When we planned our holiday for 2016 we had one problem: The only time still free would be early November but we really wanted to go somewhere warm. Lisbon seemed like the perfect solution and it was. It’s not the best destination though if you’re unwilling to walk up and down hills the whole day. With its city centre in the valley every district of Lisbon is on a different height with sloping streets not unlike San Francisco.
We had an Airbnb near Plaza Pedro VI. and really enjoyed living among the locals. It also gave us the chance to have a cheap meal (pasta) and a night in if we felt like it after a day of sightseeing. The appartment was clearly not the home of someone but specifically rented for the purpose of tourism. But it was clean, well furnished and near public transports and the city centre which made it perfectly fine for a week away. The only problem was a persistent bad smell in the bathroom which is supposedly coming from old pipes but got a bit annoying by the end of our stay.
Food & Drink
If you’re going to Lisbon you definitely have to try out the local food and drinks. We already had drunk some Port back in Scotland and were excited to try out more. Vini Portugal on Praca do Comercio is the perfect place for it. As expected, the food was a bit more problematic for me than for Robert because most of the portuguese cuisine if either seafood or meat. The solution? Mercado da Ribeira with it’s many stands were everyone will find something they like but can sit together nonetheless to enjoy their different meals. As I said in the vlog, our personal food favourite were the Pasteis de Nata – little pudding filled egg tarts that we could have eaten up in huge amounts.
Lisbon has a lot to offer. As always we wanted to see as much as possible and did not enter any of the sights if you had to pay a fee. Nonetheless, the Torre de Belem (with its rhinoceros tower), the Igreja de Sao Domingos and the Elevador de Sana Justa (which is made by a pupil of Gustav Eiffel) are great architectural sites. You can spend hours just walking through the tiny streets of Bairro Alto and Baixa and get lost. But please don’t pay for any observation decks because Lisbon has a lot of free miradoros – places that give you a lovely view over the city where you can sit with wine or beer and enjoy the sundown as we did on our last day.
If you want to get out of the city, there are two villages that are great for a daytrip. Cascais is a seaside town where you can have a swim if it’s warm enough or just enjoy the sun on the beach in the afternoon of early November. And if you’re up for a walk definitely go to Boca Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) where the sea crashes into the cliff. Nature at it’s finest. Sintra on the other hand is home to the Quinta da Regaleira. A park and house right out of a fairy tale where you can walk down to the bottom of a well and get completely lost in a labyrinth of caves (I’m not kidding – bring a flashlight.)