In our first #LeotyList City Guide we ask Head of Communications for Ernest Leoty, Adelaide de Saint Etienne, to share her tips for Lisbon.
Q: Adelaide, can you tell us a bit about your trip to Lisbon this summer, was it your first time and were you there for business or pleasure?
A: Lisbon was such a beautiful surprise! A friend of mine from New York - who I have done a lot of travelling with - wanted to visit a new European city, so we chose Lisbon as neither of us had been and we had both heard wonderful things.
Q: What were your first impressions of the city?
A: That it definitely lives up to all the hype! Within a few hours we realised we were going to eat really well for the next few days, how nice the locals were and how beautiful the city was.
Q: We want to be somewhere buzzing but with a relaxed vibe, not too touristy, what district should we stay in?
A: We stayed in Alfama which is the oldest district in Lisbon. It’s full of little alley ways with outdoor restaurants and little bars, there’s a very relaxed atmosphere, and the best views in the city.
Q: We want to eat somewhere exciting but authentic, any suggestions?
A: You can’t really go wrong if you head to the Chiado district.
Q: Where should we go to find some culture?
A: The city is full of culture! Head to Torre de Belém, São Jorge Castle, Padrão dos Descobrimentos (a monument to the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries on the northern bank of the Tagus River) and the Jerónimos Monastery to learn about Portuguese history. For nightlife, Bairro Alto is incredible with its tiny bars and the party goes on late in the street. If you need an art fix head to the National Museum Of Ancient Art, Personally, I loved the little shops of ceramic tiles that are scattered around the city, and you definitely can’t miss going to Pastéis de Belém. OK, it’s a pretty touristy spot, but the Pastel de Nata is the oldest and most famous in the city so it’s worth it!
Q: Anything we should know about getting around?
A: Lisbon is much bigger than we thought, with hills everywhere. We did try to walk as much as we could as I much prefer to see cities on foot, but we ended up using Uber quite a lot. In fact it was so cheap, we even took it all the way to Sintra.
Q: What were the best tips you received before your trip?
A: To stay in Alfama, because it was super convenient to get to everywhere and just lovely! Though I wish someone had told us to book our train tickets in advance to Lagos - when we got to the station, the train we wanted was sold out!
Q: Now that you’ve been, what would be your top tips for the following:
Things to do/see
Head to Sintra (about 35 minutes away by car) and go to Pena Castle and Quinta da Regaleira (Instagram heaven).
Places to eat/drink
Bairro Alto neighbourhood bars for drinks and to eat, the Time Out Mercado was great because it had a bunch of different local and authentic options, and Chiado had a ton of great little restaurants.
Where to shop/what to buy
Chiado: look for the local Portuguese designer shops!
Q: To avoid the crowds you could...
A: Visit the city in spring, fall or winter: summer is PACKED.
Q: Three words to describe Lisbon?
A: Colorful, vibrant and entertaining.
Q: Would you go again?
Q: What could we do to stay active in Lisbon?
A: Walking in this city means going up and down hills constantly, there are tons of steps too… great exercise!
Q: Finally, what should we pack?
A: Sneakers! Flats! The city is really not meant for heels. I went in July and it was quite hot, so lots of flowy dresses. And of course, I can’t travel anywhere without my Saskia Leggings, they’re the best plane leggings.