10 things to do on a Lisbon city break

I’m sitting here on my couch, tea in hand, watching the weather warily as snow has been forecast in London. Snow. In late November. Luckily, I have around 15 billion scarves, a coat as cozy as a duvet and the accumulated commuter knowledge of dashing from pillar to post as quickly as humanly possible in 3°C temperatures.

But, only a week ago I was standing in the sun-dappled Rossio square of Lisbon, wearing sandals, t-skirt and beach skirt, marvelling at 22°C clear blue skies and planning a long-weekend of mischief. Well, I say planning, but it’s a lie really. Normally I’m a research addicted nano-planner, but this trip was different – I booked the break last minute, asked around a few travel addicted friends and scanned Pinterest idly on the way to the airport.

The question in a new location as ever is what to do…

Things to do in Lisbon - Alfama neighbourhood

1. Jump in the 28 tram with every other tourist in the city.
The views over the Alfama neighbourhood are worth it (and the sheer joy of cheeky
locals hitching a ride on the outside of the tram hilarious). Just watch your pockets…

2. Eat a proper breakfast – I’m talking coffee and Pasteis de nata tarts fresh out of the oven sprinkled with nutmeg. Those weren’t all mine by the way…

Things to do in Lisbon - Eat Pastel de Nata

 3. Linger a while in the Praca do Commercial.

Things to do in Lisbon - wander the Praca do Commercial

Things to do in Lisbon - wander the Praca do Commercial

4. Take 7,123 photos of the beautiful housetiles. 

Things to do in Lisbon - Lisbon housetiles

5. Ride the trams, metro, escalators and busses along the steep, steep winding streets (pssst – buy a travel pass it’s much, much cheaper and accepted almost everywhere)

Things to do in Lisbon - wander the Praca do Commercial

(nb: don’t forget to enjoy the local sense of humour – spotted along the walls of a local metro station – you can almost hear the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland muttering “I’m late, I’m late, I’m very very late…”)

 Things to do in Lisbon - wander the Praca do Commercial

6. Take a day trip or two – we split our time between the Pena Palace in Sintra…

Things to do in Lisbon - Pena Palace Sintra

7. …and an afternoon relaxing surfside on the beaches of Cascais (shirt optional as you can see)

Things to do in Lisbon - Cascais beach

8. Lean out over the windswept Roca Cape cliffs, the western
most point of Europe “where the earth ends and the sea begins”.

Things to do in Lisbon - Roca Cape Cliffs

(Trust me though, try not to break into here, unlike me in search of entry to the lighthouse…)

Things to do in Lisbon - Roca Cape Cliffs

9. Plan to eat, eat whilst planning…

Things to do in Lisbon - Timeout Mercado

10. Dash along the St George castle ramparts for a rather verdant sunset – even out of prime sunset season (April-October I’m told..)

Have you been to Lisbon?

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