Lisbon, Portugal- Home of Stairs, Stairs, and More Stairs
Spain had always been a bucket list destination. I wasn't sure why, but I knew I always wanted to go and I knew I had to visit the country. After I booked my ticket to Spain I decided to look up Portugal and see if it was worthwhile spending a few days there- it was ya'll. It was more than worthwhile, it as a place I wish I stayed longer. Three days was not long enough, and I feel like I barely hit the surface. Lisbon was a 35 euro flight over from Madrid. I flew in from Madrid and got off my flight wondering how far the mass transportation was from the airport. I see signs and realize as luck would have it, the train station is connected to the airport.
Once you get to the train station, tickets to use the train are fairly cheap. The cost is as follows: Single - €1.40, Return - €2.80
Unlimited travel for 24 hours (including all Lisbon trams and buses) - €6.00. It is important that you remember the trams are included because they only take cash, and you will want to take these around Lisbon.
Once I got into the city center I was transfixed. My mouth dropped and I could only stare in wonder at how wonderful it was. It was adorable, old, cobblestoned, had personality, and made you want to drink coffee while sitting outside and taking in all that was around. At night, Lisbon is gorgeous. It has a sense of wonderment to it.
I strolled around the cobblestone roads with my bags on the way to my Airbnb in weather that was cool enough to be comfortable with a cardigan on, but warm enough to make me want to sit outside for dinner. Lucky enough, my Airbnb apartment was in close proximity to the city.
I only had a few days in Lisbon and I wanted to make sure I did as much as possible while there. I found How To Spend 48 Hours in Lisbon to help me understand what were the important things I needed to do.
TRANSPORTATION: A great method to see the city is by riding in little-covered tuk-tuk limousines (only word I could think of) or single tuk-tuks. These things will zip you around the streets and hills of Lisbon. Lisbon is really hilly, I mean really hilly and this method will allow you to see more of the city than on foot.
The trams are also a great way to see Lisbon. The tram that most people want to take is Tram 28. This tram takes you around Lisbon's graffiti area, stops at some areas that have great photo ops and views, and takes you up the hills you might not want to walk. Be aware though, that people start lining up for tram 28 pretty early, and you can wait as long as 45 min to get onto the tram. They also stuff people on to the tram so you might have to spend time standing up or at the back of the tram where the views aren't the best. You can hop on and off at different stops to take a more in-depth look at some of the spots. Tram 12 also goes by some of the same stops and isn't as busy as Tram 28 so it might be worth hopping on to it. Right next to the spot you wait for Tram 28 is a little restaurant called Padario do Bairro that has a great combo deal on coffee, fresh orange juice, and a sweet roll with ham and cheese in it. It is a delicious great pick me up snack to have while you wait for the Tram. Please note that the Tram will only pick you up from the designated spot, and if you get on at different spots you will still have to get off at the end, so your ride will be shorter. It is worth just being patient and waiting for Tram 28 to get the whole tour. The Trams are older and a little rickety but they are great to experience.
FOOD: When traveling overseas, your best bet is to look at TripAdvisor rather than Yelp because a lot more people use TripAdvisor within foreign countries.
Custard Tarts: Lisbon is known for their little custard tarts. They are delicious and cost 1-1.150 euros. They just pop right into your mouth and are sold everywhere. Try as many as possible as I am told they don't count as calories since you are on vacation.
Ginijinha Cherry Liquor: This stuff is really delicious ya'll! The girl who was staying in the same Airbnb as I was turned me on to this and I tried to have a shot of it every time I saw it. A shot in the chocolate shot glass is about 1.35-1.50 euros. When you get it, DO NOT EAT THE CHOCOLATE GLASS RIGHT AWAY! Don't do it because they fill up the chocolate shot glass a second time and then you can eat the chocolate glass. It is a delightful little thing to have when wandering the streets of Lisbon while on vacation. Why not take the shot? You don't have anything else to do.
I rarely have any good restaurant, but I did come upon a few good places.
El Rei D. Frango: I had the beefsteak with the egg on it and a side of rice. It was yummy.
Mento S Cristovao: Is a little African restaurant that only takes cash. The food was great and authentic. I wasn't too sure what I was eating, but it was enjoyable and very quaint.
Padario do Bairro: A great little restaurant with delicious fresh orange juice and sweet roll sandwiches. It gives you a delicious well-priced snack and the rolls are delightful!
Fabrica Nata: This was my go-to place for quiet, custard tarts, and fresh orange juice. They had great combo deals that come with ham and cheese toast, fresh orange juice, and a custard tart for 4.60 euros. You can take your food upstairs and have some peace and quiet with a great view. It will allow you to recharge!
On the main square, Praça da Figueira, there is a lot of great places to eat, but be aware that they will be more expensive because of the location. Please take a look at my pictures of Lisbon! It is so much better in person!
Now on to the little town called Belem next to Lisbon which is worth the 30 minutes tram or train ride. This place is a mixture of history, contemporary art, views, and more!
BELEM: If you do not go to Belem then you are truly missing out. I heard there were a few things to do in Belem, but I was wrong. There is a whole day's worth of things to do. With museums, the views, the food, and the cute town. It is worth going!
There are a few different ways to get to Belem.
1. You can take the Tram 15 or Tram 127 from downtown area’s Figueira Square ("Praça da Figueira" in Portuguese) or Comercio Square ("Praça do Comércio" in Portuguese) and get off it as soon as you pass Jeronimos Monastery. For more information on this method go to wanderwisdom.
2. Take the Cascais Train from the Cais do Sodre train station in Lisbon. It is a nice walk along the water from Figueira Square. The ride from Cais do Sodre train station to the Belem train station is easy. The cost is 1.30 euro one way. It is a 30 min ride in a nice and comfortable train with big seats.
3. Taxi- will be a little more expensive, but will get you there faster.
Once you get to Belem, you will exit the train to the right, go up the stairs and to the right, over the highway and start your day in Belem.
Here are the following things you can do within Belem, but be aware that with a college ID you can get to alot of the attractions for sometimes half the price:
National Coach Museum: If you are like me, you had a raised eyebrow at what exactly this meant. I soon realized they meant coach as in carriage. ahhhhhhh! This houses one of the most important horse-drawn carriage collections in the world. All vehicles are from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century. Take a look here for more information.
Jeronimos Monastery: A gorgeous monastery with amazing gothic designs and history. It is worth the trip inside.
Belem Tower: This old fort is a short walk from the monastery and gives amazing views once you get to the top.
Archaeology Museum: Not impressive as it was very small, and not really worth the time or money. There are some interesting things but instead of going to this museum go to the Museu Coleção Berardo mentioned below.
Museu Coleção Berardo (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum): This was probably the best surprise of Lisbon and Belem. This museum had absolutely amazing exhibits, amazing. This place was so big ya'll, I loved it!
Portugal was amazing, but I feel that it is in the shadow of Spain and people do not think about visiting it. People who do not visit it are truly missing out in my opinion because it is truly an amazing place. It has history, food, culture, personality and more. Luckily, it is a short and cheap jaunt from Spain, and more than worth the 30-40 euros it costs each way. I will definitely be coming back and spending long periods of time traversing the country.
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