A Portugal Trip to Remember; Places to See and Visit
After the fire in our home last thanksgiving, seriously during my trip in Portugal, I have been so busy trying to find all the positivity and strength I could get just to stay focus on recovery. I have to be honest, it hasn't been easy and I needed all the time just to try to get myself back together. And during this process, I did a lot of reflections and learned a lot about life and the people in my life in general. But I am happy to say, things are getting better and our main focus right now is the future. So I am excited to finally talk about my trip in Portugal. After all, it has been a pretty great experience and I am ready to share it with you all!
Making It Happen
Visiting Portugal has always been in my list ever since. Some of my friends and I talked about planning a trip to Portugal for years. When an opportunity opened up, though not everyone was able to come with us, my friend Estefania, and I made the decision to make it into reality and decided that it will be our next adventure.
We visited Portugal last Thanksgiving break. We were both very excited. Estefi is definitely the best traveling companion. Not only she is always so laid back and up for whatever, she appreciates every single places and things that we do. She happened to know how to calm my nerves down when I'm in panic which is ALWAYS a good thing. I guess there's a reason why we have been friends for nearly 16 years right?!
Places We Visited and Things We Did in Portugal
Our first stop was Lisboa. It was quite easy to get around Lisboa. We pretty much took an uber everywhere and being able to stay somewhere that is walking distance to everything in the city made things quite easy for us. But keep in mind, you really have to make sure you know what you want when you book your accommodations. Sad to say, we weren't very happy with the first choice that we made and I also had an experience with "theft" during my FIRST day in the city. But we did move to a different hotel after the incident and it was a lot nicer and the staff were a lot more helpful and polite. The location was even more amazing in my opinion. (I will share more details on the best area/neighborhood to stay in Lisboa in a bit.)
1. The first place we checked out was the Time Out Market in Lisboa. definitely the "spot" for all the foodies out there! It was so busy and packed due to the variety of amazing dishes it has inside the market. It was quite difficult finding a spot to sit, but to be honest, it didn't really bother us one bit. It is definitely a must see and a must do while in Lisboa. Seafood is definitely something you shouldn't miss while in Portugal.
2. We also went around the city to go sight seeing. We even did a little bit of people watching. You have the option of taking the tram as well. And to be honest, there are so many delicious Portuguese food on every corner that you cannot missed! So many shopping areas and corner right outside our hotel. Also, the prices are cheaper compare to other european countries which made our stay even sweeter.
3. And the wine..... you need to seriously take advantage of the cheap wine! Their local wines are the cheapest, yet one of the most delicious wines I've ever had. A lot of their best wines are not exported so most of them you will only find in Portugal. A whole bottle of wine will cost you less than $10! I highly recommend for you to try the vino verde (one of their most famous local wine.) We probably had a bottle of wine every night during dinner... and we didn't feel bad at all for doing so.... (LOL)
Estefi is all smile :D
4. We also took a trip outside Lisboa to see Roca Cape cliffs (the westernmost point of continent in europe), Cascais, and the historic town of Sintra to see Portugal's natural and architectural wonders. We experienced the rich vegetation of Sintra's natural park, the hidden trails and caves at Pena Park (Pena Palace) and the bluffs of Roca Cape. We also took a drive and did a leisure walk through the charming town of Cascais admiring its scenic beaches.
Roca Cape Cliffs
Photos from Sintra
The Pena Palace in Sintra
5. Upon visiting Portugal, we knew Porto is definitely a must see for us. We took the earliest train from Lisboa to Porto. It took about less than 3 hours to get there.
Porto is Portugal's second largest city. It is one of the most eclectic destination in Europe. The Douro River, the medieval architecture, the Art Nouveas cafes, and its defining Dom Luis I Bridge are what makes this place so popular and beautiful. The locals are even so so nice!
Explored the city and enjoyed the beautiful view and visited; Porto Cathedral, Clerigos Tower, and Crystal Palace Gardens. You will be able to explore and see these places in a day.
Porto has so much history! A few things you will need to check out while in Porto is the famous Lello Livraria with its Neo-Gothic interiors, or head to Sao Bento Railway Station to see the 20,000 tiles that decorate its wall. (We walked pretty much everywhere.)
6. While in Porto, it's definitely a must to visit the historical and most popular cafe, Majestic Cafe. "On the 17th December 1921, an establishment called Elite café opened for business in Porto. It was located in Santa Catarina street, a pedestrian walkway for shopping and for the finest members of society, then and now. The café enlightened the street with its Art Nouveau decoration, by architect João Queiroz."
Estefi took me out for a wonderful high tea experience. <33
7. Porto is surrounded by wine estates. Portuguese people are proud when it comes to their wine and I don't blame them because they truly have some of the best wine I've ever had. It will be a HUGE mistake to go to Porto and not visit or do any wine tasting tour. It is definitely a must to try their world famous "port wine." There are variety to choose from so choose wisely.
Area and Places To Stay in Lisboa and Porto.
Now, it's time to talk about the best area to stay in Lisbon.
We first stayed in Bairro Alto when we first arrived in Lisbon. We read that it's a great place to stay if you want some night life and some restaurants that are walking distance so we thought this would be a great choice. But to be honest, we had no idea this means not being able to sleep until five in the morning because there are so many drunk people outside your window screaming, making noises, and banging trash cans preventing you to get some rest at night. Our first night was HORRIBLE!
If you want a goodnight sleep, DO NOT STAY HERE.
Because of this, we decided to find a hotel in Avenida da Liberdade. We didn't realize that this was Portugal's most expensive real estate, and it surely was because it felt like night and day between the two area even though they weren't very far from each other. It was perfect. There were so many shops, restaurants and the hotel staff was extremely polite, helpful and nice!
To find out more information about the best area to stay in Lisbon, Click here.
HOTELS TO STAY IN LISBON & PORTO
Walking distance to the train station and to everything in Lisbon.
The House of Sandeman was incredible. It is a hostel, but in the "fancy" side in my opinion. I wasn't too sure about staying in the same room with complete strangers so it was great that they also offer a suite. We booked a room with our own private bathroom and a view that was amazing. The hotel is located right in-front of the beautiful river. The whole staff here were really extremely kind and helpful. We also met some pretty cool individuals from different parts of the world while staying here. I loved the decor and the atmosphere. It was super comfortable, cozy and I truly enjoyed their movie nights and their free happy hour drinks before dinner for the guests. I highly recommend this place.
Before ending our trip, I contacted a sweet friend that lives in Lisbon. We met during my solo trip in New Zealand. We were able to visit her town and were able to catch up and learn more about her country. She took us to one of her favorite local restaurant and boy oh boy, we were SO FULL! We had so much fun catching up and I was truly thankful she made time to meet with us. I will forever be grateful. Thank you so much! <3
Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask anything about my experience in Portugal. I might have left a lot more information out so feel free! :D