Coffee Lab is a great example for that.
- So is Hello, Kristof (can you tell by the name?).
- Dear Breakfast was a place, we actually didn’t have time to visit but it spoke to me when we walked past it, so I decided to still include it into that post. Also, their Instagram account gives me food envy all the way!
- Another Breakfast Café (and one we actually went to) is Heim Café. This place was really packed on a Saturday, so bring some time, but the food was really good and I liked the atmosphere there. So check it out!
- And now for Dinner. We went to a place that was so edgy and cool that I wished Munich had more edges than it actually has: Damas. The restaurant doesn’t have a printed menu, but you can find their dishes written on the tiles next to the bar. Don’t fancy any of the 3-4 main dishes they offer each night? Then you’ll definitely find something among the tapas they have on their menu to share.
But watch out for the red crosses on the menu – they symbolize that the dish of your choice might not be available anymore.
And if you fancy dancing and drinking after the delicious food you just had, you don’t even have to go far – the backroom of the restaurant turns into a club with pretty cool electronic beats and the same edgy but cool atmosphere.
- But if you want to go out somewhere else, check out Bairro Alto, an area full of bars and nightlife that you will definitely find a place you’ll like.
- Another place, just right down by the water, is Mez Cais. It’s a Mexican restaurant with a big menu full of deliciousness – Burritos, Tacos, Nachos; just anything your stomach might desire. We sat outside, so I can’t tell you much about the atmosphere inside but the little wrestling figures leading the way to the bathroom made it clear that it’s a pretty cool, unique and alternative place that’s definitely worth visiting.
What else? The main thing we’ve basically done during the weekend was walk. From A to B, from B to C and all the way back from C to A. And to many places in between. I guess I’ve told you before, that’s my favourite thing of discovering a city. And during all the walking we did, I couldn’t help myself but to take trillions of photos to share with you. Here are my favourites.
But this isn’t even everything. Probably my favourite activity was our trip to the beach – to Praia da Cresmina to be precise. It’s a pretty cool, wide beach with lots of rocks to climb around on. Since it was December and the sun was about to set, we were the only ones there, which made the trip even more magical!
So. This is it. A little overview over my time in Lissbon, the places I’ve seen and the pictures I took. Maybe one day I’ll go back during summer and see that side of the city, but I gotta say, December wasn’t a bad time to go. A bit of sun to soak up and way less tourists than in the summer month – a perfect combination!