Well I Wish You Were Here

You may or may not have seen due to the copious amounts of holiday spam I've been posting on Instagram but last week I went in a little trip to Lisbon! It was my first time in this beautiful city and categorically, not a single aspect disappointed. It's been high on my agenda to visit Lisbon for a while now and earlier this year when I made a list of "forty things to do before I'm forty", exploring this city featured pride of place. Aside from being able to tick another "to do" off my list, this trip was one I'm so thankful I planned for a few little reasons. The biggie being a little mushy, just to warn you in advance...
Lisbon is pretty awe inspiring to say the least, with every corner revealing a little hidden treasure or picturesque scene. The city is famous for it's ornate tiled buildings and it's easy to see why! They genuinely dress Lisbon up into sometime ridiculously pretty that no floral, super summery dress you're planning to wear could ever even come close to competing with. This is a place for aimless wondering and unlike it's capital counterparts Rome, Paris or Barcelona there isn't a great deal of "sight seeing" per se to be done. I mean this only as an advantage NOT a criticism! As someone who much prefers a city break to a beach trip, I've quickly noticed that one of the biggest down sides to holidaying in a city can often be that it's so damn tiring. It can be a little stressful trying to cram in to a small period of time every single "must see" and inevitably you can find you need a holiday from your holiday! Lisbon however allows you to slow down. You don't feel compelled to make strict plans on a tight schedule. Instead you plod along and that right there is how you discover the real beauty of this amazing city! 
For a holiday which requires a lot of simple strolling along, I couldn't have been in better company. I went on my little Lisbon trip with one of my best friends by my side and it made me realise how bloody much I value her company. One of the sad parts about growing up and one that nobody really warns you about (at the risk of sounding like a little too old for my age here) is that priorities change and all that precious time you spend hanging out with your friends soon dwindles the older you get. Sure, I catch up regularly with my nearest and dearest but not to the degree I did in my early twenties when we were constantly by each other side. Four days away with one of your favourite ladies is the perfect amount of time to realise WHY they are your favourite! We laughed, we cried, we put the world to rights, we ate, we drank, we subsequently became hungover, we did drunken interpretative dances to Taylor Swift (don't ask)... We had the best time and it honestly has made me realise that sometimes it's imperative you take a step back and fully appreciate those closest to you. Your girl pals are awesome... And it's not that you ever forget that but sometimes it's nice to be reminded. So if you're fancying a little trip to Lisbon yourself, here's exactly what we got up to (Taylor Swift dance moves not included).

What We Did

On Aboard
Ok so let's get the super touristy stuff out of the way... If you're visiting Lisbon, you've just got to take the number 28 tram around the city. It's the law (I may have made that up). This little yellow cart is a strong competitor with those aforementioned pretty tiles as one of the cities most famous features. It's old, it's quaint and it gets packed but it's all part of the experience. It's slim pickings trying to get a seat but if you are adamant you want one then catch the little yellow tram at the Placa Martim Moniz stop... It's the beginning of the line so chances of stealing a comfy spot are higher!

Alfama is the one of Lisbon's oldest districts which means it has some of the most beautiful historic buildings waiting to be discovered. Set on one of Lisbon's steep slopes, I would advise doing as myself and Emma did... Start at the top and work your way down (purely for comfort on your little pegs). This is really an area which needs no set trail and it's probably one of the only times I'm ever going to advise you to just get a little lost. Don't worry! I assure you it's super easy to navigate your way around, so you won't end up trapped in a maze of windy streets. Not only does Alfama have some of the most authentic and quaint style buildings in Lisbon but it also boasts the best views of the city. This area is a must for anyone on the hunt for an Instagram worthy snap.

LX Factory Girl
I couldn't really decide whether this one should go more in the food section of my post but irregardless if you're hankering for some grub this place is worth a visit. It's situated pretty much directly under the 25 De Abril Bridge and has a roof top bar with awesome views of the Christ The Redeemer... Basically you'll feel like you're in three amazing cities all in one go! This is definitely the place to be if you're a cool (dare I say it, hipster) kid and really reminded me of the Norther Quarter back home in Manchester. It's a complex built up of independent shops, restaurants and bars all of which are mingled together with mismatched furniture and modern art.

Get Away On A Get Away
If Lisbon just doesn't cut if for you and your need for amazing views than (you're a hard person to please and...) I would highly suggest you take a little trip over to Sintra! It's around a half an hour train ride away which will set you back a mere €5 and is well worth every penny. Sintra is an adorable little town with a lot of charm that runs parallel to those found in Lisbon... beautiful tiles, windy little foot paths, colour splashes on every building! But there's one big difference, if you can embrace climbing the giant mountain which towers over the town you'll be able to discover the breathtaking Palace Pena buried away within it. The palace is a sight for sore eyes with an aesthetic you thought was only possibly in a fairytale. Truth be told the walk up hill is pretty brutal so I would advise hopping on a coach or for something a little more rough and ready, catch yourself a Tuk Tuk ride for €10! Like something off a postcard, Sintra is a conservation area which means whatever way you're facing, you're bound to be looking at a pretty wonderful view.

What We Ate

Time Out Market
If you tell anyone who has already visited Lisbon that you're planning on going, they will nine times out of ten immediately recommend you take a little trip to Time Out Market. It's a modern food hall lined with insanely amazing restaurant stalls. Simply pick what you want and then find yourself a space on one of the benches stretched out along the middle. This isn't fine dining but it is guaranteed great food and all in all I'd say it's pretty reasonably priced. I would highly recommend trying the famous Portuguese custard tart of dreams aka Pastel De Nata from here! I'm under no illusion they are the most "authentic" but after literally stopping to buy one at every bakery I saw, I personally thought they were the tastiest... I hope that's not too much of a typical tourist thing to say!

Bairro Do Avillez
Have you ever had one of those magical food moments where you eat something and think "I want to rewind time so I can eat that all over again"? Yeh well that's what happened to me at Bairro Do Avillez. A restaurant with three separate menus depending on where you sit! We choose to eat in the "Pateo"... Mainly because it looked the prettiest but it honestly didn't disappoint. I can't recommend this restaurant enough especially if like me you're a big seafood fan. Bold statement here but I think their calamari has now set a whole new precedence for me on how this tasty dish should taste. Hats off to the chef.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in the district Baixa which is probably the best spot if you want to be in the thick of it! It's as central as it gets and is just a (literal) stones throw away from Lisbon's main street. We decided to go with iEscape to book our stay at Baixa House, a self catering luxury apparent which offers breakfast ingredients each morning. In terms of value for money this place was faultless and the apartment itself was beautiful... I would happily have moved myself in there for the foreseeable future but hey, I guess fours day is better than nothing! The apartment was a prime location for shopping, catching yourself a train at Rossio trainstation and was a hop, skip and a jump away from lots of quaint little bars! Plus if you're planning on doing a bit of train spotting during your stay, our particular apartment had a balcony with the best seat in the house for watching the 28 tram go by...
If you would like to stay in Baixa House or fancy checking out any of iEscape's other beautiful boutique hotels/apartments then way not have a little browse now HERE!

So there you have my mini summary of places to go on a mini break to Lisbon. This place has firmly found it's way into my list of favourites cities. I can't decide what I loved more between the vibrancy of the buildings and streets or the wonderful energy of the hustle and bustle within it? There's just something about Lisbon that kinda steals your heart. Add your favourite lady and an Aperol Spiritz into the mix and you've got yourself a trip to remember... Guess the only thing left to really discuss now is when exactly can I go back?

Sophia x


  1. Ahh I really enjoyed this post and the lovely photos, will be keeping in mind your advice for the places to see as I'm going in October with one of my best friends. It all looks so pretty! x

  2. ahhh it’s so beautiful! thanks for all the tips & lovely photos!

  3. Hi Sophia, I absolutely love your photos! You capture the image so well. What camera do you use? I have been looking for one for a while and I think these images are gorgeous! Thanks xx

  4. Sophia, i live in Portugal and i really love that you enjoy your stay in Lisbon. Please come back, because still a lot to see! Porto and Costa Vicentina (if you like beach). And what a lovely photos. xx