Nestled in the heart of Lisbon, between the Chiado and Bairro Alto neighborhoods, Reese and I spent three days exploring the coastal city. Lisbon is much larger than I imagined, but fairly easy to get from place to place. There is the famous tram system in Lisbon as well as the metro and bus system, but Reese and I walked just about everywhere. As long as you're staying in the central area, sites are fairly walkable as long as you don't mind some hills.
In many ways, Lisbon felt like patches of other European cities stitched together but somehow still its own, unique place. Walking through the close streets of Bairro Alto reminded me of Dubrovnik and Dublin, with all of the bars tucked into the old buildings. The streets were paved with small, square stones like in Barcelona. Terra cotta roofs like Florence. Graffiti like Rome. Tiles so detailed they could've been seen in Granada, Spain. But yet, Lisbon had it's own energy and life. Like many coastal towns, seafood was abundant though octopus seemed to be the specialty, though neither of us dared to try it.
Highlights of Lisbon
Time Out Market
Can't decide what to eat? Traveling with a big group? Only in town for a quick trip? Go to the southern part of the Bairro Alto neighborhood and stop before you hit sea. The Time Out market is home to over 50 different merchants, ranging from food and drinks to home décor to flower shops. There's truly something for everyone. Reese and I ate there twice in three days and we were not disappointed.
São Jorge Castle
Reese and I are always ready to explore a castle. The São Jorge Castle let us view Lisbon from a birds eye. You could see the sprawling city for miles past the Moorish fortress. The best part of the castle was being able to walk the tops of the walls, but it is not for those afraid of heights. Proceed with caution but the payoff is totally worth it.
Carmo Archaeological Museum
Once a Gothic church, now a Archaeological museum after it was ruined in an earthquake in 1755. While quite a bit of the church fell apart in the earthquake, much of the original structure still stands. I love Gothic architecture, so I'm biased, but it is an amazing structure in the heart of the city. Definitely worth a visit. Even if you don't go inside, there's a nice square near by to have drinks and enjoy the view.
Some extra recommendations
Chiado Arty Flats: Our accommodations that were a perfect mix of hotel and Airbnb, surrounded by plenty of good food and drink.
The Decedente: Just north of the Chiado neighborhood, The Decedente has amazing cocktails and food. Just make sure to make a reservation.
Livraria-Bar Menina e Moça: Of all the cool things we got to see on our trip, little places like this often end up being some of my favorite moments. It's a bookstore and a café. Reese and I spent a couple hours reading, writing, and enjoying some drinks and snacks. It was perfect.