Loving Lisbon

Celebrating the range of art and accommodations in Lisbon.

We made our first pilgrimage to Portugal this year, and with no surprise, we began our journey of discovery in Lisbon, the country’s captivating capital city which now boasts a population in excess of 3,000,000 across its metropolitan area. As it was a long journey taking more than 24 hours of travel with the time change and flight delays and connections into account, we choose to spend our first two nights in the lovely Radisson Blu situated nearby Lisbon International Airport. It was a great way to slowly immerse ourselves in the country that was to be our home for the next six weeks. The Radisson Blu has a wide offering of Portuguese dishes, their friendly and knowledgeable staff pointed us to a number of excellent Portuguese wines, and the full-sized king bed was immensely comfortable and prepared us for the amount of walking we would do on cobblestones, up and down cliffs and navigating steps and staircases along our journey of discovery.

Our next stop was for three nights in the Old Town of Lisbon. We stayed at the Solar dos Poetas, a small boutique hotel honouring the local literary community. We loved this place! Our view overlooked the historic central square of Bairro Alto and featured a statue of Luis de Camões, a 16th century master of prose considered by many to be Portugal’s greatest poet. He was so loved by his country that the day of his death (June 10th) is honoured annually as Portugal’s National Day.

We were fortunate to be in Lisbon to witness the Lenten Procession—a tribute to the first day of Lent—in which church officials and parishioners slowly walk down the street that leads to the cathedral located adjacent to our hotel. More than 80% of the Portuguese population are Catholics, so the time leading up to Easter is an important time to declare their faith. The photos below illustrate the pageantry and passion of the procession.


We felt very privileged to witness the Lenten Procession in Lisbon in February, 2024. The middle photo shows the immenseness of the crowd participating in the procession.

As with most European capitals, Lisbon boasts many historic buildings, statues and sculptures that celebrate its heritage. But watch where you’re walking! The amount of dog poo on the streets of Lisbon is phenomenal and so abundant that if you don’t watch the ground where you’re walking, you’re sure to get it on your shoes. But don’t look down too much or you may get hit in a worse way. The traffic in the downtown is crazy and vehicles certainly don’t give pedestrians the right of way in most instances. 

Back on the positive side, what we really loved about Lisbon was the way modern art has been commissioned and erected in strategic places that so effectively blend the old with the new. Here are a couple pieces that inspired us in the area of the Praça do Comércio (the large harbour-facing plaza in the city) where you’ll find museums, shops, and a multitude of restaurants and bars.


We were truly inspired by the effectiveness of combining modern art with the heritage and culture of Lisbon’s iconic Praca do Comercio seaside plaza.

I introduced you to a lovely airport hotel and one that is located right in the heart of Old Lisbon. I’d also like to highlight a lovely property where we had a customized tour and enjoyed a fabulous meal. The Torel Palace Lisbon is part of an exquisite family of properties with striking views from the top of Colina de Santana–one of Lisbon’s seven hills. The Torel Palace offers luxurious accommodations, a Michelin-starred restaurant and beautiful grounds. Here’s a look to help you with your travel planning.


The night-time views from the rooftop deck of the Torel Palace offer captivating views of Lisbon, including the illuminated Christ tower off in the distance.


Picture yourself sun or moon bathing on these comfortable beds on the rooftop deck of the Torel Palace Lisbon.

I hope this post has whetted your appetite for the Portuguese capital and helped you understand why we are loving Lisbon. In my next post, I’ll highlight some of the culinary highlights we enjoyed while in Lisbon. 

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

28 Responses

  1. Following along on your trip to Portugal has given me a new interest in taking a look at visiting! You really explored and got a good feel for the country!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Debbie. Yes, we feel we really got a good sense of what Portugal is all about. We were very impressed with the scenery, the art, food, wine, the history and warmth of the people.

  2. Laurel Sarginson says:

    Thanks for the travelogue, Doreen. Now are definitely considering Portugal for a trip in the near future.

    • Thanks so much, Laurel. I’m glad my writing has positively influenced you. We’ve been in Portugal for 5 weeks now and our time has been filled with many incredible moments. Lisbon is wonderful, but so are the nearby communities and the beach communities down south.
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  3. Janet May-Hewson says:

    Definitely Portugal on the bucket list. Do you run into a lot of Canadians?

  4. Gorgeous photography, Doreen.It’s been awhile since I’ve ventured to Portugal, but you’ve brought back some memories and introduced new delights. I’m so glad you and Kim are enjoying the country so much.

  5. Kim says:

    I must say your description of everything that we have experienced is absolutely wonderful. I am so grateful that we got to do it together and a note to your readers Portugal is a must see country it is absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait for our next adventure.

  6. Frances Petrowski says:

    Great post about Lisbon Doreen! We were just there and it was so exciting to say Y’a I remember that place! I sooo wish we would have been there for the Lenten procession! Lisbon has so much to see and I wish we would have stayed longer. One of my favourite things to note was the black and white tile patterns on the streets throughout Portugal. Good cross section of accommodations. I can’t wait for the culinary post!

    • Thx so much for sharing your thoughts on Lisbon, Frances. It was your and Joe’s enthusiasm for Portugal following your recent trip that gave us some great tips to plan our own trip. If you ever get the opportunity to return, I’d highly recommend planning it to coincide with the Lenten procession as it was very moving. Yes, we, too, loved the black & white tiles and cobblestones. I think you missed the photo I posted on FB showing the wavy tiles we found in a plaza in Lisbon, and a similar one we saw on the promenade in Cascais. I’ll have lots of photos to show you when we meet again.
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  7. Pat says:

    Lisbon sounds like a must see! Wonder what it will be like for Easter. Happy that the two of you were able to take this trip and want to return next year. Look forward to hearing and seeing what else you have enjoyed in Portugal.

  8. Irene Gordon says:

    We visited Portugal in 1969 and just loved it. We were on a 6 week trip, but we visited at least 6 countries during that time, including relatives in Belgium.

    • Hi Irene. I hope you and Don are doing well. Our current trip within Portugal will be 6 weeks, that included time in Lisbon, Cascais, Obidos, Caroveiro, Lagos, Faro, Albufeira, Monchique, Silves, and Amarcao de Pera. It has been so incredible discovering the food, wine, culture and heritage of Portugal. But we know we still have so much to see!
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  9. Great photos of the procession! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Margaret Anne Fehr says:

    Not only have you whet my appetite about Lisbon and environs, Doreen, you’ve also lit a fire to visit this remarkable country! Definitely it’s moving up on my travel list. How wonderful to experience the faith displayed on the streets to usher in Lent, so moving in its reverence and pageantry. We need that kind of peace and devotion in the world these days. IMHO. Savour the rest of your trip and I’m looking forward to further updates.

    • Thx so much for your comment, Margaret. Yes, Portugal has surprised us in so many ways. I will mention it in a future post, but the pastries are absolutely exquisite. Not too rich or sweet. Just incredibly delicious! And, yes. It is encouraging and inspiring to see so many people confident enough to openly express their faith in such a public forum. You’e right. We need more expression of faith, devotion and spirituality in Canada.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…tasting belize-made chocolate–from modern to traditionalMy Profile

  11. Janet May-Hewson says:

    I didn’t know Lisbon has 7 hills like Rome. Interesting. The trip looks fantastic.

  12. Ceci S. says:

    Portugal is on my bucket list. I’ve had several friends visit various parts of that intriguing country and I keep hoping for an opportunity to go. My initial reason was to photograph horses – the wonderful breeds that originate there. Now there’s another reason – chocolate!

    • Hi Ceci and thanks so much for your comment. Yes, we’ve seen a number of horses throughout our drives in rural Portugal. They are quite magnificent. The chocolate is good, but not magnificent. But overall, we’re thrilled with Portugal and hope to return next winter.

  13. Very nice post about Lisbon, Doreen! Last fall, we too enjoyed walking around and discovering this beautiful city very much. You brought wonderful memories to us! Looking forward to reading your upcoming posts about your Portuguese pilgrimage. 🙂
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