Lisbon – One of Europe’s most romantic cities (Day 1)

What does a travelling couple do when Valentine’s day weekend starts just 3 days after an epic Iceland trip? Fly out after 2 days to a romantic city of course. ❤ We picked Lisbon on a whim having never been to Portugal before. We were blown away! We thought Lisbon was a romantic as Paris if not more. This post describes a long day of travel immediately after flying in on a Friday morning featuring some of Lisbon’s top attractions & fantastic food 🙂

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Individually carved pillars of Jeronimo’s monastery

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The stunning Torre de Belem fortification

Flying with Monarch Airlines

We took another budget airline to fly from the UK to Portugal, Monarch (for the 1st time). The plane was decent and we had ontime departure & arrivals. We’d read up online that this airline comes up in the news often for “disruptive passengers”. We could see why, on both our flights, there were a “group of mates” on the plane. We were happy that both times, all passengers were well behaved. We recommend this airline if you cannot find cheap flights on EasyJet or RyanAir (mentioned in our top International Travel Tips).

A seafood feast kick-off

Here is something a bit embarrassing, we booked our 5* AirBnb in the Intendente area solely because it was the closest flat to Lisbon’s most famous seafood (shellfish) restaurant, Cervejaria Ramiro (recommended by Mark Wiens). We checked in and immediately went for lunch as soon as the restaurant opened at noon.

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Giant tiger prawns – hand for scale

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Barnacles!!

We had a massive feast of garlic clams (good but a bit salty), barnacles (for the 1st time, delicious), giant tiger prawns (surprisingly muscular) and scarlet shrimp (super delicious) along with Portugal’s white green wine. We finished the meal with Prego – a steak sandwich which is treated as a dessert in Lisbon. It was a good steak sandwich but we want our desserts sweet! The meal came to about 90 EUR which is not bad considering the quality & quantity of the food.

Lets see Lisboa

We had gotten the 48 hour Lisboa Card for 31.50 EUR per person which is worth the money to be able to visit as many attractions as possible along with unlimited public transport usage. So after a big lunch, we left for Belem for its two famous attractions, the Jeronimo Monastery and the Tower of Belem. We first had to get to the beautiful square Praca de Figuiera with our first tram ride. It is every bit romantic as you can imagine and has a pretty decent speed to boot!

Guess where we are for the weekend. 😊😊 #carris #tram #europe #eurotrip #travel #wanderlust #photography #yellow #city

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Top tipEven if Google Maps recommends that you take a bus, take a tram when you can. We took the bus and it took needlessly longer. Google Maps is incorrect for Lisbon. 😦

Jeronimo’s Monastery

We arrived at Jeornimo’s monastery just as the weather cleared out. The cathedral is free of charge to visit but the cloisters have an entry fee. The cloisters and the cathedral are incredibly beautiful. Each pillar was uniquely crafted (we’re serious). There was even a play in Portuguese about angels and the devil which a number of youngsters were watching and applauding. Make sure you do not miss seeing one of the most uniquely beautiful cathedrals in Europe.

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Love is in the air

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The Cloister courtyard

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The clothes rack at the far end were costumes for a play

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Ginormous pillars of the cathedral

We have to give a shoutout to the modern candles present in Lisbon churches, these are essentially bulbs that get placed in a socket turning it on making every candle reusable! What a beautiful thought and great execution.

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Make a prayer in a sustainable manner

Refuel with egg tarts

Yet again, we reached a point where our bodies started calling for help from the early morning travel. Luckily, one of Lisbon’s legendary foods was available next door from the monastery, the Pastel de Nata (egg tart pastry) & coffee of Pasteis de Belem. Getting a table there is an experience in itself, the layout is like a labyrinth. At the very end of the maze is the proper sit-down dining seating but if you’re in just for pastry, grab any empty table.

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Trays of freshly baked egg tarts

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Negotiating the labyrinth

Have you spotted the pretty tiles everywhere? Yoda loved the variety of tiles on display throughout Lisbon and captured a lot of them on camera. The egg tarts themselves were quite eggy & sweet. Definitely worth it for someone with a sweet tooth.

Riverside walk to the Belem Tower

Our next stop was the famous Belem Tower. This Manueline style (one of the styles in the Monastery as well) tower was opened in 1519 (celebrating their 500th anniversary soon!). It is one of Lisbon’s top sights and was just a short river-side walk from Pasteis de Belem. On the way, we picked up frozen yogurt from the cutest vendor-van and then passed the ship-shaped Padrão dos Descobrimentos which was looking great in the sunshine.

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Commemorates 500 years of a famous explorer (hence the 5 shape)

 We reached the extremely gorgeous Belem Tower and to get to the ticket office, had to cross a small wooden bridge over the river. Waves were sporadically crashing over the bridge making it look magical 🙂 We spent about an hour first exploring the ground level, then taking the narrow steps to the top and slowly making our way back down stopping at each beautiful level. We particularly like the shot of the woman standing on the door, if you know her, please send her this image #findthemysterywoman

By this time, it was almost 6 PM and looking at the word count, we’re going to stop here. Technically this is all of Day 1, the next post will be about Night 1 in Lisbon, a city famous for nightlife! Stay tuned 🙂

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