It’s been a long time! The last time I posted, I was just ending my time in the beautiful country of Jordan and heading to Spain and Portugal. And since then, I have visited Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, and have made my way back home to Washington, D.C., for a few months of work, yoga, and cooking, before more travels in the fall.
After Spain, and after missing my flight and spending an extra day in Barcelona, I finally made it to Lisbon, a city in a country that has been topping my travel list for several years now.
I’d been hearing from other travelers (where I get all my best tips!) that Portugal was the somehow “better” version of Spain, and that it was a destination that can’t be missed in Europe.
Anyway, I don’t know if Portugal is “better” than Spain, but Portugal itself is a beautiful country, and Lisbon a beautiful capitol. And luckily for me, a friend of mine recently relocated to Lisbon, so I had a nice little base to see the sights of Lisbon.
So here’s what I saw:
They say you can’t have pleasure without pain, or something like that right? Lisbon that this kind of city; it’s very very hilly, so be prepared for steep, sweaty uphill walks and endless staircases under the hot sun, but be rewarded with breathtaking city views once reaching the peaks of these hills. And, often at the top of these hills, there are little, or big, view point parks. I stumbled upon these view points accidentally while strolling around, so surely you will find them too (or you could use a map…)
Did you catch the replica of the Christ from Rio and something that looks like the California Golden Gate Bridge here? Interesting.
This was my favorite beach near Lisbon, just 20-30 minutes from downtown Lisbon. Fun fact, on International Yoga Day we (attempted) 108 sun salutations on this beach, and I didn’t wear a bathing suit that day so I swam in underwear. Note to self, always bring a bathing suit if there’s water nearby.
There’s a castle in Estoril!
From Estoril to Cascias there is a strip of beaches about 40 mins to an hour from downtown Lisbon depending on where you stop. If you continue on the same train past Carcavelos you will reach these beaches. Estoril was small, but quiet and seemed more local. Plus, in the town of Estoril, there is a famous old style European market running all summer to enjoy after a long beach day.
Costa de Caparica:
This beach is on the other side of Lisbon, across the river. It takes some time to get here, it took me close to two hours, so plan a day on this side, or even stay over here. You can get here from downtown Lisbon by ferry and then by bus. This is a really long strip of beach, broken up by natural rock formations. If you are a surfer, the waves are long and strong.
Ride the famous Tram 28 up to Alfama, but beware, there is a long cue for this tram sometimes. The ride is nice; the tram meanders up the classic Lisbon streets lined with pastel colored row houses. Get off at the top, and walk down through the old Moorish district back to the city center.
I visited Alfama on my last night in Lisbon, actually, I almost skipped it, but it was absolutely the highlight of my time in the city. Beautiful views, lively cafes, and charming architecture make this part of Lisbon a must see.
Barrio Alto means old neighborhood, so this is where you find the classic narrow European streets and and alleyways to get lost. This is a lively neighborhood for going out night, and there is a view point at the top!
Remember when Portugal was an empire? I don’t, but the modern Portuguese seem to. 😉 Anyway, you will find proof of this empire downtown through the old squares, statues, and architecture. There is lot’s of typical shopping, food, and other tourists down here.
Pretty stuff no?
The photo above reminds me of Vienna!
My favorite experience in this part of the city was sitting on these steps, putting my feet in the water. There were some even brave enough to swim here with the boats and ferries if you can believe it.
Have you ever visited Lisbon? What was your favorite part? Is this a city you would like to visit in the future? Why?