48 Hours in Lisbon, Portugal

48 Hours in Lisbon, Portugal

 

Having spent the whole semester analysing a financial report for a Shop which sold Pastel De Nata, the famous Portuguese egg tart, the idea of visiting Portugal got stuck in my head, so I decided to book myself a weekend trip to Lisbon. Lisbon is such a beautiful city and I found it hard to find a place that didn't make me want to stop for a cup of coffee or grilled fish. I just loved wandering the cobbled streets, seeing all the beautiful tiled houses with a pastry in one hand. So here is how I spent my 48 hours 


DAY 1 


ELEVADOR DE
SANTA JUSTA


Since Lisbon is know as the city of seven hills, the government build an elevator to help the locals combat those exhausting inclines, one of the oldest public lift is Elevator de Santa Justa. The neo-Gothic, wrought-iron 147-foot column was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, A former student of Gustave Eiffel the designer of the Eiffel tower. I find it so fascinating how well built it is as it has continue to operate since when it opened in 1902. Once the elevator reach the top, walk up the spiral staircase as it will take you to the rooftop which offers a stunning view of the Baixa, Rossio and a castle on the opposite hill.

R. do Ouro, 1150-060 Lisboa, Portugal

 

 


PHARMACIA


Pharmacia is located on the bottom floor of the Museu de Farmacia, in Barrio Alto. This vintage pharmacy-themed restaurant is exactly what the doctor ordered. Enjoy a quirky glass of cocktail cleverly named after medicine such as Ibruprophen (Cachaça and lemon juice) and paracetamol (honey, melon and ginger beer), and hang out on the lawn until sunset. I recommend the Roasted Octopus with Tomato and Bell pepper salad, and sweet potato puree. 


R. Mal. Saldanha 1, 1200-012 Lisboa, Portugal


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EXPLORE CHIADO
AND BARRIO ALTO

After our lesuirly  lunch, we made our way back from barrio alto, main spot for drinking and partying, through to Chiado, the fashionable and stylish district, filled with historic monuments, tradition shops and interesting cafes and restaurants, and all the way to our apartment in Baixa.  


MINI BAR

I am a massive fan of molecular gastronomy, the moment I booked my flight to Lisbon I reserved a table at Mini bar. Mini is run by chef José Avillez who trained at El Bulli (one of the world greatest restaurant) and owns the two Michelin star restaurant, Belcanto. Mini bar is located in an old theatre, a casual spot with dim lights but you can expect big flavour and excitement. Dinner in Lisbon starts pretty late, At Mini bar, there is 2 "shows" starting at 8:30 and 10:30, we had chosen the later seating. To continue with the theatre theme the menu is separated into acts, but choose carefully as everything is not as it seems. 

On top of the Ala Carte menu, there are two tasting menus available, I opt for the "now on" which is the €39 twelve-course menu, the cheaper of the two. The staff were extremely helpful on making a slight alteration to the tasting menu to suit the preference and allergies of each guest. 

Dont miss the "El Bulli olives", where Avillez uses El Bulli famous reverse spherification method to transform olive juice in what looks like a solid green olive, once placed in your mouth the sphere bursts and coats your tongue with the rich olives flavours. Alternatively order the Ferrero Rocher”, which looks exactly like the chocolate treat but once you bite into you'll realise that it is actually this melt in the mouth foie gras covered with hazelnuts and a gold-leaf candy wrapper.  “Veal Rice with Parmesan” is a common Portuguese dish, in my opinion its similar to a risotto. Lastly finish your night of with “Chocolate Cone in 3 Textures with Fleur du Sel and Pink Peppercorn”, also known as the best Cornetto you would ever tried. 

 R. António Maria Cardoso 58, 1200-026 Lisboa, Portugal


DAY 2


pasteis-de-belem-lisbon-sign.jpg

 

PASTEIS
DE BELEM

We started the day with a pastel de nata (custard tart) and coffee from the famous Pasteis de Belem. These Sweet, warm and very gooey tart is a sheer delight. It takes me back to my childhood, my mum used to always bring me custard tart as an after school treat, but these ones exceed all of my expectations. Extremely soft custard flavoured with a pinch of cinnamon, but what makes it really special for me was the crispness and lightness of the pastry. The recipe is a closely guarded secret passed on from the Jerónimos Monastery since 1837 and has remained unchanged till this day. 

 R. Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal

 


EXPLORE BELÉM 

Belém is an area in western Lisbon, spreading out around the waterfront, home to a few of Portugal UNESCO World Heritage Site (Jeronimos Monastery and Tower of Belem). 

After a much needed cup of coffee, pop next door to the monastery, fortunately the morning mass just started, so i had a chance to experience a Portugueseservice. The monastery was built in 1502 in the late Gothic style. I was particularly fascinated by the details of the facade. From there we walked along the waterfront towards Tower of Belem. The weather was so beautiful  

This monument was put up in 1960 as a memorial to commemorate 500 years of Portuguese discoveries. It’s 52 meters tall and is shaped live a ship with historical Portuguese navigators standing at the prow. The size of the monument was so Inside is an exhibition and you can go up to the top to get a better look at Belem below. 

Our walk ended at Tower of Belem, a guard the river from boats trying to getup here. details from the romantic era. Built in 1515, this Manueline style fortress served the important purpose of guarding Lisbon’s harbor and was a starting point to much of the voyages the Portuguese made to the rest of the world.


MERCADO DA RIBEIRA

(Time Out Market)

For lunch we took an 5 minute?? uber ride to Mercado da Ribeira, also know as Time Out market, as the founder is a publisher at Time out magazine. It is the perfect place for those who doesn't have that much time to explore Lisbon's amazing restaurant scene. The founder has curated the best Food in Lisbon and put it all together in one place. These scaled-down version of the main restaurants allow us visitors to watch top chefs (some with Michelin stars) cook, which makes the experience exciting and fun. 

I went with the option of Monte Mar, the reason being that it is one of the most well-known seafood restaurants in Lisbon, but it is located on Guincho beach in Cascais which is a 40 minute drive from the central. With my time limitation there was no chance i could visit this restaurant otherwise. The food was delicious, . There are so many other enticing stalls, notably ... and ... ,  just have a browse around and let your nose guide you. 

481,, Av. 24 de Julho, 1200 Lisboa, Portugal



SINTRA

Sintra is a 40 minutes train journey away from Lisbon. It is a picturesque little town, filled national monuments. As our time was limited, and everything closes early on a sunday we only had the opportunity to visit one place.We choose Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace), which stands at one of the highest point in Sintra.  The beautiful Pena Palace finished construction in 1847 in the style of Romanticism. The interior is still the same now as how it appeared in 1910 when the Portuguese nobility fled Portugal due to the revolution. When we got there we just missed the bus, so we had to walk through the park. It is a 15 minute walk up a cobble hill which made me truly regret my decision of wearing heeled boots. (Important advice wear comfy shoes when in Lisbon) What waited at the top of the hill was worth every stone i endured, I fell in love with the beautiful colours of the exterior walls. Inside the palace was less colourful, lots of finely detailed wall decoration and chandeliers. 


 

CERVEJARIA
RAMIRO 

Cervejaria Da Ramiro is an old beer hall, it is an institution, great place to grab ice cold drink and fresh seafood. The owner, Mr.Ramirio, gained his skills by cooking near the port with fisherman's wife since the age of 12. They are know for high quality ingredients cooked perfectly in simple Portuguese style. I emailed the restaurant a week ahead but they were fully booked, luckily they accept walk ins and we got a table with in 30 minutes. The food was amazing! quick service and at such an affordable price.