Vibrant Guide: Lisbon, Portugal

Sometimes you travel somewhere new, and you take it all in and enjoy it, but you don’t necessarily get a strong feeling that you need to ever return. This couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to the colorful city of Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon is a place I 100% want to return to, it’s honestly a place I could see myself living and thriving.

It’s truly got everything I love–it’s such a perfect amalgam of new/modern and old/classic.  You can find a restaurant that’s been around for 100 years serving homemade food deeply rooted in tradition, but you can also walk down a cobblestone street and find a very ‘vibrant & pure’ spot that serves oat milk cortados, gluten free vegan carrot cake, avocado toast on sourdough and chia pudding.

In my guides I focus mostly on eats + accommodations, because that’s what I’m most passionate about—plus you can find info on the touristy stuff on any old guide 🙂

 

STAY:

I was in Lisbon for 5 nights. I stayed in two different airbnbs in the nighborhoods of Alfama and Chiado, and one night by the sea in Azenhas Do Mar.

 

Alfama Airbnb

We stayed here for 3 nights and it was truly perfection. The host met us to check in early at 8 am (for a 20 euro fee- but honestly so worth it when you’re exhausted and flew overnight and just want to settle in and take a little nap.) It had everything we needed and more. Did I mostlyyyyy choose it for the mint green kitchen and pink patio? Maybeeeeee– BUT it also had rave reviews and was affordable despite being considered ‘airbnb plus’ (lisbon is also a very affordable european city). Here are some photos of the apartment and surrounding Alfama neighborhood.

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Chiado Airbnb

We only stayed here one night- but it was perfectly clean and charming! In what turned out to be one of our favorite areas too. I wish we had more time here.

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Outpost Casa Das Arribas in Azenhas Do Mar

Only a 45 minute drive from the city is Azenhas Do Mar. Truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Driving up the winding hills of this magical town by the sea, we approached Outpost, which is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever had the fortune to stay. It is a large property with many apartments you can rent, but it provides the accommodations of a luxury hotel. Every detail has been perfectly curated and well thought out, and it shows. I’ll just let the photos do the talking. We stayed in March so we couldn’t enjoy too much beach time, but honestly just getting to relax at this beautiful property was a treat. I’d love to return during Summer! It’s also right near Sintra, so we took an uber to Sintra to see Pena Palace and then stopped at a winery on the way back (I’d give you the name but it was super overpriced- it’s all we could find last minute but there are so many amazing wineries, if you do a little research I’m sure you can find an amazing one to go to in the area.) We got dinner at one of the only restaurants in town, simply called Azenhas Do Mar, and it is literally built into the cliff overlooking the sea- truly incredible.

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Food:

My favorite coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants

Comoba:

Probably came here every day… amazing coffee (iced oat milk cortados were divine) and healthy food. They have matcha, turmeric and beet lattes and more! We got the veg breakfast burritos for our plane ride home and it was so good. We also got the chia pudding and the GF banana bread, both of which were amazing– but we didn’t eat too much here, mostly just came for coffee.

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Copenhagen Coffee Lab:

We came here every single morning–it was about a 5 minute walk from the Alfama Airbnb. I will never forget it because this is where we had the opportunity to discover our greatest obsession: CARDAMOM BUNS. ohhhhh my god. They are incredible. Every morning we took our walk up the (steep!) and beautiful streets of Alfama to Copenhagen Coffee Lab and ordered two iced oat milk lattes + 2 cardamom buns. We sat outside in their beautiful patio/backyard seating area. Life was good. I can’t wait to go back.

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Hello, Kristoff:

Another fabulous coffee spot with a very cool vibe/interior. Order the gluten free vegan carrot cake, you won’t regret it.

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Dear Breakfast:

I didn’t actually end up eating here, but it’s very up my alley and I’ve heard great things!

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Lost In:

This is a bar/restaurant with an amazing view, we came here and got a bottle of white wine (literally every white wine I had in Portugal was incredible) and an eggplant appetizer (can’t remember exactly what it was but it was good!)

The Mill:

Australian owned cafe/coffee shop with all the usual suspects: flat whites and heaping sourdough avocado toasts, always a good idea.

Cafe Janis:

I literally stayed here for 5 hours, going from lunch into happy hour. I loved this place so much. It reminds me of a street cafe in Paris, you can sit outside and do some amazing people watching, or sit inside with a plethora of green plants and very cool artwork.

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Il Matriciano:

Seriously good Italian. I loved the quiet atmosphere and mood lighting. The pasta was divine.

***There were a few places we ate at that are on every “must eat” list for Lisbon, and to be honest they missed the mark for me.

1. Cervejario Ramiro is one of the most hyped/classic restaurants in Lisbon. Anthony Bourdain loved it, they don’t take reservations, they’re super authentic, always crowded etc. so I obviously had to go. We got there super early for “dinner” at like 4 to ensure we could get in. The staff wasn’t very nice, but not the end of the world. Long story short, I got horrible food poisoning from the seafood here (I have my suspicions it was from the cold crab dish served in the shell.) It was my first time getting food poisoning and it was quite awful. About an hour after dinner when I started feeling symptoms, I googled it and found that lots of people reported getting food poisoning here. Try it if you want, but I just want to give a totally honest warning!

2. Cevicheria gets a lot of hype as well- it was pretty good, but, not amazing! Also very expensive for Lisbon.

Random notes:

The tile museum is gorgeous– you must go.

Get prepared to walk A LOT, especially uphill. Don’t be scared though, I am not a big worker outer/in shape human and I got used to it.

Check out the flea market if you happen to be in town, I got some beautiful gold rings there!

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Hazelnut Crepes (VEGAN + GRAIN-FREE)

This breakfast from a few Sundays ago may go down as one of the best I’ve ever had. I had so much fun creating these recipes– I love to make things up as I go, seeing what I have on hand, thinking about which ingredients would taste good together, look good together, and make me feel good—which is why everything is free of gluten, grains, refined sugar, and dairy. There’s a lot going on here– feel free to make as many of the sides/toppings as you’d like…you can also simply make the crepes and fill them with whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!

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Coconut Yogurt

At long last, it’s here. I know I’ve been yammering on about my coconut yogurt escapades, the trials and tribulations of a homemade coconut yogurtier… (there’s no word for a professional yogurt maker? Yogurtier it is, I’m making it up.) I’m not giving you a recipe that you can’t already find all over the internet, I mean, it’s coconut and probiotics mixed together–but I’ve  learned a few things along my yogurt making journey that I think really streamline the process and yield the best coconut yogurt.

I know that fermentation and making your own yogurt sounds really daunting and complicated. For so long, I was just so overwhelmed by the idea and didn’t even bother because I figured you had to be some kind of fermentation master to do this. This is not the case at all. Typically, when I read instructions for something and I see so many rules, I get scared, “oh no! what if I use a metal spoon and kill the probiotics? What if I keep the yogurt somewhere too hot?” You worry so much about breaking the rules that you don’t even give it a shot.

I’ve realized you just have to do it. You just have to get started! Don’t be afraid to mess up, you probably won’t even mess anything up and you’ll learn as you go. Think of your first batch as a test round. I promise you, once you do it one time, you will feel like a master ‘yogurtier’!

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Lemony Avocado ‘Yogurt’

I’m currently *patiently* waiting for my homemade coconut yogurt to ferment, and I don’t have any store bought yogurt on hand, so I decided to play around with a make shift yogurt to hold me over in the meantime.

Meet my new friend: Lemony Avocado Yogurt. I blended up avocado with half a lemon (skin on for super fragrant lemony flavor) manuka honey, frozen greens and more. The consistency comes out super creamy and almost gelatinous like yogurt, then top with typical yogurt bowl accoutrements and it’s almost like having the real thing!

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