Lisbon, Portugal : Where to Stay & What to do
I'll admit, I wasn't too keen on visiting Portugal. It's not exactly the first country to cross your mind when you think of visiting Europe. After speaking to three people who visited this beautiful country, I decided to take a chance. Additionally, Portugal was one of the few countries in Europe that both my husband and I hadn't traveled to, and so the choice to visit was obvious.
Lisbon is a charming city, I wouldn't call it beautiful per se, but it's charming and has character. There are parts of Lisbon that are slightly more underdeveloped, hence you'll find lots of dark and narrow alleyways with graffiti on the walls. You'll also encounter drunk men in herds drinking on the street which reminded me of Prague. This isn't something to be overly concerned about though, just something to keep in mind.
When traveling to Lisbon, make sure you visit the oldest district in town - the Alfama. Here you will find elderly women sitting on their balconies enjoying coffee and conversing with neighbors. It appears most people living int he Alfama know each other. Additionally, make sure you experience a Fado show while you're in the Alfama which is moving, passionate, romantic, and sad music all at the same time. And don't forget to order sangria while watching the show, it's an amazing experience.
Lastly, the people of Portugal are so warm and friendly, the experience is no different than if you were visiting Spain, Greece, or Italy - they are all fun and vibrant cultures. In retrospect I am so glad I went to Portugal. My only regret is not making a day-trip to Sintra which is beautiful and just an hour from Lisbon. You can also plan a trip to Lagos which is south of Portugal and would require an overnight stay. Here is my 5 day Lisbon itinerary.
Where to Stay in Lisbon?
My husband and I stayed at the Corpo Santo Hotel which is rated #2 in Lisbon according to TripAdvisor. The staff at the Corpo Santo Hotel was so welcoming and went over and beyond for us. You'll find daily treats in the main area along with complimentary bottled water.
Hotel Buffet Breakfast is generally included and was very good.
Hotel: Corpo Santo Hotel
Star: **** ½
Style: Historical Luxury
Pros: Excellent Location | Outstanding Customer Service | Free WiFi | Complimentary Walking Tour Provided by Hotel | Breakfast Included | Complimentary Treats available by Concerige in the afternoon | Comfortable Beds | Housekeeping | Complimentary Tea/Coffee | Complimentary Water | Restaurant at Hotel
CONS: Not a 5 star
Overall: 4.5 / 5
My stay at the Corpo Santo Hotel was excellent, the staff was outstanding and made our experience very enjoyable. Although this hotel is a 5 star, I would say it's more along the lines of a 4.5 star. Highly recommended!
LOCATION: Largo do Corpo Santo, no 25, 1200-129 Lisboa, Misericordia, 1200-129, Lisbon, Portugal
(cais do sodre)
What to do in Lisbon?
Arrived in Lisbon!
We headed to Rossio Square - Lisbon's main square - in the Bairro Alto district.
A lively square with mosaic flooring and a good spot to relax.
You'll find these narrow streets all over Bairro Alto with these patters.
Santa Justa Lift.
Praca Luis de Camoes.
The nightlife in Bairro Alto is crazy.
One night we headed to a Fado show at A Tasca do Chico. Order the sangria.
The music was moving, passionate, and sad all at the same time. An amazing experience and a Fado show is a must-do in Lisbon.
Lisbon's Pink Street on Rua Nova do Carvalho (former Red Light District) is flooded with nightlife, bars, and restaurants.
We headed to Belem to get those custard tarts at the famous Pasteis de Belem. You'll need half a day in Belem.
In Belem, a stop at the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery where Vasco da Gama spent his last night before his voyage to the east. He is also buried here. Here is Church of Santa Maria.
Beautiful gothic architecture.
I'm not much of a history person, but it certainly helps with photography.
Make sure you take Tram 28 which goes into the Alfama district, Lisbon's oldest district.
Finally made it to the Alfama.
Life here seems beautiful and uncomplicated.
Walking through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Alfama, you'll see elderly women draped in shawls sitting in their balcony, the interaction between residents, the clothes hanging out to dry, and you’ll hear the sounds of Fado playing in the background.
We had to watch a Fado show in the Alfama district, and of course we had more sangria.
On our way to Porto. The train ride was wonderful and we even enjoyed refreshments in first class. Tickets booked online via Comboios de Portugal.
½ a day trip to Belem
Day trip to Sintra
Day trip to Cascais
Visit the Lisbon Castle - The Castelo de Sao Jorge
Stay tuned for Where to Eat in Lisbon!