The Little Book of Lisbon  

 The Little Book of Lisbon is a Travel Guide to Lisbon which is suitable for those on a city break, family break or on business in Lisbon. My wife and I are regular visitors to Lisbon, we enjoy finding new experiences in the city each time we are there and now we want to share with you the very best that Lisbon has to offer.  

The Little Book of  Lisbon travel guide will help you to;

  • Get around Lisbon and understand the central districts of Lisbon City Centre 
  • Find the best things to do in Lisbon, Lisbon historical sites and must do places to see in Lisbon 
  • Discover the Best Restaurants in Lisbon
  • Find the Best Bars in Lisbon 
Don't forget to visit our Lisbon Blog. The Lisbon Blog is full of great reviews of  restaurants, bars and things to do in Lisbon. The Lisbon Blog is a fun way to discover this amazing city and is designed to help you to pick out your must do moments in Lisbon. 
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Getting To Know Lisbon 

The Lisbon metropolitan area is populated by about 3 million people, so it's quite a large city to navigate and our aim is to help you to understand the central districts and get the most out of  your Lisbon stay. We only review places where we have been to ourselves, including, great places in Lisbon to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, great Lisbon bars for evening entertainment and wonderful Lisbon sites for you or your family to visit.  

Like all major capital cities of the world there is always more to discover and there is always change to keep up with. We update the site regularly, adding in new experiences each time we visit. 

Transport in Lisbon is fantastic with an impressive Lisbon Metro system, Lisbon Tram and Bus service. However if you like walking, you can easily discover Lisbon City Centre and all the secrets this wonderful city has to offer by foot. 

Our  'About Lisbon' section is our personal view of the city and will give you a great perspective of Lisbon and help you find your way around the main districts of Lisbon City and environs. 

The website is split into several sections to help you discover Lisbon and get the most  out of when you stay in Lisbon: 

  • Lisbon Blog
  • About Lisbon
  • Things To Do Lisbon 
  •  Best Restaurants Lisbon
  •  Best Bars Lisbon .  

Enjoy our personal tour of Lisbon. Whether travelling to Lisbon for leisure, business or perhaps the Lisbon Web Summit, the Little Book of Lisbon will be your personal travel guide. You can also visit and Like our Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/littlebookoflisbon/

The information, contents and details on this site are our own opinions and serve only to assist visitors to Lisbon. We have not received any payment or gratuity from any businesses or attraction mentioned in our guide and  hope that your personal opinions or experiences are as good as ours. 


Travel Guide To Lisbon 

Lisbon Transport 

If you’ve flown into Lisbon the first thing you probably need to do is get to the city and your accommodation. The Lisbon transport system is well connected and will help you get from the airport and around the city. 

Lisbon Taxis

  • Lisbon Taxis are relatively cheap and plentiful and it should cost no more than €10 - €15 from the airport to the city centre depending on location. However our experience is that taxis in Lisbon take many routes in and out of Lisbon and fares can vary drastically.   Depending on traffic it should take 20-25 minutes to get to your city centre destination. A good tip is to enter your destination into Google Maps to show your driver your destination... then hit 'Go' with the volume turned up on your phone, it will be difficult for you driver to take the long route and advantage of you. 
Uber Lisbon 
  • Uber is a great way to get around Lisbon. The cars are all really clean, the drivers are exceptionally pleasant and knowledgeable about the city. The fares are great value compared to taxis and they are plentiful. We highly recommend Uber as a mode of transport as opposed to taxis so make sure to download the Uber App. 
Lisbon Metro 
  • The Lisbon Metro is a perfect alternative if you are travelling light and the Airport Metro is located outside the arrivals hall. Have a quick look at the route map and then select your ticket at the automated machines. Fares cost just €1.70 one way but you also need to purchase a travel card which costs and additional 50 cents, but keep this card as you can re-use it to top up further travel during your stay. The journey should take no longer than 40 mins to the farthest destination and may include one change over. 
Lisbon Tram & Bus 
  • Lisbon city centre is split into distinctive districts and easy to get around. There is a very extensive Lisbon Tram and Bus system for which you can buy a pass. You can purchase the Lisboa Card on-line before you travel. It costs €39 for 3 days, €31.50 for 2 days or €18.50 for 1 day and gives you unlimited Lisbon travel plus free entry to lots of the Lisbon tourist attractions. 

 Lisboa Card link:  http://golisbon.rgi.ticketbar.eu/en/ticketbar-lisbon/lisboa-card/

Lisbon Tuk -Tuk Tours 

  • Lisbon is built on 7 hills which afford great views of the city.  It is a good idea to do this tour on the first day as it is a whirl wind guide to the city and will give you a perspective of the scale of Lisbon and sights you may wish to revisit. You can take these tours by day or night, either is great.  Your Tuk-Tuk guide will give you a basic history lesson on Lisbon, explaining the influence and impact of the Moors, earthquakes, tsunamis, kings and popes. There has been an explosion in numbers of these Tuk-Tuks in recent years and the local authorities are bringing in regulations to electrify them , they should also look to cap the amount allowed on the streets. However, I still recommend these whistle stop tours!

Tram 28

  • Another great way to see the sights is the tram. Take Tram 28 to discover Lisbon, including the medieval district of AlfamaAlfama, like many other districts along the Tram 28 route is picturesque and full of interesting sites, amazing views of the River Tagus and traditional places to eat and drink. Tram 28 costs €2.85 pp one way and a good place to hop on is at Praça Luis de Camões. During peak season the tram can get very full with limited seating so if you walk up from Praça Luis de Camões on a street called Calcada do Combro, you may have a better chance of getting a seat and a good view of Lisbon. Be very careful of pick-pockets when on Tram 28. 
Walking in Lisbon 
  • Make sure to wear comfortable shoes when walking in Lisbon as almost all of the paths are tiled and many streets are cobbled. This means that even when it is dry it can be slippy and if it rains be extra careful with your footing. Ladies, high heels may actually kill you in Lisbon, so be warned and choose flats or trainers when out walking in Lisbon.

Photo below by John Donnelly

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Lisbon Overview

There are lots of reasons as to why Lisbon has become our favourite city and the main one is that it is residential. People live in the city and over the shops, cafes and offices are homes & apartments which provide the heartbeat to a thriving community. Just off the main through fares you’ll find narrow residential streets, tiny shops and modest cafes which all serve the local residents. We’ve always feel safe in Lisbon and this sense of community is probably why. 

At the same time use your common sense as when in any major city. Be mindful of pick-pockets in main tourist areas and especially on Tram 28 which is notorious. However, following simple rules of using front pockets and keeping bags visible you should not have to look over your shoulder once! 

The locals are genuine, friendly and polite and in almost all restaurants, bars and shops etc. people will try to speak to you in English. The districts within the city are also quite different and we’ll give it our best effort at explaining them too you so that you get the most out of your Lisbon visit. 

When you do get out on the streets in the morning you will notice that there are cafes on every street in Lisbon so don’t bother fighting the urge to treat yourself at least once a day and go with the Lisbon flow…. Lisboa coffee is as good as it gets and the city specialises in custard cakes called Pastel de Nata. The locals kick start their day with a  Coffee (espresso) & Cake and it will only set you back €1.50

Photo below by John Donnelly & Grainne Redican 
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Avenida da Liberdade -  Rossio - Baixa - Rua Augusta -  Praça do Comércio

Let’s start at Avenida da Liberdade. This is the main avenue in the city and many of you will be staying in hotels quite close to here. Good news is that in a city built on hills, this part is flat, but it was bad news for the locals back in 1755 as it was an earthquake that flattened it!!! 

The avenue is splendid, broad and lined by trees,  hosting many of the cities main large hotels and all the top fashion houses  such as Prada. Guicci, Louis Vuitton etc. locate their stores here. 

When you get to the bottom of the Avenue veer to your left and you will come to an area called Rossio which merges into Baixa. This area is great for shopping and restaurants (although the restaurants are aimed more at tourists). 

Look for Rua Augusta on any map, this is a pedestrian street with plenty of offshoots to wander around. If you keep on following Rua Augusta to the end you will see Rua Augusta Arch which will lead you to Praça do Comércio which is the main square in Lisbon. The arch and square are impressive and constructed post the earthquake, it must have sent a bold statement to the world that Portugal was back on its feet! You’ll notice that all the buildings in this district are newer (post 1755) and the streets run in a grid.

Praça do Comércio

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*Aerial photo taken by John Donnelly.



Expo '98 (Venue of the Web Summit) 

Lisboa is built on the River Tagus and be grateful of it as it can funnel a cooling breeze and helps to keep temperatures down. Looking at the photo above…. If you travel to the left you are heading towards Cascais (35 mins on the train) but let’s go right towards the Expo Park (4-5 km) where the city hosted the World Expo in 1998 and in November this year, the area will host the Web Summit (formally in Dublin). To get there, take a train or a taxi, it’s only a few minutes out. 

It’s here that you will find the northern hemisphere's largest aquarium, Oceanário which is worth seeing. There isn’t much else out here unless there is a concert on but while there take the cable car to the Myriad Hotel and have a beer and bites lying on the beds on the decking, it’s luxury!

The long bridge which you will see close to the hotel is the Vasco da Gama Bridge and is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts). It’s 17 km, 10 km of which span over the river Tagus. It was built for Expo ’98.

Cais do Sodré

Back to Praça Do Comércio and a short walk (5 mins) to your left (if looking at the photo above) and you will arrive at Cais do SodréThis is another great landmark for you and it’s where you can get the train to Cascais & EstorilAcross the busy road and to your left is TimeOut which is a food hall with a stunning array of food for lunch and snacks during the day. It’s also the market area of the city and you should check out Mercado da Ribeira for fruit, veg, flowers and a stunning display of fish. This is a great place to visit, eat and hang out for an hour or so. There are a few nice bars along the river at this point, Vestigus is a lovely place to relax, have a refreshment and some bar food while looking at the shuttle ferries darting across the river.

TimeOut. Photo below courtesy of Ronan Cusack

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Cacilhas

The train is located at Cais Do Sodré and so too are the shuttle ferries. Take one of the orange ferries to Cacilhas on the far side of the river Tagus, the trip only takes 5 minutes and costs about €2.90 return. Don't worry if you just miss the ferry as they leave simultaneously from each side of the bank so there will be another coming along in just a few minutes. They are very busy during 'rush hour' as many people who work in the city commute from Cacilhas, so we suggest taking the trip out of peak hours so you can relax. 

In the town centre of Cacilhas there are bars, restaurants, shops etc. But there is a wonderful secret out here too. When you disembark the ferry turn right and keep on walking along the wall which is covered in graffiti. There are not many people walking along here and your instinct is to stop but keep on walking for about 10 minutes and you will eventually reach a beautiful seafood restaurant with a small pier reaching out into the river with a small beach if you fancied a paddle too. The restaurant is called Ponto Final and if it's not too busy you can sit and have a beer instead of lunch. There are also great views of the April 25th Bridge and panoramic views of Lisbon. When you are out here you will also notice an elevator which will bring you to a viewing point and only costs €1.50 return trip. Our advice is to only go out here during the day as the walk out to Ponto Final is not lit and also isolated, so make sure you don't get your timing wrong and attempt to return in the dark. Cacilhas is a morning or lunch venue only but very much worth the effort. Not many tourists know about Cacilhas so try to make the trip across if you have the time? 

Photos below by John Donnelly

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Photo below of Cacilhas town courtesy of Grainne Redican 

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View of Lisbon from Cacilhas – Photo by John Donnelly

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Back to Lisbon and again on the river bank beside Cais Do Sodré and just a few yards away from Vestigus, try Ibo for dinner some evening…. If you like seafood, then this restaurant offers some of the best in Europe. Try the prawns, they’re nearly as big as the lobster in the photo below (book so not to be disappointed).

Photo courtesy of Grainne Redican.

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Chiado

If you travel straight up the hill from Cais Do Sodré (sorry folks, it’s all up & down from here, remember what we said about the hills!) on Rua do Alecreim you’ll be heading towards Chiado. But before we get to the top of the hill there are a few points of interest. Just to the right before you start uphill there is a bar called The British Bar. It’s nothing special and the beer is normal fare but you should have one anyway because this is the bar where many of the international spies during WWII gathered to take rest, shelter and relay their stories. So soak in the history and have that beer because it’s a thirsty walk up this hill.

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So off we go staying on the left … Stop at the first bridge and look down… this is Pink Street, busy bar area at weekends, ok, but nothing too special!!! Where you are stopped, there is a Bar just after the bridge, it’s hard to read the name over the door and it generally has a canopy covering a smoking area. It’s called Pensão Amor, don’t go in during the day but DO try to get there one of the evenings for a G&T or Mojito. It’s quite different but make sure to wander around it so that you see all the little rooms the shop and library. There is also a staircase that will bring you down onto Pink Street.

Keep heading up and just a few yards later look for a barbers’ pole and you will find one of my all -time favourite places, Figaro's Barbers. Sorry girls, it’s men only but do look in the window, it’s a treat on the eyes! They only take bookings on a Monday so you most likely will have to queue. It opens at 11.00 am on Fridays and I think 12.00 pm on Saturdays. Get there early to avoid waiting and anyway they will give you a free beer while you hang out. 

The shave is superb and if you are lucky enough to have hair, they only do cuts from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s & 50’s!!! Toni & Guy is across the road for the girls (guy’s look in the window, it’s a treat on the eyes!!!). There is also a good tailor across from Figaro's called Venancio, ask for Ricardo and have twiddle of his mustache.

Photos of Figaro's below by John Donnelly (apart from the one of Beckham which I took from their website, unfortunately I wasn't there for). The first photo is me and my crew getting a pro cut on my wedding day. Front to back, Mark Boyne, John Donnelly (me) Joey Purcell, Own McNamara and Peter Boyne. Thanks Tomas for another great job!!!

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I know.. It's hard to tell the difference in the next two photos but Fabio/Sick Barber isn't wearing a hat in the second one!
  
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Ok, let’s march to the top of this hill and you will find yourself at a square called Praça Luis de Camões. This is another great spot to get your bearing. At the top of the hill and still on the left hand side is the Bairro Alto Hotel… The rooftop bar is listed in the Top 10 roof top bars in the world, so if you feel like spoiling yourself, on one of the evenings have a pre-dinner cocktail here.

At the top of R. Garrett is a subway and it offers a great short, taking out all the hills from Rua Augusta to Rossio. It's worth checking out and if it's a hot day you'll appreciate the air conditioning. The escalator is an impressive structure and alone it's nearly worth seeing!

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Leaving Bairro Alto Hotel, look to your right and walk towards R. Garrett, it’s only 50 metres away.  Just as you arrive there on the left hand side (again almost always under a canopy) you will find Café Brazileira If you don’t want to sit down again at least stop and look at the ornate woodwork exterior and take in the craftsmanship of the interior. Just two or three doors down on the same side you will find the world's oldest bookshop, it’s called Bertrand. A little further down on the same side there is a fantastic old style wine shop, it’s worth going in for the service alone. Probably not quite the same as your local off-licence/liquor store at home!


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At the bottom of R Garrett, this time on right hand side, look out for an orange sign (in photo below, bottom left hand side of the street) and an archway … just before Massimo Dutti. Go through this archway and you’ll find a courtyard with plenty of choices of restaurants for both day and evening. There are also lots of good quality shops on and off this street. At the top of this street as you look at it in the photo is  Praça Luis de Camões. 

Look for the street across from the orange sign (photo below),  this will bring you uphill to a square called Largo do Carmo and it's here you will find the entrance to the platform of the Elevador Santa Justa.

Photo below by John Donnelly taken from Hotel Chiado.

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The Revolution of April 25th 1974 -  Elevador Santa Justa

If you are at a corner where we think Hugo Boss (there are 2 Hugo Boss on this street) and Geox are located on R Garrett, then head up a small hill. At the top you will arrive at a square called Largo do Carmo. This is where the Revolution of April 25th 1974 took place and it’s because of the bravery of men such as Captain Salgueiro Maia who is pictured below in the first b&w photo standing to the left, that you can enjoy a cold beer in the open air bar located here. So have that beer and raise your glass to salute the brave men and women of Lisbon who risked their lives to end a 48 year Salazar dictatorship to place it in your hand.

There is an entrance beside where the sentry guards are standing. This is for an interesting museum dedicated to the Republican Guard and it's free admission so do go in and have a wander around.

Photos below by John Donnelly

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There is an unusual link to the Euro-vision Song Contest and this revolution. Portugal may never have won the contest but they sure did use it to great effect… See below an interesting fact I found in my research. The pictures below were sent to me by a friend in Lisbon, Manuel Luis Cochofel, who also alerted me to the history of this square.

Remarkable: There were two secret signals in the military coup: first the airing of the song “E depois do adeus” (“And after the farewell”) by Paulo de Carvalho, Portugal’s entry in the 6th of April 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, which alerted the rebel captains and soldiers to begin the coup. Next, on April 25, 1974 at 12:15 am, the national radio broadcast Grândola, Vila Morena, a song by Zeca Afonso, a progressive folk singer forbidden on Portuguese radio at the time. This was the signal that the MFA gave to take over strategic points of power in the country and “announced” that the revolution had started.

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Facing the building with soldiers standing in their sentry boxes (National Guard building), just before this you will find an entrance to the right. Head along the wall and you will be at the Elevador Santa Justa or the Lisbon Elevator. If you think that the steal work is familiar, then you’re not imagining it, the Elevador is designed by Eiffel of Tower fame!!! This is well worth visiting and costs only €1.50 to go to the viewing platform where again you will get an excellent perspective of the city! The first picture below shows the viewing platform at the top of the Elevator. The next one shows you Rossio & Baixa in the background. In the distance in the third photo you can see (to the right of Netty's head), the top of what is the Rua Augusta Arch. The fourth photo shows Castelo de São Jorge which is located among the woods.

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Alfama -  Castelo São Jorge 

And we are off again…. Make your way back down onto R Garrett and head to the bottom of the street until you meet the   t- junction. Straight in front of you through the arch and up the steps is a small and modest shopping mall. Ladies, if you have forgotten any of your make-up essentials you will find them here at Sephora. Only a few metres away from the mall, to the right when looking at it, is Hotel Chiado. The entrance is through a single glass door and easily missed. Go to the roof top bar, relax and have some oysters while looking over the district of Alfama and Castelo…. The woods you see on the hill across from you surround the Castelo São Jorge. When leaving the Hotel Chiado, if you turn right and go over the brow of the hill (best of luck passing the ice cream shop on the left called Santini's) you will end up back at the Avenida da Liberdade. If you turn left when leaving, you will meander down to the river again and eventually bearing left onto Praça do Comércio.

When down at the Praça do Comércio, look back up at the city and slightly to your right and you will see the Lisbon Cathedral. The Cathedral is a microcosm of an amazing history of Lisbon involving Kings, Popes and the Moors, all of whom have had a massive influence on this intriguing city. Find the Cathedral and you are on your way to Alfama which is the medieval part of Lisbon. Alfama is full of charm, narrow winding streets, terraces, St Vincent Monastery and much more. The flag of Lisbon is that of St Vincent and the Ravens on the ship represent them guarding his body as it was sailed from the Algarve to Lisbon.  Also while in this district, check out the National Pantheonit only took them 336 years to build, from 1630 to 1966, so let’s hope you think that it was worth the effort!!!

The Lisbon Cathedral in the skyline
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Head up the street to the left of the Cathedral and your are on your way to Alfama.
Photo by John Donnelly
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The Lisbon Flag 
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In Alfama you will also find Fado which is traditional music and singing. Not quite the session you may find in the west of Ireland but you might like it. It’s generally listened to while having your evening meal which is often local fare.

There is another special restaurant up here …it’s called Chapitô and is a must do. Not only is Chapito a restaurant, it's also a Circus School. We didn't see any circus performances when we dined there but there was a magician playing tricks at tables! Try to book it and be sure to ask for a table on the top floor. While not renowned for its cuisine, it’s full of character and a place to remember. Tell them Thomas Fleetwood from Tomas Bar in Santa Catarina sent you. Sit back, enjoy your meal and take in the splendor of Lisboa at night, including the April 25th Bridge. There are lots of small and some very quaint restaurants and places in Alfama so to take time to relax and enjoy this part of the city. It’s a maze of streets and we’re lead to believe it was purposely designed like that as it makes the area complicated to invade by foot. Let’s hope that you are not intending to invade but do try not to get lost up here! 

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Photo above showing view from Chapitô, courtesy of Grainne Redican

Castelo de São Jorge is also located close to the area of Alfama and dates back to the mid 11th century. You can walk up here but it's a bit of a hike and most probably you will pass it by on Tram 28. Hop off the tram at Largo De Santa Luzia and follow the well posted signs which will take you on a short uphill walk to the castle.  Entry costs €8.50 per person and you'll find open gardens, fortified walls & towers plus an exhibition/interpretive centre. To refresh, there is a cafe within the site as well as a shop to purchase gifts and toilets are also available.

It’s the site of many battles, defeated Kings and new rulers and the perfect location for centuries of visitors to keep a close eye on the comings and goings of this ancient city … If you feel a cold chill over your shoulder, believe it or not, it could be a Celt from 48 BC.

Back at Largo De Santa Luzia you'll see a statue dedicated to St Vincent who is the patron saint of Lisboa. When looking at the statue you will notice the St Vincent Monastery in the background and to the right of it is the pantheon. Back at the statue of St Vincent, look to the right and you'll see another viewing platform with great views of the river and city. Most probably you will also see a few cruise ships down on the river as it is a popular European stop for them!

Photo courtesy of Grannie Redican

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Flags of Lisboa & Portuguese flag fly proudly above the city. Photos below by John Donnelly.

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View from Castleo walls
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St Vincent and Monastery of St Vincent

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Bairro Alto/Chiado - Principe Real - Santa Catarina

Now let’s go back to the Praça Luis de Camões and use it as a central point to discover another side of the city, this is where we are more likely to hang out. If you imagine that the central part of Lisbon is a valley with two hills. You’ve just discovered one hill which hosts Alfama and Castelo, walked through the valley which is Rua Augusta, Praça Do Comércio, etc and are now back up the hill on the opposite side of the valley at Chiado and Praça Luis de Camoes. Now you are entering a mix of residential communities, local designer shops, party central, chill out points, bars, restaurants, cakes & coffee. The main areas here are Bairro Alto/Chiado, Santa Catarina and Principe Real.

Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is a network of small narrow streets that are mapped out in a quasi-grid. Here you’ll find small shops selling bohemian products, both local and international. During the day it’s pretty quiet and as you wander through the cobbled streets you will find yourself popping in and out of interesting shops as well as squeezing onto the footpaths to avoid the small delivery vans and trucks beeping their way through a day's work. At night time, especially the weekends,this area comes alive when the crowds make their way to the bars and clubs. 

It’s probably safe to say that it’s geared towards a younger and tourist scene in the evening but if that's not your thing, then have a wander and you'll be sure to find some little gems. If you give it a chance you'll see that Bairro Alto is full of  charm with plenty for everyone to do and my favourite bar and restaurant are located here, Bar Janela d'Atalaia and Tapas Bucho restaurant. 

As you crisscross and climb your way through Bairro Alto you will eventually reach a street at the top which runs perpendicular, it's called Rua Dom Pedro V.

Principe Real

You are now entering the district of Principe Real. This area is a little more sophisticated with high end shops to check out during the day and a really nice and mainly local crowd providing a buzz in the evening. On this street you will find Pavilhão Chinês or Chinese PavilionThe photo below is of the outside, it’s uninviting entrance makes it difficult to notice and is probably the reason as to why it’s one of Lisbon’s best kept secrets. Once inside you will know what we mean and make sure to wander around all the rooms as far as the back where the pool hall is (the most amazing pool hall on the planet!!!) This bar is a  MUST SEE but be warned as we believe that the bar only opens after 6.00 pm!  If the door is locked but there are no shutters over the windows, then ring the DOORBELL and they will answer and let you in!!! Just  to make sure you go there we're going to use it a our central point for directions while you are in this district. 

Photos by John Donnelly

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There is another bar in this neighbourhood which is just as unknown as the  Pavilhão Chinês, it's called Foxtrot. It's tricky to find and not everybody knows about it so google map to make sure that you get there. Due to time constraints we arrived at Foxtrot just after opening at 6.00 pm. It was far too early for what is definitely an after dark venue and the bartender even apologised as it was very quiet (not their fault). The bar is very cool and recommended by Tomas who is a barber from Figaro's! We were told that if we arrived after 10.30 pm, that we could have joined in the Tango session. Check this place out, Tango or not to Tango, you'll love the cocktails and atmosphere in this bar. 

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When you leave Chinese Pavilion turn right and cross the road. About 100 metres further down you will find a great little spot for tapas, it’s called Bar 52 and just a few doors on down again you’ll find a great restaurant for an evening meal serving meat and fish dishes, it’s called Pão a Mesa . The food and atmosphere is excellent, try the tomato soup (different) and also the black pudding starter!!! Another nice place for a great value and tasty pizza washed down with a cold beer is Pub Lisboeta. It's just a few doors down from Chinese Pavilion and the staff are really friendly.  There are plenty of venues in Principe Real to eat, hang out and people watch, so do wander around as there are many more spots that we never had the pleasure of going to. 

For fish lovers who are on this street, then turn left when you exit Chinese Pavilions. Just a few doors down look out for a restaurant with the octopus hanging from the ceiling, it comes highly recommended by a friend of ours and it's called A Cevicheria. It seems just as busy during the day as it does the evening, which is always a good sign!!!

There is also an abundance of shops in this area and if you keep on walking by the Octopus restaurant and look across the street you’ll see a very cool shopping centre called Embaixada (photo below), but forget about the name and look out for the amazing roof top turrets and you are there. It’s a beautiful building inside and a good place to cool down if you are over heating!!!

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Leave Embaixada and cross back over the street and you’ll find a lovely garden called Jardim do Principe Real. Grab a bottle of beer to take out (€1) from the small local cafe close to the octopus restaurant and relax on a bench under the central feature in the garden which is a two hundred years old Mexican Cypress tree. The tree is low off the ground but it's branches spread so wide for such a small structure that they are supported by a metal frame. We all know that  people watching is obligatory when you are on holidays, so relax, cool down and simply watch! On Saturdays there is also a small street market located here. 

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Ok, we are going to leave Principe Real but there is a beautiful viewing point where you need to stop and take some photos to remember. Head back towards Pão a Mesa, keeping on the same side of the street and start heading downhill, you are now on your way back to Chiado. Only walk 250 metres or so and you will be at Miradouro São Pedro de AlcantâraThe views of Alfama and Castelo are amazing so stop and take it all in. 

We are nearly back in Chiado but before we get there, we have a special treat for those who love Port. As you are probably aware, Portugal is world famous for its Port and so it is only fitting that the city hosts an Institute of Port called Instituto dos Vinho do Douro e Porto.

It’s a little tricky to find but let’s give it a go. When you reach the lower end of the viewing platform Alcantâra you will see a funicular/tram. Head across the road from this and look for a high arched entrance with plaque on the wall with the institute's name on it…. Walk through the glass doors and you have arrived. It’s a quiet place and and a little austere with a lot of whispering. Take a little time to read about the ports on offer (100’s), ask advice or take pot luck, or should that be port luck??? 

View from Miradouro  São Pedro de Alcantâra. Photos by John Donnelly

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Entrance to Institute of Port

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Back on the move again and keep heading down the hill (the street narrows for a bit), you’ll pass by some interesting shops and eventually (5 minutes) you will be back at Praça Luis de Camões, Phew!!!

Below is a photo of one of your main landmarks and a great meeting point,Praça Luis de Camões

The yellow building on the left is the Barrio Alto Hotel and this is where the top 10 in the world rooftop bar is located. The street running uphill to the right is called Calçada do Combro leading to Santa Catarina.

Photo by John Donnelly

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Santa Catarina 

Next up is Santa Catarina and welcome to our little world…. Walk up the street above called Calçada do Combro. About 75 metres on the left hand side of the street you’ll find the Chiado Caffé and it’s here, between 10.00 am and 11.00 am, that you have a really good chance of spotting Netty staring in the window at what is most probably her favourite thing in Lisbon…. Tiny, little, tiny, really ickle, tiny, tinchy, smallest ever, tiny, ever so little, smallest, delicious and tiny Madeira Cakes. Me on the other hand, you’ll find knocking back espressos and Natas, it’s a tough life but some people have to do it!!! There is also another lovely wine shop close to here on the same side of the road, just before you get to the 'Bica'. It's called  Galeria, and offers great choice, value and service for a take-out bottle of wine. 

Spot the tiny Madeira Cake in the window, morning coffee always includes a cake! 
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Keep on heading up this street and you will come to another famous funicular of Lisbon, the Bica Funicular (photo below). This funicular was originally powered by a counter- balance of water weights and cables and dates back to 1892. This is the most photographed street in Lisbon so take that picture and a ride on the ‘Bica’. The round trip costs €3.60 and you pay when you get off at the bottom. When you get off, if you cross the street, walk to your left and take the first right,  when you get to the next junction (about 120 metres), then look to your left and you will see TimeOut again!

Back at the top of the funicular and you are now in the district of Santa Catarina. Bica is also a local name for this district and we believe it refers to the ancient system of water networks that service the area…. Some of the locals even refer to their espresso as ‘Bica’ in deference to the water that their coffee is made from!!!

Photo below is courtesy of Manuel Luis Cochofel
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Photos below by John Donnelly

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There is a small street called Rua Marechal Saldanha which is located just after the Bica Funicular. Head along this street and you will arrive at the best look out point for the River Tagus, it’s called Miradouro de Santa Catarina. Look down the river towards the 25th of April Bridge which was completed in 1966 and was originally named after the then dictator, Salazar. The bridge was renamed after the successful revolution of April 25th  1974. If you think that it resembles the Golden Gate Bridge, then your comparison is correct, it was designed by the consortium that constructed the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco and also constructed the Ponte 25 de Abril. Along with the similar appearances both bridges are located in regions of high possible seismic activity and their designs are almost identical. To ensure the bridge has solid foundations, the south tower extends for 80 metres below the water level, which to this day, is still a world record. The bridge spans 2.5 kilometres and is longer than that of the Golden Gate.

Aerial Photos by John Donnelly

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Take a taxi to Doca de Santo Amaro. You will arrive at an area just below the bridge. Located on the river bank here you will find numerous bars and restaurants serving a wide variety of food, both local and international… Plenty of choices for fish plus a good Italian and Argentinian restaurant too. You will hear the drone from the traffic on the multi- tiered bridge which also accommodates a mainline train but the sound blends into the background and will only intrude as a point of conversation!!! After dinner take a leisurely stroll along the promenade back to the taxi rank.

Back to Miradouro de Santa Catarina and at the railings where you are looking down over the river you will see many other places where you have already been… see photo below….The clock tower is TimeOut & Mercado da Ribeira and the grey flat roofed building beyond it, is Cais do Sodré.

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While there, look to your right hand side along the railing at the viewpoint and you will find a small café called Noobai. It’s a terrace café on two levels, very relaxing with a super lunch menu. Grab a beer and a snack and take in the magnificent views of the far bank of the River Tagus including the Statue of Christ the King

The statue was approved by Salazar and inspired by the statue of Christ the Redeemer located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil… Salazar built the statue to express the gratitude of Portugal being spared by the effects of WWII and it was completed in 1959. If you do go to Cacilhas on t


Monuments and Sights

Yes, there is more, lots more, so let’s take a deep breath and hop on Tram 15 E at Praça do Comércio heading towards Belem. Belem hosts some of the more imposing sights in Lisbon and in many ways these are the sights which help to tell the history of Portugal. Jump off the Tram at Belem and as we say in Ireland, ‘it would be rude not to’ have a custard cake at what is one of the most famous bakeries in the world, Pasteis de Belem.

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Look out for the blue canopy and blue tiled front. You will have noticed these blue tiles throughout the city and they are a permanent reminder of the influence which the Moors had on Lisbon down through the centuries.

Just down from Belem (a short stroll), you will find the Jeronimos Monastery … you won’t miss it, it’s jeroninormous!!!This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a fine example of Portuguese Gothic architecture. Safe to say if UNESCO like it, you will too! 

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Now buy some water as it can be hotter than you think walking the next stage which is along the bank of the Tagus. After visiting the monastery, cross over (actually there is an underpass) the busy road to the river and head towards the Monument of Discoveries. We did warn you that these sights are imposing. 

This monument celebrates the Portuguese age of discovery during the 15th & 16th centuries. The structure is 52 metres high and the character at the front is Henry the Navigator. There are 16 others depicted on each side of the monument and these are all famous historical people who influenced the history of Portugal. They include, monarchs, artists, scientists, discoverers and cartographers (handy blokes when you need to find your way back and now replaced by a chap called Google). You can also go to the top of this monument where there is a lookout platform. 

Leaving the monument heading away from Lisbon there is a fantastic restaurant perched on the edge of the marina, it’s called Portvgalia. You can either swim over to it (only a few metres) or walk back towards the main road and use the decking to get out there. Walking will be a dryer and most likely a safer option! If you don’t want to stop and eat, then continue walking away from Lisbon and very soon you will see a fortress in the distance.This is Belem Tower and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site (you’re being spoiled now). 

The tower served as the home of the Captain of the Navy, a prison for traitors and a fort from where to defend Lisbon as it is positioned at the mouth of the river Tagus. You can visit the Tower and it is definitely worth seeing. Its relatively small stature means it doesn’t take too long to tour it. Try to behave or you might just get locked into its formidable dungeons!!! 

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Lisbon Beaches
 We have only covered Lisbon so far…. There is way more to this holiday so splash on some extra sunblock and let’s go to the beach ,Wahoooo!!!
Packing for the next phase of our tour is a bit more complicated… Grab a rucksack, pack a towel, speedos, bucket & spade, baseball cap, tuxedo, smart cloths, rough cloths, hiking boots, camera, and at all times be ready to look cool and bring your shades!!! 
The best way to get to our next destination is by train so head to Cais Do Sodré and take the train towards Cascais. There is a good Pharmacy located at the train station, so if you have forgotten your SUNBLOCK, you can grab some here! 
Carcavelos
The first beach stop is at Carcavelos, it’s about 20 minutes out and it’s largest of the Lisbon beaches. This is a popular spot with the locals from Lisbon and a good area for swimming and getting some vitamin D. 
Photos courtesy of Thomas Fleetwood
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Estoril
Next up is Estoril, probably more famous for Formula 1 and its Casino but none the less it has a good beach and a really nice promenade for a stroll. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars along the promenade and good changing room and toilet facilities. 
You can actually walk the whole way to Cascais on this promenade but if it's hot we suggest that you get back on the train as it’s a longer walk longer than it looksThe Casino do Estoril is world famous and inspired the James Bond movie, Casino Royale. Go there some evening for a posh night out, it’s not far in a taxi from Lisbon.
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Cascais

Now back on the train and off we go to Cascais , only 10 minutes further down the track. This is a fishing village/town and is a really beautiful place to spend a few hours. It’s where the wealthy used to come on their vacations and has an exclusive feel to it but now it is very accessible and caters for everyone. Cascais is also a lovely place for a weekend break or if you are planning to spend a week in Lisbon, why not split it between Lisbon and Cascais. 

At the harbour you’ll find a small beach which can get busy in high season but last time we were here we found a great spot to take a dip, it really is wonderful and only a short walk, so listen very carefully, we shall say this only once!!! When at the main beach in the harbour take the road out of Cascais following the sea front around by the harbour towards the lighthouse. You’ll pass by the marina and keep walking until you come to a small bridge which spans a narrow inlet. Look over the bridge on the opposite side to the sea and you will notice a small secluded beach. There are steps to get down to this little beach just at the end of the bridge on the same side. Let this be our secret!!!

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There is an abundance of good restaurants in Cascais and you’ll be spoiled for choice. However, if you want a real treat grab a taxi and ask to be brought to Furnas do Guincho. This place is incredible with waves crashing on the rocks as you tuck into some of the best seafood which Portugal has to offer. It’s about 10 minutes in a taxi on Avenue Republica (coast road) and if it’s food that you are after, then this will hit the spot!

Back in Cascais there are also lots of activities which you can try on water and on land. Try the Paddle Boarding, jump on a free bike which are located opposite the railway station, take a Segway tour or just grab an ice cream and check out the promenade!


Places of Interest

Sintra

We are going to finish up our tour with yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site and you won’t be disappointed with Sintra. The only problem you may have with Sintra is time. If you are only over for the weekend, then time is not your friend here as Sintra is definitely a full day out and you need an early start. You can take a bus from Cascais or a train from Lisbon. We are reliably informed that if you take the train from Lisbon during the daytime it’s fine but you may feel a little nervous returning home if it is dark, so check out alternative modes. However please do not let this comment deter you from making the effort to get there.

We won't attempt to give a history lesson of Sintra but we can give you a brief description. Although the town of Sintra is compact, sitting high up in the mountains above Cascais, the district of Sintra is vast.  It’s split into many parts and we only managed to visit the colourful palace of Pena as we arrived too late in the day.

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Aerial photo of the Pena Palace by John Donnelly.

Sintra Sights

  1. The Pena Palace – Colourful turrets and distinctive Moorish look. 
  2. The National Palace – Impressive white chimneys. 
  3. The Moorish Castle – Obviously more  Moorish than Pena. 
  4. The Quinta da Regaleira – Extravagant mansion with gardens & underground tunnels. 
  5. Monserrate Palace – Summer retreat for royalty. 
  6. Pena Park – Massive forest and gardens which surround Pena Palace. 
  7. Palacio Condessa de Edla – Romantic Royal hideaway. 
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There’s lots to do in the town of Sintra too, but you probably won't have time for much else after all the sights other than grabbing a bite and a beer. It will be thirsty work up here. You will have to plan your day before you visit Sintra, we really had no idea how much there was to see and visit here. 
The colours, turrets and towers will immediately dazzle you and instinctively you will feel the influence of the Moors in this region. If you are into your photography, then you are going to connect with Sintra, it’s totally absorbing.

Thank-you for visiting the Little Book of Lisbon
So that’s it folks. We can’t cover everything in the city and surrounds and we’ve so much remaining to discover ourselves but we hope that our tour is only the beginning of your own Lisbon experience. We know that you will be able to add to our Lisbon Guide and we really can’t wait to hear about your stories, adventures and alternative hot spots to visit, so please do share them.
We never mentioned museums, because honestly, there are so many of them that we didn’t know where to start.  Below is a link to the Top 10 Museums in Lisbon. As mentioned previously, the Pharmacy Museum is located at the ANF and is ranked #2, it really is excellent.

http://www.10best.com/destinations/portugal/lisbon/attractions/museums/


Things to remember when in Lisbon
  • High Heels are bad for the ladies and just don’t look good on men!
  • It’s hot in the city so take water with you when out and about.
  • Use sunblock and don't let the city fool you, it's hotter than the beach!
  • Take a tuk tuk tour on day one to get your bearings and a short history lesson.
  • Tram 28 is a great way to explore Alfama but make sure that your valuables are safe.
  • Men… Treat yourself to a haircut and shave in Figaro's, it's an awesome barbers.
  • Ask taxi drivers for the approximate fare before you get in. some take advantage.
  • Explore.

Prepared by John Donnelly & Netty Doyle 2016.

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Sweet Lisbon!

The selection of cafes in Lisbon is truly impressive and my tip is to find establishments where the cafes have their own bakeries as you can't replace freshness. Pastelaria ALCÔA is winning awards and is a must go destination for sweet treats.

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Perfect Port

The atmosphere at the Instituto dos Vinho do Douro e Porto is appropriately austere but don't let that put you off and venture in to experience an amazing array of exquisite Port Wines to suit all tastes and pockets. 

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Monument of Discoveries

Lisbon is brimming full of history and the city boasts some of the worlds most magnificent monuments to remember and honour its past. Make time to visit the Monument of Discoveries and the district of Belem.

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LX FACTORY

It's a quirky place with a really nice vibe, lots of cafes to grab a bite to eat and an amazing roof top bar to catch another wonderful Lisbon sunset.

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Crazy for Sardines

The goggled, top hatted staff are wonderfully enthusiastic in explaining the concept of the store which lures you into purchasing Portuguese sardines and the concept is simple.

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Lisbon Fusion

Every time I visit Lisbon I find new restaurants. Some have been there forever and I've just missed them but more often I've been walking by familiar buildings and finding new openings and exciting venues for food and entertainment.

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Volvo Ocean Race - Lisbon

It may be November but the best place to be in Lisbon this weekend is on the water with the Volvo Ocean Race. The weather forecast on Saturday & Sunday is for clear skies & 20 Degrees so there are no excuses not to miss this event.

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Cinema with the Stars

Check out the coolest Open Air Cinema you'll find in Europe. It looks like a pop-up event on every Thursday evening running until October 12th 2017 when they are showing one of my all time favourite classics, 'Scarface'.

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Tram 28

A great way to see the sights is the tram and Tram 28 is the one to take to discover Alfama which is the medieval part of Lisbon.

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Belem Tower

The Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and served as the home of the Captain of the Navy, a prison for traitors and a fort from where to defend Lisbon as it is positioned at the mouth of the river Tagus. 

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