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Diaries of a sweetaholic in Lisbon

I’m an incorrigible sweetaholic.
One I-would-love-to-bathe-in-a-tub-filled-with-chocolate kind of glutton, just to make it clear.
Portugal to me was like Disneyland for a kid, with all those pastries I had never tasted before: with the excuse of writing this post in Lisbon I managed to drag the boyfriend into any bakery I spotted (he’s still blaming me for fattening up, by the way). And even better when Portugal is one of the cheapest destinations in Europe!
Here are the Portuguese pastries i’ve found while exploring Lisbon (and that you should not miss if you have a sweet tooth).

READ ALSO: What to do in Lisbon: 17 things not to miss

My first stop was at Pastéis de Belém (Rua de Belém 84-92), well-known for the pastéis de nata (or custard tarts), probably the most famous of portuguese pastries: the bakery produces over 20.000 tarts A DAY! I wanted to see what all the buzz was about: the pastéis (1.05 each )are served hot , just taken out of the oven. They are crisp outside and incredibly soft in the inside, with the option of dusting cinnamon and/or zucchero a velo on top. They are so mouthwatering that after the first tart i had to have another one, and then one again….goodbye diet.
Expect a long line outside the shop, but believe me on this one, it IS worth it.

Pastéis de belém

The next day I spotted a small place in Chiado, Mantegairia (Rua do Loreto 2) which is half café and half pastéis de nata factory. The custard tarts are made in front of you all day long, and I guarantee yours will be served hot; you can enjoy one at the counter or bring some home, in any case you won’t regret stopping here. Manteigaria is a great alternative to the most famous pasteis in Belém.

custard tarts being made at manteigaria café

Xocoa (Rua do Crucifixo 112) is your go-to shop when one of those chocolate cravings hit in Lisbon. Or just because you’re walking nearby…after all, it’s always a good time for a cup of hot chocolate, a brownie, a cookie, a chocolate muffin…do I have to keep going?

hot chocolate at xocoa, lisbon

The Pastelaria Restelo (also known as Café do Careca, Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira 11D) is a less obvious choice for a sweet break in Belém, but your best pick for croissants, dusted with sugar and taken out of the oven all day long. The recipe is, of course, kept secret by the owners; the patisserie is famous for baking the best croissants in all of Lisbon, therefore I just could not miss it.

Croissants at pasteleria do restelo

Ummm…cupcakes in Lisbon? Not exactly a specialty but, sincerely, who cares? Cupcakes are good period! The Tease Bakery in Bairro Alto (Rua do norte 31-33) has some weird opening times, and the first time I went in the morning it was closed (every shop in the Bairro Alto was closed to tell the truth), but after peeking inside I decided to give the café another chance and come back in the afternoon per il te delle 5, and boy, it was a wise decision.

I had a Red Velvet My Hearts cupcake (each €2.40) while sitting on a velvet sofa ( the décor is a mix of bohemian and rock ‘n’ roll) and it was sumptuous! Better than others I tried in famous places in Los Angeles.

cupcake at teSe bakery

Sintra is just a short train ride away from Lisbon (take the train from Rossio station, departing every 15 minutes) and an unmissable day trip for its castles…and its pastries, of course.

I tried the Queijadas at Fabrica das Verdadeiras Quijadas da Sapa (Volta do Duche 12, Sintra), an ancient recipe of tiny cakes filled with eggs, fresh cheese, sugar and a LOT of cinnamom. To be honest, I didn’t like them, but i’m not exactly a fan of cinnamon (actually I quite dislike it!), and all other people there seemed to like them so I guess it’s just me!

queijadas in sintra

Next stop: the Casa Piriquita- Antiga Fábrica de Queijadas Lda. at Villa de Sintra (Rua Padarias 1/7), famous for the Travesseiros, fluffy (travesseiros in portuguese means pillows by the way), very sweet pastries filled with a sugar cream. I came here to try these…

travesseiros pastries in Sintra

…but then I also saw the Pastéis da Cruz Alta, and do you think I was able to resist them?
What a question, OF COURSE NOT. They are a sort of hyper caloric macarons wrapped in paper and filled with a very rich egg yolk and sugar cream…yummi.

pasteis da cruz alta in piriquita, sintra

At this point I bet you want to know how much weigh I took during this holiday…but no, that’s a secret I’m not going to tell!

Read also: What to do in Lisbon: 17 things you cannot miss!

Have you tried any of these delicacies? What is your favourite sweet in Lisbon?
  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

TAKE A DAY TRIP TO SINTRA from Lisbon – authentic city traveler

Thursday 25th of April 2019

[…] activities in Sintra include tasting the yummy, traditional pastries of Sintra, visiting the Arab-influenced, UNESCO World Heritage Site Monserrate Palace, and spending some time […]

Lizzie @ vietnam travel

Friday 13th of April 2018

So many delicious desserts in Portugal! Love your article


Monday 20th of July 2015

You do like sweets :))! i´m more a savory person but those didn´t look bad at all!


Thursday 23rd of July 2015

Ahahaha don't tell me Jesse, I'm the WORST sweet lover!

Where to Dine and Wine in Lisbon | twoworldsonelife

Saturday 28th of February 2015

[…] They also have their traditional “Pastel de Nata” which is small little custard filled pastry that’s very sweet and goes perfectly with their bitter coffee. You can either visit their most traditional bakery: A Padaria Portuguesa or you can head over to Belem for the famous Pasteis de Nata. If you are very interested in their pastries read Steph’s blog post about the Sweets in Lisbon. […]

What to do in Lisbon: 17 things you cannot miss!

Wednesday 25th of February 2015

[…] 1| Find a bakery. Lisbon will certainly become a favourite destination for visitors with a sweet tooth: from the famous Pastéis de Nata in Belém, to tartes de maça, to travesseiros in nearby Sintra, Lisbon is a city in which to indulge your senses. […]