I am back from a ten days adventure in the amazing Portugal. I came back with more than 1800 photos and I cannot wait to share a selection of them with you!
So, the plan was like this: Bucharest – Lisbon for one day – Sintra for one day – Madeira for six days – Lisbon for two more days – Bucharest.
It was one of the most beautiful trips until now and I very happy to say that Lisbon is now one of my favorite cities ( besides Paris and Istanbul).
Without further introduction, here is my guide (a.k.a my recommendations):
HOW TO GET THERE: easiest way is by plane, of course. We chose TAP Portugal from Bucharest to Lisbon and back and it was as pleasant as a 4 hours flight can be. Buy your flight with approx. 3 months in advance to get a good price.
HOW TO GET AROUND LISBON: That’s easy. If you plan on moving a lot and visiting many sightseeings, then Lisboa Card for 24/48/62 hours is what you need! They are a bit pricey, but they sure take many worries off your mind. Lisbon has a great subway infrastructure, count on their punctuality to get where you want. For places with no subway, comboios (regional trains), tramways and buses work well too. Avoid rush hours if you choose to go by bus. For less traditional people, go with a tuk-tuk from one place to another or rent small cars for a genuine experience.
WHERE TO STAY: During the first two nights in Lisbon, we stayed at the HF Fenix Music hotel and it was so great! Starting from their music until their great breakfast, this is an amazing and very modern *** hotel at a very decent price for all it offers.
After we came back from Madeira, we chose Hotel Lisboa Tejo, with a good position as well, but with smaller rooms. Still good and with a lot of facilities.
WHAT TO EAT: As an appetizer, search Portuguese cheese (try the Azeitão cheese – it was yum!) with parma ham and olives. Ama-zing! As main entries, Lisbon is famous for its delicious fish dishes, therefore don’t miss out on a bacalhau or a black scabbard fish with banana (yes, I tried them both and I am still alive and wanting for more!). Also, if you are a fan of seafood, Lisbon is the right place for your tastes. However, be careful where you eat them! For paella fans, Lisbon offers a great variety of them. Speaking about desserts, try pastéis de nata (they are also called Pastéis de Belém and they were produced first at the Antica Pastéleria de Belém), chocolate salami (ohmyGod, it was so good! It literally melted in my mouth!), Bolas de Berlim (awesome doughnuts with vanilla filling) and honestly, every pastry product that looks good to you. The portuguese bakers are Gods! To drink, sangria is a good choice with food, while their Porto wine goes best only with deserts. Try some local beers and if you are into cocktails, ask for a Nikita.
WHAT TO SEE: The obvious answer is: everything! However, reality does not allow us to spend that much time in only one city, therefore here is my list if you only have 3 days in Portugal’s capital:
*BELEM: The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Monastery of Jerónimos) is a must. The Belém Tour (Torre de Belém) is a national symbol and the views from there are really great. Stop for a coffee and some pasteis de Belem at the Antica Pasteleria de Belém. Hop on a tuk-tuk or bike carriage if you also want to see more of the area (including the Padrão dos Descobrimentos – Monument of the Discoveries).
*ALFAMA & BAIXA-CHIADO: Just walk around; the area is not huge and you can cover in one day all of these: the São Jorge Castle, the Sé Cathedral, the Santa Justa elevator (only if you have enough patience with ques), the Praça do Comércio and some of their shopping streets (Rua Augusta is great for mass-market brands – H&M, Zara and so on, while Avenida de Liberdade is perfect for luxury brands – Gucci, LV, Prada). Be aware there are DOZENS of shops with Chinese products. Their window shops may look nice, but their products are very low-quality! Hop on tramway nr 28 for some moments when you’ll feel like in San Francisco on Lisbon’s many steep hills.
*EASTERN LISBON: If it’s Tuesday or Saturday, start it with a local experience at the Feira da Landra, a local market with many different things, from vinyl records to bags. Try your luck in finding little treasures. Next, the Muséo do Azulejo is a must see if you are into painted tiles (they are gorgeous, trust me). Go to Parc das Nações for a teleferico ride and walk around the beautiful green park for some relaxing time.
Of course, there are many more things to see, but the things we don’t get to see are the ones who convince us to go there again.
Here are some more photos (‘hallelujah!’/’finally!’/’hooray!’)
** More tips:
- Carry a map with you at all times (tourist basics, duuh)
- If you speak a bit Spanish or French, you’ll do even better than just with English
- Have sunscreen on every day
- Buy water from supermercados (supermarkets). You can save up to 3 euros/ bottle of 2L by doing so
- Don’t come with big banknotes, they are seen as suspicious
- Keep in mind that some places are not opened daily and that most shops close at 7 pm
And most important:
- Enjoy your holiday there!
I hope you liked this post!
See you soon with a similar post from Sintra!