It’s been a while ago already, but it’s been a week not to forget: the city trip to Lisbon (and surroundings) with my good friend (and she has definitely become a good travel buddy as well!).
Lisbon isn’t a city like Paris or Rome. By saying that I mean that it doesn’t have a lot of buildings or places that jump out and that you have to visit. Lisbon is a very charming city, with a lot of small streets and stairs through which you can stroll all day long. Of course there are enough things to go see, though, like Castelo de S. Jorge; Santa-Justa elevator; Mosteiro dos Jerónimos; and Torre de Belém. Lisbon doesn’t have the fast pace and busy feeling that cities like Paris and Rome have, as well. Lisbon is the city of the seven hills. The city of fado music, old trams and the Tagus river. The main neighborhoods are Baixa, Bairro Alto & Chiado, Alfama, and Belém, that is a half-an-hour trainride away. I’ve enjoyed Alfama the most – it has the most atmosphere. Belém can be perfectly combined with an afternoon spend on the beach.
Don’t limit yourself to the city itself when in Lisbon, but definitely explore the surroundings as well. Sintra is one of the highlights. This romantical village high up in the hills of national park Sintra-Cascais belongs to the world heritage list of UNESCO. In and around Sintra a lot of palaces and castles are located. We have been to Palacio da Pena, which I personally found the most beautiful palace I’ve ever seen; Castelo dos Mouros, which consits of a wall with breathtaking views of the whole area, and ocean; and Quinta da Regaleira – a cute, little palace with a fairylike garden that holds a Lord-of-the-Ringslike tower. Further, go to Caiscais for beaches (but go early and preferably not during the weekend, ’cause they are small).
We stayed in the Lost Inn Lisbon Hostel, which I strongly recommend. Best hostel! White interior with purple and green touches and the typical Portuguese tiles everywhere, wooden floors, relaxing common room(s). Perfect location. We got welcomed by the most friendly people, they make sangria every night (or sometimes soup) and learn you how to do it, and they organize free walking tours. Beco dos Apóstolos, 6 (Cais do Sodré). www.lostinnlisbon.com
Lastly, I have some good Lisbon spots for you to check out when you’re there:
- Cafe Pois: good food (especially the cakes and pies, and the homemade lemonades), friendly people, relaxing little terrace on a lovely street, and inside it’s like a very cozy, snuggly living room. rua são joão da praça, 93-95 (Alfama)
- Le Petit Café: charming, authentic restaurant with a lovely terrace on a street where the old, yellow trams pass by every now and then. When we sat there on Thursday a man was playing guitar, when we came back on Friday there wasn’t any music, but it was just as nice. largo de são martinho, 6 (Alfama)
- Miradouro de Santa Luzia: the most charming of the many view points that Lisbon is rich. Almost opposite Le Petit Café, just walk a little more uphill.
- Las Ficheras: trendy Mexican restaurant with the most delicious food. Good vibes, over there! rua dos remolares, 34 (Cais do Sodré)
- Praça do Comércio: it’s impossible to miss this square when your in Lisbon. Sit down at the stairs on the Tagus. Especially in the weekend whole Lisbon, as well as tourists, comes here to enjoy the sun and the evening
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” ~ Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier