Rimowa Salsa Air cabin case
Hire car from Europcar
Total travel time 2.5 hours from London
Memmo Alfama, Barcelona
Lisbon is an excellent option to visit if you’re exploring Europe. Throughout Summer you’ll receive near-guaranteed sunshine and a relatively dry heat, rather than the sticky humidity you find in other European cities, which makes walking around a pleasant experience! In a relatively compact city, with a flight time of less than 2.5 hours it is an excellent destination for a short weekend adventure.
Booked in for this trip was the Memmo Alfama hotel, a member of Design Hotel’s, situated, as the name suggests, in the Alfama area, on the hill nearby the Lisbon cathedral. This chic boutique hotel is in a 18th century building and overlooks the River Tagus. Upon entry you feel instantly at home with minimalistic design and a very casual ambience. For instance, there is a ‘loyalty’ fridge you can help yourself to refreshments in (including cake!)
The hotel boasts a beautiful rooftop, with surrounding views and an amazing blood-red swimming pool. This itself has a very casual feel as there are tables right by the pool and the sun loungers are all on different levels. We did find this area could get busy in places, particularly if non-guests used the area for a drink after work.
Saturday – Day 1
Lisbon is a perfectly walkable city and staying in Alfama enables easy access to the rest of the city. After a lovely breakfast at the hotel featuring the traditional pastel de nata and a croissant loaf (yes really a loaf of croissant)
Post-breakfast consisted of walking around the beautiful neighbourhoods Lisbon had to offer such as Bairro Alto, Baixa Chaido and Alfama, where we stayed. However, it was in Principe Real where we found our mecca – Copenhagen Coffee Lab. A beautiful contemporary coffee shop with great flat whites to curb our coffee craving. Once we finished these we strolled back to the hotel to enjoy the rooftop area and that blood red pool for a well-earned break. It’s worth noting that, although compact, Lisbon can be hilly in places.
For lunch, we headed to the rather fantastic Darwin’s Cafe, which was a quick and easy cab ride. This cafe comes highly recommended, in a beautiful setting along the riverside, with a fully air-conditioned interior, backed by a rather huge terrace over-looking the river.
The evening consisted of quick pre-dinner drink at the Insolito rooftop. Insolito is a beautiful restaurant and bar which looks like you’re in someone’s kitchen and the food is excellent. After taking in the rooftop views at Insolito, we headed down to Coimbra Taberna where we enjoyed a traditional Portuguese dish or two in a subterranean restaurant.
After dinner, we had a slow wander to Taberna Moderna, which boasts over 70 different gins for every palate. We could have spent hours in here simply talking about the range of gins with the sommelier, but a couple of swift drinks later and it was time to find our way back to the hotel with the aim of an early Sunday morning start.
Sunday – Day 2
Lisbon also has a secret gem located just outside the centre – Cascais beach. A relatively quick 30 minute train journey and you can stop at the Cascais station, right next to a top quality stretch of sand and long promenade, which includes outdoor gyms which were too tempting to pass up!
After a stroll along the promenade, a dip or two in the ocean, some sun and the unexpected workout at the beach outdoor gym, we headed back to enjoy lunch at the Time Out Market. A market consisting of 35+ different food stalls serving fresh and delicious food. The biggest problem you’ll face is deciding where to eat! After this, a short wander back up the hill to work off our lunch and back for a final flat white at the Copenhagen Coffee Lab. This time we noticed the quirky Tease, over the road, which was an excellent location for a refreshing juice.Café a Brasileira, which also had the most delectable of Portugese specialities, the pastel de nata, or custard tart in English! You can’t leave Lisbon without trying one of these local pastries.