PORTUGAL TRAVEL GUIDE PART 2: SINTRA/LISBON

Hi everyone, Happy Monday! I’m excited to continue sharing about our trip to Portugal. The first half of our trip was spent in the Algarve & you can find the recap HERE. The second half of our trip was spent in Sintra & Lisbon. ENJOY!

On the 5th day of our trip, we checked out of the airbnb in Albufeira & drove 2 1/2 hours to Sintra. We got to Pena Palace around noon & unfortunately it was pouring rain & super foggy (definitely not the best day to be there). It was extremely crowded but we already had tickets so we hiked straight up to the top, which is slightly strenuous. It was incredibly beautiful once we reached the top but we really wished it had been a sunny day because the wind, rain, & fog made it hard to see much or spend a lot of time there.

After walking back down, we wanted to go to the Moors Castle (right next to Pena) but since it was still pouring rain, we decided to leave & head over to Cabo da Roca instead. We stopped for lunch at 3 Gomes Restaurant near Cabo da Roca & it was the cutest, coziest little place. We had really good sangria & tapas & hid out from the rain for awhile. We went over to Cabo da Roca but didn’t stay long because it was very crowded & windy (luckily the rain had stopped though!). A very short distance from there is Ursa Beach, a hidden gem that had been recommended to us. We walked almost all the way down but stopped right before the dirt trail down to the beach. It was probably the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen!! If it hadn’t been so windy & cold we would have definitely went all the way down to the beach.

After Ursa Beach, we drove 40 minutes to Lisbon & checked into the Corpo Santo Hotel. It was such a nice hotel with the best amentities… snacks in the lobby & on each floor, daily appetizers & wine from 6-7:30, & a complimentary breakfast buffet. It was in the Cais do Sodre neighborhood of Lisbon so that evening we walked around the area, down Rua Cor de Rosa, a pink street filled with bars & clubs, & over to Time Out Market for dinner. Time Out Market is a massive market with food stalls that had everything from seafood, authentic Portugese cuisine, Thai, & more. We had tuna tartar from Tartar-ia, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) from Monte Mar, & pad Thai & spring rolls from Asia Lab. For dessert, we had Pasteis de Nata (the most famous Portugese custard tarts) from Manteigaria. We also grabbed chocolates & brownies from Bettina Corallo Chocolate Cafe to take back to the hotel.

Thursday morning we walked to Praça do Comércio & went up to the top of Arco da Rua Augusta. It was early so no one else was there & it provided a beautiful view of the river & city. We were going to take a tram or bus up to Castelo de São Jorge but we decided to walk so we could see more of the city. We didn’t buy tickets in advance so once we got there, we did have to wait in line for a bit. The view from the grounds is absolutely INCREDIBLE, I can’t even describe. We walked around the grounds for a while taking in the view from every side, then entered the fortress & explored. There are wild peacocks all over the grounds, which was pretty cool. After leaving there we tried to hop on a tram but they were all completely full, so we grabbed a taxi to take us to lunch instead. We had made a reservation at Pharmacia, an awesome tapas restaurant inside of an apothecary museum. After lunch, we walked back to the hotel to freshen up then headed to By The Wine, the most beautiful wine bar & store. Later that evening, we had dinner reservations at Prado. It was a beautiful restaurant & had amazing tapas as well.

On Friday morning we walked to Praça da Figueira & got on the Tagus hop-on, hop-off bus to ride to Belém, a neighborhood on the other side of the city. The bus went the long way (took over an hour as opposed to 20 minutes in a taxi), but it did allow us to see a lot of sights on the way. We got off at the Belém Tower, bought tickets & went up to the top. It was super crowded & not really worth going up to the top but it was absolutely beautiful from the outside. From there, we walked over to the Monument to the Discoveries, which was super cool. Then we headed over to Jerónimos Monastery, but we didn’t go inside because of the lines. It was incredibly beautiful & we walked around it admiring the architecture. From there, we walked over to Pão Pão Queijo Queijo & had shawarma sandwiches (good but not great). We waited in line at Pasteis de Belem, the famous bakery that created the original Portugese custard pastries, & got a pack of 6. We took a taxi back over to Baixa, the historic city centre, & walked up to the Santa Justa Lift. The line was so long so we opted not to wait & walked around the area instead. We went inside Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in the world. We also went into Cafe A Brasileira, one of the most historic & beautiful coffee shops. Then we wanted to go to Topo Chiado, a rooftop bar, but had the hardest time finding it. It was tucked into an alley next to Carmo Convent (a museum). Once we finally found it, it was definitely worth it. It’s a beautiful outdoor bar with lounge chairs & a view of Santa Justa Lift & the neighborhood. We grabbed cocktails & enjoyed the nice weather before heading back to the hotel. That night we took a tram to Bairro Alto, a neighborhood up the hill from Cais do Sodre. We walked to São Roque Church, one of the only buildings that survived the 1755 earthquake. It was so amazing inside (free admission). After that we walked over to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a viewpoint & park. There was a little spring market going on there so we grabbed sangria from one of the stands, sat & enjoyed the view. We noticed a rooftop bar across the street & headed over to check it out. It was The Insólito inside of The Independente Hostel & Suites. It had an amazing view & good cocktails. We had dinner reservations at Castanostra, a small & cozy Italian restaurant nearby. Such an incredible meal & perfect end to our trip.

We headed to the airport early Saturday morning. It was truly an amazing trip & I would love to go back to Portugal, especially Lisbon. Below is a list of my must do/see/eat places in Sintra & Lisbon.

Sintra:

  • Pena Palace (get tickets in advance, try to go on a nice day)

  • 3 Gomes Restaurant (beautiful, cozy, great tapas & sangria)

  • Ursa Beach (hidden gem close to Cabo da Roca)

LISBON:

  • Cais do Sodre -

    • Time Out Market

    • Praça do Comércio

    • Arco da Rua Augusta

  • Baixa/Chiado -

    • By The Wine

    • Pharmacia (tapas)

    • Prado (nice dinner, also tapas)

    • Bertrand (oldest bookstore in the world)

    • Topo Chiado (put in the Carmo Convent, not Topo, & it is tucked in to the alley & down the stairs on the right, below Bellalisa Elevador Restaurant)

  • Alfama -

    • Castelo de São Jorge (get tickets in advance!)

    • Miradoura das Portas do Sol (viewpoint)

  • Belém -

    • Belém Tower (not worth going inside)

    • Monument to the Discoveries

    • Jerónimos Monastery

    • Pasteis de Belem (original Portugese custard pastries)

  • Bairro Alto -

    • The Insólito (rooftop bar inside of a hotel)

    • São Roque Church

    • Castanostra (nice dinner, make a reservation!)

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