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Travel Guide: Lisbon, Portugal

It’s starting to feel like everyone and their grandma is jetting off to Lisbon these days, and for good reason. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (in my opinion.) It’s an absolute artist’s dream and is the perfect gateway for all the wonderful sites that Portugal has to offer.

My partner and I spent a month in Lisbon, working, traveling and exploring cafes, co-working spaces, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, rooftop bars and all the beautiful little wine parks scattered around the neighborhoods.

Here are my recommendations for where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in Lisbon, Portugal:

Where to Stay:

We stayed in Principe Real which was a great place to live but a bit far from the main attractions if you only have a few days in the city.

In the below map I outline areas I recommend and areas to avoid:

where to stay in lisbon

  • Green – This is where I stayed for our month-long stint and would definitely recommend to anyone that will be in Lisbon for a decent amount of time. The neighborhoods are much sweeter and local feeling but still walking distance to everything there is to see and do.
  • Yellow- Bairro Alto and the city center are very touristy and busy areas. Bairro Alto is where all the parties and nightlife goes down. It was very much a backpacker scene and gets very loud at night. The area directly above Comercio Plaza is VERY touristy – H&M and random street vendors selling all kinds of cheap trinkets. 
  • Red – Avoid this area. We designated this area “stabby town.” I wouldn’t recommend this area, especially at night. We accidentally stumbled into a few drug deals happening here – and not of the herbal variety. (The whole Portugal/drug laws are pretty confusing.)  
  • Purple – Alfama (the purple area) is a bit outside the VERY touristy part. It’s beautiful and would make an excellent place to stay. However, when it comes to restaurants and nightlife most of the places I’d recommend are on the otherside of town so I wouldn’t personally recommend staying here.

Where to Stay: 

Here are a few of the hotels I scoped out and would recommend based on decor (staying in a boutique hotel in Lisbon definitely enhances the experience.) The below places are works of art and design wise they bring the outside beauty of Lisbon architecture in.

Where to Eat:

Lisbon’s Best Cafes for Coffee & Brekky:

  • Copenhagen Coffee Lab- I love this little area of town, it was right down the street from our house. There are signs around specifically saying – “no laptops”
  • Fauna & Flaura – Definitely one of the best places I’ve been to for breakfast while in Europe. The pancakes are fantastic and they offer solid options for vegans.
  • Dear Breakfast – Such a lovely menu, portions were small, decor is exceptional.
  • Heim Cafe – Absolutely beautiful cafe!
  • Green Coffee – Really sweet little spot to grab a coffee to go.
  • Esplanada Cafe
  • Amelia – such a beautiful cafe/restaurant
  • The Mill

Best Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in Lisbon:

  • Pachamama – Didn’t get to go here but walked by and noticed a sign for a vegan buffet – I believe they just opened so make sure to check them out if you’re in town!
  • OWatt
  • Eight – The Health Lounge – Nice little spot to grab lunch, really great menu and a cute concept store.
  • Jardim das Cerejas
  • Jardim do Sentindos – 12 euro vegan buffet, another great place to grab a fresh lunch and sit on the back patio.
  • Os tibetanos – We went here a few times for dinner. Very affordable Tibetan place, so many great vegetarian friendly options.
  • Restaurante Terras – Mediterranean vegetarian/vegan cuisine in 18th-century building in Principe Real Garden  
  • Koppu Ramen Concept Food – This place is ALWAYS closed! But the ramen was exceptional when we finally caught them open. We stayed right across the street and only managed to go once. The staff was especially friendly.
  • Ao-26 Vegan Food Project – This place is proof that vegan is the future. Every single time we tried to eat here we were turned away because it was always full. We even tried to book a few nights in advance and we still had no luck reserving a table. Book ahead of time and let me know how it is!
  • PSI – Beautiful little place to grab lunch out in their garden surrounded sunroom.
  • Vegana 

Restaurants:

  • Cantina Baldracca
  • Tapas Bar 52 – Divey, fun, always vibing, on the main road in Principe Real
  • Valdo Gatti- We went here once a week. The pizza is to die for, the price is right and decor is beautiful, modern and simple. Highly recommend the quattro formaggio.
  • Dona Quiteria
  • Cevicheria
  • Frade do Mares – Luxury dining experience
  • BouBous
  • Infame
  • Heden
  • O Antigo Talho
  • Friendly flamingo
  • Dona Quitéria
  • LX Factory – Fun Sunday activity, they also have little clothing boutiques and shops if you go on the weekend.
  • Time Out Market – Offers a little bit of everything

Best Gelatto

  • Nannarella

Rooftop Bars & Restaurants

  • Topo Chiado – We came here for a glass of wine at least once a week.  I especially loved it during the day for maximum sunshine.
  • Entretanto – I would say this one in particular has the best views. Their cheese platter is top notch.
  • The Insolito – Great spot for a romantic night cap in Principe Real
  • Hotel Mundial
  • PARK Bar – This is the perfect place to go to on a weekend with a group of friends. Just get there early to secure a table. Beautiful views and they typically have a live DJ.
  • Level 8 – This is in the Principe Real neighborhood. Fantastic views, kind of hard to find. I recommend the aeperol spritz. They typically have a DJ here as well!
  • Topo Terraco

Lisbon’s Best Bars:

  • Quiosque Ribera das Naus – Perfect spot for a Sunday session, right on the water, view of the bridge and passing sailboats. In the summer they have a live DJ.
  • Duque Brewpub – Excellent sour beer in one of my favorite little alleys.
  • Mini Bar Theatre
  • Clube do Bacalhau
  • Taberna da rua das Flores
  • Pensao Amor
  • Pavilhao Chines
  • ZeroZero
  • Portas Do Sol
  • Bistro Edelweiss – Cute quiet little spot outside of Bairro Alto with a solid beer list.
  • Gin Lovers
  • Botanical Garden Bar Spot

Best Gyms in Lisbon:

  • Clube VII gym
  • Holmes Place

Things to Do:

  • Commercio Plaza
  • Belem Garden
  • Pasteis de Belém
  • Miradouro de Santa Lucia
  • Visigothic Wall
  • Princess do Castelo
  • Alfama
  • Cascais day trip
  • Sintra day trip
  • Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte

Food to Try:

  • Pastel de nata
  • Pastéis de bacalhau

Where To Go To Surf:

  • Costa da Caparica
  • Surfiberia
  • Peniche
  • Nazare

Day Trips:

  • Setubal
  • Estoril
  • Praia da Ursa, Portugal
  • Obidos

Cascais Day Trip:

  • Cafe Galeria House of Wonders
  • Farol Hotel
  • Praia da Conceição
  • Boca do Inferno
  • Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães lagoon
  • Pestana Cidadela Cascais
  • Hemingway
  • Hotel Baia
  • Villa Cascais
  • Coastal walk/bike
  • Pool Oceanic Alberto Romano

Best Places to See Fado:

  • Canto do Comoes
  • Adega Machado

A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Lisbon

Best Cafes to Work from in Lisbon:

Lisbon is quickly becoming one of the biggest digital nomad destinations. We met up with several fellow digital nomads from around the world who happened to be here at the same. There is a huge nomad scene with daily meet-ups, presentations and other co-working events. 

These are the cafes I recommend working from. The staff is friendly and don’t mind if you camp out at one of their tables for a few hours as long as you order food and/or coffee. The Internet is pretty good and they offer an inspiring atmosphere:

  • Cafe Boavida – My personal favorite. It’s comfortable, nice staff, plenty of room and it’s never too crowded to pull out your laptop.
  • COMOBA – Beautiful! A bit expensive and I find the seats uncomfortable but the food really is fantastic. Worth checking it out even if it’s just for a coffee.
  • Hello Kristof – I only worked here once and found it was very crowded. The internet is strong though and it’s cozy.
  • Caffeine Garage – I have it on my list since it was recommended by a friend but I don’t actually remember working from there. Let me know if you have or do! 🙂

Lisbon Co-Working Spaces:

  • IDEIAhub – Feels like an underground hamster house and also like a real tech, start-up office. People seem to have their cliques and it feels more geared towards the Lisbon local entrepreneurs and freelancers. You can get a free day pass and try it out for yourself.
  • Second Home – Absolutely stunning, intimate, great location but a bit too expensive for me personally.
  • CoWork Center Principe Real – My partner worked here several times and said it was very quiet, not much vibe but it was one of the best places he found for productivity.
  • Village Underground- I’m recommending this place based on the reviews and how insanely cool it looks. I didn’t actually make it over here to work, it was way too far from where we were living.
  • Surf Office – I went to a talk here and it was pretty nice and everyone was friendly. It felt like there was a strong community here as well.

Tips for Digital Nomads in Lisbon – join Lisbon Digital Nomads Facebook group. They advertise meet-ups and events going on in the scene.

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