What is the recipe for a great vacation in Lisbon? It certainly depends on individual taste. But, if you ask me, such a trip involves a lot of wandering, great cuisine, a certain dose of adventure and all of that without being too harsh on the pocket. Thankfully, there are plenty of cheap hotels in Lisbon!
Because getting off the beaten path adds to that sense of adventure, here are a few out-of-the-way things you should consider doing in Lisbon.
Get Off the Beaten Path… Literally!
Nothing is more off-the-beaten-path than going underground, below the city of Lisbon. Only open 3 days a year, the city’s catacombs are actually underwater. For a few days only, the water is suctioned out in order to open the underground paths to visitors. These Roman galleries date back to I B.C., but were only discovered in 1755, when a huge earthquake destroyed a major part of Lisbon and the city had to be rebuilt.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during the days when Lisbon’s catacombs open up for visitors, queuing for the several hours that it normally takes to visit might be worth it!
Much On Quirky Bites
You can’t avoid seafood when talking about foodie moments in Lisbon. Indeed, there are plenty of traditional Portuguese dishes one should try, but these suggestions are for those who like eating beyond the obvious.
If you party in Lisbon, no treats are likely to comfort you in the morning as much as those served at A Merendeira. This typical joint in 24 de Julho Av. prepares steaming bowls of caldo verde (kale soup) and gorgeous pao com chourico (bread baked with sausage inside), to re-energize you after a night out.
If eating while socializing is your type of thing, join the weekly vegan dinners at RDA69. This is a collective offering several free activities that aim a having a positive impact in Lisbon. Full meals cost only €3.5!
If Africa is not on your travel map right after Portugal, why not trying some of the continent’s cuisines right in Lisbon? You may try Mozambican fare at Cantinho do Aziz, that promotes itself as serving “the best grilled chicken in Lisbon.” It is indeed very good and tastes even better with a side of coconut rice. For flavors of the island of San Tome e Principe, head to A Cartuxinha in the picturesque Mouraria neighborhood. You can even take a food tour to get a local’s-eye-view of Portuguese cuisine’s highlights.
Be an Indie Culture Buff
For a dose of indie culture, head straight to Casa Independente at Largo do Intendente. This is a place where anything artsy goes: music, workshops, debates, gastronomic events, and more! Tasca Tropical is the on-site cafe, where you can enjoy fusion cuisine.
Check their website for further info on the program, and enjoy something new.
Embrace Your Inner Batman
Most tourists visit Sao Jorge’s Castle, often referred to as one of the “must-dos” when visiting Lisbon. But did you know that there are bat spotting sessions taking place there at night? Go visit the castle…but do it in the dark of night, and learn about the importance of bats in the eco-system!
This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove series.