If you ever find yourself in the need of some good food, shopping and vitamin sea, I strongly recommend you to visit Lisboa. However, if you want to stroll around in peace and be on your own in silence, do not visit this city. I repeat, do not!
Sorry, I just had to make this public service announcement. Continue reading please.
The Portuguese capital is definitely not what I expected it to be. It’s a modern and trendy city mixed with authentic and ancient Portuguese influences. For example, you can take an old metro or taxi-like vehicle for a ride around the city, but in the mean time, you can shop till you drop in huge malls. Also, the language was very funny to hear. The pronunciation is special, I couldn’t pull it off! The funniest word I heard was bacalhau, pronounced ba-ka-lah-w. It means fish. Or a sort of fish I think. I don’t know. I’m not a fish expert.
Unfortunately (actually, I’m kind of proud of it) I didn’t take the funny metro or one of the little vehicles to discover Lisbon. Oh no. As usual, I walked throughout the whole city. I know I said it before, but that is really the best way to discover a city! Especially such a special one as Lisbon. It has many different sides.
Lisboa is made out of different villages. I’ll start with Alfama. Alfama is based on the east side of the Lisbon area and exists out of the cutest and most colourful houses. Here, you’ll also find stunning views and the Sao Jorge Cathedral. Warning: it contains a lot of stairs and steep streets! But hey, if you take it slow, you’ll get there. I went there with my friend – who is a fitness freak – so every time I wanted to take a little break, her disappointment in me increased drastically. Whoops. Sorry to let you down there, buddy. We good?
Craving some candy?
Secondly, there is bairro alto. As the name reveals, again, this village is located much higher than the city centre. Which means: steps a la volonté. Yaaay!
Bairro alto is where you can find all the bars, clubs, and candy. If you know what I mean. *wink*. It’s a village where youngsters rule, sangria costs nothing and where you’ll definitely meet new people.
Okay enough about villages: now, let’s talk about the really important stuff: food and drinks! Portugal has delicious traditional and fresh food, but be careful which restaurant you pay a visit to. You can go for a full dinner from €8 to €30 (for the same quality). Restaurants can charge a lot per dish, and its almost impossible not to take more than one dish. For example: if you order a steak, you’ll pay extra for salad, fries, whatever. Nothing is included. Just a tip: be mindful!
After discovering Lisbon, I also paid a visit to Cascais. Honestly, I just needed vitamin sea. I mean really. Sandy beaches, that salty smell of the ocean, waves and win in your hair. I want all of it! Cascais has a lovely beach and that is the main reason why I visited it. You can also find fantastic restaurants and bars here and you can make beautiful walks at the docks and in the nature of Cascais. Plus, it was easily reachable by train from the station of Lisbon. And it only costed €1,50 per ride!
Belém is a place I ended up accidentally. The plan was to go to Sintra and visit the palace there, but the journey was too long and expensive. I didn’t know where I should go to next. Next thing I know, my friend made me pick a number from 1 till 6, and at that number we would get out of the train. Belém was my lucky number. Don’t regret it at all!
The main attractions of Portugal are to be found here and they are absolutely stunning. The castle in the water, the sculptures, the gigantic castle… Belém really was a beautiful city.
Another must-visit is LX Factory. It is originally an industrial park where the work of artists came alive. Now, its a small village with trendy restaurants, unique shops and cool bars. Close to LX Factory you’ll find a small harbour, again filled with the best restaurants. Plus, you get the best view here – the iconic Portugese bridge and the statue of Jezus in the distance. And every few minutes, descending airplanes flew by and made a turn to the airport. Talking about views!
I have a feeling I’m talking about food too much. But one last tip: go to Time Out Food Market. It. Is. Food. Heaven. You get all the best restaurants from Portugal in one market. Just follow my lead and try the sushi, pizza, sangria and desserts there. You will not regret it at all! This market is based in the centre of Lisbon.
So that was about it. I only stayed three days in Lisbon, maybe it was a bit too short. I didn’t get to see the main attractions and do the things I really would love to do in Portugal (make a boat ride, go see the Jezus statue, visit other cities) but one day I’ll definitely go back!
Até a vista!