Hotel Memmo Alfama, Lisbon
Flying long distance, I try to get a stop over, wherever I haven’t been in order to see a bit of the city whenever I can. So when I was on my way back from Rio de Janeiro, touching down in Lisbon was the perfect catch. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect, but what happened was a city that quickly made it into my top 10 best cities in the world (Sydney, Wellington, Capetown and Dublin being the top of the ranks!). Obviously there is a lot of touristy stuff that, depending on your wishes, you can try and see. I am not a big fan of monuments or landmarks that have to be visited but instead always try to opt for unique areas, nice little boutiques, stylish restaurants and places that locals would go to.
You have got 24 hours in Lisbon? Ok, good, here comes my Lisbon travel guide, in order to make your city trip as special as can be:
Arriving in Portugal’s capital city, I recommend you check into the Hotel Memmo Alfama, this boutique hotel is a real gem and only opened recently in 2014. It’s very close to the Castelo de Sao Jorge (from which you’ll have a wonderful view across town) and situated in the old part of the city. Once checked in, grab some lunch or a coffee just around the corner at Café Pitt. It’s the perfect starting point and offers delicious sandwiches! Once you are ready to go, simply start exploring Lisbon by walk or hop onto the iconic tram. My suggestion: Head up to the Castelo for an hour, walk back down through narrow cobblestone roads (this city is definitely not one for high heels!).
You may even spot Christian Louboutin, he lives up that way. How do I know, well, I spotted him and still can not believe it! But it seems Mister Louboutin spends some time in this city whenever he doesn’t stay in one of his other homes of Paris and Luxor. I was walking up the hill when I heard two man say “Bonjour” – French speaking people in Portugal at 8 am in the morning? Yes, Mister Louboutin was getting some fresh air on his balcony…we exchanged looks, I walked on, looked back again…and there we were smiling before he sneaked back into his abode (I am sure it’s a grand, luxurious palace-type ccomodation from the inside). I was, well shocked and a little embarrassed…I was, after all, walking along in my Nike Air Force Ones.
Anyway, once you have inhaled the view across Lisbon, catch the tram and get off close to Café a Brasileira. This vintage cafe has been a hot spot for over 100 years and sells the world’s best Natas (little custard cakes you simply have to try). Don’t forget to drop by the shop David & David, it’s right around the corner and offers fabulous Portuguese goodies to bring home (not the tacky kind!).
Afterwards head down to Baixa, the shopping area of Lisbon. Generally offering a lot of high street chains, you will still find nice unique shops here and there. My fashion tipp: Véronique. This little boutique is owned by Véronique herself, who formerly worked for designers such as Marc Jacobs and Prada. No wonder, her selection of brands (everything from vintage pieces to the latest Marc Jacobs or Orla Kiely collections) is simply fabulous.
After your shopping trip walk down to Pharmacia to enjoy a nice glass of wine in the afternoon sun. This bar/restaurant is not only situated by one of the nicest lookouts across the river Tejo but it also faces one of Lisbon’s iconic houses, which played a main part in the movie (Night train to Lisbon). It has a wonderful garden which offers stylish seating.
In the evening I suggest you visit Largo. The restaurant is a real go to place for locals offering Portuguese cuisine. Oh, did I meantion you can sit by the aquarium watching jellyfish go by?
This is exactly how I spent my 24 hours in Lisbon and I a already looking forward to go back!
All images taken by stylethemonkey