Long weekend in Lisbon and Sintra
Let’s get those bags packed and head out once again to see the world!
I’m so excited, I hope you are too. Maybe you’ve been looking at your wishlist and not knowing where to head first. Maybe the excitement of the travel bans lifting got you all worked up and you can’t pick a spot.
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered.
Lisbon and Sintra are two beautiful spots that you can visit over a long weekend.
Check out here where to go, what to do, and some cool places to eat at as well.
1- The vintage tram 28 (Martim Moniz to Campo de Ourique)
You must have seen pictures of the tram carts dotted around social media and the internet. A quaint yellow tram that screeches and rattles through the narrow streets of the city. It passes through the popular tourist districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela.
Many consider it a highlight of visiting Lisbon.
It’s worth exploring for a few stops, the whole length of the ride is very long especially if you take it back towards your starting point (which is likely to be the city center).
We took this on the evening of our arrival day for the whole round trip. It’s used as a mode of public transport as well as being a tourist attraction so expect it to be crammed at peak times.
2- Belem Tower: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Erected on the northern bank of the Tagus river to protect the city. It’s very close to the Jerónimos Monastery. You can climb all the way to the top and have lovely views of the river and the surrounding city. Photos in the tower or of the tower are really good for those Instamoments if that’s what floats your boat, I do recommend taking the time to visit it in spite of that.
3- Monument to the Discoveries
a 52-meter tall monument built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, who discovered the Azores, Madeira, and Cape Verde.
You can go up to the observation deck and have a panoramic view of the surroundings and a view over the Belem tower.
A beautiful ornate monastery, built in the 1500s as a symbol of Portugal’s power and wealth, named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It does look stunning from the outside, although on the itinerary we didn’t manage to go in. It’s on my list for the next time I go to Lisbon.
The monastery is the birthplace of Pastel de Natas, with the monks and nuns using too many egg whites to starch their clothes the leftover egg yolks led to the birth of this delicious pastry. The recipe dates to over 100 years ago.
I went in the evening with my friend Nazmaknows, I think it’s much more beautiful at night with all the lights around it. We wandered from there to Santa Justa lift, the alleyways, shops, and squares nearby in the Alfama district.
6- Santa Justa Lift and Miradoura de Santa Luzia viewpoint
We missed the sunset but still, the view from the top was well worth taking the time to witness.
aim to head there at sunset, I am told the view doesn’t disappoint 😉
7- The Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines
Would you like to have a can of sardines with your birth date on it?
If yes, then this is the place for you. You feel like you walked into a circus with music and carousels. The displays are very colorful and it makes a great idea for a unique souvenir. They also have sardine cans marked with dates of historic events.
If you pass by it you should stop and have a bit of a nosey.
On our second day, we set off to Sintra.
A charming resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains near Lisbon. The forested town used to be a Royal sanctuary.
We first headed to Monserrate Palace, an Arab-influenced Moorish Palace. I found it absolutely stunning, a blend of Arab architecture and history weaved with Gothic and Indian styles surrounded by beautiful thick lush green English gardens.
A beautiful and elegant Baroque palace partway between Lisbon and Sintra. The palace once served as an official Royal residence.
You can walk around the very impressive throne room where the Royals would have sat to receive their guests and then wander around their private apartments.
It’s not difficult to get lost in the beautifully landscaped surrounding gardens either.
After getting back to Lisbon and getting some kip we headed out to have a wander around the shops and to find something to eat.
It was cold and raining so we decided to go to the mall!
Other things to do in an evening in Lisbon would be to:
– Catch a Fado show, that’s the traditional, emotional, mournful, Portuguese music.
– People watching on the Rossio square. Yes, it’s a thing.
– Explore the nightlife in Barrio Alto.
Food for the soul in Lisbon
Dessert (always comes first)
You can’t go to Portugal and not have Pastel de Natas, now can you?
Nothing beats the authentic taste that you get at this place. Such flaky crispy and light pastry, full with smooth creamy delightful custard, dressed with sprinkles of icing sugar and cinnamon powder.
I could eat them all day every day!
Pastéis de Belém is another place to try the national pastries. It’s close to the monastery and famed to be using the original recipe. The queue stretches a few meters outside and the service can be very slow.
A historic restaurant built as a meeting place for people from Portugal’s historical province Alentejo to meet and cultivate culture.
When you walk in you feel you’ve stepped into a Moorish palace with an impressive courtyard. It’s known for its elegant ballroom which serves as a massive dining room, meeting place, and a stage for many activities. Book ahead of time if you want to dine in the ballroom.
We had dinner there on our first night in the city and the girls gave me a surprise birthday cake! Yes, that was my birthday trip 🙂
I can recommend the fried dogfish and prawn curry!
A charming little cafe tucked away in a side street offering amazing cooked and cold breakfast options, sweet and savory bakes, and top-notch coffees. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Lisbon.
I do recommend their dirty Chai latte 😉
A quiet and pretty hotel restaurant with great food and excellent service. I enjoyed the meal so much that I forgot to take a picture, here’s me just wanting to get on with my dessert!
You can check out the restaurant here and the adjacent hotel Dabaixa here.
Nazma was patient enough to take a photo of her veggie platter.
Noori at Amoreiras Shopping Center
This place was quite a treat, serving different sushi combos. Strawberry and cream cheese, apple and prawn, and delicious poke bowls. It was super fresh and super delicious.
A very stylish shop in the Alfama district sells traditionally made codfish cakes. You can see them being made while browsing in the shop.
We took the one with the cheese inside. I liked the fishcake but wasn’t too sure about the cheese and fish combo.
It was one of the very charming city breaks that I have had, being my birthday weekend and with my friend, Nazma definitely made it special.
I would want to visit again, enjoy the city and more of the Pastel de Natas!
Did you get some value from this post?
I hope you did because each week I put my heart into making sure you get some good tips so you can rock it in your travels while creating a life you love.