I am not sure when or what made me want to visit Portugal so bad but I have been pretty much obsessed with this amazing country and I am happy I finally got a chance to visit it this past summer.
It is said that Lisbon has a unique light to it and oh boy is it true. There’s something about this fantastic city and the way the sun shines on it and the way the light envelopes everything in a gentle, warm glow.
This city is packed with history and there’s a lot to visit so we gave ourselves a few days to explore it. Lisbon has a few major districts and neighbourhood and deciding where to stay was the hardest part and after a ton of research we settled on a gorgeous apartment in Belem, which is a lovely, quiet neighbourhood a short train ride away from the city center, close to the Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery and the Discoveries Monument and the famous Pasteis de Belem, the delicious Portuguese egg tarts.
Jerónimos Monastery and Vasco da Gama tomb
Pastéis de Belém
One thing I can recommend you do is to get yourself a Yellow Bus Tour Pass, we all loved it. The pass costed us around $40 for three days and granted us access to all public transit as well as the company’s private trams, tour buses and boat. The trams can be insanely crowded so it was nice to get to travel around the city in their trams equipped with audio guides and we loved the whole hop on hop off concept of the busses and we used them frequently during our stay, whenever we got tired of exploring on foot we just hoped on a bus and plugged in our headphones and got a history lesson while we rested.
We managed to explore most of the city and while every single neighborhood has something to offer I, for one, loved the Alfama district, an old neighborhood that is a absolutely spectacular with it’s narrow cobblestone streets, churches, Castelo de Sao Jorge, and spectacular viewponts. Two restaurants we loved in Alfama were Santo Andre and Lisboa Tu & Eu .
View from Alfama
Castelo de São Jorge
The St. Andre restaurant – worth a visit
I didn’t end up visiting any museums while there, exploring the city on foot and the infomrative bus tours were enough for me. Lisbon is such a vibrant city and has so much to offer that we just kinda just got lost in it, explored the markets, had a glass of wine and a bite to eat in different plazas around different neighborhoods and walked around as much as we could to get that full Lisbon experience.
You need to try this drink!
On our last day there I took advantage of the fact that the boyfriend and sister wanted to geek out at the MAAT museum so I went exploring the local flea market called Feira de Lada in Alfama. The market, while charming failed to impress me. It had lots of kicthy items, tons of random crap and a few local merchants but overpriced items. Like with any flea market, I would suggest you go there with an open mind, rested and armed with patience. I love picking up my souvenirs are local markets rather than typical shops. I always manage to score affordable, genuinely local stuff so I can bring home a piece of the place with me.
Feira de Lada flea market