The Golden Hour in Lisbon
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
If you’re thinking about your next trip to Europe, and you want to experience something different than usual, head over to Lisbon, a city that’s filled with exciting stories to tell. Lisbon gives you a glimpse of its ancient history, intertwined with cultural entertainment and hi-tech innovation. The city is well-known for its street art and modern architecture that tell you a lot about its culture, which is one of the reasons why it appeals to different types of travelers.
Lisbon is a city where you’ll always feel safe wandering around the streets, day or night. The sun shines in this city for 290 days a year, and the temperature rarely drops below 15 degrees Celsius. It’s well known for having the best and most stunning sunset views, and it is a great destination for a long weekend escape because of the beaches, national parks, and cultural routes found within the city.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PORTUGAL
Lisbon wasn’t always the capital of Portugal. In fact, the first capital was UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guimaraes, where the first king of Portugal was born. It’s located near Porto and is nicknamed as the ‘birthplace of Portugal.’ It’s also an excellent destination for those who love history, as the city is filled with ancient buildings, medieval churches, and archaeological sites from the Iron Age.
Coimbra was the second capital of Portugal. Here you can find the oldest university in the country, University of Coimbra, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aside from this university, tourists also come to this city to learn a bit more about Portugal, because of the old libraries, churches, museums, and monasteries found here, which are rich in history.
Finally, the title was transferred to Lisbon. This city is known to have seven hills, but what most people don’t know is that it’s actually comprised of eight hills - Sao Jorge, Sao Vicente, Sao Roque, Santo Andre, Santa Catarina, Chagas, Sant’Ana, and Graca. According to The Culture Trip, the original reference came from a book called O Livro das Grandezas de Lisboa, where the author listed seven hills, but forgot to mention the highest of them all - Graca - where the Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen gives you one of the best views of the city, facing the river, castle, and bridge.
WHAT TO DO IN LISBON
Lisbon is the only European capital that sits by the river and the sea. It is home to fado music and colorful cobbled streets. And with its world-class restaurants, reputation for rich history, and its art and culture, this city remains as a must-visit for every traveller.
If you’re up for some sight-seeing, make sure you don’t miss the Tower of Belem. It’s one of the most well-known historical monuments which sits by River Tagus, and is protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can climb a steep spiral staircase to the top-floor and be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of the river. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site you shouldn’t miss is the Jeronimos Monastery, which was built to honor Portugal’s Age of Discovery.
If you would like to have an amazing view of Lisbon, head over to the Castle of St. George, where you can find antique battlements, engaging museums, and impressive archaeological sites. However, if you’re in the mood for something more modern, check out the Oceanario de Lisboa, which has the largest indoor tank in Europe, filled with five million liters of seawater. It has a great variety of sea creatures, from small tropical species to different kinds of large fishes - sharks, deep sea fish, and the unique ocean sunfish, which is the world’s largest bony fish.
Of course with Lisbon’s reputation, there are so much more things to do other than sight-seeing. If you’re here for a food trip, make sure you try the bacalhau com natas at A Casa do Bacalhau, which serves one of the best bacalhau-based dishes in Lisbon. Another local food that you shouldn’t miss is the pasteis da nata, sold at Pasteis de Belem. According to The Culture Trip, only 3 people in the world know its original recipe.
THE GOLDEN HOUR
The best part about Lisbon is their sunset. Because of its location, the city offers both locals and tourists the most stunning sunset views. In fact, it has become a part of their culture where hours before sunset, Lisboestas often wait and watch the ferries go between Estacao Fluvial de Belem and Barreiro from Tagus River.
When the sun sets, the evening vibe also comes to life. The golden hour is one of the most cherished moments of the day, where Lisboestas enjoy local drinks and snacks while waiting for the sun to set.
And as you’ve guessed, the nightlife scene in Lisbon starts from sunset til dawn. You don’t have to worry about dark nights because Lisbon is one of those European capitals where you can be free and feel safe to walk the streets late night. In fact, in most places, you’ll find that dinner seamlessly turns into dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
There’s a long list of bars where you can chill after a day’s exploration, and the best bars are those with terraces for you to enjoy the view in. Lisboestas like to spend their time in relaxed atmospheres and start their night out on Thursdays. In fact, the best night to party in Lisbon with the locals is on Thursdays, not Fridays. From Portuguese craft beers to contemporary cocktails like the Ginjinha, one of the most popular Portuguese liquor, made of a cherry-like berry; you’re definitely in for a unique partying experience in Lisbon.
BEST VENUES IN LISBON TO CATCH THE SUNSET
While evenings are always lively and weekends are always busy, relaxing in a terrace is one of the most popular ways to spend the late afternoon. The hardest part is choosing the best spot; So we’ve listed down our top 5 bars where you can catch the most stunning views and enjoy a drink…or more.
First on the list is the ROOFTOP Bar, located in Hotel Mundial, which sits right in the center of Lisbon. This bar is famous for its stunning view over the heart of the city and its sunset parties during the summer, which is why it’s considered as an attraction that’s not to be missed for both locals and tourists. It has one of the best Lisbon terraces and it offers amazing experiences to those who want to celebrate life.
The second bar you can go to is Entretanto Rooftop Bar, located on the 7th floor of Hotel do Chiado, which offers an unforgettable view over Lisbon that you also shouldn’t miss. Here, you can enjoy sumptuous dishes prepared by Chef Igor Matinho, Chef of the Year 2009. His inspiration comes from traditional Portuguese cuisine, made with a modern and sophisticated touch.
Silk Club takes the third spot with its breathtaking 270-degree view over Lisbon. This club is a member of ‘The World’s Finest Clubs’ and has a sophisticated and inviting atmosphere where you can enjoy a luxurious yet relaxed dining and clubbing experience. It offers Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as an exclusive list of premium spirits and the finest champagne.
The Insolito takes the fourth spot with its amazing view over Lisbon and the river. The atmosphere here is not like your usual restaurant or bar; As you arrive at the top of a 19th-century palace, you will discover a room filled with mismatched vintage works of art. And just like the atmosphere, the menu will also surprise you with food and drinks that will show you the playful side of Portuguese gastronomy.
Lastly, if you’re in the mood to indulge in some seafood while enjoying a view of the Atlantic ocean, head over to Monte Mar. Although this isn’t a bar, this restaurant also offers a variety of wine that matches the flavors of their unique dishes. And before you leave, make sure you taste their famous ‘Santini' ice cream for dessert.
No matter what your reason is for visiting Lisbon, you will definitely never run out of things to do. But make sure that you don’t miss the opportunity to catch the Golden Hour and have that magical experience that Lisboetas are fond of. Book your tables in any of these bars and more through BeSeated and let us be the one to worry about getting you the best sunset view. Download the app now!