Friday, 20 July 2018

8 Things To See & Do In Lisbon, Portugal | Part 1

Hello everyone! How has your day been? Just when I thought the heatwave was over, the sunshine was back again today, bringing along with it all of the things I dislike about Summertime. I probably sound like some sort of scrooge right now, but I just love the rain! (If you couldn't already tell from my blog name ;) haha!). I suppose one good thing about these bright, hot days we've been having is that it's been making me reminisce about my trip abroad earlier this year. If you've ever been to a country that's known for it's nice weather, then you'll have experienced how different the heat feels over there, compared to at home. When I was on holiday, the heat was lovely and I enjoyed it for the most part, yet being here in the UK and trying to deal with the heatwave has been horrid... I'm not going to sugarcoat it, I've been a moany, achy, sweaty mess for around a month now XD On the bright side, thinking about how much I enjoyed my holiday has given me a kick up the butt, to finally get around to blogging all about it! So, at long last, here is part 1 of my little guide on things to do and see if you ever visit Lisbon, which you totally should because it's delightful! I hope you all enjoy reading :) 

* [update] I totally spoke too soon, as it started raining later today! But oh well :D I am not convinced this is the end of the heatwave! I've been hearing that it's supposed to be even hotter next week than it's been so far this year! If rumours are true, S.O.S! 

1) Belem Tower

This historical site was by far one of my most favourite visits that we made whilst in Lisbon! The Torre de Belem is a stunning piece of architecture and is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site so I'm super happy that I got to tick it off my list :) It has always been a dream to mine to visit as many of the UNESCO sites as possible! The tower was built in the 16th century as a fortress to help protect Lisbon from invasions by sea, well technically by river as the Belem Tower is found on the banks of the River Tagus (apparently it was originally build on a small island just off the shore, but its location has changed over time... how cool is that!?). It is such an impressive structure, towering over the water at over 90ft tall! The views from the top are amazing; from one side you can see across the river to Almada at the other side and get a great view of the iconic 25 de Abril bridge, and from the other side you can see over the gorgeous Belem district of Lisbon.

As far as I can remember, the entry to the tower was €6, but I think it was well worth it to see inside! You can get a wonderful view of the building without paying the entrance fee though, the area surrounding the tower is lovely. There's a huge area of grass where people sit, have picnics and relax in the sunshine (there's ice cream vans around here too!), then if you scroll down the river front for 10 minutes you find another of Lisbon's gorgeous tourist attractions. If you do pay to go inside, it is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, there are no lifts in the tower and the stairs are very narrow and steep. There's a lot of them too... I'm sure there was a sign that said 100 steps!! It was really difficult for me to climb the tower, but there are several levels where I could stop off and rest for a while before tackling another set of stairs. Each of these levels is filled with various signs containing historical information, which was fun for a history nerd like me! 

Something that I loved about the tower was the aged white colour of it, I've never seen anything quite like it in person before! It just made it look even more gorgeous against the vibrant blue shade of the surrounding water. I found out that it is made of limestone. The best part of the experience of visiting Belem Tower for me was the view from the top... it was just so pretty and made the pain I felt all over my body after climbing worth it! 

Torre de Belem Lisbon Portugal

Torre de Belem Lisbon Portugal

Torre de Belem Lisbon Portugal

2) Padrão dos Descobrimentos / Monument of the Discoveries 

As I mentioned above, if you walk around ten minutes from the Torre de Belem, you will reach this amazing monument. You can get a good view of it from the top of the tower, but even if you do, you should definitely go and see it on the ground, because it is really impressive and not to be missed! The background of the River Tagus really makes the monument pop, it just stands out so much and looks even more stunning! It is a tribute to the era of discovery in Portuguese history, when their ships travelled across the World and then back to the Lisbon ports. The Monument of the Discoveries stands at 171 feet, is made of dazzling white-coloured stone, and has been there since the end of the 1950's. You can also pay to go inside this attraction, but we decided not to because we'd already been up the Belem Tower (it's around €5) . The area surrounding the monument is nice for walking around and exploring. There's a marina filled with boats and also some cute little cafes/ice cream shops. There is also a cache hidden at this location for my fellow geocachers :) I can't really express how awesome I thought this monument was, so I'll let my photos 'do the talking'! 

Monument of the Discoveries Lisbon Portugal

3) Eat Pastel de Nata at Belem

If you've been a follower of mine on Instagram for a while now, you'll likely have seen me post photos of these iconic Portuguese sweet treats when I was in Lisbon, and yes they taste as delicious as they look! I was very much looking forward to trying a Pastel de Nata for myself after reading about them time and time again on Lisbon blog posts and tourist websites whilst I was researching for my trip. I'd seen people trying them on vlogs and they just looked so yummy, and I was certainly curious about whether they'd resemble the British egg custard tart. I don't like our standard egg custard tarts, but I really enjoyed the Pastel de Nata, which although it looks similar, is quite different in my opinion. The custard used is much sweeter and more fluffy? than our egg custard tart, and the pastry is thin, flaky and crispy. Biting into a Pastel de Nata creates the most satisfactory crunch! 

We found our first Pastel de Nata four days into our trip, close to another spot I'm going to talk about later in this post, at a café called Cafeteria Sao Nicolau. This lovely little place has a bakery and an ice-cream kiosk, and I'm pretty sure it serves other foods too because there are tables both inside and outside the establishment. I spotted the Pastel de Nata's in the window from a mile off and excitedly headed over because I was desperate to finally eat one! They were only €1 and they were lovely and warm, and freshly baked in store. I loved my first Portuguese egg custard tart! 

We didn't stop at just one Pastel de Nata! When we visited Belem to see the tower and other historical attractions, I knew the famous Pasteis de Belem bakery was close by! This is where literally every vlogger I watched went to get their custard tarts, because it is supposed to be the place to get the most traditional version of the Pastel de Nata tart. I can't recommend this bakery enough, because their custard tarts were so delicious! They tasted better than the one we first tried and weren't that much more price wise, which I was surprised by! There is a café inside the bakery and I kinda wish we'd had time to sit in and eat, however we were in rush to see lots more of Lisbon as it was our last day there! We found a pretty park that was hidden down the side of some buildings, and was bordered by orange trees! It was so nice to just sit there amongst the trees on a park bench and eat scrumptious treats :) 

4) Praça do Comercio, and the surrounding area

This massive square is commonly referred to as the yellow square, as it is surrounded by the most gorgeous buildings, many of which are painted bright yellow. I think they look so pretty in contrast to all of the white buildings! We didn't get to see the square in it's original state until towards the end of our trip as this area was chosen for the location of the Eurovision Village. If you didn't already know, me and my friends are Eurofans and so we travelled to Lisbon for the Eurovision Song Contest. We went to both of the semi final concerts, but unfortunately we didn't manage to get tickets for the grand finale. It turned out alright in the end though as we spent the night in an amazing nightclub, cheering and singing along with fellow Eurofans from all over the World, which was an experience I will never forget! The Eurovision Village is set up in the host city as a meeting place for Eurovision fans, where they can buy merchandise and refreshments, go to rehearsals and meet-and-greet events, etc., and on the night of the final, they had a huge screen there for people to watch the Eurovision together :) 

Cool fact: the Praça do Comercio square was originally part of the grounds of a palace, called the Royal Ribeira Palace, which was destroyed by an earthquake and the square is all that remains! 

When the Eurovision was over *cry cry* and the Eurovision Village was no more, we re-visited the square and it looked so much bigger than it seemed before! It was lovely to be able to see the huge statue in the centre and get a better look at all of the buildings and cafes hidden around the outside of the square. Leading off of the square through a very impressive archway was a street lined with restaurants and shops. This is a good place to pick up souvenirs and also where we found our first Pastel de Nata. Once you've reached the end of the street, if you keep walking forwards, you'll end up at another pretty little spot called Praça do Rossio/ Rossio Square. There you will find a really tall monument, an awesome fountain and lots of little side- streets which lead off to more shops and restaurants. 

Within the area between these two squares, you will also stumble upon another of Lisbon's most popular tourist attractions, the Santa Justa Elevator. It is such a cool structure to see! It is made of iron and is so unique to look at. It is almost 150ft high and you can pay to travel up the elevator for a brilliant view over the whole city! I think the entrance fee is only around 2 euros as well, but don't quote me on that! Oh and it was built in 1902, so it's incredible that it's still working after all this time!

So, you've reached the end of Part 1 of my little Lisbon travel guide. I'll be writing all about four more places to go and things to do in the second part of my post :) I originally wanted to write this as one long post but I can't help stop myself writing an essay everytime I start typing so I've decided it's best to have a part two, which will be up in a few days time! I hope you enjoyed reading all about my holiday to Lisbon and learning about  all of the gorgeous attractions that this beautiful city has to offer! 

Thankyou for reading!

Which of the four attractions/locations I've included do you most like the sound of?

Have you ever been to Lisbon? 

I'd love to hear if you've visited some of these places! What did you think of them? 



  1. It looks like a beautiful city! I always forget those egg tarts are originally from Portugal because they're so popular in China but one day I'll have to go to Portugal and try the OG haha xoxo

    1. It really is! How awesome that they are popular in China too! I'd love to try the Chinese version some day and compare it :) You definitely should, Portugal is just gorgeous! x


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