Hello! My girlfriend and I recently travelled to Barcelona & Mallorca (posts to follow) and had a 10 hour layover in Lisbon so…. here is what to do if you have 12 hours in Lisbon (well technically 9 hours because 3 will be spent in driving to & fro from airport as well as immigration)
For this trip, we focused on exploring only the food & drinks scene since 9 hours is too short period of time to check out all the awe-inspiring cathedrals, monasteries and museums that Lisbon – one of the oldest cities of Western Europe, has to offer.
If you are pressed on time, take an Uber and drop off at Lisbon’s Old Quarter (will not cost you more than 15 euros) (didn’t get paid to recommend them, was just very convenient for us!)
Stop #1 Estamine Art Food Drink: This is a family owned restaurant in the Graca district. There are a TON of really nice restaurants in Lisbon but the reason this one stands out is because of Joice and Luis – the owners of the restaurant. When you go to Estamine, you will not be in a restaurant but in their kitchen, will feel part of their family and have a real discussion about life in Europe & Portugal vs. any touristy encounters. This by far makes them stand out and I would recommend everyone to visit their restaurant. The food was GREAT – they somehow manage to cater to all types of dietary restrictions and yet make the food taste delicious!
Stop #2 Old Quarters – Miradoura Da Graca: Estamine is located in Graca which is part of the Old Quarters – a picturesque neighborhood made up of maze of narrow streets, winding alleys and steep flights of steps. Its Kasbah-like layout is deliberate – this is the city’s ancient Arab district, and was created to prevent opposing warriors from brining their ammunition up the slopes. The small archways and stone-paved terraces are full of atmosphere and great fun to explore by foot.
Stop #3 Alfama District: is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon and is located between Sao Jorge Castle and Tejo river. Its name comes from Arabic Al-hamma meaning ‘Hot Fountains’ or ‘Baths’. You don’t see a ton of fountains anymore but there are remnants of the previous foundation. While in Alfama stop by Portas do Sol also called Gates to the Sun which offers a great viewpoint of the city and comes with a coffee bar. Soak in this ancient district and take as many pictures as you can because this is truly one of the most photographed neighborhoods of all!
Stop #4 Ginginha do Carmo: Ginjinha or Ginja is a Portuguese liqueur made by infusing sour cherry in alcohol with sugar…lots of it and served as a shot. There is a very famous bar called A Ginginha however it has tons and tons of tourists lined up which kind of kills the charm of having a traditional Portuguese drink in a traditional setting. Soooo I recommend Ginginha Do Carmo which is situated in Santa Justa near the train station. It is literally a hole in the wall (no for real, no chairs or anything) BUT it serves delicious Ginja and since this is a local spot you will be able to meet a ton of locals too!
Stop # 5 Sangria on the roof top of Car Park: There is a fantastic rooftop bar on the top of a car park. It can be hard to find if you don’t know what to look for. There are signs at the entrance of the garage letting you know you’ve found the right spot. Just take the elevator to the top floor, walk up one more and voila! They have good drink selections but more importantly the views!!! Definitely a nice way to end your evening!
Let me know what you thought of my recommendations! As always feel free to leave comments/ feedback and any suggestions if I missed anything.