LISBON April Spring Holidays 4 People + 4 days exploring Lisbon, Portugal Ages - 45,40,9 &6 Holiday read - GUT, the inside story of our body's most underrated organ by Giuliani Enders.
I started writing this post about my families Clean Supper Club trip to Lisbon whilst running the children a hot bath! We’d experienced some uncharacteristic Lisbon weather for this time of year; thankfully we'd checked the forecast for the week and come prepared with waterproofs and planned wet day activities. Even so by the time we returned to our airbnb apartment we were sodden. Thankfully our 2 find this an adventure and take it all in their soggy trainer footed stride. Joyous jumps in beautifully paved puddles, when they realised there was no point in you nagging them any more as their feet couldn’t get any wetter!
Smoothie Lollies - Paletaria
We’d not been to Lisbon before and thought it would make a great short break city for a spring holiday. We arrived on the late Monday evening flight out of Manchester airport, in at just before midnight - but one of the joys of Lisbon is it's on the same time line as the UK so no clock change required! Add the true ‘24 hour city’ mentality, proven by our host, Ana, coming to pick us up! Lisbon is lovely - for a comparatively small capital city there is a grace, grandeur and so much great history spread amongst the rolling landscape of the seven hills.
On a foodie front, travelling with the children means I couldn’t be quite as selfish about my choice of eatery as I would have been if it had just been my husband and I. But the great thing about Lisbon is it’s insatiable desire for tapas and a definite move towards mixing healthy choices with traditional dishes. We've found some delicious places to eat, and with trend and tradition being towards eating a variety of smaller plates, it meant we could all choose foods that we love.
Pharmacia & Oprego
Even though I'm on holiday I still have to be cautious of what I eat, I can't go "OH SOD IT" entirely as I do have a level of IBS that requires constant management. Which is why I turned to & found great relief in the realistic way Clean Supper Club creatively uses clean eating. When travelling I do have a few lines of defence that help stabilize, the first of which is Optibac which I take for a week before we leave, whilst away and then for a week on my return. But I'm on holiday and refuse to miss out on enjoying local delicacies. The range of foods where is great, I've had some of the best tapas and really brilliant contemporary twists on traditional tapas too, we've had smoothies & the most amazing smoothie ice lollies, can't wait to get back to the Clean Supper Club kitchen and try a few ideas out for these on Sarah and our families.
Before we leave home, I like to have undertaken a small amount of research about the range and styles of foods where we are travelling to (generally to know how much Ombar chocolate to pack), but at the same time we love exploring and accidentally happening upon hidden gems. So that's what we do, pin point a couple of places we'd all like to find and then get over excited when we uncover something new just like the Smoothie Ice Lollies from Paletaria (Rue luz Soriano 25, Bairro Alto). Served by a delightful smoothie addict making these divine creations (not all of them entirely clean) from a beautifully tiled building on a street we were just meandering through. We then devoured them from atop one of the cities many miradouro admiring the stunning view across the Rio Tejo.
Time Out Market Lisboa
Lisbon is fun to get around there are so many modes of transport to test out whilst navigating the city. Trams were our particular favourite & the most fun, particularly travelling down hill! The funiculars are handy too (there are allot of hills for little legs) the metro is uncomplicated, and the train line between central Lisbon & neighbouring Belem is quick.
On several occasions we found our selves in the Time Out Market Lisboa, which houses some of the cities great eateries all under one roof, something for everyone, which when you are a family of varied tastes (sushi, pizza, tapas, Thai, tartar, smoothies, basil mojoitos) and each hope for a different dessert suits us really well!
For a twist on traditional tapas & a diversion into interiors we'd been recommended the Pharmacia by Chef Felicidade, where the children were fascinated by everything medical and medicinal. We all tucked into an array of plates, a favourite being the green salad, honeyed walnuts, baked goat’s cheese and mango ‘slushee’. Not a flavour combination we'd have thought of but one we'll be trying out at home! I suffered plate envy, it's a new affliction caused by the creation of Clean Supper Club. This occurs every time I spot beautiful crockery.
Hydration with a view, reads & patterns
A more relaxed setting for delicious tapas was found in café Oprego, which we discovered whilst meandering our way down from the castle - Castelo de Soa Jorge. The castle & views are stunning and the contemporary interpretation of the Moorish ruins was striking. At Oprego the small one wolfed down a bowl of black olives with garlic & orange zest before we'd blinked and we all fell for the potato skins covered in fresh coriander. The salmon tartarus was divine and the bread eaters in the family loved the fresh white bread & the carnivores were defeated by a board of smoked & cured meats. We all eat a lot of garlic but the garlic & coriander shrimps were a taste blast for the senses. Great service too, really friendly.
The children enjoyed the local ice creams and we all loved the juicy fresh fruit.
So two gloriously sunny days followed by one very grey one with intermittent rain then another of torrential downpours that any rain forest would have been envious of! When the heavens opened we headed to the Oceanarium at the old Expo site. My lovely family all laughed as I resented every minute of a cable car ride (it was slightly windy and I'm not good with the swaying motion!). Which ever city we visit (Monte Carlo, Dubai, Copenhagen…) the children always insist on the aquariums and Lisbon's is great centered around one enormous tank. You journey through the 4 oceanic zones, there's a really strong environmental message for the children that are made through some interactive displays and sightings of mysterious deep-sea creatures (sorry the ocean sunfish but you won the award for the most awkward looking fish).
Other sites we all agreed that are not to be missed were the Monastery in Belem and the contemporary art gallery – Museu Coleccao Berardo - a staggering collection of work from the 20th century, a mix of sculpture and canvas set in vast spaces which meant a lot less time was spent saying “be careful & don’t touch!”
So over all we stayed hydrated in more ways than one! We enjoyed lots of tasty dishes and the only real let down was the departure lounge at the airport (if you’re vegetarian or vegan take something with you!). We’ll definitely be going back, Lisbon is ideal for a last minute “ooo lets just go!” trip.