Hey! I’m Mariana (@mariana_baiao.santos), I have recently moved to London, but my heart lies lodged in one of the quirky tilted buildings of Lisbon’s hills. I moved for professional and educational reasons and I am now completing my Masters in Fashion Communication in London but the British grey skies have not yet sunk within me when my eyes still hope to open up every morning to a golden sun. What I like most about my city is the atmosphere, the people, the relaxed and can-do attitude of everyone… We’re independent and welcoming and believe anything is possible, unless you price an espresso above 1€ that is.
What is a typical breakfast and where would you go?
Typical breakfast in Lisbon would probably be a “meia de leite” – meaning a “half milk”, which is essentially a latte (ask for a galão if you’d like a larger one) and either a small bread or some type of pastry. I live in Estoril, outside of Lisbon, and I would go to Garrett Estoril everyday if I could and ask for a rye ciabatta with ‘queijo fresco’ which is a kind of cottage cheese and a soy ‘galão’. Bear in mind their Instagram makes it look terrible but the place is amazing.
Where is your favourite place to grab lunch?
This time actually in Lisbon, if with friends we would probably go to Boa Bao, it’s one of the best Asian food places in town. If with my parents on a weekend lunch maybe Pharmacia for some Portuguese food with a twist.
What is the ideal afternoon activity in a city like Lisbon?
I would probably head over to LX Factory, it’s one of my favourite places.
Where are the best places for dinner?
You can have dinner at any place in the neighbourhood of Príncipe Real and you won’t regret it, just mind that most places don’t make reservations. Zero zero for Italian, Coyo Taco for Mexican, Tapisco for Spanish and Portuguese tapas, Cevichería for Peruvian and Rua for Asian Street Food are just some examples. This is the trendiest area right now.
In the evening, what is the city like and where do you find yourself?
Where to grab a drink after dinner will definitely depend on the mood, if I’d be planning to head over to a club, I’d go to any place around the area of the pink street and Cais do Sodré. If you’re up for bar hopping go to the neighbourhood of Bairro Alto and enjoy the night. If you want to chill out at a cool and trendy bar try Topo Chiado or Park Bar, both rooftops, or even Pensão Amor – that’s one of my favourites.
In a busy city like Lisbon, is there anywhere to chill?
Definitely, try grabbing a drink and chilling at Miradouro de Santa Catarina in the afternoon or maybe go riverside to one of the small outside bar/ cafés in Ribeira das Naus.
What is there to do for something fun and different?
In the Summer there is this great initiative that sets up outdoor concerts all over the city, usually in parks where everyone joins and food trucks come by. Or else exploring outdoor markets is also a great alternative, try Feira da Ladra every Tuesday and Saturday.
Where is the best area to stay/sleep for young travellers?
If you don’t mind staying in the party neighbourhood, Bairro Alto has lots of Hostels all around and airbnbs, DoBairro Suites is a great option. If you’d prefer something calmer and more traditional the Castle and Alfama neighbourhoods also have a nice amount of them scattered around.
What season would you recommend visiting?
Well, the weather is great all year round in Lisbon. If you’re from quite a cold place in the Winter, come over for a city break, here it won’t go lower than 10 degrees Celsius (at night). But if you can come in the early Summer or late Spring, we have a lot of great seasonal events happening.
Is Lisbon best for a family holiday/friends holiday or couple holiday?
Come with friends, we’re very laid back, always ready to party and engage with tourists. Plus, Lisbon is very cheap: where else can you get a beer for 1€? Still, don’t discard us if you’re with family or your better half, Lisbon has a little space in its heart for everyone. Its cobbled streets have a stone for each of us!