Take a stroll through Lisbon in the fall and winter months, and you’re bound to cave to one of the many temptations offered in this foodie’s paradise.
Farah M., a general manager on Delta’s Corporate Communications team, fondly recalls the aromas greeting her as a child living in Portugal’s capital city – none more sumptuous than the castanhas assadas vendors offering roasted chestnuts at virtually every street corner.
“On my way home from school each afternoon, we would stop to grab some to keep us warm and hold us over to dinnertime,” Farah said. “Sometimes the crisp fall air and inviting aromas from the local bakeries and cafes make it difficult to resist grabbing a coffee with a sweet pastry.”
If bica (strong coffee similar to its Italian counterpart, espresso) and a pastel de nata or savory cheese toast (tosta de queijo) aren’t quite your taste, perhaps you’d prefer to keep warm with a bowl of soup. Farah recommends the sopa de caldo verde. If you think chicken soup is good for the soul, consider adding this traditional Portuguese soup to your repertoire, made with potatoes and collard greens or kale. It can be made with or without sausage; just ask if it’s com porco when ordering.
“If you are a foodie, you’ll be in heaven,” Farah said. “Portuguese food is quite interesting with influences from many parts of the world including India. Don’t be surprised to see curry on your lunch menu. If you like seafood, good wine and trying new foods, you’re in the right place.”
You’ll enjoy all that and more in the company of warm, generous and welcoming people who call Lisbon home, in a temperate climate with mild autumn and winter weather. And there’s no better way to fully immerse yourself in Lisbon’s vibrant culture than to attend a futebol match (soccer to Americans). Both the Sporting Lisboa and Benfica Lisboa football clubs play in packed stadiums of 50,000 or more.
Lisbon presents a fairly simple journey from the U.S.: Being situated in the westernmost point in Europe, it’s about a seven-hour direct flight from Delta’s New York-JFK hub. Nonstop flights are offered daily from JFK. (Learn more about getting there on delta.com.)
There are four options available on every trip to Lisbon: Delta One, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin. Recently unveiled enhancements for Delta Premium Select passengers include a roomy seat with extra recline and adjustable footrests and leg rests. Enhanced food selections, a towel scented with Grown Alchemist, a special "bubbles & bites" service and a premium snack basket are some additional service touches.
Not convinced yet? Take a look at five other must-see attractions – just make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes for traversing Lisbon’s historic cobblestone sidewalks.
Visit the Belem Area
Guarded by a 16th-century fortified lighthouse, Belem is home to a palace occupied by Portugal’s royal family and now the official residence of the country’s president. It is also home to the Jeronimos Monastery and the Torre de Belem erected in the early 1500s. Once you’ve visited this holy place, stop by Pasteis de Belem for a pastry of the same name, crafted using what the nearly 200-year-old shop says is a secret, ancient recipe from the nearby monastery.
Walk Along the River Tagus
No, that’s not the Golden Gate Bridge – but you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in San Francisco upon seeing the 25 de Abril Bridge, which ranks as the 46th longest suspension bridge in the world at over 3,300 feet (1,000 meters). You’ll also see the towering Sanctuary of Christ the King monument overlooking the city there, inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Climb to the Top of the Bairo Alto Neighborhood
Didn’t bring your walking shoes? Not to worry – you can take the No. 28 tram to the top, where St. George’s Castle is perched. No matter how you get there, you’ll find the best views in the city at the top.
Do Some Shopping
Portugal is known for its handicrafts, said Farah, whose father and grandfather owned a textile factory in Porto when she was growing up there. Handmade tablecloths, kitchen towels and bath towels, along with leather and cork goods, are both plentiful and reasonably priced. Painted tiles can also be found throughout Portugal, with the best art found on small streets in the city center.