Lisbon is the hilly and coastal capital city of Portugal, said to be the next Barcelona in ten years. I came here during the one-week gap between my second last exam and my last exam to meet up with some friends. I immediately noticed upon my arrival in Lisbon how hot it was – little did I know how much more I sweat while trekking up and down the hills throughout the city.


A well-known place to visit in Lisbon is the Time Out Market. Although the food here is a little more expensive, the fresh seafood available is amazing. The Portugese in Lisbon are particularly fond of the bacalhau; I tried the cured bacalhau salad and the salted bacalhau with buttered potatoes dish here.


Although the hills in Lisbon can get annoying to climb, you will always be rewarded with a great view in the end. This is especially true at night, as there are many scenic spots to grab drinks.


I’m not a big fan of shots, but when in Lisbon, try the cherry liquor shots in dark chocolate cups at Ginginha do Carmo. They’re delicious and taste like the cherry chocolate truffles you get around Christmas time.

I would also recommend taking a half-day trip to Belém, home of Pastéis de Belém. This famous shop next to the Heironymite Monastery was the first to start making “Pastéis de Belém” in 1837. Their recipe has remained a secret and unchanged to the present day.


The Pastéis pastries are so good that I ate three in a row within ten minutes. Eat at least one immediately, since they are best hot – when the exterior is crisp and the interior oozes with warm custard.


Another day trip worth doing is to Cascais beach, just a 30-minute ride away from central Lisbon. We went to a supermarket beforehand to grab some ham, cheese, bread, and wine to enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach.


Lisbon definitely has some really cool shops to check out, like this one store that resembled a toy store but exclusively sold canned sardines.


I’m glad I got to venture to this city during my exam break, a short yet fulfilling trip to a beautiful coastal city.