A Weekend in My Lisbon
Our guest blogger, 'Mrs O.' returns to her beloved home-town for a well earned weekend of rest and relaxation (with shopping and dancing thrown into the mix) and shares some of the places to be seen in modern, vibrant Lisbon.
With two minutes to spare (and a lot of nerves to calm), we made our flight and couldn’t wait for the in-flight G&T – not the best way to start our quarterly girls weekend!
Arriving in Lisbon two-and-a-half hours later, we were surprised by the balmy heat – unusual at this time of the year. Certainly, it was nice to be out at 10pm in 18ºC! We checked in at the brand new Altis Avenida – we girls do like our comfort – and spent the evening at the rooftop bar, overlooking two or three of Lisbon’s many hills. Located at the end of Avenida da Liberdade, we could see all the shops we wanted to visit the next day or so! We wasted no time in catching up over steak sandwiches and cocktails. Afterwards, we retired to our rooms for a well-deserved, first-class snooze between fine thread-count sheets.
We started our day bright and breezy at Confeitaria Nacional, one of Lisbon’s most famous patisseries. Though not great for waistlines, the choices are endless. We spent a lazy morning walking around town, starting at St. George’s Castle – atop one of Lisbon’s seven hills – and soaked up the sweeping views of the city. Surprisingly, we managed to get into Palacio Belmonte, one of the city’s best-kept secrets, for a little tour (always closed unless you are staying at one of its 10 suites). Afterwards, we refueled with a coffee and another pastel de nata (one of Portugal’s delicacies – a type of custard tart) at Portas do Sol. When we emerged the weather was still hot – especially compared to London the day before – and at 24ºC, we had our first al fresco lunch of the year at Doca de Santo in the Docklands area.
I won’t bore you with the details of our girly afternoon, but what I will say is that we took refuge inside for three-hours – being massaged within an inch of our lives at a super-sumptuous spa. Bliss!
Dinner took place at one of my favourite places in town, Bocca, where we treated ourselves to a couple of bottles of obscure (i.e. not mainstream, and very carefully selected) Portuguese wines and very creative Portuguese food. Drinks followed all night, first at the Pensão Amor near Cais do Sodré and then at private-members club, Silk.
After breakfast at Versailles, another well-known and frequented patisserie in Lisbon, we headed out of town, towards Cascais, around 30-kilometres west of Lisbon. Our first port of call was Cabo da Roca, Europe’s westernmost point, which is possibly one of the most stunning places by the sea in Portugal and well worth a visit.
We continued the drive towards Guincho, a long stretch of beach and made a little (three hours, to be precise) stop for lunch at Furnas do Guincho where we had seabass baked in salt. Desert had to be at Santini in Cascais, possibly the best ice-cream place in the country. We queued for 45 minutes, but it was certainly worth the wait!
We spent the remainder of the day trying to help the Portuguese economy – namely at CascaiShopping, which offers a great selection of high-street and designer shops. Dinner? At Vaskus, of course, where we ended the weekend with beef and tiger prawn fondue washed down with passion fruit caipirinhas and peach Champagne sangria.
The perfect end to our three-day girly weekend.