Lisbon is a wonderful city to spend your honeymoon. It’s one of Europe’s hottest destinations right now, in terms of popularity as well as climate! You have truly beautiful architecture, buzzing nightlife, delicious cuisine and a romantic atmosphere especially at sunset, which can be admired from various miradores atop Lisbon’s seven hills.
One of our Tinggly team spend a year living in Lisbon, and still goes back regularly. So here’s an insider’s guide on what you should do on your Lisbon honeymoon, and what you should avoid:
The Portuguese capital gets hot in the summer, seriously hot.
If you’re looking at a summer honeymoon in Lisbon, then you should aim to avoid doing too much in the middle of the day. Get an early start on your sightseeing, beating the crowds, then by midday head to areas that are cool and shaded to relax for a few hours. Lisbon has plenty of attractive parks with big trees where you can sit for a while. The areas around the river, such as Belem, are cooler, and if you want to go to the beach, there are several good stretches of sand on the other side of the river.
You don’t need to do the same things as everybody else.
A good example are the always popular day-trips to Sintra and Cascais. Both destinations get very, very crowded and so if you don’t want to be packed in like sardines, then think about alternatives. Hire a car to explore scenic fishing villages west of Sintra, Take a boat trip out to the Berlengas. Instead of the beach, wander the botanic gardens in the city centre.
While we’re on the subject of beaches,
the locals head over the Ponte 25 de Abril on hot days where there are several long strips of sand. Some are always packed with sunseekers – these are the beaches where people go just to be seen in the ‘cool place’. Bizarrely, there are neighbouring beaches that look exactly the same and have identical views, but just don’t have that cachet – they will also have about 100x more space. Don’t miss the garlicky clams at the beach cafes – worth skipping breakfast for.
One of many reasons to recommend Lisbon is the amazing cafe culture and dining scene.
There are so many trendy neighbourhood bars and restaurant springing up everywhere that it is always worth avoiding the more touristy areas and seeking out locally owned places instead. Great places to try include Campo de Ourique, where the pavements are lined with innovative eating establishments which will provide a far more romantic ambience for couples than a place where the menu comes in 10 languages.
More on that.
Anyone that knows Lisbon well knows that every neighbourhood has its own distinct atmosphere. A ride on one of the old traditional trams is mandatory during your honeymoon, but bring good walking footwear and a hat, because the best way to see Lisbon is always on foot.
Lisbon also has a very cool nightlife scene, which doesn’t really get going until well after midnight.
Because the city is built on a series of hills, there are lots of fantastic rooftop bars in Lisbon where you can bask in stunning views. We recommend arriving before sunset, to watch as Lisbon glows pink. It’s still possible to catch a traditional fado show, especially around Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. But given how this melancholic music has become gentrified like so much else, it’s always best to ask a local where to find an authentic atmosphere.
Come prepared to eat and shop.
You’re on honeymoon now, so if you had a strict wedding diet it can go out the window. Fresh seafood such as the traditional bachalo, sugary churros, caipirinhas, the pastéis de nata of Belem – these may be the staples of Lisbon cuisine, but the dining scene here is extremely innovative. And Lisbon has so many trendy boutiques that you may want to bring an extra, empty suitcase on your honeymoon. We think that if you’re after traditional arts and crafts the best option is to take the tram up to the castle, then walk slowly down through the Castelo and Alfama neighbourhoods, to Chiado.