If Portugal has never been on your list of places to travel to next, do yourself and favor and add it! We absolutely fell in love with this charming country.
When we think about the quintessential Europe town …Portugal is the first place that would come to mind. We spent most of our time in the capital city, Lisbon, and while fairly small in size we can’t help but reminisce on the adorable cobblestone streets, doors that were no taller in size than our 5 ft. frames, Fado singing in the streets, the old school tradition of hanging clothes in the alleyways and the most stunning castles upon castles.
We honestly think Portugal is one of Europe’s best kept secrets! If you are planning a trip, make sure to check-out this list of must see places!
Castle of St. Jorge – every time we looked up Lisbon on Google, we saw the acclaimed red rooftops … this is by far the best view in the city! This castle has such a unique history and the selling point is the stunning views! It also was the first medieval castle we had ever been in, so we are a little biased. =)
Alfama neighborhood - from every picture we saw of Lisbon, we knew we had to check-out this unique neighborhood …we felt so strongly, we ended up booking our AirBnB here. So worth it! It is a much more quiet neighborhood away from all the tourist action. Staying in this area we felt like we truly got to experience the culture of Lisbon. We had so much fun visiting the local cafes, making friends with the neighborhood pets, observing conversations that took place outside of the tiny doors and just getting lost wandering the streets. We promise you, this is well worth the stop to just come see the area.
Bairro Alto – We absolutely loved the colorful streets of this district. This is where you can find traditional Fado houses, the best restaurants Lisbon has to offer and a great bar hopping scene. While in Portugal, make sure you try the Ginjinha, liqueur made from ginja berries (sour cherries), best consumed in a chocolate shot cup. =)
Mercado da Ribeira – if you are looking for a fun food experience and have worked up an appetite, this food court is to die for. It has communal style tables and food and drink vendors from all over Portugal. Amazing foodie spot!
Sintra – This may be one of the most unique cities we have ever been to. Lisbon has a daily train that makes the run about one hour outside the city. The train ride in itself is fun, just to see the countryside. These are the key places to see, but the city center has great restaurants, fun shops and we found a local pub to post up at.
- Pena Palace – one word. Camera! Seriously, expect to take a ton of pictures at this castle. It may be the most Instagrammed place in Portugal. This is a romanticist castle, that is just magical! We had the most insane day of wind and fog (hence our not so great picture below), but it was still such an amazing site to see. Google photos and you won't look back!
- Gardens – if you are looking for an area to hike around, this is it! It feels like a Snow White, Maleficient or Into the Woods type of movie scene …I think they stole the storyline from this area. =) It has such an enchanted forest, fairy tale feel.
- Castle of the Moors – sadly, the weather was too rainy for us to wander around the castle, but this is an awesome medieval castle that you must see when you’re in the area.
- Quinta da Regaleria – we spent hours exploring this breathtaking property. From lakes, towers, initiation wells, and the most stunning architectural palace, you could spend a good chunk of your time here.
Cascais – we always crave a beach escape when on vacation and the town of Cascais was exactly what we were looking for. This area has the best cobblestone street designs and a perfect walking town with fun shops and restaurants. They even have some nightlife for a lively summer night out.
Belem – the main district of Lisbon. This area has so much history, great attractions and just an enjoyable area to spend the day. We loved visiting the Jeronimos Monastery. It is one of the few historic sights to survive the earthquake in the 1700’s. The architecture of this building will have you in awe. You also can’t miss the bakery, Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. It may have a long tourist line, but you have to try the infamous pastries, pasteis de belem
That is just a glimpse into Lisbon, with so many fun ways to fill your days. Comment below if you have any must-see spots or if you want more details on any of these stops!