I kicked off summer (and celebrated leaving my corporate job to focus on Kimono Dragon full time) with a 10-day trip to Portugal. If this Mediterranean paradise isn’t on your travel bucket list, do yourself a favor and add it immediately. We split our time between the country’s capital, Lisbon, and Porto, a coastal city in the northwest. Between the delicious fresh seafood and creamy pasteis de natas, the charming shops filled with vintage treasures, and the stunning architecture (that blue and white tile!)I'm already looking forward to my next trip.
Here are highlights from both cities — where to stay, eat, shop, and explore!
Where to Stay
We loved our stay at the Palace Ludovice Hotel and highly recommend it! I love hotels with a boutique feel and a delicious breakfast — this one checks both boxes. The individually designed rooms with city or courtyard views were conceived by the architect and interior designer Miguel Câncio Martins, who holds an impressive collection of projects around the globe. The rooms were comfortable and luxurious - exactly what you want to return to after a long day of exploring.
Where to Shop
The first thing I do when I’m planning a trip is scope out the flea markets and vintage stores — Lisbon did not disappoint! Make sure to wake up early to get first dibs on the treasures!
We explored the Feira Da Ladra (Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-472 ), which is open at 9am on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Grab coffee at nearby Copenhagen Coffee Lab to fuel your adventure. I came home with some beautiful vintage jewelry, both for my personal collection and for KD! Another market not to miss — Avenida Da Liberdade is a wonderland of vintage homewares and jewelry and is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
Treasures everywhere you look at Feira Da Ladra
Arrive early for the best selection of vintage gems
In addition to the market scene, Lisbon has countless boutiques and vintage stores worth visiting. Drop by Electric Tiger for a curated selection of vintage clothes. Note their hours can be sporadic, so Google before great selection but unusual hours - make sure to check before going! Claus Porto has an incredible selection of handmade soaps and candles, which make great gifts (for yourself) or family and friends at home.
The stunning interior of Claus Porto
Your shopping journey isn’t complete without a stop at The Embassy an 18th-century palace turned boutique mall with very cool shops! Cap of a day of retail therapy with a drink at Gin Lovers in the atrium.
A view to go with your cocktail at Gin Lovers.
Where to Have a Drink
Rocco: Incredible cocktails and amazing decor.
Look at those head planters!
The Botanical Den: A cozy spot for craft vegan cocktails! They specialize in gin cocktails and they are amazing.
The look of a man who wishes he ordered the aquafaba cocktail.
Where to Eat
100 MANEIRAS: An incredible dining experience, we were able to get last-minute reservations at the Bistro. Everything was superb!
Feasting on the most delicious lobster.
Manteigaria: Don’t leave Lisbon without sampling the pastel de natas. These flaky, eggy custard tarts are sinfully delicious and I ate my bodyweight in them. Our favorite place to indulge was Manteigaria — order a cappuccino and stand at the back counter where you can watch them make these tasty treats!
This is what the ideal mid-day snack looks like.
What to Do
Book a guided tour of the Art Deco Museum (the only way to visit). We had a very interesting tour of a stunning collection followed by a wine tasting on the outdoor patio!
Walking off the pastel de natas.
Take a day trip to Sintra. I would have loved to have spent the night in Sintra, as one day was not enough for me! When people say Sintra is like a fairy land, it really is! Just a quick train from Lisbon, Sintra is filled with palaces perched on steep hills and a charming town. Pena Palace is beautiful and one of the most popular for its beautiful gardens and stunning blend of architecture. The line to get in is long, so get there early!
The gardens at Monserrate palace were incredible
Time-saving tips for visiting Sintra - skip the buses and hire a tuktuk driver to take you around. It's a unique and less crowded experience. And, to make the most of your visit, buy your palace entry tickets early.
Where to Stay
Le Monumental hotel: This hotel fulfilled all my art deco dreams! Stunning decor, great location, and the best breakfast we had on the whole trip!
Where to Eat
We fell in love with the goat cheese, pistachio, and honey toast at Bartolomeu (so good we had twice!). Paired with a crisp rose…heaven!
Order the toast at Bartolomeu and thank me later.
Where to Shop
My favorite vintage shop in Porta was Mao Esqerda Vintage. The owner is so sweet! I found some amazing jewelry pieces and one-of-a-kind handbags. They carry unique items as they frequently go to Japan to source!
Smiling because he loves shopping or because he's thinking about his next meal? Only Jim knows.
The handbag selection at Mao had me swooning.
I also loved discovering PATCH. They carry vintage jewelry, homewares, bags, men’s and women’s clothes..it was a treasure trove!
The eclectic mix at PATCH.
Located next to PATCH, check out Good Things Will Happen Soon - a cute concept store and cafe with a charming back garden. Shop their curated selection of homeware and have a glass of wine or a homemade dessert in the garden.
Another cute vintage homeware shop with a selection of vintage jewelry and women’s clothing was Atelier da Burguesa, located on Águas Santas. Spend some time browsing this street - it’s stacked with antique stores!
What to Do
I highly recommend taking a tour of the Douro Valley, located a little over an hour north of Porto. Despite the windy roads, it was a highlight of the trip! We took a private tour with Douro Promenade and I can’t recommend it enough. Luis, our guide, was wonderful (and a good, slow driver, LOL). We toured three small, family-owned wineries and had the most incredible tasting menu at DOC. The boat cruises down the river with a cheese board and port spirits…heaven!
The drive was worth it for these views!
If you have any questions about exploring Porto or Lisbon, let me know. I’m already planning my return trip!