Rute Vendeirinho is back, taking you to her favourite girly destinations for a weekend, including insider tips and where to go for a girly weekend photo session! This is – Lisbon!
Are you desperate for that perfect weekend away with your girlfriends? If so, prepare yourself, forget about the household, the mummy duties… and embrace some girly pampering for a few days. A hassle-free program is just what I promise you! And, please, give yourself a special treat and forget about the budget. Indulge yourself with everything you deserve!
A lovely place to stay
NH Avenida da Liberdade has it all: Modern and spacious bedrooms, fabulous views from the swimming pool on the top floor and the convenience of being right in the heart of the best shopping district in Lisbon. The average price per night, per person, is €90 (in a double room), but discount deals can regularly be found either on booking.com or the hotel website.
Insider tip: Superior rooms offer great views of the city. By the hotel entrance, you will find an exquisite commercial gallery (“Tivoli Forum”). This mecca of luxury with labels such as Gucci, Michael Kors and Stella McCartney offers style and glamour to Lisbon’s fashionistas.
Address: Avenida da Liberdade, 180 B, Lisbon
Bairro Alto Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel with a fantastic location, with many restaurants and bars just right around the corner. Plus, it is home to a fabulous roof top bar with night views of the river. The average price per night per person is €120 (in a double room).
Insider tip: Be warned ladies, keep your high heels for the night and take your flats if you’re walking all day long. With all those cobblestones and beautiful hills of Lisbon, you will thank me! Ask for a room on an upper floor but facing the lovely square outside.
Address: Praça Luís de Camões, N.º2, Bairro Alto
It’s pamper time!
Chiado Factory is a very original kind of store, a kind of a concept store created by Portuguese entrepreneurs. There you can find little corners with pretty much everything you can imagine. The only thing they have in common is the originality of their creators.
Insider tip: The neighbourhoods of Chiado and Bairro Alto are full of tiny secret shops like this one. It’s a fun way for you and your girlfriends to explore this old but truly “avant-garde” side of Lisbon.
Address: Rua da Misericórdia, 79, Chiado
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 10am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 10pm, and Sunday from 2pm to 8pm.
Tram 28 – a tour through old Lisbon: This is perhaps Lisbon’s most popular activity; a ride back in time over hills and through old streets in vintage trams that are still part of the city’s public transportation network. They pass some major attractions, so it’s a perfect combination. Tram 28, or “Eléctrico 28”, has a 7km route between Martim Moniz Square and the neighbourhood of Prazeres and the entire trip takes between 40 minutes and one hour, depending on the obstacles along the way (not only traffic, but also some stubborn double-parked cars). If you get the 24-hour ticket you’ll surely save some money and you can step on and off every time you want to stop by a tourist attraction.
Insider tip: Although Lisbon is quite a safe European city, be aware of the presence of pickpockets, especially by the tourist attractions. You just need to be a little extra aware of your wallet and possessions and everything will be fine.
Take a break and enjoy the sun and the views! Lisbon’s beautiful, scenic waterfront location, on a series of hills, seduces anyone into pausing for contemplation. There are several terraces with a view where tourists and locals all gather for a break, and they play an essential part of the Lisbon experience. Relaxing to take in the views at a hilltop (or “miradouro” in Portuguese) is a must. These are my personal favourites:
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, a shaded terrace on a hill directly across from the castle allows you to gaze down on all of downtown, towards the waterfront. It is a landscaped terrace with busts of historical figures, a fountain, and a kiosk café from where you can sit and admire the beauty of the city. The best way to arrive there is by taking the Gloria Funicular, next to “Restauradores” metro station.
Address: Rua de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, Bairro Alto.
Miradouro das Portas do Sol can be found not far from the castle and it offers some of the best picture postcard perfect views of Lisbon. This terrace above the Alfama district overlooks the domes and rooftops of the city’s oldest historic neighbourhood and the waterfront. It’s a must-stop for locals and tourists, who also often end up sitting for a drink at the kiosk café or at the Café Portas do Sol on the terrace below. Those looking to catch the sunrise in Lisbon should know this is the place to be. The best way to get there is to walk up from Baixa metro station or by taking the tram 28.
Address: Largo das Portas do Sol, Beco de Santa Helena, Alfama.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia is a charming terrace from where you can look over the terracotta rooftops of Alfama and the river and it has plenty of places to sit under the grapevines. Next to it, you’ll find a church and on its walls you will be able to admire a tile panel showing St. George’s Castle being taken over from the Moors in 1147, and another of Comercio Square before it was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. The best way to get there is to walk up from Baixa metro station or by taking the tram 28. Please note that this miradouro is just a few steps before reaching the Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Address: Rua do Limoeiro, Alfama.
Insider tip: The beautiful terraces in Lisbon are the perfect places to relax. So please clear all the stress out of your minds and enjoy a good chat with your friends… with no rush…
The perfect pic
A visit to Lisbon would not be complete without the perfect Pastel de Nata. Plus, this will give you the perfect scenario for the perfect Lisbon girly weekend picture. The original Pastéis de Nata can be found in Belém. After having enjoyed it, and taken your perfect pic, you can walk around the corner (in the direction of the monastery) where you will find the beautiful Tropical Garden.
Insider tip: Pop by in the morning as it is always very busy from lunch time and later. Find your way through the many serving rooms until you find an available table (yes, true, you will have to find your way there, otherwise someone else will take your place!)
Address: 84-92, Rua Belém, Belém (right next to the Jerónimos Monastery)
Food and wine, please!
Tasca da Esquina is my favourite restaurant in Lisbon from the moment it opened its doors some years ago. Vitor Sobral is one of Lisbon’s most acclaimed chefs and he offers you his personal touch in tapas-sized variations of traditional Portuguese cuisine, and many of them are under 10 euros.
Insider tip: As the restaurant is always fully booked, you do have to make a reservation. Ask for a table overlooking the street.
Address: Rua Domingos Sequeira 41C, Campo de Ourique. Tel. (+351) 210 993 939
Choupana Caffe is not only a coffee shop, but also the perfect place to start your day with a delicious homemade breakfast or brunch.
Insider tip: Try the “Pão de Mafra” (a traditional type of bread) and “Pastéis de Nata” or “Jesuítas”. I promise you, you won’t regret!
Address: Avenida da República, 25 A. Tel. (+351) 21 357 0140
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, from 7am to 8pm
Silk Club is one of the most exclusive spots in Lisbon since it opened its doors back in 2008. This club at the top of a building in the Chiado district offers a near 360° view of the city’s historic center and a Manhattan cocktail ambiance. It serves Mediterranean dinners from Tuesday to Saturday, from 7:00PM to 11:30PM, and after that it’s time for music by the resident DJ, and cocktails late into the night.
Insider tip: Be sure to ask your hotel to arrange a reservation for you as otherwise you can end up not being allowed to enter the place.
Address: Rua da Misericórdia 14, Edifício Espaço Chiado, Lisboa
Are you and your girlfriends in the mood for a beach style bar in the city? If so, K Urban Beach is just what you are looking for. It can be found next to the Kais restaurant of the same group, and is the perfect spot for a cocktail during the warmer months. The sand and the fact that it’s found right on the riverfront makes this as close to the beach as you get in the center of the city.
Insider tip: Despite the beach style, this bar/club is quite fancy. So, please don’t feel shy and dress in your best Manhattan cocktail style!
Address: Cais da Viscondessa, Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa, Alcântara