Travel Recap // Portugal Part 3 – Lisbon & Sintra

Wrapping our travels in Portugal, we loved our time in Lisbon and Sintra.


Our travels in Portugal started in Comporta and Porto, then continued in the Duoro Valley, and the last leg of our trip was back in Lisbon. Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal and there is so much to see and do there! Lisbon is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, nightlife, relative affordability, beautiful light, food and wine, and proximity to other destinations. There are several recommended day trips from Lisbon and we did Sintra, which was fabulous.

Upon arrival, we followed our trend of having the hotel setting up a customized tour for us and it took us more than a half day, but we knocked out a quick look all the neighborhoods (hello, Baixa, Chaido, Bairro Alto, Alfama and Belém — all so different!)) and were able to hit a lot of the “must see” spots.

Portas do Sol Viewpoint
Belém Tower
Discoveries Monument
Motorbikes: the locals’ preferred method of transportation
Alfama neighborhood vibes
Rua Augusta Arch
Chiado – our favorite part of the city
Inside the Jerónimos Monastery
Squeezing in a little shopping
Loved the jacaranda trees! They bloom just before summer each year, so we had good timing.

We spent three nights and three days in Lisbon. I felt like we saw and experienced do much, but still could have done an extra day and added on a day trip to Cascais, as well.

While there, we stayed at Memmo Principe Real. We loved the detail-driven design and stunning views (we had a gorgeous rooftop balcony view). They also had an excellent on-site restaurant. The hotel is located in Principe Real — we wanted something close to Bairro Alto nightlife but not “IN” the craziness, and it was the perfect location. We walked many places from the hotel and felt we were right within many sights and attractions of historic Lisbon.

Our rooms
Gorgeous pool
Our balcony – we spent lots.of time here!

We did a lot of dinners, drinks, and sightseeing in Lisbon. Below are some of the spots I would recommend.

Restaurants to love

Red Frog – cool speakeasy, a top 50 bar in the world!

Restaurante Rocco – amazing dinner, fabulous interiors!

BAHR – amazing scenic views for cocktails, great ambience inside with the best food for dinner

Tapisco – Henrique Sá Pessoa – casual dinner

Café Príncipe Real at Memmo – lunch overlooking the pool and city!

Quattro Teste – cocktail bar

Café Príncipe Real at Memmo
View from the rooftop at BAHR
Dinner at BAHR
Dinner at Rocco
The interiors at Rocco are eye candy overload!
And the bathroom was not to be missed!


We took a day trip to Sintra and it was magical! We did a lot of prep ahead of time to mitigate the reports we heard about how packed it typically gets in Sintra. We consulted with a driver who we planned to have drive us there and back. They recommended seeing two attractions in Sintra and having a nice lunch and doing some sightseeing in between. They told us you really have to get to the attractions early and late in the day — in the middle of the day is packed.

Storefronts in Sintra
A quick drive-by to see Quinta da Regaleira
Processed with VSCO with au1 preset

Monserrate Palace

Our first stop was Monserrate Palace, which is an eclectic romantic dream. It was first a Gothic Revival mansion built in 1790 by an English merchant, and later purchased by Sir Francis Cook (an English millionaire and art collector), who transformed the building into what it is today.

We were floored already at this point!
The gorgeous Monserrate Palace

The palace mixes different styles, from the neo-Gothic to the neo-Moorish, and is topped by a dome inspired by the Duomo in Florence. It’s surrounded by the most lush park with a truly remarkable botanical collection, containing species from around the world, waterfalls and lakes.

The detail on this plaster ceiling was breathtaking

This was our favorite spot in Sintra – the beauty of it is just breathtaking. We went early in the day, probably around 10:30 or 11 am, and we almost had the place to ourselves!

Azenhas do Mar

In between attractions in Sintra, we had the most memorable lunch at Azenhas do Mar, right on the ocean! Azenhas do Mar is a Mediterranean-looking village with white houses tumbling down to the Atlantic — it gave us very “Greece” vibes. The fish was caught right there, and paired with local Portuguese bread, cheeses, olives and of course, lots of Vinho Verde!

Pena Palace

Pena Palace is a gloriously exaggerated and fanciful structure built in the 19th-century. It crowns the highest peak of the Serra de Sintra there are views for days of the Sintra hills and the distant Atlantic coastline. The interior is lavishly decorated and there are rooms for days.

We waited until the very end of the day to arrive to Pena Palace, knowing how packed it would be mid-day. I can’t stress enough how glad we were to have the tour guide to help us navigate this. Not only did they know the best time to arrive, but how to park and navigate the long and winding trek up to the palace, how to save time by pre-purchasing tickets, which line to get in when we arrived, and how to get us through the palace efficiently.

Pena Palace was a lot of fun! Despite the crowds you’ll surely encounter, I would say this is a must-see.

All in all, Portugal blew our minds. We were expecting a fun trip, but the beauty of the cities and the people was truly enchanting and even a bit overwhelming in the best way possible. I had a couple of “top 10” moments that I don’t think I’ll ever forget for as long as I live. I would highly recommend Portugal to anyone, and hope these posts are helpful for planning, if you go.

Cheers to the next adventure!

1 comment on “Travel Recap // Portugal Part 3 – Lisbon & Sintra

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