I just got back from a short trip to Lisbon and here is a quick summary of what we did: Strolling the hilly streets, watching beautiful sunrises, marvelling over wonderful city views and eating lots of sweet treats. And by lots, I mean A LOT of sweet treats. 3 days, 1 ice cream, 3.5 pastel de nata, 3 croissants, 2 pancakes and 1 rice cake. That’s how much I ate, probably 10 times my usual sugar intake but all in the name of research. The outcome is a short guide with Lisbon’s best sweet treats.
Lisbon’s Best Sweet Treats
Pastel de Nata & More
Pastel de Nata at Pastéis de Belém
Established 1837 and probably the best known and most popular Pastel de Nata bakery,
Pastéis de Belém offers Portuguese pastries with unique and traditional flavours. Based on an ancient and secret recipe of an old monastery the pastels are freshly baked with minute intervals. This place was recommended to me by quite a view people and it actually is the most-frequented pastry shop in Portugal. Expect tour busses, tourists groups but also a lot of locals. The atmosphere inside is rather noisy and crowded. So I suggest to queue to take away oven-like natas, grab a coffee from Starbucks next door, walk to the nearby park and enjoy them on a bench. The natas definitely lived up to their hype but they weren’t my favorite. The crust wasn’t as crispy and I found the long queues and masses of people a little turn off.
R. Belém, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal
Pastel de Nata at Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata
On our first day in Lisbon, I noticed a tiny but busy Pasteleria at one of the city’s main squares. I expected a tourist trap because it was in a very touristy area and it was mainly foreigners queuing outside the shop. But after several locals recommended Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata to me, I gave it a try on our very last evening. We just had pizza for dinner and my stomach didn’t feel like any more food. The smell of the freshly baked natas changed my mind quickly. In my opinion Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata sells the best Natas in Lisbon. You order yours at the cashier and have it with a Café at the counter – just like in an Italian espresso bar. I absolutely loved that vibe and despite a busy atmosphere the staff was still up for a friendly little chat.
Rua do Loreto 2, Lisbon, Portugal
Rice Cake at Pastries Confeitaria Nacional
Confeitaria Nacional is like a step back in time. Old-fashioned fruit cakes are neatly presented in one window display, sugary biscuits, truffles and natas in another one. In between a door leads to the inside where sandwiches and more delicatessens are sold. You can either take away or enjoy the baked goods at one of the cozy tables inside. There is also a small terrace with seating options outside, a wonderful spot to people watch and indulge. I recommend the rice cake, it’s soft, moist, with a hint of lemon and made with gluten-free rice flour. Also try the croissant if you come for breakfast, they are as good as the real (French) deal.
Praça da Figueira 18B, 1100-241 Lisboa, Portugal
Sorbet Popsicles at Paletaria
I have a thing (or two) for ice cream on hot days (but who hasn’t). My favorite kind has always been sorbet because it’s so much more refreshing than its milky counterparts. Unfortunately most sorbets are way too sweet. Not the one at Paletaria. Think frozen smoothie on a stick or colorful and not-so-sweet sorbet popsicles. They come without artificial colorings or preservatives and are only made in small batches. Obviously, I was in ice-cream-on-hot-days heaven. Flavours ranged from mango and lemon to kiwi, peach or fig. Despite its healthy and delicious taste, Paletaria’s popsicles make up a beautiful photo motif, too.
R. Luz Soriano 25, 1200-086 Lisboa, Portugal
Hot croissants and homemade pancakes at Lapa 82
Let’s just assume you like to start your day on a sweet note (like I sometimes do but don’t we all?). Then there is no better place than Lapa 82. We stayed at this charming and wonderful boutique hotel during our first 3 days in Lisbon. One of the reasons I really wanted to book ourselves into Lapa 82 was its breakfast. On our first day we went to watch the sunrise early in the morning. We got back after a few hours, hungry and a little tired. But the smell of freshly baked croissants woke us up immediately. We hardly sat down when a crepe straight out of the pan found its way on our table. Mine was with lemon and honey and Felix ordered his with Nutella. We also munched on some fresh fruits and drank hot coffee. I wish our day would always start this way.
Rua de S. Domingos 82, 1200-836 Lisboa, Portugal
Pastel de Nata at Fábrica da Nata
If you are looking for super delicious natas in a photogenic surrounding, go to Fábrica da Nata. The Portuguese tiles and blue interior make this bistro-like bakery a perfect spot for every hobby or professional food photographer. Here you can finally take a beautiful shot of (the not so pretty) natas (just a little tip for all you photo nerds). Fábrica da Nata also serve freshly squeezed orange juice or delicious espresso which goes super nicely with the creamy taste of pastel de natas. Besides warm natas you can also order savoury sandwiches and other pastries.
Rua do Loreto 2, Lisbon, Portugal
Other Sweet Treats
Despite all effort and detailed planing I just didn’t manage (or at least my stomach didn’t) to try out all recommendations of my sweet treats list. So in case you spend more time or tolerance level for sugar is much higher, I’d suggest to visit some or all of the following places. The selection is a combination of recommendations from friends, the IG community, bloggers and food guides.
Also check out:
What are your favorite sweet places in Lisbon? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to my blog post.