Listing our Lisbon adventures
After a hectic week juggling our full time jobs and launching CAREERLIONS.COM, last week it was time to go on a girly trip to Portugal. Basically as we do not only work hard, we even need to play harder. There, we did nothing besides enjoying the beautiful surroundings while celebrating our big launch. Because of last week’s madness, preparation and research had to be improvised on the spot. To spare you career lions the preparation time, we’ve listed the DO’s and DON’Ts of this Mediterranean city trip.
DO – Live like a local
Renting an apartment through airbnb is not only a really affordable option, but also really adds to the local experience. We’ve rented a little place in Alfama where we lived right in the heart of the old fisherman’s town.
DON’T – Go to the Graça viewpoint
Even though almost all viewpoints of the city were breath taking, the particular one in Graça was a slight disappointment. The surroundings were under construction; therefore, parts of the area were closed. A much nicer option would be to enjoy the view from Castelo de São Jorge.
DO – Take the trip to have “Pastéis de Belém”
Portuguese egg tarts are the best in – like the name already reveals – in Portugal. The place where they originate from is Pastéis de Belém. It is a bit outside of the city centre, but definitely worth the trip. Try the combination of crispy puff pastry and sweet cinnamon covered custard and you will thank yourself later.
DO – Walk the hallways of Jeronimós Monastery
While you’re at it in Belém, make sure to visit the Jeronimós Monastery. The cloister is over 500 years old and is still in great state. Not only is it beautiful, the place will remind you of Hogwarts more than anything. So this attraction is particularly nice for the Potter fans among us, including moi.
DO – Buy the combo ticket to the tower of Belém
When visiting the cloister, you will be offered to buy a combination ticket for the tower of Belém. With the combined ticket, admission to the tower is only €2 instead of the regular €6. Not only is it cheaper, it saves you the time of standing in line twice.
DO – Have lunch at the Time Out Market
Located next to the ocean, it is expected that the seafood is fresh. At the Time Out Market, it is more or less possible to eat from the source directly. The indoor market not only sells the fresh fish, you can also try them right away at the food stalls. Some of the options include octopus salads, fresh oysters, and crab and guacamole dishes. The sweet tooth’s among us can satisfy their cravings with a wide variety of pastries and Nutella pavlova’s.
DON’T – The Pink Street
The Pink Street is located in the former red light district of Lisbon. The only remainder of the district’s old form of entertainment is the Instagram-friendly pink asphalt. Unfortunately, that is an “Instagram-lie” in its truest form. The street seemed completely abandoned and grey. It definitely was not worth the high-steeped walk in 44 degrees Celsius, not even for us chicks that enjoy concrete and asphalt roads calculations.
DO – Drink white sangria
Yes, Portugal is famous for their wine, but having it in a fresh white sangria is even better. White sangrias are usually mixed with citrus fruits like lemon and oranges. You can drink the best one at Alto do Bairro where they put fresh mint leaves and Cointreau in their sangria. Also, when you’re there, make sure to try the sardines on toast. It is to die for! Another great place to have your sangria is at one of the Fado clubs in the old town, where you’ll be able to enjoy your drink while listening to the traditional fado performers, if you’re into that.
DON’T – Take touristy tram 28
One of the most famous tourist attractions is tram 28 that takes you through the hills of the old town Alfama. Even though it is a fun idea to discover the town this way, the real experience is not that nice. The tram is really small and structurally takes more passengers on than its capacity, leaving you feel like Portuguese sardine in a can. Rather than taking the tram, walk the hills in Alfama. Since the trail is very steep, it will give you a nice butt workout to burn off all the pastries at the same time. Combining pleasure with functionality, in true Career Lion fashion.
DO – Shop behind the Plaça do Comércio
A city trip is not complete without a little bit of shopping, at least in our book. Behind the great arch on the Plaça do Comércio you will find a lot of Spanish chain stores like Zara, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear and Mango. The best excuse to buy at these stores is that their prices are reduced by approximately 30% compared to other countries. We guess you’re convinced by now.
DO - Dance to scandalous music at Art-Lx
We started off club night at a club called MAIN, thinking it would be one of the greatest places in the city. Being Dutchies and spoiled when it comes to great DJs, we were quite disappointed by the music and left after about twenty minutes. Right after we left, a promoter of a different club approached us on the sidewalk and offered us drinks at this other club called Art. There, we could hear the nostalgic pop beats already. Do not look for the hippest and trendiest DJs when in Lisbon. Just commit to a night of fun, dancing, and flirting with Portuguese men.
DO – Relax at Caparica beach
After a night out, nothing feels better than relaxing at the beach, which is an actual possibility in Lisbon. Half an hour outside of the city, long sandy beaches are located in Costa da Caparica. This makes Lisbon the ideal mix between a city trip and a nice beach destination. For the fanatics, it is also to possible to surf in the ocean.
DO - Take a drive across the Golden Gate bridge
Lisbon is like San Francisco, but just smaller. The city is built on seven hills and it even has its own version of the Golden Gate bridge, the 25 de Abril Bridge. The bridge is built with a red suspension construction that make the (civil) engineer’s heart grow fonder. It holds six car lanes and two railways under the upper deck. But really, taking a drive across the two kilometer bridge over the Tagus river is a great way to have another amazing view of the city. To take the drive over the bridge, or anywhere else in the city, Uber is definitely a recommendation. The drivers are extremely friendly and talk proudly of their city. When crossing the bridge, our Uber driver even let us put on our own music in the car. Which made the whole Uber experience even better.
Lisbon in a nutshell: beautiful and picture perfect streets, long beaches, egg tarts, Golden Gate bridge and lovely people. Let us know whether you’ve been to Lisbon and share your DO’s and DON’Ts in the comments below.