Experience the Sweet Side of Lisbon
Cafés, restaurants and markets for sweet treats
We’re all familiar with the famous Portuguese custard tart (pastel de nata) and while it’s still a must-eat in the city, Lisbon offers much more to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Lots of local desserts and traditional treats have their origins in Catholic convents and monasteries, where 15th-century Portuguese nuns and monks made all kinds of confectionary. Centuries on, there are more than 200 delicacies available to nibble as you explore the city – and as it’s known as the city of seven hills, you’ll need the fuel! Here are some of the best places to go in Lisbon for a sweet snack, helping you stay energised as you explore.
Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém
The must-try treat in Lisbon has to be the original Pastel de Belém. The legendary sweet, with a secret recipe, was created by Jerónimos Monastery monks in Belém, then sold to a Portuguese family, and can still be sampled today at Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém, a large and airy neighborhood bakery that has an almost cult following. The locals top them with cinnamon and accompany them with an espresso.
Bolo de mel da Madeira, or Madeira honey cake, is another must-nibble as you tour Lisbon. Dark and spicy with nuts, cloves, star anise and cinnamon, it’s steeped in 600 years of history. Do like the locals do and cut it with your hand, rather than a knife. One of the top-rated places to sample them is at Mercearia Criativa, a local café and supermarket that also serves delicious lunch options and features a wall full of local wines, cheeses and chutneys to buy. Don’t expect to leave empty-handed.
Casa dos Ovos Moles
Casa dos Ovos Moles is a traditional Portuguese bakery renowned as one of the best spots for ovos moles, or soft eggs. These wafers are distinctively shaped like fish, shells and barrels and filled with a smooth custard that melts in your mouth – they’re so delicious and beloved they actually have protected status from the European Commission. Queijadas de Évora (Evora’s cheesecake tart), a bite-sized sweet tart made with a ricotta-like cheese, is also worth a sample.
Mercado Alvalade Norte
If juicy fresh fruit tickles your tastebuds, a visit to Lisbon’s Mercado Alvalade Norte is in order. Located in the friendly neighborhood of Alvalade, this bustling market is packed with residents stocking up on meat, spices, fish and baked goods. However, for those with a sweeter tooth, there’s an abundance of rainbow-coloured fruit on offer (think apples, plums, melons and cherries), most of which is grown by local farmers. If you opt for a tour of Mercado Alvalade Norte as part of a Princess shore excursion, you can top off your visit with an indulgent Portuguese lunch made with produce bought from the market's stalls that morning.