A Perfect Day in Lisbon - This American Girl

Tagus River Edge


The tropical rainstorm ensues and bugs the size of pets come inside for respite.

Coconuts fall hard on the roof.

My lungs contract with each humidity inflicted cough.

I resist the overwhelming urge to scratch my many, many, many insect bites.


Sometimes, we need an escape from our escape.


Tagus River


So, today let’s run away to Lisbon.


The charming, dilapidated, progressive seaside Portugese city where pastries and seafood are plenty, a park is on every corner, and at night the bellows of melodramatic Fado weave into the streets from candlelit bars, beckoning you to enter.



The day begins with a leisurely breakfast at the latest edition to the Lisbon foodie scene: The Decadente.

Bump elbows with hip Lisbonites and well traveled backpackers staying at the adjoining luxury hostel.

Marvel at the interior, incorporating reclaimed old world materials with contemporary sensibility.

Savor your locally sourced poached eggs, bacon, and greens.


lisbon view


Hop a darling old tram up the hill to Sao Jorge Castle, the highest point in Lisbon with stunning views.


Sao Jorge Castle


Wander the interior of the castle, stopping to marvel at the unabashed peacocks.

Allow the occasional street performer to lure you into a square with his soft guitar.

Climb to the Tower of Ulysses for a presentation of Da Vinci’s periscope, offering 360 degree views of  Lisbon in real time reflected on a large table in front of you.


bairro alto


Head to the Bairro Alto, the funkiest neighborhood in Lisbon, for vintage and designer shopping.

Ghosts from the night before, in the form of streamers, beer bottles, and tinsel, line the empty streets.

Pop into galleries like Ze dos Bois for a taste of the underground Lisbon arts movement. Browse the literature selection of Ler Devagar, a bookshop with a fascinating and innovative design. Do not miss Cork & Co for contemporary eco friendly products made entirely of cork, many of which have been featured in the MoMa.



Escape the bustle of the city by venturing out to Belem, the monument filled neighborhood built on the sea.




No trip to Belem, nor Lisbon, nor Portugal for that matter is complete without a treat from the famous Pasteis de Belem.

Brave the massive queue, breathe, it moves quickly, for a life altering pastel de nata.

Sink your teeth into the velvety custard and crisp buttery shell, confectioners sugar coating your lips with each bite.


belem tower


Make your way along the water’s edge to the Belem Tower.


inside belem tower


Climb the tower


belem tower view


enjoying the view


belem tower square view




belem tower balcony


the way.


Your stomach grumbles as the sun begins to cast a warm glow over all of Lisbon, turning each white washed building gold.




Hop a ferry to the fishing town of Cacilhas across the Tagus river for sweeping views of Lisbon and laid back vibes, a mere ten minute excursion.


Cacilhas path

My darling Whitney, best friend and travel companion in Lisbon. 


Walk the precarious concrete path along the picturesque river lined with abandoned warehouses with variegated patinas. Fishermen stand on upside down buckets, formerly filled with chum, and cast their reels.



Stop at the Ponto Final restaurant for traditional Portugese fare at the waters edge. Underneath your big yellow umbrella, savor white wine butter drenched clams with a pitcher of sparkling white sangria as the sun sets behind the city.


Back in Lisbon, your night begins.


lisbon at night


Wander the narrow cobblestone streets of the Alfama neighborhood in search of traditional Fado. Simply ask at the door and a stodgy man or matronly woman will briskly escort you before the music begins.


fado club


Find a dark corner and sample port, blood sausages, and fried baccala while the Fado singer tugs at your heartstrings.


Bairro Alto


Return to the Bairro Alto for a different experience altogether. The once abandoned streets and alleys are now congested with party animals from all over the world. Bars compete, blasting remixed pop from their teeny interiors.


lisbon friends


Practice your limited Italian, French, Portugese, or Spanish while sipping vodka sodas in the street with your newly acquired international posse.


Allow the energy to carry you into the wee hours.


If you’re dressed to impress, head to the ultra exclusive club Lux, owned by John Malkovich with electro dance beats, an inspired interior, and the occasional celeb.


Finally, collapse.

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