Knock! Knock! Who's there? It’s us, Lisboa Secreta, inviting you to explore the city with us.
At this time? It’s 6:10 in the morning! Yes, you’re right. But if you want to see the whole city in just 48 hours, you need to make the most of every minute, and we want to impress you right from the start.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Whether you do or not, prepare to fall in love with Lisbon, after watching the sun rise over one of the city’s most amazing viewpoints. And that’s only the beginning, ‘cause during the next two days we’re not letting you out of our sight.
We want to take you to the unmissable spots and well-kept secrets, to the most trendy restaurants and the most authentic tavernas, to the highest point of the city and the riverside.
Come with us and let’s go discover the best of the city for a weekend:
Yes, we know it wasn’t easy for you to wake up so early, but as a reward you’ll be able to watch over Lisbon as it wakes up.
There’s no better place to do this than from one of the highest (and most impressive) viewpoints in the city: the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, in Graça.
The views are breathtaking, with the castle and historic center in the foreground and the Tagus on the horizon.
At this hour, and with a bit of luck, you might even get the viewpoint all to yourself. So, was it worth it or not? It might be early, but you’re not going to forget this place.
A stone's throw from the Miradouro da Senhora da Graça, in Campo de Santa Clara, you will find one of the most famous markets in Lisbon: Feira da Ladra.
If you like kitsch products and cheap prices, be sure to stop by and, while you're there, take the opportunity to visit two iconic monuments in the area: the National Pantheon and the São Vicente de Fora Monastery.
But don’t take too long, ‘cause we want to spend most of the morning in Alfama, one of the oldest and more traditional neighborhoods of Lisbon, made up of narrow alleys, small familiar bars and bohemian hideaways, flower-filled windows and locals who (still) resist the gentrification of the city.
As long as it’s like this, this neighborhood will continue to be a small village in the middle of Lisbon, where time goes slowly.
After so much walking, we bet you’re starving! Let’s fix that, but first just 30 minutes more walking.
We could go by bus, but believe us, the walk to Cais do Sodré is well worth it, if only because we pass by the city's main plaza - Praça do Comércio - and go down one of the city's most pleasant streets: the riverfront promenade, Ribeira das Naus.
Now we’re in Cais do Sodré, we’ll pass by the famous Time Out Market (the modern version of the traditional Mercado da Ribeira) and instead take you to Triângulo da Ribeira: an old-style taverna, where you can eat one of the best bifanas in town.
At first sight, it's just a cramped and crowded corridor (you even have to eat standing up), but once you've tasted the house speciality, you'll want to go back every time you’re in the area.
Now you’ve regained strength, it's time to get going, but this time we won't make you walk. Instead, we recommend you take a scooter along the riverside area between Cais do Sodré and Belém.
It's almost eight kilometers along the Tagus, with a ‘mandatory’ stop at Docas de Alcântara (next to the Ponte 25 de Abril ) and, above all, at the MAAT, one of the city's newest museums, which is famous for its modern and compelling architecture. Shall we go in?
Inside, you’ll find several art-related exhibits, architecture and technology, but also a vast program of events and activities for the whole family.
Almost three thousand square meters in size, the museum also includes Lisbon’s former thermal power station, one of the most important national examples of industrial architecture from the first half of the 20th century.
Going to Belém and not visiting the famous Belém Tower is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope.
At this hour it's no longer possible to get in (last entry at 5pm), but be sure to enjoy the architectural beauty of one of the country's most iconic monuments, which was once a fort and even a prison.
Also, take a look at the Monument to the Discoveries, the Champalimaud Foundation and other amazing places in Belém.
On the other side of the railway line, are two more of the city’s gems: Centro Cultural de Belém and Jerónimo's monastery. Three, in fact, ‘cause Pastéis de Belém are also a real institution in Lisbon.
Since 1837, this house has been bringing joy to Lisbon’s locals and tourists, thanks to an old (and secret) recipe from the nearby monastery. Don’t let the queues intimidate you and buy one (or maybe a box), ‘cause these sweet treats are really delicious.
Since we saved money on lunch at Triângulo da Ribeira, you now deserve to treat yourself to a luxury dinner in a unique place.
There are several top restaurants in Lisbon, but Fifty Seconds is especially popular because of its location in the top of the city’s highest building, the Vasco da Gama Tower, in Parque das Nações.
This means, from Belém you’ll have to cross the city from one end to another, but on the 728 bus (Carris) you’ll be there in under 45 minutes. Located at an altitude of 120 meters, and with incredible views over the Tagus and the city, this is one of the best fine dining restaurants in Lisbon, with food created by the famous Spanish chef Martin Berasategui.
Not only that, it’s also part of the gorgeous Myriad by Sana hotel, so make the most of it and book yourself a room.
All together, the meal and overnight stay won’t cost less than €350, but believe us, it'll be an unforgettable experience.
Let's leave the bags at the hotel and get ready to explore Lisbon's nightlife!
Let’s go to Bairro Alto, where there are bars for everyone, like Portas Largas or Majong, but also some of the most famous fado houses in the city, with Luso or Adega Machado as particular highlights.
To end the night, go down to Rua Cor de Rosa, near to Cais do Sodré, one of the city’s most lively areas, which has been included in the New York Times’ list of its twelve favorite streets in Europe.
Over here, there are a lot of bars, restaurants and clubs, which bring together the different tribes of the city.
How late are you gonna stay out? Don’t forget we’ve got another busy day tomorrow.
Since it was a long night, we’ll let you sleep in a bit more than yesterday.
But at 10 a.m. we want you in front of Oceanário de Lisboa, ok? It’s only five minutes walk away from Myriad Hotel, and it’s a pleasant walk along the river.
When you get there, you’ll find one of the biggest and most beautiful aquariums in Europe. Here there are over 8,000 organisms from 500 different species, such as sharks, penguins, otters, rays, tropical fish and many more.
As well as the permanent exhibit that brings together all the oceans in one place, there’s also a beautiful exhibit called “Florestas Submersas (underwater forests) by Takashi Amano”, which showcases tropical forests.
For lunch, we could take you to one of the many brunch places that Lisbon has to offer (a trend that has come to stay), but instead we’ve decided to introduce you to a classic: Ramiro.
This restaurant, located in the Intendent neighborhood, became even more famous when Anthony Bourdain recorded No Reservations here.
For over 50 years, this place has been a favorite among seafood lovers and as a result there is rarely no queue at the door.
But, we promise you, it’s well worth the wait.
From Ramiro to the departure point of the 28 tram, in Martim Moniz, it’s a short hop, so don’t miss a trip on this city icon.
In total, the route is around 7 km long. It passes through Graça and Alfama, the elegant Chiado, and the quiet Estrela, before reaching the final destination: Prazeres Cemetery, in Campo de Ourique.
Over a century since it started operating in 1914, the 28 tram is often crowded, but it still offers a distinctive, authentic Lisbon experience. So, make sure you get on board.
Your stay is coming to an end, however there’s still time to go to one of the most unexpected and enigmatic places in the city: “Panoramic of Monsanto”, located in the middle of the city’s biggest forest park.
To get there, the best thing to do is catch a cab (since it's far away from the center and it's not easy to find), but we can assure you it’ll be worth the money.
We’re talking about an abandoned building, with breathtaking views. In the past, this place was a luxury restaurant, bingo house, nightclub and warehouse, before officially becoming a viewpoint open to everyone.
Outside, the view reaches halfway across Lisbon (and beyond), while the inside is covered in graffiti, including one by the most famous Portuguese street artist: Vhils.
And that’s it! You haven’t left yet and you’re already missing Lisbon, aren’t you? Next time, you’ll have to stay for longer!
Read the original article in Portuguese at Lisboa Secreta.