Lisbon and Sintra, Portugal travel tips

Where we ate:

None of these are recommended with much enthusiasm. In most Portuguese restaurants, soon after you sit down, a waiter will come by and offer you plates of things like cheese, bread and butter, and olives – refuse them all. They not free and can be very expensive.

  • Café at top of Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon – They ruined a gorgeous view with dirty, cracked plexiglas on the fence surrounding the cafe. Tourists also have to walk through the tiny outdoor cafe to get anywhere. Only if you’re really thirsty: NAH
  • Fish restaurants on R. dos Bacalhoeiros, Lisbon – The fish was fresh and nicely grilled but was missing that something special: MEH
  • Lord Byron, Sintra – More affordable than the nearby pricey tourist traps, though they oddly put a pretzel snack mix in the salad like it was croutons. If you’re a budget traveler: YEH
  • Village Cafe, Sintra – With a bizarre international menu that includes chili burritos. They were trying hard, and were budget-friendly: YEH
  • Restaurante Dom Pipas, Sintra – A friendly, local-packed place away from the main tourist area. Solid food, though very country-fied: YEH

Where we stayed:

  • Couchsurfing in Lisbon – We crashed in a stranger’s house thanks to
  • Casa de Hóspedes Dona Maria da Parreirinha, Sintra – A nice, clean basic place right near the train station so you don’t have to carry your backpack very far: YEH

What we saw:

  • Rio da Prada, Praia Naturalista – A gorgeous naturalist beach surrounded by cliffs just outside of Lisbon: YEH!!
  • Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon – It’s just an (expensive) elevator. The tram is more fun. Skip it with a resounding: NAH
  • Igreja de São Roque, Lisbon – As soon as we walked into this church, Lauren sat down and took an uninterrupted 10 minute power nap. Strange but interesting Christian reliquaries. Only if you’re in the ‘hood: YEH
  • Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon – Your panoramic sunset views of Lisbon may be interrupted by a kung-fu movie. If your budget is tight, it’s missable unless you’re a history dork: MEH
  • Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra – Bring a flashlight, go to every spot on the map, and look for doorways, stairways, and other ways: YEH!!
  • Castelo dos Muoros, Sintra – Stunning views of the surrounding countryside: YEH!