Lisbon: day trips and best tips

South American salsa x European cityscape perched on a beautiful coastline.

How long for:

Lisbon is an amazing city. There is so much to do and plenty of day trips available making it a great destination for a short or longer trip. Portugal is also notably cheaper than other parts of Europe making it a good place for a longer trip.

Neighbourhoods:

Lisbon is very beautiful, clustered terrace houses are patched together with typical Portuguese tiles. Take a stroll through the Alfarma district to see the best example of this scenery. Stop to buy some fresh strawberries or cherries from the stalls on your way up.

alfarma
Alfarma

Barrio Alto literally translates to high-up neighbourhood. It perches on the ridgeline and offers the biggest cluster of bars and clubs. If you’re after a more traditional night out there are also several salsa clubs in Barrio Alto where the locals will be more than happy to give you a lesson! Memories…

To do:

Lisbon is a city characterised but its hilly geography. Hence much of the beauty is taken in by looking down from a high point. Lisbon has so many beautiful viewpoints, search miradouro (which means viewpoint but literally translates to view of gold) and visit them all!

Day trips:

There are so many day trips available from Lisbon, like so many.

  • Sintra
    • A magical national park filled with castles and museums.
    • Access by train (circa 2-3euros), approx. 1 hour.
    • Visit: Quinta da Regaleria (walk there from the train station) and Pena Palace (get a tuk-tuk up there).
    • Top tip: once there get around by tuk-tuk (usually 5euro per person), much faster than the bus (also 5 euros).

 

sintra
Pena Palace – Sintra
  • Belem
    • The home of the Portuguese tart and on the way to the beaches (both listed below).
    • Access by train or tram (circa 1-2 euros), approx. 20mins.
    • Go straight to the Portuguese tart place, you can’t miss it, it’ll have a queue and be covered in Portuguese tiles inside and out.
    • Top tip: sit in rather than takeaway, the place is huge and the queue is fast moving.

 

  • Cascais
    • A small beach town at the end of the train line.
    • Access by train, 2-3 euros, approx. 1 hour.
    • Visit: the small beach coves but also many shops.
    • Top tip: this place doesn’t have the best beaches in Lisbon but has a quaint little town so you can easy spend the whole day there.

 

casc
Cascais
  • Carcavelos
    • A beautiful, unspoilt white sandy beach.
    • Access by train, 1-2 euros, approx. 30 mins.
    • Top tip: the beach is a 15min walk from the train station. I walked through a field but there is also a road way. Best to just follow other people heading the same way. Take some snacks as there is limited shops near the beach.

 

carca
Carcavelos
Stay:

I stayed at Good Morning Lisbon and it is hands down the best hostel I have ever stayed at in my life. No wonder it ranks in the top 5 of the whole world. Do it. Or, if you’re a second-time visitor, Airbnb it in the Alfama district.

Eat:

  • Portuguese tarts ‘pastel de nata’
  • Sardines are the traditional seaside meal of Lisbon.
  • Fall in love (again) with ‘frango assado’ – spiced rotisserie chicken.
  • And drink Super Bloc Portuguese beer obviously.

When:

Anytime! If you can, visit during the popular saints’ festival in June. 2-3 days of evening street parties, dancing, music, food stalls. Went on my own and lost my toenail in a conga line last year. Back for it all again this year 😀

santos
Santos Populares / Popular Saints festival street-scene
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