Lisbon is one of my favourite cities in Europe. It’s cheap and full of character. I traveled there alone for a “quarter-life” crisis trip of sorts, I was experiencing a weird time with my personal life at the time. But it was a fun trip full of great food, drinks and I met some really nice people. Sometimes all your self-care needs to be is 48 Hours of Food and Drink in a cheap European city!
If you’ve arrived on a morning flight, chances are you’re hungry. Head to Zenith for brunch and cocktails. It’s got a large menu with options for everyone. Plus they serve mimosas! Once you’ve eaten and knocked back a few mimosas, it’s time to explore the city.
Around the Bairro Alto area, you’ll find lots of street art to snap some pictures of and here you’ll get a chance to see the famous street trams. After some exploring, it’s time to take the tram to Belém to try the famous Pastéis de Belém. Be prepared to queue, but also be prepared to taste the best Portuguese custard tart there is. Perfectly crisp pastry and a smooth warm custard filling made even better with a dusting of cinnamon on top. Don’t just buy one, buy as many as you can carry!
In the true nature of a quarter-life crisis solo trip, you need to stay in a hostel. Stay in Lisbon Destination Hostel, a modern hostel set within the historic Rossio train station. This place was voted one of the best hostels in the world in 2018. Once you’ve checked in to your room, it’s time to get back out to sample more food and drink in Lisbon.
Head to Cantinho Lustiano, a tiny family-run tapas restaurant. Getting a seat here is tricky, but worth it. The tapas here are not-so-fancy, but they hit the spot. Down the street, you’ll find Carinho do Vinho, a wine bar owned by a husband and wife team, with the most delicious Portuguese wines, cheeses, and olives. Once you’ve filled up on as much wine and cheese as humanly possible. It’s time to go on a proper pub crawl.
Sunset Destination Hostel (the sister hostel of Lisbon Destination Hostel) offers a pub crawl complete with games, as much free beer as you can drink, as well as shots and other drinks once you get to the club. Plan to dance the night away in one of the many clubs. If you see a man selling samosas on the street, buy one! They are delicious!
Maybe you’ve woken up with a sore head, if so, you need to head to Time Out Market to get some food. This market has such a wide range of foods to choose from so you can have whatever your hungover heart desires. Spend the day walking around the streets and make sure to check out the famous Pink Street (you’ll soon realize that you were here on the pub crawl last night but because the street was so full you never noticed the colour of it).
After a chill day of exploring (whilst nursing a hangover), you deserve more good food and drink in Lisbon. Head to Pistola y Corazon. This Mexican restaurant is the real deal, expect to queue for a table, but believe me it’s absolutely worth it. Order a margarita (obviously) and if you’re with a group, just order almost everything on the menu to share. If your feeling brave order some Mezcal for an after-dinner drink.
Once you’ve finished your Mexican feast, wander around the Cais do Sodré area, there are plenty of nice bars with outdoor seating to finish the night in. But do try to get an early night since you need to get up at the crack of dawn to catch your flight home.