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Alys in Lisbon

Alys in Lisbon

About me? I love food, I don’t like ‘roughing it’ and I am always short on time. This means I have a well-researched itinerary in hand for any trip I take, especially a group trip, so here’s one I prepared for the perfect girls’ weekend in Lisbon!

Thursday

Lisbon Five Star Apartments 8 Building. Check in to your home away from home for the weekend: the apartments are nicely finished, with all mod cons, at a reasonable price. Situated within the trendy, regenerated Cais do Sodré area, everything is a walk or cheap taxi ride away.

Mercado da Riberia. Literally next door, wander over to the Time Out Market for a glass of bubbles and some tapas. For the adventurous, I’d recommend an octopus hot dog, but there’s something to suit all tastes. The roaming security guards will remind you to watch out for pickpockets.

St Georges Castle. It’s open until 8:00 PM, so make the most of a sunset stroll and city views.

Barrio Alto. Walk through the bustling pedestrianised area, and enjoy an apéro at any bars that take your fancy. Tagide Tapas Bar is known for its jazz from 7:00 PM.

Tivoli Sky Bar. In the ‘posh’ part of town, make a late reservation to enjoy a nightcap on the roof.

Friday

Manteigaria. Head back to the market for breakfast, in particular to watch the famous Portuguese tarts (Pasteis de Nata) being made at this small but perfectly formed bakery. Nothing beats a taste test.

Pestana Palace Hotel. For a picnic like no other, book a noon alfresco buffet, where you’ll enjoy fine dining and silver service in the poolside garden. Sneak your swimsuit in with you if you fancy a dip…but if anyone asks, you are a fully-fledged hotel guest.

L’Atelier du Porto. There are hundreds of wine-tasting options in the city, but this is a charming little bar that you can easily privatise. Pair the ports with their amazing cheese and meat selection. If you’re heading straight from the hotel, allow yourself a stroll in between to work up an appetite.

100 Maneiras. More food! This restaurant has a Michelin feel without the Michelin price tag. Their tasting menu comes in around 60 euros per head and is worth every cent. It is innovative without being weird. It is intimate without being exclusive. Make sure you book in advance because it’s a poorly kept secret.

Dance off the day’s calorie intake back in Cais do Sodré. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is open until 3:00 AM with a set list that switches between live jazz, funk, indie and DJs. Back in the Mercado da Riberia, the lively Rive Rouge gets going around 1:00–2:00 AM and is open until 4:00 AM.

Saturday

Pasteis de Belem. Hop back on the ‘Portuguese tarts for breakfast’ train by visiting this cultural institution. Get there early to avoid the queues. Order with a coffee and bask in tradition.

Jerónimos Monastério and/or Museu Coleção Berardo. Within sight lies both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a museum of modern and contemporary art. Whether history or pop culture is your thing, you can spend a few hours and less than 10 euros feeling enlightened and erudite.

Altis Belém Hotel & Spa. Time to get outside and maximise feelings of serenity by heading to the Thermo Garden. Book yourself an afternoon spa session: sunbathe and swim in the rooftop pool with views along the coast and out to sea. Well-positioned waiters are ready to keep the rosé flowing.

Povo Lisboa. Return home, freshen up and you’re ready to experience fado music. Povo is within walking distance and the perfect balance between old and new: the restaurant menu is fresh, the drinks are cold and there’s always a lineup of new artists to listen to.

Sunday

Dare I say it…but get out of Lisbon! For the price of keeping your bags in ‘left luggage,’ split the cost of an all-day driver (around 120–150 EUR) to collect you after checkout and take you along the coast before dropping you back at the airport.

Lisbon to Cascais. Thirty-minute drive, and allow one to two hours to visit the beachfront, grab an ice cream from Santini and stroll around town. If lunching, walk to Casa da Guia, approximately 2 k outside the center: what appears to be a big yellow villa is a co-op of independent design shops and restaurants on the beach.

Cascais to Sintra. Twenty-minute drive, and allow one to two hours to visit the Park and National Palace of Pena.

Sintra to Lisbon Airport. Thirty-minute drive.

And ask your driver to stop at local points of interest along the way. I had a beautiful last lunch and swim in a secluded cove…but that’s one secret spot I’m keeping for me!

Lisbon

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