Situated west of Spain and along the Atlantic ocean, Portugal is a European country that should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Lisbon, the capital, is a hilly, seaside city adorned in Portugal’s famous ceramic tiles (called azulejos)—these tiles feature prominently on the pastel buildings that span the city, and are also used as decoration on street signs and in railway stations. Cobblestone streets, Gothic-style architecture and sweeping ocean views complete the aesthetic allure of this European city. And it has more to offer than just looks—the city is steeped in culture and history, from the museums to the food to the fado (the country’s beautiful, melancholy music).
Here, where to eat, stay, drink and visit in Lisbon, Portugal.
Travel Guide: Lisbon, Spain
Where To Stay
Memmo Alfama: A neutral color palette (think beige and gray) and natural wood accents decorate this hotel, located in Lisbon's historic Alfama quarter. The outdoor bar and stunning views of the city from the rooftop are not to be missed.
Palacio Belmonte: The building dates back to 1449 (it was the home of a noble family), and the 11 luxurious suites are decorated with antiques from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Santa Clara 1728: This hotel used to be a palace (sold)—so, obviously, the building is dreamy. Each of the six suites are spacious and romantic, the staff is friendly and the breakfast is, in a word, delicious.
Where To Eat
Belcanto: José Avillez's wildly creative, yet refined, menu makes this Michelin-two-starred restaurant a can't-miss when you're in Lisbon.
Augusto Lisboa: This unpretentious tapas bar/bistro is nestled in the back streets of the city. Stop in here for a casual breakfast or lunch.
A Taberna da Rua das Flores: Arrive right when this tiny restaurant opens to ensure you get on the list (they don't take reservations). An ever-changing menu of small plates made with seasonal ingredients, local wine selections and creative cocktails make the wait totally worth it.
Where To Drink
Ginjinha Sem Rival: Go to this small, traditional bar to taste ginja, a classic Portuguese sweet cherry liquor.
Pensão Amor: Enjoy an array of expertly-mixed cocktails in this intimate bar. The elaborate decor nods to the building's past as an 18th century bordello.
Pharmacia: Technically this is a restaurant, not a bar, but the cocktails are amazing. Each one is named after a drug (morphine, LSD, etc), and served in a beaker.
What To Do
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos: This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the top attractions in Lisbon. The ornate monastery is done in Manueline-style architecture, and is breathtaking to look at.
Museu Nacional das Coches: Transport yourself back in time, to when people (mostly really rich people) travelled by ornate coaches. This museum is dedicated to those, and here you can gaze upon the coaches actual kings and queens rode in. Sr. Fado: Fado (meaning "fate") is a type of beautifully melancholy Portuguese song, that features a singer typically accompanied by mandolins or guitars. The best place to experience it is in this intimate house, owned by fado singer Ana Marina and fado violinist Duarte Santos.
What To Pack
May to August and November to February are the best times to travel to Lisbon. Sunny temps and festivals abound in the former; in the latter, you'll find mild temperatures and lower prices for airfare and hotels.