Known for its yellow trams, sardines, custard pastries, cod (funny assortments of things there) but also for being a cheap cosmopolitan city close to the beach. Lisbon really has it all… including an impressive amount of rooftop bars, pools and restaurants! Naturally I did a few…
Airport & transfer
Firstly get your camera ready as there are some great Lisbon shots as you land! Arrivals couldn’t have been quicker or smoother, straight out to the taxi rank. It’s worth noting at this point how unbelievably cheap Uber/ Bolt is. €8 into Lisbon if you can be bothered to go to the designated spot and wait…. or you can triple that cost for being able to walk straight out to start your holiday from the taxi rank.
Departures was as easy. €7 euros from my hotel back in an Uber and sailed through to airside. A fair amount of shops and souvenir shops including boxes of their famous ‘Pastel de nata’ at €9 still triple the cost from the bakery’s but for ease I did that!
This was my second trip to Lisbon and last time we stayed in an air bnb (which doesn’t seem to be listed anymore) but it is a great way to be based in this city. But as this was my first trip of 2022 I decided to treat myself to a hotel… with a rooftop pool of course!
The list for hotels with rooftop pools was long but I decided on the Lux Lisboa Park Hotel. Good value for money, good location and not just a pool but rooftop bar area. Next to Parque Eduardo VII in a quiet neighbourhood with a handy mini market moments away. It took about 30-40 minutes to walk down to the river which was perfect amount of strolling time through the city. Of course you can take the metro or tram or even a super cheap Uber. Which I would recommend on rainy days. The streets here are not paved with gold but more tiles that turn like ice when wet. Couple that with the huge hills, even sober, even with trainers, I tumbled twice! So I’d leave those heels at home!
The room was spacious with modern controls, a huge bathroom and the usual amenities. Though it was baffling that they didn’t have conditioner & a kettle but did have scales should you want to know how many pasties du nata you have eaten!
Breakfast was a functional room with a fair selection (no bubbles!) but is was the friendly and kind service everywhere was what made this hotel special. Of particular note Daniela & Nicolous who even helped verify some of my rooftop bar research and suggest some more!
Like most Southern European cities, the rooftop bar season is officially April/ May through to Sept/Oct. Though coming from London and finding it so much warmer (even in March) it should be a staple all year. But plenty were up and rooftop running… for full info on all 11 I’ve done (not all this trip!) click here but will highlight a couple:
The hotel one… it officially opens in May for full bar service but it was still busy in March. Tunes played, the pool is heated, an even more warmer jacuzzi tempts you and while there wasn’t bar service you could bring drinks up from the bar. The rooftop has actually 2 sides – to the left the rooftop pool and sun beds and to the right the sofas and bar. I can imagine in summer this is quite the chill out Saturday afternoon spot. It is also quite small so could be a bum fight for a sun lounger particularly first thing and sunset. Whilst not the best views in Lisbon I loved it.
Sky Bar at Tivoli Avenida Hotel – make this a sunset date. This is your walk out to wow views rooftop. Topo for more of a Peckham vibe. Lastly Noobai for a chilled afternoon and as it’s name represents an invitation to hapiness, friendship, to celebrate the joys life ‘Let’s go?’. It would be rude if you didn’t.
If rooftop bars aren’t for you (then not entirely sure how you found this or me! Lol) but there are also a ton of ‘miradouros’ aka Lisbon view points. They are stunning for those magical pictures though you can’t drink alcohol in public places so if you need that glass of bubbly while taking in the view then stick to the rooftops bars and restaurants!
As I mentioned sardines, cod and pastries are a must but over all I wasn’t a big fan of Portuguese food. However I can fully recommend Fidalgo wine bar restaurant. Small intimate, great food, friendly services with an extensive wine collection.
The infamous ‘pasteis de nata’ are everywhere though a few places do seem to be more popular whether that’s hype on social media I couldn’t say as I’m GF. So I hunted down a café which sells GF (and vegan) ones and found Zarzuela down near the river. Though take cash. Whilst I used Apple Pay nearly everywhere are a few places like this still only accept cash – which nearly caught me out. Worse case (which I did) was there is an ATM near by.
Time out market is a massively popular foodies heaven and there’s a Mercato (sister to the one in London – this one doesn’t have a rooftop bar though) both down on the river. Whilst food was good it wasn’t really my vibe for a holiday.
Further down and to your right you can do a riverside walk to the bridge where you’ll find lots of water side restaurants. Much like with rooftops, many are only open in season or on weekends so do check.
From my last trip we went to the Red frog speakeasy bar which was quirky with a password to enter. I did hear it’s now a bit pretentious but when I went was fun!
The good the bad and the ugly bar, also from my last trip, where we drank cocktails out of tea cups. Inside was a bit disingenuous with that quirky vibe with a sports bar at the back… but for somewhere a bit different definitely give it a try.
Pink street is the magnet for bars and restaurants for a Saturday night with the added insta worthy umbrellas in the sky and the street not just named pink but is pink!
Lastly a local find as my friend knew the owner was an intimate speakeasy bar called Vago. An older and vibrant crowd where the cocktails a must.
There’s the big mall up at Centro Colombo north of where I was staying. But there’s lots of independent shops scattered about the city, head to the Jardim de Sao Pedro de Alacantara. Not only a fabulous miradouros but found some gorgeous little stores.
The market at LX Factory is definitely a must do destination. Cute electric stores including the book store with the flying bicycle, am not a reader but was worth going it to see this!
There was also an amazing rooftop bar where, ‘Where’s the rooftop’ was born but sadly this trip I found it hasn’t survived the pandemic. Hopefully it will come back as this was a great hipster vibe with an amazing backdrop.
Still minus this rooftop bar its worth a waddle waterside down here (or Uber) as it also houses the award winning, the best chocolate cake in the world at Landeau like so much of Lisbon from a very unassuming café.
The 25th April Bridge
Just near LX Factory is the iconic bridge of Lisbon. Based on the San Francisco bridge and originally named Salazar Bridge (Ponte Salazar), after Prime Minister Salazar, this connects Lisbon to the beaches below. Well worth a drive over. If not to just get to the beautiful beaches of this city but also to see the Statue below!
Statue of Christ
Or called the ‘Sanctuary of Christ’ is a Catholic monument that watches over the city. Based on the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, this one was set up as gratitude for the city not being destroyed in the Second World War. You can visit or if you drive over the bridge, you will get a brilliant view.
Lastly there’s the beach. Well there’s loads!! To the west is more city beaches and cute towns which are an easy train ride. Or over the bridge are the holiday type beaches stretching the whole of the coast on the Costa da Caparica. There are tons of beach bars scattered down the coast and with stunning sunsets over the water. You will want to make this the longest lunch ever. If you have a car then it’s easy to pop down doesn’t take more than 30-40 mins, if not then you can Uber. We did. Getting there won’t be an issue but getting back the drivers come from Lisbon usually so it’s a wait and can be pricey. BUT if it’s a glorious sunny day then it’s so worth every penny.
So that’s my lovely Lisbon highlights. Hope it helps you for your visit and watch this space as this write up is just the start of the Lisbon tales and tips to come as so many places I’ve yet to explore there.