There are lots of blogs about Lisbon and what there is to see, so I thought I’d do something a bit differently and just share some things that I think might be helpful if you are travelling there.
So let’s start with something that will save you time and money…the Lisboa Card! This card can be bought at the airport and at tourist offices, as well as purchased online prior to travel. We got the three day card and for 40 Euros it is well worth it! The metro and local train rides are free, and there is reduced or free admission to places like Jeronimos Monastery, Carmo Convent, and Belem Tower. There are also numerous museum entries included with the card. The card isn’t activated until the first time you use it, so no worries about buying it and not being sure about what your plans will be.
Next tip…get up and get going early on! We were in Lisbon at the end of February and although this is definitely considered an off-peak time to travel, it was still very busy. Places like the Carmo Convent and the Jeronimos Monastery had line-ups to enter. Again the Lisboa card will help you…but so will planning your day to hit the top sites early on!
Maximize your time in areas…if you are planning a visit to Jeronimos Monastery then include the Belem Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries on the same day. They are close to one another and you will be able to visit all of them rather than making a return trip.
Ride at least one fun fun fun…funicular! They may not go very far, but what a great way to get up…or down…one of the hills that Lisbon has soooo many of! We rode the Funicular da Bica from the top to the bottom and what a view. This funicular opened in 1892 and has two cars that counter-balance each other on the cable track. Seek one out and use that Lisboa card again.
As far as the Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa) goes….well let’s just say we didn’t want to wait 2 hours to go up it! Soooo here’s a tip. Walk to the top of the stairs and you will find a small souvenir store with an elevator that will take you to the top. You can then access the viewing platform without waiting in the queue. The price to access the top deck is the same whether you have taken the elevator or not. There was actually a man showing tourists this alternate route…and yes we tipped him…it was definitely a great alternative to a long wait and the views from the top are incredible!
A great place to eat…no matter what you might be wanting…is the Time Out Market. This enormous food court is located at Av.24 de Julho right beside the Jardim Dom Luis. With 26 restaurants, 8 bars, and specialty food items to buy, this is a great place to visit and grab something to eat. The concept of this market was to bring the “best of the best” in Lisbon all together under one roof…and believe me it was hard to decide what to order. We ended up returning here more than once because the selection of food was outstanding!
Oh and of course eat some Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese egg tarts). There are many bakeries selling these and claiming to be the best, but no matter which one, or ones you choose, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!!