Brussels and Ghent: one weekend, two cities, three thousand Delirium beers…

World famous chocolate, the best waffles and an endless choice of beer should be more than enough solid reasons to add Belgium to your travel bucket list!

We only had a weekend in Belgium due to us having no holiday left from work, oops! Luckily for us though we’re only an hour’s plane journey away, and by now we’re pretty good at drinking our way around a new place in a couple of days! We managed to visit both Brussels and Ghent, spending a full day in each city. For us, we would recommend spending longer in Ghent (we would have if we had the time), the bars have the same endless beer choices as Brussels but tasted so much better overlooking the canal in the sunshine!

Getting there…

Our go to budget airline (good old Ryanair) offer cheap enough flights from the UK to Brussels South Charleroi airport pretty much all year round. We flew out after work on a Friday evening and arrived in Brussels at around 10.30pm. Because we landed so late, we decided to book a hotel in Charleroi rather than travelling into Brussels. 

Leonardo Hotel Charleroi City Center was around a 10-minute taxi journey from the airport so it’s ideal for a stopover! That being said, we weren’t impressed with the greeting from the taxi drivers outside the terminal! Be prepared to get ripped off here as there are no other transport options to get into town late at night and the drivers know it! The whole experience was far from welcoming! 

Despite our late arrival in Charleroi we were still able to get in one quick beer (obviously) just before the restaurant next door to the hotel closed. Jupiler was our first beer on Belgium soil and Nat’s favourite of the trip! The fact Jupiler is Belgium’s answer to a cheap beer when all the UK has to offer is Carling makes us super sad ☹ Head here for our list of must try Belgium beers! 

The Leonardo hotel is conveniently within walking distance of Charleroi Sud train station, which was ideal for our early train journey to Brussels the following morning. We booked our tickets through the trainline app. Its so easy to book European rail tickets on the app and it saves the need for paper as the tickets are just scanned directly from your phone 😊

The central station in Brussels is Bruxelles-Midi and there is a direct train from Charleroi Sud which takes approx. 50 minutes. If you’re in Brussels for longer than a weekend and don’t have an early check in time to drop your bags, we would recommend using Luggage Hero, so you can spend the day exploring luggage free. At October 2019, code: 2FREE gives you 2 hours free storage 😊

Brussels

Belgium’s capital city is a food and beer lovers dream, so don’t expect to go home from a weekend in Brussels without gaining a few pounds. The city is packed full of history and anyone who is interested in architecture will love checking out all of the photo-worthy Gothic and Baroque style buildings on the walks between waffle shops and beer halls 😉

Things to do

The centre of Brussels is relatively small, so it’s easily doable to see it all in one day. Here’s a few places we suggest you check out:

  • Grand Place: The highlight of Brussels! The UNESCO world heritage site is the central square of the city and should be number one on your sights to see. Make sure you head there both in the day and when the sun’s gone down.
The square is beautiful at night when all the buildings are lit up! 

There aren’t any bars in the square, so we followed the locals and grabbed some good quality beers from a convenience store (for a couple of euros each) and enjoyed these perched on one of the ledges around the edge of the square. 

That age old question – blonde or brunette?! 😉

The other suggestions below are all within a 10-minute walk from the Grand Place (we used this as our main reference point). Brussels is an easily walkable city, so no public transport is required.

Moving on to one of Nat’s favourite things…

Waffles

You should be eating a minimum 3 Belgium waffles a day 😉 Our top picks for places to indulge your sweet tooth are:

  • Maison Dandoy: Sat just off one of the side streets from the Grand Place, the pricier option but their waffles and coffee are worth it. Expect long wait times as this is pretty popular, but they do have outdoor seating for the warmer weather. 
  • La Funambule (cash only!): Located opposite the Manneken Pis statue, this little shop has an amazing selection of waffle toppings to choose from their window display! There’s nowhere to sit so we recommend grabbing your waffle to go and sitting somewhere outside to enjoy them. 
  • Waffle Factory: Although this is actually a chain, it’s still ranked as one of the best waffles in Brussels. You can watch the bakers making the waffles unlike other waffle stores and they provide something different with the Lunchwaf (a waffle stuffed with lunch meats and veggies).

Beers

We won’t mention how many beers you should be trying a day, or how many we had! Our top picks for bars and cafes are:

  • Moeder Lambic: This was our favourite place to have a beer in Brussels! Their craft beer selection is amazing, coupled with a modern, cosy setting with the best bar area we’d seen. Their meat platters looked delicious too!
  • Au Brasseur (cash only!): This bar had a really traditional feel, we imagine it is always busy due to its central position just past the Hard Rock Café down the street from Grand Place. The perfect location to grab a table outside and people watch the day away. Try the 6-beer taster for a taste of Belgium’s most famous brews. Great value for money with very generous servings for a tasting board, which means you can get away with sharing one with your beer buddy!
  • Delirium Café/village: No trip to Brussels would be complete without a visit to Deliruim! This is the bucket list bar that boasts the world record for the greatest number of beers available. We would recommend visiting all the bars in the ‘village’ as each has something unique to offer. Our personal favourite was a little dive bar downstairs from the main taproom, which is decorated with bottles, glasses and plenty more beer related décor. It also has live music in the evenings for when you end up hanging around all day trying to get through as many of the 3000 beers on offer as you can. 
  • Toone (cash only!): A real hidden gem of a pub in the heart of Brussels. Quaint and charming with a great selection of beer and a puppet theatre! Puppet show performances are on Thursday to Saturday evenings (bear in mind they are in French). It can get very busy in the evenings so try and go in the afternoon if you can.

Accommodation

We chose to base ourselves near the station again (in the Saint-Gillies area) as we planned to catch another early train to Ghent the following morning. This time we booked an Airbnb and although it cost £46/ night for a room and shared bathroom, we still saved significantly compared to city hotel prices.  

Money saving tip: If you are travelling around try and plan it so you’re not in the capital on a weekend (mainly Saturday night) as accommodation is already going to be expensive enough and for those of you who haven’t yet used Airbnb, using the link below will save you £25 off your first booking !

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/c/natalieh9827?currency=GBP

Ghent

Ghent is just a half an hour train ride away from Brussels and you can catch a direct train from Bruxelles-Midi to Gent-Sint-Peters station. The centre is a short tram ride away and you can catch one from just outside the train station, head towards Wondelgelm on line 1 and get off at Korenmarkt for the medieval centre.

Ghent is often overlooked by people visiting Belgium, which is a real shame. With its medieval old town and canal side bars that rival Amsterdam, Ghent is a great lesser known destination to visit!

Everything we’ve picked out below is within walking distance of Korenmarkt and you can easily cover everything in a day. 

Things to do

The main things we would recommend checking out in Ghent are:

  • The views from the Belfry Tower: The views from the 91-metre-tall tower of Het Belfort Van Ghent are not to be missed! For only €8 you can head up the tower for a great panorama of the old city and St Nicholas Church. You can climb the stairs to the top of the tower but there is a lift at the first level which will take you up to the top for no extra charge!
  • Gravensteen: This 12th Century castle is city’s most famous landmark. It has a reasonable entrance fee that includes an audio tour of the Castle, which is very different to any audio tour we have listened to before, it’s actually quite funny at times as well as factual! We would recommend picking this up as there are no information boards around the castle. The view from the top of the main tower looking out over the roof tops is definitely a bonus.
  • St Michael’s Bridge: One of the best views of the old city is from St Michael’s Bridge, with a 360-degree vantage point to snap some cool shots of the canals and St Michael’s Belfry with Gravensteen in the distance. Head here at dusk when the lights come on for the best selfie backdrop.

Beers

Most importantly the bars we would recommend checking out are 😉:

  • Dulle Griet: This was our favourite bar in Ghent, it had a Delirium style vibe with a cosy atmosphere. With 500 different beers to choose from, the staff are more than happy to share their knowledge, the most helpful bartenders we came across in Belgium! And for the perfectionists, the beer always comes in the corresponding branded glass, which you can then purchase on request.
  • Kaffee The Planck (cash only!): This pub is in such a unique setting based on a converted barge. Really nice indoor and outdoor seating areas and reasonably priced considering you’re on a boat. 
  • Trollekelder: Is another pub located in a cool setting within a 200-year-old building, they also have a nice outdoor seating area with views of the nearby Cathedral. 
  • Meraki: We were lucky enough to grab one of the tables here right on the edge of the River Lys, we didn’t even need to venture inside due to the rapid table service. Definitely a place for a summer drink!
  • Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant: One of Ghent’s traditional pubs and another one for the beer loving tourist! There are 160 beers to choose from, but the stars of the show are the three home brews Gandavum, Klokke Roeland and Mammeloker.
  • ‘t Dreupelkot: Next door to Waterhuis is this gin lovers paradise! A traditional jenever café with over 200 gins to choose from, including 50+ that are homemade and distilled in house. The terrace outside along with Waterhuis, overlooking the river, is a great spot to enjoy a drink in the sun.

Journey home 🙁

We caught the train back to Bruxelles-Midi early evening to catch the (Flibco) airport shuttle bus back to Brussels South Charleroi airport. The bus runs every 30 minutes and operates from 3.30am to 10.30pm. The journey time is just under an hour. It was very easy to pre-book tickets online (we did this on the train journey back) and also handy for us as we hardly ever carry cash! 

We did find the tickets pricey at €15 each for a one-way ticket, so if you are lucky enough to be travelling in a big group you should enquire into taxi prices first. The bus stop is located just outside Bruxelles-Midi station and the google maps location is accurate, check it out here if needed.

If you have more than 2 days in Belgium…

We would recommend a day in the beautiful city of Bruges, again easily accessible from Brussels being only an hour train ride away. Another one of Belgium’s best-preserved medieval cities with a historic centre lined with cobbled streets and canals, much like Ghent. We will definitely be returning to Belgium to check out Bruges for a weekend, hopefully around Christmas time so the festive markets are in full swing!

We hope you have as much fun exploring Belgium as we did! Just remember that Belgium beer is strong, so drink responsibly! (ish…) 

Click here for the Belgium beer bucklist to tick off for yourselves and add to your Instagram stories 😊 Make sure to tag us @backpacksandbeverages ! 

Lots of drunken hugs,

Joe & Nat xxx

Kiev: Europe’s Most Underrated Capital City?

To make it clear from the outset, we fell in love with Kiev! Another one of our ‘off the map’ destinations, it’s gilded churches, quirky street art, cheaper than cheap beer, excellent food and interesting architecture. All of this was enough for Nat to crown Kiev “one of my favourite European cities”, and she’s been to a lot!

Interest in Ukraine’s capital city has skyrocketed since the release of the Sky Atlantic series Chernobyl. If you want to read all about our trip into the Chernobyl exclusion zone (home to the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear disaster), check out our guide here

This is the itinerary we followed for the rest of our long weekend. There is so much more to see and do around Kiev as well as taking a trip into a nuclear wasteland. 

Beer of the trip – American Amber Ale, Solomianska Brovarnia

Scratch map beer – Chernihvske

Getting there…

Boryspil International is the main airport for travelling into Kiev. We were lucky to bag flights from Manchester for £45 return over May bank holiday. Having a quick browse flights have dramatically risen since then, most being around £100 return from the UK. Don’t be put off by this though as the amount of money you will spend in Kiev is less than a quarter of the amount you would spend in most European capitals. 

They also have the cutest airport signs

The airport is 19 miles from the centre of the city and we only paid £12 in an Uber to drop us at Independence Square, Uber is easily the best way to get around the city. 

Just be careful before you book as they have a specific taxi pick up and drop off area for all terminals, we think this was on the second floor. Don’t just head outside and hit the button like we did as you may be charged a cancellation fee (don’t worry if you do though it was only small!).

Currency…

Ukraine still operate their own currency, the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH), which makes the British pound stretch even further (yay!). The exchange rate at August 2019 is £1 to 31 UAH. To put this into a context that everyone is interested in, on average one domestic beer (0.5l) is 29 UAH, or 94p 😊 and a 3-course meal for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant is 650 UAH, or £21.

Where to stay?…

A word of warning, Kiev is huge! For your first visit, Shevchenkivskyi or the northern edge of Pecherskyi district (where we stayed) are probably your best bets. These areas are central and a good base to explore the outer reaches of the city. Fancy hotels and Plus Airbnb’s are happily affordable, so you don’t have to splurge to get excellent accommodation or if you want to be extra savvy (like us) regular Airbnb’s are super cheap.

Day 1: Independence Square, Kreshchatyk, Churches & Craft Beer

After dropping off your bags at your accommodation order an Uber or walk to Independence Square and the Independence Monument.  These are located at the northeast end of Khreshchatyk, the main street running through the centre of the city.

You will more than likely be approached by street performers for pictures in the square which can be quite funny if you feel like a laugh but beware, they will demand a decent payment for their time (150 Hryvnia per person is what they managed to blag from us)!

Still, not every day you have a photo with Garfield while a Dove sits on your head…

Take a stroll down Khreshchatyk after visiting the square for a look at some imposing soviet architecture, plenty of shopping and a variety of bars and restaurants. One thing we didn’t know beforehand (that we wish we did) was that during the evening on Sundays (and on public holidays), Khreshchatyk and Independence Square are closed off to vehicles, and locals come out in force to see a host of street performers and musicians. Finding somewhere to eat and grab a drink al fresco is the best way to enjoy the atmosphere. Make sure you come back during the evening.

After Independence Square and Kreshchatyk you should spend the afternoon exploring some of the city’s famous golden domed churches. There are so many to see that you would be hard pressed to visit them all, but each church is beautiful in its own right so try and visit as many as can!

Firstly, walk up to St Sophia’s Cathedral and take a walk around the church grounds.

For amazing views over the city, make sure you climb the bell tower, which is just a small additional fee over the £1 entry to the grounds.

From St Sophia’s walk down the street to St Michaels Golden domed Monastery (the blue church in the picture above). It’s free entry into the grounds of the monastery and it is stunning! The sky-blue walls of the church and the gilded domes are a photographer’s dream.

If you have time to go inside the churches you should, they are just as impressive inside as outside.

A short walk away is St Andrew’s Church. Unfortunately, the church was closed when we were there however around the rear of the grounds is a viewing platform with great panoramas over northern Kiev looking over the Dnieper River.

Of course it wouldn’t be complete without a beer pic!

You will definitely be thirsty after checking out all the sights, so you should head down the street from St Andrew’s to Solomyanska Brovarnia, A two-storey microbrewery. The ground floor has more of a local pub feel while upstairs is reserved for the restaurant and dining. Grab the tasting flutes to try out their in-house brews, find your favourite and pair it with some of the tasty appetizers from the menu, the tempura prawns are a must.

A little further north is Drunken Monkey, a quirky basement bar with 20 taps of their in-house craft brews on rotation. Famed for their ‘different’ naming style for their beers, classics such as White Walker weizenbock (for all of Joe’s fellow Game of Thones fans), Fat Girlfriend brown ale, and F*ck Like Chocolate Rabbits stout will keep you entertained and tipsy all night long!

Kiev will also not disappoint all you foodies. The food in Ukraine is different to what you would typically find in the rest of Europe, but you can find plenty of international food on offer all around the city. We had great meat & potato skillets at Sunduk, a traditional pub a 5-minute walk from Kreshchatyk (near St Volodymyr’s Cathedral) and make sure you grab a drink from Pilsner Bar just down the road if you’re still thirsty.

Skillet at Sunduk restaurant, still drooling!

Day 2: Botanical Gardens, Motherland Monument & Steaks

Start your second day by grabbing breakfast at one of Kiev’s small cafés. The breakfast at Blue Cup Coffee Shop is worth an honourable mention and will not disappoint!

Head south into the Pechersk district to find The Motherland Monument, a colossal 102m tall statue standing on top of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War. 

The Motherland Monument

The monument and grounds are worth exploring on your way down to the Hryshko National Botanical Garden. The gardens cover 1.3 km² and are home to 13,000 types of trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants from around the world. There is a small entry fee but it’s a great place to leisurely explore and snap some pretty good views of the city from the higher areas of the park.

It’s also an ideal spot to pick up a couple of beverages and enjoy them on the grass in the sun 😉

If you are a fan of steak you need to head over to Syndicate Beer & Grill during your stay! A microbrewery and steakhouse decorated in a prohibition style, with an extensive menu of great home brewed beer and tasty beef that won’t break the bank. 

We would go back tomorrow just for the parmesan fries 😊

Day 3 – Chernobyl

No visit to Kiev would be complete without taking a tour of Chernobyl! The city is only two hours away from the Chernobyl exclusion zone and is the main starting point for guided tours visiting the power plant site and the 30 km nuclear wasteland surrounding it. There are a variety of tour operators offering trips into the exclusion zone so be sure to do your research before booking up. You can read all about our experience at Chernobyl in our blog here

You will probably arrive back into Kiev quite late after your trip so the bars and restaurants along Kreshchatyk will be your best bet after getting dropped off back at Independence Square. We recommend Moments, the pork lion wrapped in bacon is delicious!

Kiev is without a doubt one of Europe’s most underrated destinations. Both inside the city and out, there are places to explore that you would struggle to find anywhere else. If it isn’t already, Kiev should definitely be on your travel radar!

We hope we have been able to help you with your travel planning and you have a wonderful trip to this amazing city.  We would also be more than happy to provide any additional info if needed, drop us a comment below or message us on Instagram @backpacksandbeverages.

Cheers guys,

Joe & Nat xxx

Pasteis De Natas in Portugal

Pasteis De Natas in Portugal: A Weekend in Lisbon

We spent our gloomy UK May bank holiday in Lisbon and it very quickly became one of our favourite European cities! If brightly coloured pastel buildings, terracotta rooftops, riding on old rickety trams and eating pastries by the dozen sounds like fun to you, we’re sure you’ll love Lisbon too! The historic centre of Portugal’s capital city is home to beautiful architecture, incredible views and of course, plenty of great bars to enjoy a drink or two after leg burning walks up and down the winding streets (do NOT underestimate how hilly it is!)

Lisbon is great for a short weekend break, but there is so much to do that you could easily spend a lot of time getting lost around its seemingly endless backstreets. Here are our recommendations to help you come up with that perfect Lisbon itinerary.

Visit Belem

Brits abroad know to always have a brolly handy 😉

Spend a morning exploring Belem, considered to be the city’s most cultural district. Here you’ll find the 500-year-old, UNESCO World Heritage site Torre de Belém or Tower of Belem. The Belem is one of the most famous monuments in Lisbon. It is one of the most photographed landmarks and as a result, gets very busy. If you want to go inside the castle, get there as early as you can as the entrance line is pretty long, although the general opinion is you could pass on this as the outside view is the most impressive part. We arrived mid-afternoon and the queue was steadily building up, so we just took in the tower from outside, and snapped the traditional photo of course 😉

A short walk down the river from the tower is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or Monument of the Discoveries, a huge 52-meter-high structure featuring sculptures of the most famous explorers of Portugal’s ‘Age of Discovery’ during the 15th & 16th centuries. There are lots of cool street vendors serving cocktails, wine and ice cream near the grassed areas, so this is a great spot to grab a drink and relax by the river.

We do put down the beers occasionally for a cute photo 🙂

Be sure to take a walk past Jerónimos Monastery on your way back to the bus or tram stop. Also, part of the UNESCO world heritage site, the monastery took 100 years to build and is another amazing example of renaissance architecture. 

Try a LOT of Pasteis de Nata

Now for a subject that is very close to Nat’s heart, the Pastel de Nata <3

A small egg tart pastry that you should always enjoy dusted with cinnamon. Please do not be put off thinking they are like an English egg custard tart, as I cannot stand those either! Think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone under the age of 65 who enjoys those (no offence to our older readers!).

The best place to grab a Pastel de Nata if…

…you’re visiting the Belem region: Pastéis de Belém, which is thought to be the home of the original Pastel de Nata recipe. This is proven by the size of the queue outside the shop door, the largest queue we saw (this was even in the pouring rain!). Pastéis de Belém opens at 8am every day, so if you don’t fancy queuing for half an hour make sure you get there nice and early 😊

…you’ve spent the day at Castelo de São Jorge: Pastry Santo Antonio, this place was my personal favorite and the best Pastel de Nata I had in Lisbon, it was baked to perfection. The perfect espresso and pastry stop after a long afternoon exploring the beautiful castle. 

…you want to watch the bakers in action: Manteigaria allows you to see the Pasteis de Nata’s being made while you watch through the glass windows. There is no space to sit so take your pastries away and enjoy them in the sunshine or grab a large take away box – they will keep for up to 3 days. 

Eat at Timeout Market

Time Out Market is one of the most well-known places to grab a bite to eat in Lisbon for good reason. There aren’t many places where you can find 24 restaurants, 8 bars, shops and a high-end music venue all under one roof! There are tons of different options apart from the award-winning Portuguese cuisine (they have a Manteigaria bakery here too!), including Asian, seafood, burgers and desserts. Time Out Market has something for everyone! Check out the Super Bock Experience while you’re there for an education in pouring your perfect pint. Also, a great option if you are unlucky (like us ☹) to have an afternoon or day of rain as the majority is based indoors. 

Head to the top of the Santa Justa Elevator

For one of the best viewpoints in the city, make sure you head down to the Elevador de Santa Justa. The elevator was opened at the turn of the 20th century to assist with navigating the hilly districts of  Baixa and Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square). Nowadays the elevator offers tourists a seven storey ride to the top of the viewing platform.

TIP: there is a very easy walking route up to the viewing platform which avoids the seemingly endless queue for the elevator itself, read about how to get there here (Please do this 😊).

Drink some craft beer

Something that might surprise you about Lisbon is that Sagres and Super Bock aren’t the only choices of beer on offer nowadays! (although we do love them too! 😊). The craft beer scene has well and truly taken hold in Portugal and there are several great spots in the city to enjoy a few crafty cold ones.

Our personal favourites are; Duque Brewpub, Lisbon’s first brewpub, specialising in local beers as well as their in-house brews. 

Their cured meat platter and homemade bread is amazing as well!

Crafty Corner, just around the corner from Timeout Market, which offers 12 taps on rotation with cool décor touches such as bar stools made of empty beer kegs, and a laid-back daytime atmosphere perfect for an afternoon pint;

and Quimera Brewpub (Lisbon’s second after Duque), which is located in a converted 18th century coach tunnel (this was Joe’s favourite!).

The menu is inspired by the bar’s American owners, with pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs amongst some of the choices to pair with their experimental IPAs that are brewed in house. They also have regular live music, with a jazz guitar duo providing the background ambiance for our visit.

As well as all of these, there is a craft beer festival held every September in the nearby beach suburb of Cascais, so Lisbon is really an up and coming destination for the international beer lover.

Take a day trip to Sintra

Superman / Super Bock

Sintra is a picturesque town located roughly 25km from Lisbon that is famed for its grand palaces, castles and gardens that has made the town a popular day trip destination for people visiting the city. Taking in this stunning scenery is a must during your visit! 

Sintra is just a 40-minute train ride from Lisbon Rossio station, and we would advise taking the train as the roads around Sintra are always jammed with people visiting, plus its only €1.90 each way!

The historic centre of Sintra is a short walk from the station and is a great spot to grab a bite to eat or a drink. We’re guessing though that you (like us) will want to head up to explore the Palácio da Pena, a 19th Century Romanticist style palace once used by the Portuguese royal family. With its colourful facades, turrets and domes, the palace will no doubt be the highlight of your day.

The castle sits high in the Sintra Mountains with incredible views over the town, valleys and Portuguese Riviera below. Head round to the back along the ‘wall walk’ for the best views but there are plenty of Instagram-worthy photo spots all around the palace and grounds.

We decided to walk up to the palace, to work off all the past few days’ craft beer and because the roads were gridlocked with people heading up to the palace. If trekking for 1 hour up a mountain doesn’t sound like fun, then you can catch the 434 tourist bus from town.

Ride the Trams

Trams have been an icon of Lisbon and a traditional mode of public transport since the network opened in 1873. The number 28 is the classic Lisbon tram journey most tourists want to experience. The route winds its way around tight bends and climbs steep hills through several districts, passing many attractions, so it’s a great way to take a tour of the city while screeching around in a quaint, yellow 1930s Tram. Just be aware, the trams do get very busy so board early to get yourself a seat or at least some space. Pickpocketing is also a reality so make sure you are extra vigilant with your belongings during any journey.

Walk around Commerce Square

Take a walk around Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) and check out the Triumphal Rua Augusta Arch and the statue of Joseph I (not our Joseph, unfortunately 😉).

Sit outside one of the many restaurants and cafes enjoying a drink in the sun, watching the world go by to recharge your batteries before you get back to exploring. Also make sure you check out the Ginjinha stand! Ginjinha or Ginja is a sweet cherry liquor, and second place in Nat’s Lisbon loves <3

For around €2 you can enjoy not one but two shots in a delicious chocolate cup, who doesn’t love a free refill?! 😊  

The square is a great starting point for walking along the River Tagus or wandering the back streets of the central Baixa district. Just to let you know, people will probably try to sell you weed here, each to their own.

Take in the view at Castelo de São Jorge 

For the unquestioned best view of Lisbon, you need to make your way up to Castelo de São Jorge. The history of the castle dates back to the first century and it overlooks the centre of the city with incredible panoramic views. The 25 de Abril Bridge and Cristo Rei (the sister statue to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro) can be seen from the castle walls, making this spot the best for capturing the entire city in its terracotta glory.

It seemed a shame to take in such epic scenery without a beverage in hand 😉 So we treated ourselves to two glasses of red from Wine With a View, a small cart selling local wines within the castle grounds. Good value and delicious, the perfect way to enjoy your time at the castle!

The definition of a wine with a view!

Check out Lisbon Cathedral

A short walk from the Castle is Lisbon Cathedral, better known as Sé de Lisboa. It is the oldest and most important church in the city, dating from around the twelfth century. The cathedral is now used partly as a museum and as an archaeological site after a roman road was excavated in its central courtyard. For only €2.50 it’s definitely worth exploring.

Well there you go folks…

If you want even more hints and tips to get the most out of your Lisbon visit and more importantly, avoid the mistakes we made 😉 Check out our other Lisbon blog post ‘Lisbon, Portugal: The things No-one Tells You’ here.

Lisbon has something for everyone tucked away around every back street, so just get lost exploring this fantastic city! If you guys think we have missed anything, let us know down in the comments below. We will absolutely be returning to Lisbon one day, so we’ll be sure to check it out!

Enjoy your travels 😊

Love, Joe & Nat xxx