I fell completely in love with Lisbon after spending nine days there. The city is bursting with tempting restaurants, authentic local shops, welcoming people, and charming neighborhoods.  It is so wonderful and I think one of Europe's underrated capital cities.

Eat Portugal Tour with Celia Pedroso - If you book one tour, book with Celia. She's a local journalist and author who leads the best food tours in town.

Mercado da Ribeira - I returned to this market, which reopened as an incredible food hall in 2014, four times on my trip. Located near the water, it's a great way to try the best of Lisbon - local restaurants like Santini (delicious ice cream) & SeaMe (prego steak sandwiches) have satellite stalls here. Don't miss the bolo do caco com chouriço, a chorizo-spiked sandwich. Go at midnight to get the real experience - I couldn't believe how packed it was!

Manteigaria - They only serve one thing here - pastéis de nata - or Lisbon's famous small custard tarts. Even if you don't think you'll like custard tarts (too eggy, too weird of a texture, I thought at first), they are SO GOOD in Lisbon. And the ones here are so much better than the ones served at tourist trap Pastéis de Belém. Standing-only - You'll see lots of people popping in for coffee and a couple of tarts.

Cantinho do Avillez - Chef José Avillez is Lisbon's most well-known chef and he has some great restaurants in town. This was my favorite place for lunch - casual, buzzy, and great local wine.

Mini Bar - Another José Avillez restaurants - normally, I don't like gimmicky restaurants that serve anything molecular. But this place, serving small plates, is really fun and a great dinner spot. Loved the tuna tartar cone & veal rice with parmesan.

Choupana Caffe - Please go here - it's totally off the tourist track. It's a 30-minute walk or a short, easy subway ride from downtown.  I loved having brunch here - they have gorgeous salads, pastries, and an organic yogurt bar.

LX Factory - Located under Lisbon's iconic bridge, this is a former industrial complex turned into a hub of shops and restaurants. There is a great flea market on Sundays. Don't miss visiting Ler Devagar bookstore, a stunning space filled with books and old printing presses on the top levels. It's one of LIsbon's most photographed interiors.

Landeau - My go-to coffee spot in Lisbon. It's cozy and wonderful. They serve only one food item - a rich chocolate cake made with a top-secret recipe. There's a second location at LX Factory but I like the one in Chiado best (Rua das Flores 70).

Santini Ice Cream

Bota Alta

Cafe Royale


A Vida Portuguesa - Stop here for a wonderful selection of local Portuguese items - jewelry, wine, artwork, postcards, soap - everything!

Goodies Boutique - I love the owners here - they'll spend time chatting if you want and offer tastes of port wine (or leave you alone if you don't). Here's where you'll find local teas, jams, cookies, olive oils, and more.

Conserveira de Lisboa - Visit the original, open since 1930, for the best tinned fish  in town. They're known for sardines, but I picked up several tins of high-quality tuna fish - and they are cheap!

Luvaria Ulisses - This is a super tiny shop from 1925 that sells gorgeous leather gloves -  take a look even if you're not buying.

Livraria Bertrand - Holds the distinction of being the longest bookstore continuously in operation - originally opened in 1732. I actually didn't think it was that special but it's right in the heart of everything so worth a stop.

Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon - This gorgeous property, slightly removed from downtown (a 15-minute walk), has an amazing spa and indoor pool, and one of the most wonderful breakfast buffets I've ever seen. Their all-you-can-eat sushi buffet at lunch should not be missed! I saw José Avillez eating with his wife, so you know it has to be good. Also - the hotel has a rooftop running track with the best views in Lisbon.

Stay: Browns Central Hotel - This had just opened when I stayed and I scored a $99/night room in November. As the name states, it's truly central to everything. Rooms are small but very nice.

PARK Bar - A garden bar on the roof of a seven-story parking garage (no signs - just find the elevator and go up).

Memmo Hotel Bar - This hotel, high in the cobblestoned streets of Alfama, has a beautiful bar overlooking the water.

Great Local Resource: City Guide Lisbon - Through Four Seasons Eyes


porto/douro valley

Stay: The Yeatman Hotel

Livraria Lello

Cafe Majestic


Day Trips from Lisbon