How to spend two perfect days in Lisbon, Portugal

                                                         A rooftop view of Lisbon

         There's very little in life that beats having a fruity cocktail on a rooftop bar staring at one of the best views in Europe: the Portuguese capital. Lisbon is the best laid-back city to take a few days off to kick back and catch some sun all while still getting a great calf workout trying to conquer the steep and hilly streets.

Pastel de nada (photo rights to Time Out)

     There's no better way to start exploring a new place than through its food. Start your day at a local bakery and indulge in a jolt of expresso and a few of the famous pastel de nada, a traditional egg custard tart pastry. Think the flakiest part of a homemade pie filled with the best part of a creme brûlée. Start your day light because you're in for a good walk around the steep pathways of the city.

Rossio square in the heart of Baixa

      Baixa is traditionally considered the downtown area of Lisbon. The centre is home to high end and popular retailers, old and new cafes, bars and historical squares. There's not a lonely place in this part of the city as it's guaranteed to be buzzing with a hearty combination of tourists and locals. The attraction that gave me one of the most memorable views of the city was the Elevator Santa Justa, a lift over 100 years old, that'll take you from the Baixa district to Largo do Carmo, or Carmo Square which is embedded with rich history and church ruins.

A stunning view of Tagus River 

Street musicians for good vibes x

Words of the waterfront 

         For a break from the urban side, dip down to the edge of Tagus River. Only about a 15 minute walk from the centre transports you into Lisbon's coastal strip of street food, musicians, outdoor vendors and of' course the lovely waterside view. Cuisine on the water is exceptionally diverse ranging from fine dining to takeaway dishes. Regardless of what you're in the mood for, it's easy to find anything from traditional seafood and meat dishes, grilled sandwiches, tapas and vegetarian options.

    Once all the daytime exploration is done, Lisbon nightlife is ready to begin. Considered one of the best nights out in Europe, you can find anything from jazz bars, rock clubs, electronic discos and a thriving gay scene guaranteed to run through the night. Tip: Sensible shoes is an absolute must. Trust me on this one.

                                                             The beach of Cascais

        When you've decided you've mastered the art of dodging the tram, take a day trip out of the city. Both Sintra and Cascais are two popular getaway spots each offering a unique view. Sintra is a romantic resort town featuring the extravagant Moors Castle and Pena Palace while the small fishing town of Cascais offers scenic seaside views. Cascais will offer more of a beach feel, so it's a favored place to dig your toes in the sand and on a good day, get a decent tan. Both spots are about 40 minutes out of Lisbon by train.

                                                Over a hilly street with classic tramlines

                                                                The Rua Augusta Arch 

    Whatever you're looking for, Lisbon is a friendly and vibrant city to be your host for a bit of history, modern shopping, unique cuisine, killer clubbing, and a day at the beach. The city is bustling with color in its architecture, atmosphere and friendly people.

    I never intended to end up in Lisbon, and it was a spontaneous bus ride from Spain that I owe discovering one of my new favorite cities to.  Perhaps it serves as a reminder to open yourself up to new experiences when traveling. You never know where you'll end up. x

                                                          Safe and happy traveling!


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