Lisbon in December


Portugal was never a high priority on our list of countries to visit. I don't know if it's because of the remote location, on the west side of Europe or if it's the lack of too much social media attention. In any case, when we booked our Christmas vacation for Lisbon and Porto, we didn't know what to expect. But what we found in these two cities made us fall in love with the country. And we know that we will return.

Our first contact with Portugal was the capital city of Lisbon. Spread across seven hills (similar to Rome), the city was in full Christmas fever. A multitude of colorful lights was decorating the public squares and the facades of the old buildings.

On almost every corner you could hear "Jingle Bells" in a different music style - from classic to acapella and from reggae to rock arrangements. And the whole old city was covered in the smoke from roasted chestnuts and the vanilla smell of Natas. It really felt like Christmas.

Our tip: Always go for the fresh Natas. While many cafes will have Natas on their menus, there is nothing like having a fresh, warm one just out of the oven.

A few additional days would have been useful to visit Lisbon properly. But in the 3 days that we were there, we have tried to have a small taste of the city culture. We could not miss a ride in the old tram 28, across the hilly streets.

Our tip: Make use of the public transportation. A daily ticket will give you access to metro, trams, buses, inner-city trains and even the ferry, across the river.

We were sad to leave Lisbon and we have promised to ourselves that we will be back. Because we felt in love with the city and there is so much more to discover. But for now, we are on the way to Porto.

If you plan to visit Lisbon (which we strongly recommend), here are a few of our favorite places:

  • Brown's Hotels - a group of 3 hotels in the center of Lisbon, with great Bistro for lunch and dinner (try their house burger)
  • Fábrica da Nata - excellent place to try some fresh Nata, with a cup of coffee. Stay on the table upstairs and look outside the balcony, for a great view over the Rua Augusta
  • Carmo Convent - beautiful ruined Gothic church, destroyed by an earthquake in 1755
  • Landeau Chocolate - a chocolate cake to die for
  • Portologia Lisboa, La Maison des Porto - excellent place to try some Port wine
  • National Sanctuary of Christ the King - the statue of Jesus Christ, inspired by Rio's Christ. You get excellent views over Ponte 25 de Abril
  • Manteigaria - a chain of Pastel de Nata factories, considered by many the best Nata in Lisbon

    - Dalai Lama -