Jul 6

Please Help!

lisbon portugal
After taking stock of my wardrobe situation I realized that I’m in desperate need of a few new pieces for our upcoming trip to Portugal. And while I went on a major internet shopping spree (you can check out some of the things I picked up below if you’d like), I realized that it’s about as prepared as I’ve been thus far. With just a couple short weeks before we depart, I’ve yet to do any research on where to go, what to see, where to eat, and what’s absolutely not to miss in Lisbon, Sintra, and Lagos. This post is slightly selfish on my part as it exists solely so that I can do some crow sourcing. Have you ever been to Portugal? I’d love to hear your tips, tricks, and any words of wisdom, advice, or recommendations. As mentioned, we’re actually going to be taking our engagement photos with Branco Prata in Lisbon (and to say I’m excited would be the most massive understatement in the entire planet). With that in mind, I’d specifically love to know if you have any recommendations for makeup artists so I can get fancified pre-shoot. Thank you, kindly, in advance. 


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City: Bon Traveler | Green Door: Unkown | White Hotel: Style Files | Black Door: Danielle Moss | Pink Building: Estee Lalonde

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  1. Sonia King says:

    .Yes, I can help you with this!! I am Portuguese but I live in London :)


    SEE: you must visit Lisbon jewels: Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and Torre de belem. Both were build in honor of the Portuguese maritime expansion and have a very peculiar style – Manuelino. You can also visit the Lisbon castle and the city main roads and square at Baixa/Chiado. But the beauty of Lisbon is not in the big touristic landmarks but on the small sidewalk streets and boroughs. Loose yourself in the city’s labyrinth, explore the small artisan shops and bars and tascas in the cobble side streets!
    Lisbon is neighbored by a town called cascais which is very pretty and has an amazing coastline – I would totally recommend taking the scenic view towards cascais and spend some time exploring the city/beach here

    EAT: to eat well and cheaply in Lisbon you must get out of the city’s main arteries (Chiado/Baixa) and look for eateries in the side streets. They will look dodgy; most will have a grill/BBQ right at the entrance, paper towels and will be full of locals… I promise you that the food is delicious! Have the house wine (as instead of bottled) which is amazingly cheap and good. Some of these places will do lunch deals like 7euro for a meal including soup, main, dessert, coffee and drinks (yes, its that amazingly cheap)
    To eat somewhere fancier but still not with hefty price tags go to “Mercado da ribeira”. Here you will find stalls of food prepared by Portuguese head chefs – it’s elevated Portuguese food and a very good experience and I totally recommend!
    For fancy-elevated dinning experiences (you got me here) you can go to the following restaurants
    *solar dos presuntos
    *Bica do sapato

    BEWARE: of pickpockets. They operate in the main touristy areas and in the “electrico”. You will also find a few weirdos trying to sell you weed/drugs in the Baixa/Chiado


    SEE: must not miss “Quinta da Regaleira” and “Palacio da Pena”. These 2 places are literally out of a fairytale! If you have time you should also visit “palacio de seteais” which is also a hotel (If you can afford to stay here its even better as its a real gem)

    EAT you must go to “Piriquita” patisserie and have a traditional “Travesseiro”. These almond filo pastries are to die for. They will try to sell you the “Queijadas de Sintra”, which are good, but they are more of the same of the (yes, amazing) Portuguese patisserie..


    SEE: where to start? This is a blessed part of the world!
    The natural beauty of “ponta da piedade” is breathtaking. You must not miss “Praia do Camilo” which is a real gem and one of my favorite beaches ever. Praia dona Ana is also a beauty. While in Lagos try to do either a padel or kayak experience and go visit the benagil –I promise you its well worth it..! The whole place is just very pretty but I must warn you the town can be very touristy at places. You will feel the difference in prices between Lisbon and the Algarve.

    EAT: you will find plenty of seafood restaurants in Lagos marine which are very nice – but beware that they like to overcharge turists.

    *try to not behave like a tourist, I know this may sound silly but really, you will be overcharged if you only speak in English. Try to learn some Portuguese expressions like “obrigado” (thanks) and “por favor” (please) they will take you a long way..
    *when eating in restaurants (unless you are on a lunch menu, as described above) the waiters will ALWAYS bring cheese, pates, butter, olives to the table first thing, without asking you if you want these. Please note that you will be charged if you eat these (its not loads, but all adds up) and you can just say you don’t want those and normally they will take it back without saying a word. It’s a scam to make you consume more at restaurants and they all do it! Now some of those appetizers are very tasty so you may want to try them once..
    * The Portuguese serve every meat dish with both white rice and chips. Its not weird, its just the way it is!
    *always ask for the house wine, preferably if they serve it in jars. Its normally delicious and cheap as chips. While in Portugal don’t miss the “vinho verde” (or green wine) a refreshing take on rose. You can get it both frizzy and non fizzy versions (green while is normally bottled, try “muralhas” for a good wine without breaking the bank)

    I cannot think of anything else right now (or have much time left from my lunchtime..) but please send me an email if you have any doubts or concerns (should be with the comment?). Like you I am preparing to go to Portugal soon (end of July/1st week of Aug) and dying for my holidays!!!

    Sonia xoxo

    • SONIA, YOU ARE SUCH A GEM. Seriously – this list has been so instrumental in helping us as we plan. I wish I could thank you in person or take you for a drink. Truly, this is so helpful! XO

  2. Well, I certainly can’t help like Sonia King, but I know that everyone I’ve talked to has absolutely loved their time in Portugal – spectacular food, super friendly people, and beautiful views. And, if you have time you may want to visit the city of Porto. If you love drinking port wine at all, that’s where it originated and it’s supposed to be fantastic. And if you like Harry Potter, there’s a gorgeous bookstore there called Livraria Lello Bookshop that inspired J. K. Rowling and the Hogwarts library she wrote about. Have a great time on your trip!

  3. Michelle says:

    I loved Portugal so much when I visited. It’s high on my list to return at some point. There is so much to see, do, and EAT! My most favorite restaurant was Taberna da Rua das Flores in Lisbon. I think of it often, years later. A Sintra daytrip is a must. We should have spent more time there. The house wines are never a disappointment. Sticking to the menu of the day yields some deliciously fresh food. Learning the basics in Portuguese goes a long way. People are so friendly regardless. Porto is magical. It felt like a fairy tale coupled with Harry Potter. You really won’t be bummed!

  4. Judith says:

    Hi Jacqueline,

    Firstly, congratulations on your engagement and your new home. It is all very exciting time for you. Your Mom must be over the moon!

    I had the pleasure of working in Lisbon for a short time and loved it. I found the city very walkable and the subway fabulous. Do not miss the palace at Sintra. It is a spectacular reminder of the world power Portugal once was. The Algarve is beautiful but drive carefully getting there! The highway is legendary.

  5. Jennifer Howard says:

    I agree with Ashley – our favorite part of Portugal was Porto and the Douro Valley (the history in Porto, visiting the wineries in the valley and sailing the river, our stay at Six Senses there (amazing food and spa), etc.) – but of course Lisbon and Sintra are charming (hire a private guide for Sintra as it will be super crowded when you go) and the beaches in Lagos beautiful. I’ll second Sonia’s rec for Mercado da Ribeira – our favorite lunch spot over all the fancier sit down restaurants we went to. Definitely check out some of the rooftop bars for great views of Lisbon – the one in H10 Duque de Loule was fun. Near Lagos, we enjoyed all the restaurants at Vila Vita Parc and a little further down the coast is Vila Joya (two Michelin stars). Have a great trip – we loved Portugal!

  6. Jennifer Howard says:

    Oh, and though a little touristy, we loved the boat tour of the beach caves (Carvoeiro Caves). Small boat, and the best way to get into all those amazing beach caves.

  7. Melissa says:

    Hi Jacquelyn,

    Long time reader from Alberta – love your blog! My husband and I honeymooned in Portugal and completely fell in love. We hope to go again at some point! If you have time to squeeze it into your trip, I’d recommend going up to Porto. It was our favourite city! I made the below guide for some friends shortly after we got back – I hope you find it useful as well!


    We took a day trip to Sintra from Rossio train station, which is located just north of the Baixa area. It took about 40 minutes and was only 6 or 7 euro for a roundtrip. I recommend going on a weekday, and getting there right when the Palaces open because it got incredibly busy throughout the day.

    We were told by a local that the best palaces to visit are Sintra National Palace, Pena Palace, Monserrate Palace and Moorish Castle. We visited Pena Palace, which was neat and the National Palace (it had two or three beautiful rooms, but the rest was skippable. If it isn’t busy when you go, then maybe check it out. if not, go on to the others). I would have visited Monserrate Palace if I had the time. You can just take the local transit bus (pay when you get on) to go up to the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace (DON’T WALK – it’s a treacherous climb).


    – Lisbon has a great food scene – I recommend asking around once you are there for the best restaurants. Keep in mind that reservations are required at most places, unless you get there early. Dinner starts at either 7:30 or 8:00, but most people don’t seem to eat till 9 there.
    – There are lots of little mushroom shaped huts everywhere in all the squares – they serve alcohol and coffee and other drinks at all hours. They really came in handy!
    – We ate several meals at the Time-Out Mercado da Ribeira by the Cais de Sodre station. It is basically a round-up of all of Lisbon’s best restaurants under one roof and they do “fast-food” orders of their specialties. Highly recommend as it tends to be central to everything and good for a quick bite! And lots of locals there too surprisingly. Every place there has a stand alone restaurant somewhere in Lisbon, so if you like the look of it, just ask where their main restaurant is!
    – Santini’s is Portugal’s famous gelato place – it was amazing. In the Chiado district on Rua do Carmo.
    – Taberna da Rua das Flores – had a great meal here! All small plates. On Rua das Flores.
    – Sea Me on Rua da Floreta – one of the best meals of our trip. It is a little more expensive, but the seafood was incredible.
    – Cantinho Do Avillez (in Chiado area)
    – Restaurante Largo (fancier) (in Chiado area)
    – Café Buenos Aires on Rua do Doque (there are also lots of good restaurants on this street…it is a little sidestreet off of Calcada do Carmo)
    – Tartine on Rua Serpa Pinto (French cafe – excellent for breakfast, although a little bit more expensive)
    – Café A Brasileira
    – There are also lots of eateries at the intersection and on the streets north of Rua Bernardino Costa and Rua Alecrim

    – The hop on hop off bus would probably be worth while for a quick tour of the city. Tram 28 is heavily touted there, but apparently pickpocketing is horrible on it so we didn’t take it.
    – Walk from Praca do Comercio along the Ocean on Avenida Ribeira das Naus
    – For sightseeing and more authentic old Lisbon, I recommend the Chiado and Alfama areas. I would avoid spending much time in the Baixa area – it’s very touristy and we got encountered numerous times asking if we wanted to buy drugs (we stayed in the area as it is so central, but I wouldn’t do again). They do have a main shopping street there, Rua Augusta, that will take you to a big square Praca do Comercio in front of the Ocean, which is beautiful and worth seeing, but other than that, there isn’t much to see there.
    – Visit Jeronimos Monastery and Pasteis de Belem (just east of the Monastery) for the originating bakery of the pasteis de nata! We took a taxi to get there, as it is outside of the main downtown areas (it cost about 10 or 12 euros) and took the tram back (took much longer but was way cheaper).
    – walk to Se de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral) and then up to Castelo de Sao Jorge – on your way up, catch the view from Portas do Sol (a little square that has a drinks place and patio – there will be lots of people there taking photos). On your way down from the Castle, wander through the little streets of the Alfama. Just take any staircase down basically towards the water. The Alfama also had the most fado bars. Most require reservations for the dinner portion but you can apparently wander in after dinner to just catch the music. The Chiado district also has several fado bars that are good apparently. Just ask a waiter at a restaurant or your hotel where the best fado places are. Some are very pricey and some are quite cheap.
    – Convento do Carmo is quite pretty, in the Chiado area.
    – There is a lot of cathedrals in the Chiado area, especially along Rua da Misericordia (turns into Rua de Sao Pedro do Alcantara).

    – the Lisbon Shop on Rua do Arsenal, just off of Praca do Comercio. Good for souvenirs.
    – I would recommend the Chiado area for general shopping. Rua Garrett (turns into Rua do Loreto and then Calcado do Combro) is the main shopping street, and then all the side streets have shops as well (Rua Serpa Pinto, Rua Alecrim and even more quaint side streets have lots of boutiques). There is also lots of cool shops along Rua Dom Pedro (turns into Praca do Principe Real). To get there, just head north on Rua do Misericordia in the Chiado area, which turns into Rua de Sao Pedro do Alcantara. There’s a little park and beautiful view on your right and then just as you pass it, you are on Rua Dom Pedro).
    – if you are wanting to buy any authentic, vintage azelujo tiles, you HAVE to go to Solar on Rua Dom Pedro. It was incredible and definitely my shopping highlight of our trip. It’s a little store that you have to buzz in to get to, but once in, the owner lets you look all by yourself and doesn’t bother you. They have tiles all the way back to the 1600s. We got five tiles from there, four from 1910 and one from 1850 and it came to about 110 euros. You can obviously get cheaper new ones at any regular souvenir store (like Lisbon Shop), but this is the place to go for vintage tiles (and they are stunning!).
    – A Vida Portuguesa on Rua Anchieta in Chiado is also a MUST.
    – Avenida de Liberdade is known as Portugal’s Champs des Elysees, but I would skip it. Not much to see or to shop at, as it is mostly just your standard luxury designer stores.

    Hope you have so much fun!! Be sure to have lots of tarts, and seafood and wine!!!

    • Melissa, this is insanely helpful. I could kiss you square on the lips, I swear! Thank you so so much for taking the time to write such a detailed and thoughtful comment. It really means the world. I just looked up all of these places (and made serious spreadsheets) and I’m seriously so excited. So thank you, truly.

  8. Emily says:

    We went to Cascais via train. It was beautiful! We also had the best burger of our lives at Gutsy. They also have amazing sangria! We were only there for a day.

  9. tareb abdelhakim says:

    the green door from istanbul exactly topkapi palace

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  11. Hey J! I wish I could help with the makeup artist, however I do have a few recs for you guys when you are in town. I second whomever mentioned Cascais. We stayed there and it was SO CUTE. A 5 Euro train ride and it’s super pretty. Sit on the left side of the train on the way out.

    In Lisbon you have to try the Time Out Cafe. It’s like a food court for foodies. It’s so good.

    We didn’t make it to Porto, but if you do I wanted to see Livraria Lello Bookstore. It’s where JK Rowling came up with the idea of Harry Potter, in case that matters to you ;)

    Miss you lady!

  12. Annie Low says:

    -Make sure you drink the Douro wine. It is unbelievably good.

    -I highly recommend doing the Chill Out – Lisbon Free Walking Tour. Our guide was Rafa and he was such a good story teller. We learned so much about the culture there and the history of Lisbon.

    -It’s worth checking out the Belem Tower even if you don’t go inside. While in the area go to Pasteis de Belem and try one of the famous custard tarts, among other delicious things.

    -Hop on Tram 28 early in the morning before the crowds start to pile on. You’ll get great photos in that morning light.

    -Eat at Cervegaria Ramiro. Really good seafood restaurant that is super fresh, as in they pull the lobster from the tank and bring it to your table for you to approve before they cook it. The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists. Anthony Bourdian ate there I believe.

    -Other places to eat… Time Out Market food hall (it was all right, nothing to rave about but lots of options). Pizzaria Lisboa, is one of José Avillez’s restaurants. He is a famous Portuguese chef who has a few restaurants in Lisbon so I would google his name to find out more if you’re interested.

    -Definitely check out the neighborhood Alfama. It’s beautiful, the locals are characters there. Be respectful and take it all in. It’s a beautiful park of the city.

    -There is really good street art in Lisbon. I believe there are walking tours for that too.

    -In Sintra go to the Palace, it’s incredible. We did not have time to go to the castle, but I could see it from the palace and it looked unreal.

    Beware of pick-pockets near the water. And so many people in that area will walk by you and ask you if you want weed/coke/hash. Other than that we had a great time. Have so much fun!

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