24 Hours in Lisbon? 7 Experiences Not To Miss

24 Hours in Lisbon? 7 Experiences Not To Miss- From seductive Fado music, to delectable pastries and great wine, Lisbon is a city rich with history, arts and culture. You could easily spend many days strolling the narrow cobblestone streets, absorbing the many gifts the city has to offer. If you've only got a day to explore, however, here are seven experiences not to be missed!

1 ) Morning espresso and pastries at Cafe Brasileira (Rua Garrett 120)

This famed cafe is an institution in Lisbon. One of the oldest cafes in the city, Cafe Brasileira was where the great Portuguese writers, artist and intellectuals gathered to ponder life, politics and enjoy a strong drink.

2 ) Afternoon shopping at the outdoor market in Rossio Square

Rossio square transforms into a bustling marketplace on Saturdays and Sundays. You can find everything here, from local cheese and wine to flowers and jewelry. Perch by the fountain and enjoy live music and performances in the summertime.

3 ) Have a custom perfume made at Perfumaria Alceste -Rua da Conceição, 85(Lisboa - Baixa )

Perfumarias or perfume shops are a ubiquitous sites on the streets of Lisbon, but Perfumaria Alceste is different. Here, you can custom blend your own perfume. Choose from hundreds of scents to create a fragrance unique to you.

4 ) Ride the Santa Justa Elevator - Rua de Santa Justa

The Santa Justa Elevator is the only remaining vertical lift in the city of Lisbon. Ride to the top for stunning panoramic city views.

5 ) Take a streetcar into the old neighborhood of Alfama

Compact and vintage, the streetcars navigate the narrow winding streets of Lisbon with precision and grace. This is one of the best ways to see some of the older neighborhoods like Alfama. The Moorish architecture in Alfama is absolutely gorgeous.

6 ) Drink vinho verde at the cafe at the end of Rua de Santa Catarina, in Baixa/Chiado

One of the most relaxing spots in the city, this is the perfect place to sip vinho verde (green wine), a local favorite. The cafe bearing the sign Zon, offers a panoramic view of Lisbon and is an ideal place to watch the sun set.


7 ) Enjoy an evening of live Fado music at Senhor Vinho- Rua do Meio a Lapa 18

Declared by UNESCO to be an intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Fado is a melodic expression of melancholy love and loss. Incredibly lyric and moving, Fado is the music of Portugal and nowhere in Lisbon is the Fado finer then at Senhor Vinho. The owner, Maria da Fe, is one of Portugal's great voices of Fado.

What is the first thing you would do if you only had 24 hours in Lisbon?

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Lisbon, Portugal Photo Essay

Lisbon, Portugal Photo Essay- Ten twenty Euro notes come tumbling crisply from the machine. As you reach for your money, you're jolted forward. A gruff hand is on your right shoulder. Your fingers form a tight fist around your money as you swivel around.

"Please, I'm hungry, I need money for food."

A filthy hand is thrust in your face. You step backwards and stare dumbfounded at the dark pleading eyes before you.

"Excuse me." You wave the skinny unshaven man away with your free hand.

"Please, I'm so hungry." He steps closer.

His teeth are brown, you can smell his breath.

You step backwards,shoving your money into your bag without sorting it into your wallet. "No."

You wonder if you should break and run.

"I need money for soup. Please you have money."

"I'm sorry." You shake your head nervously, he's too close.

"Soup. I just want soup." He reaches for your arm again.


The ferocity of your response startles you. Moreover, the ferocity of your response startles him. He steps back, looking confused as you grab your belongings and run-walk down the street.

You follow the acute right angles of the narrow glossy streets. Moorish architecture towers above you. There are so many colors- multiple shades of coral and yellow, jade and blue. A network of wrought iron balconies hover above. An odd violet or rose sneaks between the bars. You begin to relax.

You trek uphill, then downhill, up again, then down. The soles of your shoes fight for tread against the slick tiles covering the ground in black and white marble-like patches. Around every corner, a bookstore, a cafe- this is a place where thoughts, ideas, words, are sacred. You stand, face pressed against glass, like a child at an aquarium, admiring the dark textured wood of the bookshelves. Now this, you think, this is a bookstore. Volumes of fresh books, not a kindle in sight, just a sea of crisp paper and sturdy wood. Breathing in the literary spirit of Lisbon, you feel in kindred company with the faces you pass as you continue your trek uphill.

Lisbon is a city of contrasts and colors.

A city on the water, a city of seven hills.

A city of wealth, a city of poverty.  Immaculately polished streets supported 16th century buildings covered in graffiti.

Lisbon is the place to go for a slow alfresco lunch or dinner. Savor the wine, the flavors, an after dinner espresso.

On the streets of Lisbon, music, entertainment and culture are rich. The Nitty Gritty About This City- Airport: Lisbon's Portela Airport is centrally located- about a 15-20 minute drive to the heart of the city. The close proximity was convenient and meant a taxi ride was only about 6 Euros from our hotel to the airport. Upon arrival, we took the local bus from the airport to our hotel. We paid 2 Euros for the thirty minute bus ride. The buses in Lisbon are clean, spacious (stroller plus bags) and easy to navigate! Getting Around: Lisbon is a walkable city and is pretty easy to navigate once you understand the grid. Old fashioned streetcars roll through the city and can take a load off of tired feet as the city is full of hills. Taxis are a ubiquitous site and they're very easy to hail off the street. You will find many taxi queues as well. Beware of Beggars! We were followed by some extremely aggressive beggars. Be sure to watch your bags and assert a clear and non-negotiable "no!"Exercise caution at ATM machines. In one instance, I was withdrawing money, my sister was standing right behind me with a baby stroller to block me and a beggar still ended up beside me, way too close for comfort. As a New Yorker, I thought I was used to things like this, but in Lisbon, a simple no, or an ignore, means beg harder and follow even closer, you have to be aggressive.

Have you traveled to Lisbon? What were your impressions?

The Festival of the Iberian Masks


One of the things I absolutely adore about travel is the likely hood that you'll run into something wonderful and unexpected. Such was the case, when we accidentally found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the Festival of the Iberian Masks. Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013

The what?

The Festival of the Iberian Masks is relatively new, less than ten years old and is a joyous celebration of Portuguese culture.

Drummers Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013

Drummers Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013

Loud, bawdy and fun, it feels like a carnival of sorts. Participants dress in elaborate and colorful costumes and masks as they march, gyrate and holler in celebration of their shared story.

Children Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon 2013There were masks that resembled bull heads, there were masquerade style masks, and priest costumes. The masks and costumed dress served to preserve an individuals anonymity as they are allowed the freedom of expression. People used this to their full advantage as some marchers veered off the parade course interacting with  spectators. One man, with a bull-horn mask, went so far as to head butt unsuspecting observers. It was all in good fun as he was met with shrieks of excitement and chuckles.


Even Ohm, who is afraid of clowns and big bird, laughed and clapped to the music and at the masks.


The parade marched down Terreiro do Paço, up Rua do Ouro (where we happened upon it), and into Praça do Rossio (one of Lisbon's main downtown squares).

What sorts of discoveries have you happened upon on your travels?

The Fine Food of Lisbon!


In a city bursting with restaurants, bakeries and cafes, the worst part about eating in Lisbon was deciding where and what to eat. I had a horrible cold the entire time I was there (of course) which made tasting and smelling almost impossible. My senses were restored my last two days and I did as much snacking and eating as humanly possible to make up for everything. Here are some of the great things we sampled.

Vinho verde, also known as green wine. This wine is very popular in Portugal. Once again, I had no taste buds this day, but as you can see from the look on my sister's face, it's pretty tasty.

More vegetable pesto soup. This is a popular soup in Portugal.

Salmon and latkes

Bacallao- salted and dried cod fish, a favored staple in Portugal.

"Okay, really. Where's my food mom?!?"  The service was slow, but very much worth the wait. Take a look at the plush kiddie chair- quite fancy.

This was our favorite outdoor cafe.

Vanilla cream and chocolate croissants. What a great motivation to rise early!

Delicious espresso! No sugar, no milk, straight to the veins.

Sangria! The wine in Lisbon was so cheap, we couldn't help it.

I love that Ohm's milk was served in tiny espresso cups. He loved the milk too. I'm thinking the milk was cream. It was very thick and smelled like vanilla.

Vegetable paella

Mango gelatto

Vegetable quiche and salad.

White sangria, so cool, so bubbly.

A green and hearty salad.

Salmon steak! The fish is AMAZING in Portugal.

Though Port is not my cup of tea, I had to go there since I was in Portugal after all.

Savory vegetable pesto soup

Pasta with a dollop of fresh ricotta.

The Portuguese love cod fish and serve it in many ways. This was a simple grilled cod.

Chocolate mousse with strawberry rock candy that popped and fizzled in our mouths.

Street Art or Sabotage?


SONY DSC Lisbon is welcoming us with twinkling eyes. We've hit somewhat of a winning streak, particularly when it comes to this unseasonably warm and sunny weather. In a city that is gray and sodden a typical 138 days out of the year (June-August are supposed to be lovely),  Lisbon, with its perfect Mediterranean summer weather is a city of extremes.

For us, Lisbon is revealing nothing of her dark dreary side. Clean, beautiful, ornate and charming, this city of surprises can add gritty and edgy to its virtues.

I'm awed by the graffiti street art that sprinkles many of Lisbon's old historic buildings. The city at times reminds me of an elegant older lady, sophisticated and dressed to the nines with both arms full of shocking colorful tattoos.

Take a look...





What do you think, art or sabotage?