BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO 🇲🇦

La Mamounia, Marrakech

La Mamounia, Marrakech


MOROCCO (~7.5 days)

Language(s) Spoken: English, French, Spanish, Arabic 

Currency: MAD, Moroccan Dirham

Outlet: 2 pins (Type C)

T-Mobile Data: Not Covered

Driver’s Seat: Left (same as US); *would not recommend renting a car and driving yourself

Cities Visited: Tangier, Chefchaouen, Marrakech, Sahara Desert (Merzouga) 

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen, Morocco

CHEFCHAOUEN (2.5 days) 

For the second leg of our trip we were in Morocco! We flew from Lisbon to Tangier for the night, and were off to Chefchaouen the next day!

I was absolutely smitten with the city they call “The Blue Pearl,” from the gorgeous blue walls to the friendly locals, it felt like walking through a fairytale. We originally were only going to stay one night, but loved this city so much we extended our stay for another night! We spent our days wandering the streets, browsing souvenir shops, befriending the local cats, and just taking in all the city had to offer. The city felt really safe and locals were so friendly and helpful if we needed anything, we did a short walking tour with our Airbnb host, but other than that we just wandered on our own. 

Airbnb 

Naomi & Mohammed were the BEST Airbnb hosts I’ve ever had! We were a bit nervous to be visiting Morocco because we weren’t sure what to expect but they helped us arrange our taxi to and from the airport and Chefchaouen, got us data cards, and guided us around the city! I highly HIGHLY recommend staying with them in their beautiful home! 

Cost: Local Maroc - $37/night for 2 people 


Highlights to See/Do: 

    • *Spanish Mosque - situated on top of a hill, it’s a little bit of an uphill hike to get there (~20 min) but the views are so worth it. We took a quick city tour with our Airbnb host Mohammed and he ended the tour at the top of the hill. You get to see the whole city and along your route you can see locals washing their clothes in the river and local farm animals, it’s just a wonderful way to take in the beauty of this city.

      • ~$15 US per person

    • *Cooking Class - we did a cooking class with our Airbnb host, Mohammed, and made Beef Kefta Tagine, Moroccan Salad, and Fruit Salad in the comfort of our own little home. It was a super simple recipe but so much fun to learn about the different spices, techniques, etc. It was so much fun and such a great way to bond with our host some more and learn more about the Moroccan culture.

      • ~$30 US for 2 people

    • *Lina Ryad and Spa - we were first greeted with juice and cookies before our traditional Moroccan Hammam (body scrub). It was glorious, they put you in a steamy room and scrub off all your dead skin cells - about an hour later, you walk out with silky smooth skin. It didn’t really hurt, but if you have sensitive skin I’d definitely do some research ahead of time! I also added a 30 minute massage afterwards and walked out feeling like a new woman. Highly recommend this spa! We didn’t have enough time, but they had a pool area to lounge in and I believe it’s a hotel option for you to stay at as well!

      • Cost: ~$70 US for both treatments

    • *Shopping - all the souvenirs! it was truly difficult not to blow all my money in Chefchaouen, they have so many cute shops filled with local treasures such as handmade soap, argan oil, rugs, blankets, cute trinkets, handmade wooden everything, etc. If you’re stopping by Chefchaouen, I highly recommend getting souvenirs here because I feel like the quality was better than Marrakech and the shop owners are super friendly. I do think Marrakech had better prices because of the abundance of options but you should definitely haggle and explore to see what items you’d like to bring back with you! There are shops literally everywhere! So just wander to your hearts content, but try to remember how to get back to your riad because the city is built like a bit of a maze.

Beldi Lalla Mesouda, Chefchaouen

Beldi Lalla Mesouda, Chefchaouen

Foods/Restaurants to Try: 

    • *Beldi Lalla Mesouda - super cute and quaint little restaurant situated in the middle of Chefchaouen. Mint tea is a must - though, I always ask for less sugar because I’m not much of a sweets person. Their lamb tagine w/ veggies and Morrocan soup were delicious!

    • Sky - so…we caved and got Chinese food on our second day but in our defense, we had been on the road for a little over a week! We heard about this restaurant through the locals and it totally hit the spot! We got their beef fried rice, vinegar cucumbers, and egg rolls. If I were to go back, I definitely would want to try their hot pot because that’s what they’re known for!

*side note: honestly, you could walk into most any restaurants and get a really authentic Moroccan experience! We randomly stumbled into a few to grab a snack or some tea and they were all super accommodating and the food was delicious! 

Merzouga, Sahara Desert  (sunrise)

Merzouga, Sahara Desert (sunrise)


SAHARA DESERT (2 days) 

Off to Marrakech! We flew with Royal Air Maroc and had a 3 hour lay over in Casablanca, total duration from Tangier to Marrakech was about 5 hours. We emailed our riad, Monriad, ahead of time and arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport and for dinner to be served upon our arrival! More Lamb Tagine and Moroccan soup! 

Cost: Monriad - $250 for 5 nights for 2 people ($125pp) 

*we LOVED staying here! They were super accommodating, it almost felt like we were staying at someone’s home! We knocked and someone opened the door for us every time we got back. They even left me some local soap to take home as my birthday present!

Because we planned the Sahara trip after we had already booked our riad, we just used it to store our luggage while we were in the desert since the hotel was such a great price! We packed everything we needed in our backpacks for a one night stay and just brought that with us. We decided to do the longer trek to Merzouga because the sand dunes are far more impressive than the parts of the Sahara that are closer to Marrakech.

The next morning, our tour guide Mohammed from Camel Trekking, came to get us at 6AM. It was not an easy wake up call, but we were so ready!

  • Cost: $340pp including roundtrip private transportation, 1 night stay at the Sahara Desert Camp with roundtrip camel ride, sandboarding, traditional Moroccan show, dinner, and breakfast

Going to the Sahara is not a difficult trip at all, Mohammed was super accommodating to our needs and made sure to take us to the best sites including: 

    • Atlas Mountains - we got to see a bit of the sunrise in the Atlas mountains! This was more of a pitstop but Mohammed was very willing to stop anytime we saw anything we were interested in!

    • Aìt Ben Haddou - this was the set for the movie Gladiator and various scenes from Game of Thrones! We got to stop here and wander around the ancient city, it was really cool to walk through and we had a lot of fun experiencing a city that thrives in the dessert.

    • Hotel Kasbah Ennakhile - Mohammed stopped here for us to grab some lunch! It felt like a little oasis and we were served a really delicious lunch overlooking some sweeping views of the dessert and rows of date trees.

Merzouga, Sahara Desert

Merzouga, Sahara Desert

After about a 10 hour drive (not including stops) we made it to the Sahara where our camels were waiting for us! Our guide provided us with frozen water bottles and head scarves to protect us from the beating sun and we were off on our ~1 hour camel adventure. I was living out my fantasies of the scene from Aladdin where the camel’s shadows glide across the sand! My only warning would be that your crotch is going to hurt…a lot..but it’s worth the trek! 

Once we arrived at the camp, we quickly climbed to the top of this giant hill to try to catch a glimpse of the sunset. It was proven to be a very difficult task because the hill was made of sand, and as you tried to climb up, you would slide down a few inches each time. We finally made it to the top, took some gorgeous photos and came back down just in time for dinner in the main dining tent.

After dinner, we had some downtime to walk around the campsite so we went back to our tent to get settled in. We opted for the tent with the toilet and shower and I am very grateful because we were very sticky after a long day of traveling. Later that night, they put on a show for us where they played us traditional music, showed us how to play the instruments, and even taught us some traditional dances. 

Then for the final event, they turned off all the lights at the camp, and walked us out into the dessert with flashlights to let us see the stars. Cue “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, because wow, I have never seen anything like it. We got really lucky because when we were there because it was during a moonless night (something that happens every 14 days) and we could see all the stars including the Milky Way in full glory. We climbed up to the top of a smaller hill and the guides taught us to bury our feet into the sand to keep them warm.  We just sat out there for a couple of hours staring at the sky, completely enamored by the stars. It was definitely the highlight of the trip.

That night, we ended up not going to bed til about 2AM, and the next morning (after many snoozed alarms), we dragged ourselves out of bed at 5AM to watch the sunrise. It was spectacular, I would wake up at 5AM everyday if this was my morning view. We spent the rest of the morning wandering the sand dunes, taking photos, and just in complete disbelief that we were in the SAHARA! A truly magical experience. 

Before we left the camp, we had a quick breakfast and the guides gave us some boards to go sandboarding! (think snowboarding, but sand) The trek uphill was not rough, but coming down the board was really fun! We did one run before we had to grab all of our things and meet the camels to take us on our trek back to Mohammed. 

We were so sad to be leaving the dessert that we convinced our guide, who actually grew up in the dessert, to take us on a ride through the sand dunes! He was very well versed with the curves of the sand dunes and took us on a quick ride up and down the hills. It was SO much fun! And the perfect way to wrap up our time in the Sahara. 

The trip back was…not so fun. Since we did all the stops on the way there, we basically drove back 10 hours straight with one quick stop for lunch. We were exhausted, sleep deprived, hot, and at that point, I just wanted to be horizontal on a bed. Mohammed was really kind and tried to make it as comfortable of a ride as he could. If we could do this leg of the trip all over again, I would suggest contacting Mohammed ahead of time and telling him your itinerary in Morocco, that way if you’re planning on visiting other cities, he can be your guide and help plan your trek so you’re not driving 10 hours into the dessert and then 10 hours back in the span of 48 hours. For example, he could meet you in Tangier, take you to Chefchaouen, then Fez, the Sahara, and then Marrakech so you’re not backtracking. I would definitely try to add Fez if we could go back!

Overall, the exhaustion was very very worth it and I highly recommend Mohammed from Camel Trekking Excursions! I’ve had friends use this same tour with the extra stop in Fez and they absolutely loved it as well! Mohammed is super friendly, extremely accommodating, and made the whole experience just absolutely incredible.

Souks, Marrakech

Souks, Marrakech

MARRAKECH pt. 2 (2.5 days)

Now to really explore Marrakech! We tried to give ourselves a few extra days here because it’s the city that everyone loves but we ended up using 2 of those days to go to the dessert. To be honest, I felt like 2.5 days was more than enough! We were able to see everything we wanted to, while still having some downtime to sit at cafes and truly enjoy ourselves. 

Highlights to See/Do: 

    • *Bahia Palace - gorgeous palace in the middle of the city! It was built by one of the king’s for his favorite wife. I would take an audio tour because we didn’t and ended up trying to eavesdrop and piece together the story based on other guides we saw at the palace haha, but highly recommend spending at least an hour or two here

      • Cost: 10 Dirham (~$1 US)

    • *Jardin Majorelle - the reason why most people go to Marrakech! The blues of this garden are something else, they even sell cans of paint for you to bring home! It’s a very old garden that was bought by Yves Saint Laurent himself because he was so inspired by Moroccan culture. It’s not as big as I imagined, but definitely worth a stroll through. I would suggest going at open to avoid lines and standing in the sun for hours!

      • Cost: 70 Dirham (~$7.30 US)

    • Yves Saint Laurent Museum - here you will find the iconic YSL sign. Located right next to Jardin Majorelle, it’s a small museum that walks you through some of YSL’s most iconic designs and tells you a little bit more Saint Laurent himself. If you’re short on time, I would choose Jardin Majorelle over the museum.

      • Cost: 100 Dirham (~$10.50 US)

    • *Souks - I love a good souvenir market, but the Souks in Marrakech are on a different level. It’s rows and rows of bags, shoes, trinkets, jewelry, spices, soaps, beauty products, lamps, etc. It’s quite overwhelming to be honest! I much preferred shopping in Chefchaouen over Marrakech, mainly because it was must less crowded and we weren’t constantly being run over by motorcycles/breathing in exhaust fumes, but it’s definitely a fun experience that you need no more than 2-3 hours for. The best part is, you never know what you’ll find! This is also where I got my gorgeous lantern store shot! Some of the shop keepers are super friendly, I typically asked if it was okay to take a photo and they would say yes or no.

    • *La Mamounia - it’s one of the most famous hotels in Marrakech with the beautiful hallway and swimming pool that I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram that are for guests only. They have beautiful gardens that you can walk around and I highly recommend spending a few hours here. We made dinner reservations for my birthday that night so they let us wander the premise to our hearts content and we got some amazing photos!

    • *Koutoubia Mosque - as one of the most iconic buildings in Marrakech, it’s pretty hard to miss. We unfortunately weren’t able to go inside due to religious reasons, but we did make it a point to visit and admire it up close. It’s a beautiful structure with lots of history and religious significance.

    • Le Jardin Secret - we had some time to kill in the afternoon so we decided to check out Le Jardin Secret. It’s a very small garden situated in the middle of the city. It takes no more than 5 minutes to walk through the whole thing so I wouldn’t say that this is a huge priority, but if you have some time and want to relax and wander around a cute little garden while enjoying a cup of moroccan mint tea, this is a great option!

      • Cost: 60 Dirhams (~$6.30 US)

Le Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech

Le Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech

Foods/Restaurants to Try: 

    • *Naraj - you can make a reservation if you’d like, but we just walked in and it was totally fine! Their hummus is probably the best I’ve ever had! And they seated us upstairs on their little rooftop and it was just perfect.

    • *Nomad - basically where all the instagrammers go. It’s a super cute rooftop with the most amazing lamb chops! We loved it so much we ended up going twice!

    • *La Mamounia - the hotel/restaurant we celebrated my birthday at! I think the food was decent, nothing mind blowing but a very nice experience. I would suggest making a reservation to wander the premise and ordering a la carte or choosing their smaller set menu.

I’d say my favorites in Morocco were definitely Chefchaouen and the Sahara! The country felt very safe and everyone is super accommodating to English speakers. Of course, because you are traveling, just be aware of your surroundings and keep your personal belongings zipped and in front of you at all times, but we only ever felt that hustle and bustle in Marrakech.

Feel free to reach out via Instagram if you have any questions (@regina.fang), I have more videos highlighted in my stories. 

Have the best time on your Moroccan adventure & drink some extra Moroccan mint tea for me!

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN PORTUGAL 🇵🇹

Pena Palace, Sintra

Pena Palace, Sintra

Hello hello! Summer is in full swing and that means everyone's #wanderlust is probably through the ROOF. I have to admit, I'm too am majorly FOMO-ing all my friends current trips - especially since NYC has decided to become an actual sauna - but I channeled that energy and wrote up a guide of the two countries I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this summer!

First up, Portugal! I honestly LOVED this country, I even told myself I would've been perfectly happy if I had ended the trip there (please don't hold me to this). The people, the culture, the food, everything about it was absolutely divine and I had the most fabulous time (heh that rhymed). 

We started off in Porto for a few days, made our way down the coast to Sintra, before finally ending in Lisbon. To learn more about the fun, keep reading down below, enjoy! 

PORTUGAL (~6 days)

Language(s) Spoken: English, Portuguese

Currency: € Euros

Outlet: 2 pins (Type C)

T-Mobile Data Coverage: Included

Driver’s Seat: Left (same as US); *international permit needed to rent car

Uber: Yes (Porto and Lisbon)

Cities Visited: Porto, Óbidos, Peniche, Sintra, Lisbon

Porto, Portugal  (taken from the Gaia side)

Porto, Portugal (taken from the Gaia side)

PORTO (1.5 days)

Porto is split into two sides, Porto and Gaia. My friends and I stayed on the Porto side but were able to very easily walk across the Dom Luís I Bridge within ~15-20 minutes. It’s a cute seaside town with tons of port wine tasting options. We originally were going to spend 2.5 days here but felt like 1.5-2 was definitely enough time to do everything!

Highlights to See:

  • Dom Luís I Bridge - nice bridge that connects Porto and Gaia, you can either walk along the top or bottom, the top gives you a nice aerial view of the city while the bottom connects you with the boardwalk side of Gaia. If you choose to walk the top, there is also a cable car that will bring you back down to the boardwalk on the Gaia side for €6.

    • Cost: Free

  • Livraria Llello - the bookstore JK Rowling frequented when she taught English in Porto and is said to have been an inspiration for the Harry Potter series. It’s a beautiful bookstore, but just a warning, it’s extremely busy which makes it difficult to get good photos for the insta. If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, I think you’d really enjoy this but I’d suggest going early to avoid crowds!

    • Cost: €5, but if you buy a book your ticket price will go towards the final price.

  • Torre dos Clérigos - really nice tower in Porto that gives you a great birds eye view of the city. Be prepared to climb stairs to the top!

    • Cost: €5, includes entrance to cathedral, museum exhibits, and the tower

  • Igreja de Sao Francisco - we didn’t get a chance to go inside because we got there after closing but the outside it absolutely gorgeous!

 

Igreja de Sao Francisco, Porto

Igreja de Sao Francisco, Porto

Foods/Restaurants to Try:

  • Fábrica de Nata - a must! These were probably our favorite pastel de nata (portuguese egg tarts) our whole trip! They have a great deal that’s €4.50 for a sandwich, juice/coffee, AND a pastel de nata, honestly unheard of because in NYC i’ve paid that much just for a coffee.

  • Bacalhau - restaurant by the water, we didn’t get to try it out because it was a 2.5 hour wait, but it has great reviews, I wish we had more time. We ended up eating next door at Muralha Do Rio and that was quite good too with a similar view.

  • Amorino Porto - this isn’t particularly special to Porto, I believe you can find this chain store throughout Europe, but it’s situated right next to Livraria Liello and who doesn’t love a gorgeous rose shaped gelato?

  • Madriguera - we wanted to try the famous Portuguese franceshina sandwich that consists of ham, sausage, & steak doused with melted cheese, and a tomato & beer sauce. I know, sounds like a heart attack, but I promise it’s much more intimidating than it sounds. It was actually quite delicious! We split a mini between the two of us plus a charcuterie board and that was more than enough food.

  • Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau - really cute shop that serves the classic fried codfish ball with cheese with a mini glass of port wine on a little artist palette. Not absolutely necessary to try, but if you’re by the tower and want to grab a little snack, this is the perfect place!

 

Escapo Porto Cruz, Porto

Escapo Porto Cruz, Porto

Port Wine Tasting:

Personally, port wine was a little too sweet for my liking (tasted like honey…which may or may not be a good thing), but I really enjoyed the experience of walking around the cellars and trying all the different types while learning about the process in which it is made. These are the two places we ended up going to:

  • Graham’s Port Lodge - our first activity in Porto! We signed up for the group tour which was perfect for our group of 5. They took us through their cellars and explained what makes port wine so special. At the very end, we got to try 6 small glasses shared between groups of 2. Graham’s is situated on top of a hill on the Gaia side, I believe you can walk here if you’re willing to do a bit of an uphill hike but we took an Uber because we were running late.

    • Cost: €20pp for group tour + wine tasting

  • Espaco Porto Cruz - for our second tasting, my cousin very kindly treated me as an early birthday present, thanks Ann! This was a much more immersive experience as we had one guide for the 3 of us in a private tasting room. We got to try 7 types of port wines in addition to a pink port wine (essentially their version of rosé). I really loved this experience, especially since we got to ask as many questions as we want, but unfortunately they do not have cellars to walk through, but they do have a 360 rooftop with a gorgeous view of the Porto side so I highly recommend stopping by and grabbing a drink up there even if you don’t do the tasting.

    • Cost: €58pp for private wine tasting

*Note: one of my friends who doesn’t drink alcohol was able to join the tours with us for free! Just make sure you email the company ahead of time to let them know.

 

Peniche, Portugal

Peniche, Portugal

DRIVE FROM PORTO TO SINTRA (1 day)

This drive is ~3 hours, but we decided to take our time and make little stops along the way. We rented our car from Sixt at the Porto Airport at ~11AM; the lines were quite long to pick up our car but the employees were extremely helpful and ended up upgrading us to an Audi with a navigation system! After almost driving onto the airport runway (oops), we were on our way to Sintra!

We originally envisioned us cruising along the coast all the way down, but apparently the only roads by the ocean are tiny streets that keep diverting you back to the main road, so after a few attempts we decided to just take the highway but here were our favorite stops:

Highlights to See:

  • Chapel of Senhor da Pedra - a little chapel that sits oceanside. It was really cute with a beautiful view, and there weren’t very many people around! I think we (two girls from California) had a really hard time processing the fact that the Atlantic Ocean was on the west coast…wha??

  • *Óbidos - HIGHLY recommend stopping by this little medieval town. From the color block walls to the castle walls to the greenery that surrounds it, it’s dreamiest town. We grabbed a quick lunch (I forgot the name of the restaurant :( but it was located in a little street to the right between the parking lot and the front entrance to the city) and no joke spent like 3 hours just wandering and taking photos!! We walked along the wall and got to explore the smaller streets above the main one, and the best part was, once you leave the main street, it totally feels like the whole city is yours!

  • Peniche - cute little seaside town, if you’re tight on time feel free to skip it, but we really wanted to see the coastline and this place was perfect! There is a gorgeous fortress in the middle of the ocean that you can take a boat to, but we arrived too late so we just sat on the cliffs and watched the sunset.

That night we stayed at Casa da Estefanea Botique Bed and Breakfast in Sintra. It was super nice and quaint, and their body soap smelled so good I wish I could buy it in bulk and bring it home with me.

 

Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra

Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra

*SINTRA NATIONAL PARK (UNESCO Heritage Site) (1 day)

Definitely a highlight of the trip! Would really recommend setting aside an entire day here because there is so much to see and do, we honestly probably could have done two days. It was so much fun to have our car and spend some time in nature exploring the beautiful castles. If you didn’t rent a car, I believe you can take public transportation from Lisbon and they have trams that will take you between the castles.

Highlights to See:

  • *Pena Palace - the most famous palace in the national park! We arrived around 10:45AM and it was already quite packed with tourists. We spent a few hours wandering and admiring the gorgeous architecture. It was originally built to be a monastery in 1493 but was remodeled by King Ferdinand II to reflect a more romantic feel for the Portuguese royal family’s summer home. The colors are so bright and full of life and there’s a breathtaking view of the ocean, definitely a must see.

    • Cost: €13.30 ticket + €3 tram (to be honest, the tram isn’t absolutely necessary, we didn’t even end up taking it. we were told it was a 15 min hike uphill but we didn’t believe it because it looked much further, but it was indeed a 15 min walk with a really nice view! haha)

  • Moorish Castle - it provided a great view of Pena Palace and the Atlantic Ocean from afar, but if you’re short on time I would say it’s okay to skip out on this one. Nonetheless, the 10th century castle is still really fun to visit.

    • Cost: €7.60  (you can actually buy all your tickets at once at the ticket booth since they’re all part of the same park system)

  • Monserrate Palace - we heard after the fact that this was one of the more beautiful palaces in Sintra. Wish we knew ahead of time so we could have visited it!

  • **Quinta da Regaleira - honestly my favorite palace/manor I’ve ever been to. It’s situated in the national park, but not part of the collective so you have to buy tickets separately but it was SO worth it. It was built by a wealthy man named Carvalho Monteiro who wanted to create a bewildering experience of labyrinths and beautiful gardens, and man did he nail it. I have never seen anything like this in my life! I must admit, when Sheena first told me about this place, she really wanted to see the “well”, which I wasn’t super excited about it, but wow, what a well. As you slowly make your way down, there are various dark paths that will spit you out into different gardens. Without giving too much away, all I have to say is that it was so much fun to explore and I highly recommend stopping by this magical place.

    • Cost: €6

 

Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon

Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon

LISBON (1.5 days)

I really loved Lisbon!! From the history to the architecture to the food and cute shops, I would love to go back!

Highlights to See:

  • *Jerónimos Monastery - gorgeous monastery in Belém, ~15-20 min Uber ride from Lisbon. It’s not very large so you don’t need to spend too much time there, but totally worth the trip because the architecture is breathtaking.

    • Cost: €10

  • Torre de Belém - beautiful tower overlooking the water, we arrived too late to go inside and climb to the top but we stopped by the outside and took some cute photos (~15 min walk from the Jerónimos Monastery)

  • *Take Lisboa - this was a free walking tour that we spontaenously decided to join on our second/last day in Lisbon. Our guide Cláudia was super sweet and extremely knowledgable of the history of Lisbon. It’s about a 3 hour tour but was totally the cherry on top of our Lisbon experience. She takes you to the best sights in Lisbon including:

    • Rua Da Bica de Duarte Belo (the famous street with the tram)

    • Bertrand Chiado (the oldest bookstore in the world)

    • Santa Justa Lift (gorgeous elevator in the middle of the streets)

    • Praca do Comercio (the famous square with beautiful architecture and lots of shops/restaurants, etc.)

    • Bairro Alto - our Airbnb was actually this area and we totally didn’t realize just how central it is! This is definitely the area to go out and enjoy Lisbon nightlife. Within these 4 streets there are over 400 bars! We didn’t get a chance to go bar hopping, but we did find a bar that serves Ginja, a Portuguese liquor, that is served inside a chocolate shell in the shape of a cup!

Pastéis de Belem, Belem

Pastéis de Belem, Belem

Foods/Restaurants to Try:

  • *Cervejaria Ramiro - quite possibly my favorite meal on our whole trip, hands down the best seafood I’ve ever had (& I don’t even like seafood!). We ordered their garlic shrimp (their garlic butter thooo), razor clams, tiger prawns, and oysters (legit best oysters I’ve ever had). We wanted to try their crab and mussels too, but tried not to go too overboard. Side note: it’s filled with Chinese tourists, and I feel like that’s a telltale sign that the seafood is freshhhh.

  • *Marisqueria Uma - everyone basically goes here to order one thing, the seafood rice. This mom and pop shop recommended by our walking tour guide Cláudia definitely did not disappoint. It kind of reminds me of a gumbo, but I liked it way more!

  • Pastéis de Belém - situated next to the Jerónimos Monastery, I wouldn’t say that this is a MUST because I liked Fábrica de Nata much more, but it is the original so if you’re in the area, you should stop by!

  • *Manteigara - I honestly liked this more than Pastéis de Belém 🙊 but I think you should just try both and decide for yourself! heh

  • *Palacio Chiado - an old palace that is now 6 different restaurants. We went up to the very top and got a seat by the window to enjoy some wine, gazpacho, and a plate of acorn fed iberico ham that was just amazing. *Note: I will warn that my roommate ended up getting a really bad case of food poisoning from the juice, so I would just steer clear of that.

  • Taberna Bairro do Avillez - tapas restaurant by José Avillez, a Michelin rated chef. They have a wide charcuterie selection and the roasted pork wraps were so good we ended up ordering another! We didn’t get a chance to go to his other one star restaurant, that my friend raved about (Belcanto), but we were quite pleased with the tapas we had here!

  • Time Out Market - we didn’t get a chance to eat here (though I wish we did!) but it’s a really nice food court with tons of options to try different foods and there’s a mini A Vida Portugesa (see below).

Favorite Shops:

  • A Vida Portuguesa - a super cute store that was great for getting Portuguese souvenirs for friends (and myself). Everything is authentically Portuguese!

  • Livraria Antiquária do Calhariz - a nice bookstore with books from as early as the 1600s! All the books were in Portuguese but I was able to pick up a book of vintage postcards from Versailles.

  • d'Orey Tiles Antiques - an antique tile shop with Portuguese tiles from the 16th-19th century! I picked up an Arabic inspired Portuguese tile from the 1600s and it’s probably the best souvenir I’ve ever purchased.

Ah writing this post makes me want to do it all over again! I put little asterisks** next to the things that were my favorites ☺️

Hope this post has been helpful, let me know down in the comments below if you have any questions! 💕✨

Safe travels wherever you go 🛫