It was mid-January in Yerevan and I was itching for a winter getaway. Back in January 2019, I had a blast vacationing in cold-climate, off the beaten path countries, but this year I wanted to experience warm diversity!
It all started with a recommendation from a friend and the wonderful coincidence that Ryanair started flights from Yerevan to Europe exactly at the time that I was ready to escape. Landing in Lisbon, I was thinking, ‘where has all this color and diversity been all my life?!’ 😍
When we arrived at the Airbnb, I knew it was the place I was always supposed to visit — hello sunshine and colorful landscape! Our flat was spacious and bright but the best part was the view from the large balcony. I loved waking up early and enjoying my breakfast ☕ while watching the sunrise and waving to the friendly neighbors. Edge-to-edge color and beauty!
Lisbon by Night
Just as soon as we settled in, it was time to hit the town. We decided on riding the metro to meet some new friends in the city center. The metro has 4 lines with many convenient stations. Compared to my native NYC it was a breeze to use the metro in Lisbon, but like NYC it does get jam-packed during rush hour.
The beautiful evening cityscape greeted us upon exiting the Rossio station. I truly enjoyed the lights and the architecture along with the diverse crowd. What a wonderful place! It was the perfect time to join our friends on a walking tour. Fascinated by my surroundings and the lively conversation I forgot to take pictures😅. We saw a few of the famous tourist spots such as Convento do Carmo and Elevador de Santa Justa.
More importantly, I remembered to take some pictures of the traditional Portuguese fare. First up, Bifana, a simple yet deliciously seasoned pork cutlet on a sandwich roll. We went to a small shop which boasted the best Bifana. I opted for beef and it really was delicious 😋 .
After devouring that meal, we took another walk down the quaint and quiet side streets of Lisbon in search of a sweet treat. We found our dessert at Manteigaria where my friends ordered the famous Portuguese pasteis de nata for us. We were able to watch the process as they were being made. Nothing can be compared to fresh out of the oven, rich custard tarts 🤤🥧.
Lisbon by Day
It was Sunday morning and time to get on the famous tram number 28! It’s true what they say about the lines, best to get there early to avoid waiting for hours. Thankfully, it was Sunday and the wait wasn’t so bad, probably around 40 minutes.
This classic Lisbon tram dates back to the 1930’s and takes you through the popular tourist districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela. A one-way tram ticket is €3.00. We boarded at the first stop, Martim Moniz, so that we could get seats next to the window. Hold on during those hairpin turns and sharp brakes! My favorite part was riding to the last stop then taking a stroll down the narrow streets admiring the beautifully tiled buildings.
Time Out Market
We opted to walk to the Time Out Market from the last stop on the tram. The Time Out Market is a buzzing food hall compromised of 4 and 5 star rated dishes from famous Lisbon chefs. There are a ton of food, drink and dessert options to choose from. Just make sure not to be in a time crunch as lines are long in the afternoon and finding a table is a struggle. My group decided on Ground Burger which boasted American-style burgers with Angus beef. Burgers were one of the things I missed most being away from New York and these were certainly worth the wait. Those freshly made buns and layer of red onions on top of the Angus beef were what I had been looking for! There were so many stalls to choose from and I would love to spend more time sampling different dishes on my next visit.
Next up, a walk by Jardim da Torre de Belém. It was a lovely afternoon with many families basking in the sunshine and taking in the view of the Belem tower. Although we didn’t tour inside, we enjoyed the outdoor gardens and watching the sun set over the water.
This is a great place to spend time outdoors with your friends and family. Many took advantage of the Lime scooters or rode bikes along the path. It was a wonderful place to end our Lisbon experience before heading to our flat to reminisce over a glass of wine 🍷.
Next Up: Sintra, Portugal!