Have previously spent 24hours in Lisbon which sparked an interest in returning to do it properly!
I was also very motivated so that I could visit Sintra (blog post to follow) so my friend and I spent three days here. Our Airbnb was lovely, seemingly far out of the city and it was a bit of a faff to get there late at night but when we started exploring we were actually only about a 20min walk from Barrio Alto (bars and restaurants).
We walked along the riverfront to Praca do Comercia (Commerce Square) to study the map and decide where to go next. Lots of restaurants and museums here (including “The Worlds’ Sexiest Toilet”).
We wanted to take the tram but were kind of confused about how it worked (we never actually successfully got on one). They would sometimes stop to let people off but not on so we just walked everywhere. On our way up to Castelo Sao Jorge we looked inside the Cathedral (didn’t have to pay).
As we walked on up the hill we popped into the Museu do Aljube Resistência e Liberdade. Detailed the resistance period of Lisbon and Portugal including arrests and torture by the police which was interesting but quite a lot of reading!
A windy walk up to the Castle, 8euros entry but theres a fair amount to see so I’d say its worth it. You get great panoramic views of the city, has nice gardens with peacocks and cats roaming around and you can walk on the walls. We probably hung out here for a bout an hour and used the view to decide where to go next in the city.
Head out of the castle grounds and you walk down to the Alfama area which is really nice for drinks and being by the water. Tried to get a tram from here again but didn’t manage it so walked through the main shopping streets up to the Rossio train station where we knew we’d get the train to Sintra the next day.
From our birdseye view from the castle we had spotted a tree-lined area and we found this to be Avenida Liberdade. Here we got the Metro from Restaurados to Sao Sebastiao and walked to Edward VII park for views of the city.
That evening we headed to Barrio Alto for cheap cocktails and some food. Really nice vibes here, everyone gathers in the street by the funicular and sits on the steps. I’d recommend The Small Bar, lots of locals and travellers hanging out here and 5euro cocktails!.
Sintra; We spent a full day here, I’ll put the details in a separate post but the train from Rossio is only 4euros return and goes every 30mins so it’s really easy. It was recommended we get there before 9am to avoid the crowds and I would advise you to do the same! Also, do your research of what you want to see and EXACTLY which site you need to get to before you go.
That evening we came back to Lisbon and ate dinner at the Timout Market. Overpriced food and a starter scam put me in kind of a bad mood, I’d recommend eating inside at one of the market-style food places instead of the restaurant on the exterior.
We left Belem until our last day and left early to try and beat the crowds. This is THE place to eat Pasteis de Belem, the original site where they are baked, and they genuinely taste better. Don’t bother trying to sit down (the Portuguese don’t understand how to queue and its quite stressful) order what you want and eat it at the bar.
We also really wanted to see the Monastery but the queue was pretty alarmingly long. It didn’t open until 10am and even if we had waited until then, the queues could have easily still taken an hour to get in. This was our travel day so unfortunately we had to give it a miss, I’m sure its amazing inside.
In Belem you can also visit the Palace and the tropical gardens so it would be really easy to spend an afternoon or even full day there.
So our trip to Lisbon was pretty non-stop we didn’t really relax but I really enjoyed it as there was just so much to see! Need to come back to see Sintra again and visit Belem Monastery.
Ciao for now x