Fascinating Lisbon – The San Francisco of Europe

Travels — 9.11.2018

Collaboration: Air Baltic sponsored my flights to Lisbon

The capital with art and architecture

Portugal felt like a mystical country to me before I went to Lisbon last month. It’s so far away in the southwest that it gave me these romantic vibes of the remote countries: eternal explorers, surfers hitting the cold Atlantic waves and at least one football guru from Madeira. I have been dreaming about a long road trip on the coast of Portugal and now I got my excursion to see the place a bit. I flew with Air Baltic that took me quick to Lisbon. There are so many good options on the Air Baltic route map that at first I felt a bit stupid that I didn’t go to Madrid instead: it was much warmer there inland! Luckily Lisbon turned warm too and after a few days I didn’t need to feel cold anymore. A Finn went to the tropic: I had only packed summer clothes!

Lissabonin silta
Lisbon is like San Francisco, it’s liberal, bohemian, hilly and there is a lot to see

Lissabon ilmasta Air Baltic siivillä

Lissabonin rannikko lähenee Air Balticin kyydissä
Air Baltic is approaching the destination!

Lisbon felt charming right away. The city is very personal. Its architecture is beautiful, the buildings are fabulous: colourful and decorative. Their age creates value too. Established in 1179 Lisbon reflects historical mood everywhere you go. One outstanding thing I noticed as soon as I had arrived is that the houses are covered with decorative tiles on the outer walls. They are so cool! There are all kinds of tiles: retro style, lukewarm tones, descriptive and flourish tiles. There is also a tile museum in Lisbon, which I didn’t visit yet – next time! Also the hilly terrain makes Lisbon special! The rolling streets and the bridge similar to the Golden Gate and of course the liberal spirit of the city reminded me of San Francisco. The landscape full of houses looked too pretty in changing colours of light. The whole place is like a piece of art. Luckily I took my painting stuff with me! In the evening I enjoyed drinking Portuguese red wine and painting in my cosy artsy room. A sincere recommendation for Sao Bento Guesthouse for a budget accommodation in a great spot – just make sure you book a room well in advance so that you get a room with your own bathroom. Close by is the Basilica de Estrela and the beautiful green park of Estrela: I loved how lush it was and had all kinds of trees and bushes.

Arkkitehtuuria ja koristelaattoja Lissabonissa

Koristelaatta lissabonilaisessa talossa
Lisbon is special because it has very nice decorations on houses

Lissabonin Estrelan puistossa koiran ulkoilutusta

Puisto Lissabon

Joku nukkuu puistonpenkillä Lissabonissa

Pojat puistossa Lissabonissa

Jardim de Estrela -puisto on ihana Lissabonissa

Estrela-puisto Lissabonissa

Sao Bento Guesthouse Lissabon
My cosy accommodation in an historical building: the roof decoration is beautiful
Maalaushetki illalla House Sao Bento -majatalossa Lissabonissa
Painting night 🙂

Good cafes and local food

The price level of Lisbon is great! I enjoy going into different cafes just randomly – I think that’s the place were you feel the local lifestyle. One Americano and a pastry cost less that two euros. There was a local papa reading the newspaper and drinking Sagres. I saw a pint cost 1,5 euros – nice news after paying 9 euros or so in Finland… Sagres and Super Bock are the two big beer brands in Portugal and they compete also by supporting different local football teams. The most traditional food I ate was the Brás Style Codfish. Portugal exports codfish and fish in general, and they have a lot of fish on menu – naturally. I also ate fresh seabass which was delicious! Similar to Spain Portugal has the tapas culture too. The last supper I had in atmospheric “Tapa Bucho” in lively uptown district Bairro Alto. Bairro Alto is a place you should visit by day and night since it totally changes! It’s sleepy and silent during the day (but there are nice boutiques and parks around it) and it fills up in the night. It’s a cool place!

Ratikka ajaa kahvilan ohi Lissabonissa

Iconic trams and the beach by the big city

The public transportation of Lisbon is awesome! It’s very easy to use the metro that works great until I think 01 am. After that Uber is great. The trams make the city iconic of course! I did the legendary tram route number 28 that gives a perfect perspective about the city. The line goes very fast through the very narrow streets of the old town Alfama – it’s picturesque but very touristy. It also passes Baixa and Chiado shopping area and the line ends up just next to the Estrela Park, which I mentioned above.

Raitiovaunu numero 28 Lissabonissa
Legendary tram number 28 on its iconic route. It was very touristy though: not nice for the locals who have to use the same route if it’s always packed!

Raitiovaunussa Lissabonissa, ikonisella reitillä 28

Vasco da Gama -teema Parquen metroasemalla Lissabonissa

Vasco da Gama -tutkimusmatkateemaa Parquen metroasemalla Lissabonissa
Parque metro station full of details

I also moved by train from the Cais do Sodre station and hit the beach: I went to Carcavelos, which is a nice surf beach 17 km away from the Lisbon centre. This was not only my first time in Portugal but also my first time by the Atlantic ocean. But I didn’t swim! Atlantic was cold! There are restaurants on the beach so I ate and just sunbathed on the beach. That’s good for October. Too bad, it was too late I realised I could have visited the Jerónimos Monastery and its Santa Maria church on a way if I would have hopped off at Belém train station. The church looks amazing on pictures and Neomanueline tomb of navigator Vasco da Gama is located there. On the next trip then, and I’ll go early in the morning because this place will be packed I heard! Once again, time flew and the trip was over too soon. However it will be nice to go back. Lisbon is so rich I won’t get bored, I loved the city! Obrigado Lisbon!

Carcavelos-ranta, Lissabon
Carcavelos beach, a short train trip away from Lisbon

Palmut Lissabonissa rannalla

Surffaaja Lissabon

Lissabonin läheinen Carcavelos-ranta

Atlantti, meri ja ranta auringonlaskussa Lissabon

The best things in Lisbon – consider these!

Bruch Café – all day brunch!
Casanova pizza restaurant – the best Quattro Formaggio I have ever had: just the right amount of cheese (note: you have to wait in line, there’s no reservations)
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – I enjoyed this multiple buildings museum with interesting collection and a nice garden yard
Manteigaria Pastels de Nata – Pastel de Nata is the local delicate and in this take away place it’s made with the secret recipe of the monks, delicious!
– A walk in Bairro Alto during the day and in the night!

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum Lissabon
Lourdes Castro’s In the Café / Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Lissabon on graffitiseiniä täynnä
I’m enjoying the warmth!
Sininen taivas ja valkoiset pilvet Air Balticin lennolla
Obrigado Air Baltic!
Pinkki auringonlasku Air Balticin kyydistä katseltuna
I drank Bordeaux over Bordeaux and saw pink sunset 🙂 I had amazing views when I head back home: there were both huge and tiny clouds, amazing sunset colours and a full moon as my travel buddy
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