Layover in Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal is a common layover spot when flying to various European destinations. Although roughly 48 hours was not nearly enough time to see everything the capital city of Portugal has to offer, the small taste I got of Lisbon was enough to keep me wanting to come back for more!
After quite a bit of research, I realized that getting to Marrakech from Atlanta was neither cheap nor quick. Instead of paying an arm and a leg to fly direct to Marrakech, I decided to book a separate flight from Atlanta to Lisbon where I would spend an additional 48-hours after the Travel Girls Getaway trip ended in Morocco.
Below are just a few of my favorite highlights from the short-time I had to explore the breathtaking city of Lisbon!
From the Lisbon Airport, there are a few options to get into town but if you are going for ease, I would highly recommend grabbing an Uber. (Yes – Uber is a thing here. It’s cheap AND it makes getting around SO much easier! A trip from the East Pickup area near Ground Transportation at the airport to Alfama neighborhood will cost approximately $8-14 Euros.
TIP: Talk to your cell phone provider. AT&T and Verizon offer international phone plans for just $10/day which can be a lifesaver trying to navigate a foreign city!
TIP#2: At the airport you have to go through check-in, security and then through Passport Control after the duty free and restaurant area. Do yourself a favor, and give yourself plenty of time as the Passport Control line can get very long. (Trust me, we learned the hard way… enjoying our tasty breakfast croissants in the food court and pushed our limit to make it to our next flight.)
What to do
(1) Wander the city and various neighborhoods
First and foremost, one of my very favorite parts of Lisbon was the fact that I could step outside of my AirBnB without any sort of agenda and wander the colorful city streets. There are various neighborhoods around town, all with their own unique ‘personalities’ and offerings.
Coming from Marrakech, I had felt out of my comfort zone and wouldn’t have dared to go wandering alone on side streets and alleyways (even in a pair of 2-3 women by my side). Lisbon’s feeling of familiarity and lessened language/cultural barriers was a welcome change.
- Bairro Alto
- Cais do Sodre
- & many more
This Culture Trip article does a great job at describing the neighborhoods and their different appeals.
My personal favorites were Alfama (in one word; breathtaking) and Chiado/Baixa but given time restraints, I really didn’t get to give the other neighborhoods a fair chance!
(2) Take the ferry to the other side of “Ponte 25 de abril”
One of our favorite things we did during our quick layover in Lisbon was hopping on the (very reasonably priced) ferry, and cruising over to the other side of the river. A ferry should be leaving about every 15 minutes or so which gives plenty of chances to hop a ride over. Taking the ferry across the river allowed for a whole different perspective of the city of Lisbon. The city is full of colorful buildings and hillside architecture which all look that much more stunning from a distance.
Bonus: You end up in Cacilhas (Almada, Lisbon) where you can sip on cocktails, check-out the graffiti walls, have dinner during sunset at Atira-te ao rio and go to the top of the Elevator of Boca do Vento for panoramic views.
(3) Go to the top of the Santa Justa Lift
I didn’t have time to go to the top of Elevador de Santa Justa; however, based on the line and the amount of people at the top, it is definitely a top tourist attraction. That being said, one of my favorite views overlooking the city actually came from a hotel rooftop bar (see below) and I didn’t have to wait in a crazy line to get up there!
Where to Stay:
With such little time to explore the city, one of the biggest and most important questions was where to stay. I was looking for a location central to the city, easily walkable but with it’s own unique charm.
After some research and scouring various Lisbon AirBnB listings, I landed on Alfama neighborhood as our base. Our charming and ‘homey’ 1 bedroom AirBnB apartment truly felt like we were living with the locals. From the open window, we had views looking straight out over the river, with burnt orange rooftops and colorful buildings stretching out for as long as the eye could see.
Our location was quiet enough to escape the city noise and tourist traps but close enough to walk to the center of town and various main sights within 20-30 minutes.
Simple and affordable, this apartment was exactly what we needed for our 48 hours in Lisbon.
Where to Eat & Drink:
The food and drink scene in Lisbon is impressive. With so many options and so little time, I truly only got a small taste of all the delicious food and refreshing cocktails that Lisbon has to offer.
Below are several of my favorites (I would 100% be a return customer!).
- Pistol y Corazon: Let me just start by saying that we happened to be in Lisbon on Cinco de Mayo and if you know me, you know that I have a real love for all things Guac, Queso and Margaritas. That being said, we were in luck as we came across this highly recommended Latin/Mexican street food restaurant in the Bairro Alto district. Get here early or expect a wait. (In our opinion, this spot is worth a wait!) Here you will find delicious spins on your typical margarita and smoky mezcal concoctions (along with fresh-squeezed juices), and a mouthwatering array of tacos.
- Hotel do Chiado: All thanks to my fellow- ATL blogger, Rowdy’s Ranch, we knew that a sunset drink overlooking Lisbon at Hotel do Chiado’s rooftop was an absolute must. The views are unbeatable and the Sangria is pretty dang tasty as well.
- Time Out Market Lisboa: You may have heard of Time Out Market in other citys around the US and internationally. I had never been to a Time Out food hall so having the chance to wander around Lisbon’s Time Out Market was a treat. With so many food stall options, the hardest part is deciding what ‘genre’ of food to try but I truly don’t think you could go wrong. I ended up at the Thai / Asian fusion food booth and it was in one word, amazing. I would have loved to try another 5+ spots but with the heaping portion sizes, I called it quits after one. You can find Time Out Market right near the entrance/exit of the ferry station.
- Ponto Final: This spot can be found right at the other side of the bridge and is also accessible after a quick (and gorgeous) ferry ride. Although we didn’t have time for dinner here, we heard GREAT things. Instead we enjoyed a very low-key afternoon sipping on an Aperol Spritz on Ponto Final’s terrace. Here you can take in the beautiful views of Lisbon and get a whole new taste of what Lisbon has to offer!
- Dear Breakfast: This trendy brunch/lunch spot is possibly as “basic” as you can get. Dear Breakfast‘s menu is full of “Millennial loving” items. Think almond milk matcha lattes, avocado toast, fresh squeezed juice blends, fruit bowls and cold brew…. you get the picture. Full of healthy options, this was the perfect breakfast spot to kick off our day (and to sneak in some actual fruits and veggies after our indulgent day exploring Lisbon the day before!)
That’s all for our 48-hour layover in Lisbon!
You can always feel free to reach out with questions on Lisbon that I did not answer either via email or DM me at @jackietamburo.