5 things you must do when teaching in Lisbon
Lisbon has risen to become a real hotspot for teachers. That’s not so much because there are loads of TEFL jobs in Portugal, but because the country is a mecca for digital nomad workers, including online English tutors. It’s easy to see why. The town offers a laid-back vibe, fantastic coffee culture, and stunning architecture, not to mention proximity to some of Europe’s most celebrated surf and sunbathing beaches. Let’s take a look at the five things that we think everyone has to have on the itinerary…
Coffee and food
If you’re a foodie that’s planning on teaching in Lisbon, then you’re in luck. The town isn’t just a hotbed of Portuguese cooking but also a hub for creative international eats. Let’s start with the former, which you can sample in the form of pastel de nata custard cakes, strong coffee, and meaty bifana sandwiches at the Time Out food hall by the Tagus. When that’s all finished, you can get Lebanese mezze platters at Sumaya, Aussie breakfasts at Neighborhood café, and all sorts of Indian and Nepalese dishes in the area of Martim Moniz. Tasty, eh?
Get lost in the Alfama via the 28 Tram
There’s no more an immersive part of Lisbon than the maze-like lands of the Alfama. The district is the oldest in the city and it shows. Its winding alleys go this way and that without any real direction, forever leaned-over by crooked medieval cottages and wrought-iron balconies. The number 28 Tram manages to find its way through and will take you to the entrance of the Alfama area, but not before going on a whistlestop tour of some of the city’s other major landmarks.
A day trip to Sintra
Perched up in the mist-swirled mountains just above Lisbon, Sintra is a truly bucket-list place. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s famed for its grand palaces and castles, some of which date all the way back to the Moorish era. The most famous of the lot are the Quinta da Regaleira, a grand Neo-Gothic mansion that was once owned by a Portuguese coffee magnate, and the majestic Pena Palace, which once hosted the nation’s kings and queens in the warmer months. It’s easy to do a daytrip from the city but try to get it out of the way by summertime, when Sintra gets packed to bursting.
Surfing in Carcavelos
Whether you’re a seasoned board rider with plenty of waves to your back or a newcomer to the sport just finding your water feet, there’s no getting around the fact that Lisbon is a surf-mad city. There are oodles of places to chase the punchy Portuguese swells in the vicinity, but the closest is the beach area of Carcavelos. It’s a 20-minute train from the station at Cais do Sodré on the Tagus and is the first proper place where the Atlantic shows its teeth. Alternatively, you can head across to the stunning sweep of sand at Costa da Caparica, where you should be able to get waves all to yourself.
Beers in the kiosks
Lisbon is peppered with little open-air drinking holes that the locals call, affectionately, kiosks. They’re everywhere, from buzzy squares in the heart of the Baixa de Lisboa (the main downtown) to suburban parks on the outskirts. Come Friday night, when you’re done and dusted with another week’s worth of past participles, these are fantastic places to unwind with a cold Sagres beer or 10. One of our personal favorites is located at the Miradouro de Santa Catarina. Go there to sip to a fantastic view of the sunset over the Tagus. Then there’s the Miradouro da Graça, where you’ll often have local bands playing a backing track.