My Hometown: Welcome to Lisbon, With Amy Thomson - Full-Time Travel

My Hometown: Welcome to Lisbon, With Amy Thomson

My Hometown: Welcome to Lisbon, With Amy Thomson

In FTT’s series My Hometown, notable travelers divulge local places they couldn’t live without.

By Esme Benjamin

This week Amy Thomson, founder of hormone health app Moody Month, shares her go-tos for Lisbon, Portugal. Originally from the UK, Amy now splits her time between Lisbon and Marrakech, working remotely and filling her downtime with trips to the beach or the natural wine bar. 

From hidden tapas restaurants and the best local ceramics stores, to the city’s ultimate Portuguese egg custard tart, Amy’s travel guide to Lisbon is packed with insights and tips for one of Europe’s most popular destinations. Bookmark it for your next visit.

Amy Thomson outside Mila cafe

My hometown is special because it is a walkable, romantic European destination with access to surf spots and nature within 30 mins. 

The best place to stay in my hometown is Principe Real with views of So Pedro. Book a room at Palacio Ludovice - a beautiful hotel, originally designed in the 18th century by the architect to the king and reimagined for the 21st century by Miguel Câncio Martins. Santa Clara 1728 is another favorite of mine. More minimal in style, with lots of neutral tones and materials, it’s surrounded by little parks and squares on the east side of town. 

When you're in my hometown, you absolutely need to try some natural wines. Portugal has a huge natural wine scene, showcasing hundreds of small producers from across the country. My top three natural wine bars are: LADIDADI, a thoughtfully curated wine store and sipping bar with great tunes; Black Sheep, a hole-in-the-wall bar where you can take your wine and sit in the nearby park; and Holy Wine a store and bar the best selection of vegan wines. If you want food with all that wine try Sem, a sustainable food spot (and my favorite place to eat in the city), Dahlia, a “listening bar” with food, wine and an incredible vinyl collection, or Senhor Uva, for delicious vegetarian food and natural wine pairings.

Santa Clara, Luxury Hotel, Silent Living, Graca, Lisbon

When friends visit my hometown, I always take them on the ferry from Cais do Sodré to Almada, and walk from the ferry station along the river to a local Portuguese tasca restaurant on the water called Ponto Final. By sure to book ahead by phone (+351 21 276 0743).

If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, check out Caparica beach for surfing and lunch. There are lots of surf schools but my favorite is Dr Bernard. If you want a more local experience, Epic surf school is the move.

Without question, the most romantic date night spots in my hometown are Da Noi or Kefi Greek, a new cozy Greek restaurant. If you want a date with 360-degree views of the city at sunset, then head to Java – a great place to have a cocktail and dinner.

Courtesy of Dr. Bernard

I spend far too much money at ceramics stores all over the city. My favorites are Cerâmicas na Linha, where you can get ceramics by the kilo, and Somewhere a Process which offers artisanal pieces by local designers. Normally I go on a Friday, as the store is only open Thursday through Sunday, 11am-7pm, and have a glass of natural wine after (LADIDADI is a stone's throw away).

When you're in the mood for some "me time" head straight to Amplify for a spin class or to Baraza Yoga for more yin flow vibes, followed by brunch at Mila Cafe in Santos. 

My secret obsession is sitting and reading my book with a coffee and pastry in the secret garden at the back of my favorite bakery/concept store Marquise, followed by a walk to my favorite park – Praça Da Estrela – for more reading and fresh air. This is my weekend ritual and my greatest joy in life.

Yoga at Baraza Studio

Something only locals know about my hometown is that it’s the best place to enjoy a hidden dinner. After watching the sunset at Mirador de Graça I walk to my favorite tucked-away tapas and wine bar, Vino Vero. If I can’t get a table at Vino Vero I head to another hidden restaurant called Bla Bla Glu Glu. It’s got a very local menu and an amazing chef. 

Don't end a trip to my hometown without eating at least one pastel de nata (Portuguese egg custard tart). You will find them everywhere but it’s worth the train journey or 15-min taxi to Belem to visit historic bakery Pastéis de Belém. The pastel de natas there are unparalleled and you can watch them being made right in front of you.

Portuguese egg custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen