Lisbon for Lovers: A romantic stroll through the city
Golden sunsets, cobbled, winding streets to get lost in, stunning views – there’s no denying that Lisbon is a romantic spot to explore.
Since moving here, I get a lot of messages asking for recommendations (and if you’re planning a visit, do hit me up), and loads of these are from couples, many on honeymoons, mini-moons or just a quick romantic break.
Ben and I actually came here on our own mini-moon in October 2017, a few months before moving over. We had some wonderful experiences that made that trip really special, and have since discovered even more. I’m working on a full post of some favourite spots – from ‘secret’ miradourous to fun rooftop bars, and dark and cosy dinner spots – but for the day that’s in it I thought I’d share a very quick and simple romantic stroll that takes in some of the city centre’s most well known and beloved attractions, as well as some tried and tested great spots to eat and drink.
Start with: A sunset stroll
It’s not hard to see why Lisbon has so much romantic charm – that gorgeous light, the beautiful, crumbly, pastel buildings, and loads of stunning viewpoints from which to soak it all in. One of our favourites is the Santa Justa viewing platform, high above the busy, bustling Baixa district. Definitely best seen at sunset, it gives you beautiful 360º views of the city and really helps you get a lay of the land too, as you can make out most major landmarks from here.
Pro tip: The main way to get up to the platform is through the Elevador de Santa Justa, pictured above – it’s an impressive lift from the early 1900s designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel (hence the similarities between it and the Eiffel Tower). However, the vast majority of the time there’ll be long queues – at least over 40 minutes – for the lift, as it has a strict max capacity. But you can easily skip the lift part and simply head up to the viewing tower on foot. The easiest way is to navigate to Topo Chiado (itself a fab spot for a rooftop drink) or the beautiful Carmo Ruins and take the steps up. You’ll pay a €1.50 entrance fee and climb a cool spiral staircase up to the viewing platform, beating all the queues for the lift.
After you’ve soaked in those gorgeous views, ideally with the sun still soft and golden, make your way on foot to Praça do Comércio.
One of the biggest squares in Europe, it’s impressive at any time of day but I think looks particularly magical come sunset. Wander around the square, check out the stunning arches that flank it, the statue of Dom José at its centre and even nip into the “The Sexiest WC on Earth” if you fancy it. It’s just a pretty place for a stroll and some snaps. There are also bars and restaurants around the square’s edges, though do bear in mind you’ll definitely pay tourist prices here.
Then, make your way across the road to where the city opens up to the Tagus estuary. A gorgeous spot to breathe in the breeze, soak in the last of the soft, golden light and admire views up and down the river.
All pics above taken on our mini-moon (pre Ari!) by wonderful photography duo The Barilles. Pics below by me.
Drinks & Dinner
Once the sun has set, it’s time to enjoy Lisbon’s other charms: food and drink. While I work on a fuller list, you might want to check out the below:
For wine, we love By The Wine, which is walking distance from Praça do Comércio. It’s a really pretty wine bar, with a ceiling made of wine bottles, and they also serve very tasty cheese and meat boards (you can have dinner here too, though we haven’t tried it yet). For Portuguese craft beers, head to Crafty Corner which was a regular haunt of ours pre-baby. It has a great selection of local beers and is in a super handy location in Cais do Sodre, near plenty of places to eat and drink, including Time Out Market.
(If you fancy going a little off the beaten track, you could head to the Oitava Colina craft beer kiosk in Graça, which looks like a regular coronership kiosk but has craft beers on tap. We also recently paid a visit to the Musa brewery and tap rooms out in Marvila which was a cool spot. We were there on a Sunday, so it was very quiet, but I get the impression the whole place is buzzing come the evening, as there were lots of promising- looking bars dotted about the place.)
And finally, for a cosy romantic meal, look no further than Taberna Rua Das Flores, which is a few doors up from By The Wine. This dark and cosy restaurant used to be one of the city’s best kept secrets but the cat is truly out of the bag now, with write ups in major guides and travel posts. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s still an incredibly charming spot with great food. They’re cash only and don’t take reservations – what we’ve one is put our name on the list then headed down to By The Wine (or Crafty Corner, if craft beer is more your thing) for a drink while we wait.
My current favourite restaurant in the city, however, is Prado – gorgeous interiors, delicious, beautifully presented sharing plates and amazing wine.
A Cevicheria, below, is also a fun spot, and never fails to please (definitely try their Pisco Sours if you go). If it’s too packed at dinner, we’ve been for lunch (with Ari in tow) and it’s just as yum.
And that’s it! A picturesque stroll, lovely city views and some great places to eat and drink. What more do you need?