There’s nothing quite like the excitement and anticipation of flying into a new city. Flying low over the terracotta rooftops of Lisbon we were keen to touch down and explore the oldest city in Western Europe, with its 1930s-era cafés and relaxed charm – and seek out the city’s best pastel de nata’s.
I’m sure you’ve seen photographs of these incredible Portuguese pastries, and there’s good reason. Light and buttery with a hint of cinnamon, the traditional pastel de nata’s from Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata sell out in minutes, with another tray straight from the oven ready to take its place. There are a few locations around the city, our favourite was on Praça de Luís de Camões where you can also enjoy an espresso at the bar and see them being continuously made in store.
With slight jet lag, we found ourselves waking before the sun which allowed us to explore the city before the crowds and midday heat. Casa Balthazar in the charming and vibrant neighbourhood of Chiado is the perfect base for exploring the city, located in a quiet laneway within walking distance to local taverns and boutiques. A stunning all white facade, the 19th century building building consists of seventeen luxury suites all set around a high walled courtyard with a pool. We stayed in a beautiful three-storey modern suite with lots of natural light and a private rooftop terrace. Breakfast is served in your room, which is incredibly relaxing and a ritual we looked forward to every day. We loved watching the sun slowly rise over Castelo de Sao Jorge on the little rooftop whilst tucking into seasonal fruit, pastel de nata’s and a basket of freshly baked croissants from Confeitaria Nacional with homemade jam. There really is no better way to start the day.
Lisbon is a great city to simply wander and get lost among the Neapolitan coloured houses, stopping to admire the intricate tile work that covers the city. There are quite a few steep hills, so it’s best to wear comfortable shoes – I wore a great pair of tan woven mules from Australian label ST. AGNI Studio. In the afternoon, hop on one of the classic wooden Remodelado trams to see more of the historic monuments including the grand square Praça do Comércio and Feira da Ladra, one of Lisbon’s largest and oldest flea markets.
Lisbon is a great city to simply wander and get lost among the Neapolitan coloured houses, stopping to admire the intricate tile work that covers the city.
For lunch, head to Scandinavian inspired cafe Hello, Kristof for a freshly squeezed orange juice and an açaí bowl topped with summer fruit. They have an incredible independent magazine selection, so you can pour over the latest Kinfolk or Cereal with your well made coffee.
The Time Out market in Mercado da Ribeira is an industrial space filled with stalls selling fresh produce and local specialties. Stock up on a few tins of beautifully packaged sardines, prosciutto, sourdough and figs to bring back and enjoy on the rooftop as the sun sets at Casa Balthazar.
Next stop, Porto.
LOCATION / Lisbon, Portugal
STAY / Casa Balthazar