What to Do on a Weekend in Lisbon
Solo Weekend in Lisbon? This is what I loved
10 Must-Dos for a Solo Weekend in Lisbon
Lisbon, the capitol of Portugal, is one of the cities that has been coming into trend the past years. Tourist numbers are growing each year, and that definitely has its reasons. It is not only one of the oldest cities in Europe, but is also rich in culture and compared to other capitol cities in Europe pretty cheap. The city with Arabic Muslim descent and Catholic influences is traditional and modern at the same time and especially known for its tiles that enhance house fronts and floors all over the city.
Fun fact: The tiles go back to a long tradition of Arabs to show Allah not in pictures, but in patterns. Later in history, Catholic churches adapted the tradition around the 16th century to praise their God. (Noone ever tell me again that different religions have nothing to do with each other). To this day the pottery of tiles on a lot of houses belong to the Lisbon culture. There even is a museum for them. Check #5.
With its golden gate-like bridge and long waterfront walks, trams that go up and down the hill, Lisbon is the European equivalent to San Francisco. There could not be a better place to visit as a solo female traveller for a weekend. Therefore, without further ado, here are my 10 must dos for a solo weekend in Lisbon:
1. Get a Galão and a Portuguese Croissant for Breakfast
There’s no better way to start your day than with a Galão (a lot of hot milk with an espresso shot, typical breakfast coffee of the Portuguese people). The Portuguese croissants are very different from the French version and totally worth a try.
Where to get them?
You can get a Galão and the Portuguese croissants pretty much in any corner café. But if you do not want to come across as weird, it is not common to order the milky coffee after noon (much like a cappuccino in Italy). Then Portuguese people like to drink an espresso. This blog explains exactly how you should order coffee like a local. Loved the article!
I especially liked the croissants at this place, where you have to pull a number and wait until it is your turn to order:
A Padaria Portuguesa is a chain, but their croissants are delicious. Good thing is: You will find them around the city.
$ of $$$; around 1.50 - 2 $ for both
2. Try the Beef Sandwiches next to the Patisserie at the O Trevo Café
If you want a quick lunch during your shopping session in Chiado go for a 3$ sandwich at this café. You can order it with or without cheese. Yum!
A small café called O Trevo
Price: $ of $$$, around 3$
3. Take a walk Algés to Belem station
In between Algés station (train not metro, but can be used with the same viva viagem card, check How to get around in Lisbon here) and Belém station there is a long waterfront walk with historical monuments and small harbors in between. Get up bright and early to be the only one enjoying the waves. You will pass by the Torre de Belém and the Padão dos Descobrimentos (a monument for lost sailors). Get a Pastel de Nata on the way, which are a national pastry dish with pudding inside. They are supposed to be the best when you get into the Belém centre. Yum!
Where and how:
4. Visit the National Tile Museum
As I mentioned earlier tiles are a great part of Lisbon culture and history, the tile museum, as well as its building are very impressive (and they offer pottery classes for children). If you bring your student ID you get 50 % off the 5 Euro entrance fee.
Price: $ of $$$
5. Listen to Fado while Having Dinner or Just Drinks in Alfama
Fado is the heart of traditional music in Lisbon. The melancholic sounds will make you want to stay forever in this beautiful city. Often you have to pay an entrance fee to listen to the music or have a big menu with it. Ask locals for the best alternative or check out this Lisbon Guru article for more info.
Price: $$ of $$$
6. Enjoy the View at One of the Many Miradouros (viewpoints) in Lisbon
At each of them you can buy drinks and small sandwiches for reasonable prices and enjoy an amazing view day and night. However, prepare for a little bit of a climb.
7. Take the Tram up or down the Hill with the Tram „Elevador da Bica“
A little tired of hiking up and down the hills? Why not take the historical tram up the hill of da Bica?
Price: $ of $$$
Notice: If you have a day ticket you do not have to pay the 3,70 Euros. You can use it with the regular ticket.
8. Get Lunch or Dinner in the "Time Out" Food Hall
This is (or used to be) one of Lisbon’s food secrets. But it definitely foodie heaven!
Price: $ or $$ of $$$ (depending on what you order)
9. Walk around Alfama
This might be an obvious one, but even though sometimes it is a little exhausting walking the streets, Alfama is worth the trouble. The neigbourhood is full of small churches, viewpoints, hidden cafés and beautiful small alleys and houses. Simply take a couple hours and get lost in the streets (take a map or a phone though, haha).
10. Go Shopping
I know, this is cliché. But I really enjoyed strolling through the little tile and cork stores and get some souvenirs. The Baixa-Chiado area also has all the big clothing brands. The historical streets will make you have an unforgettable and relaxing shopping experience.
Price: Depends! Nice tiles you can get from 7 Euros per piece, but there are certainly higher prices and qualities available.