“Life is what we make of it. Travel is the traveler.
What we see isn’t what we see but what we are”.
Getting Lost in Lisbon
I spent three days traversing the city. Three days are good enough to have a general idea of one of the trendiest city in Europe visiting it for the first time. I’ve only picked the attractions which are truly worth it. Guide books will tell you to go everywhere, but not a lot of time and money for that! My tips requires a lot of walking around, it’ s the best way to explore a city; the thing is that Lisbon is very hilly and specially the streets nex to Castelo, Alfama and Chiado. Lisbon is a city full of contrasts. At the begininning as I made my way up to my apartment in the bohemien neighborhood of Alfama, I couldn’t help but notice the trash, graffiti, and abandoned buildings everywhere, but Lisbon didn’t feel unsafe . It is charming and lovable. Lisbon had history and a soul. With this short tour in April I had a general idea of the portuguese way of living and of its old glorious history . As Lisbon is a city that was designed to be explored on foot the spring months provide the perfect weather for your holiday here. High season for Lisbon stretches from June until the end of August and is mainly due to the holiday season within the rest of Europe! Winter, is the off season and this is mainly due to the unpredictable weather. Lisbon can have a surprising amount of rainy gray days .
- Metro: it can get you from the Airport to Saldanha station– just 25 minutes ;
- Aerobus 1,2 & 3: just 25 minutes ;
- Taxi: is a very quick means of transportation. The average fare of a taxi is about €15 although it may increase in the night
I stayed at one of the Alfama’s Air B&B . Lisbon Alfama’s streets are best seen walking its cobble streets, so have always in mind you need comfortable shoes! Now forget your guide book or any map and just navigate yourselves the streets of this old part of Lisbon and get lost in it till late in the night. Alfama is known for its sophisticated restaurants and authentic bars tucked down narrow side-streets. I experienced a Fado dinner in ArcazVelho , Calçada do Forte, 56. Fado means “fate” and is the traditional folk music popular in the Lisbon . The music includes instruments like guitars and mandolins with poetic songs related to darker elements of love, death and sadness. Hundreds of “fadista” singers perform every night in the city’s Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods. Fado is the expression of the Portuguese People, of their identity, culture, and history. You won’t hear it anywhere else.
From Alfama I walked 20 minutes to the central Praça de Comercio. It’ s Lisbon ’s main square and for visitors it is both an appealing tourist sight and an important transport hub. The southern end of this plaza looks out onto the Tagus River . There are two things to see here:
- The First is located in the North of this square the Rua Augusta Arch that gives way to the boulevard Rua Augusta, the most prominent boulevard in the Baixa district; this triumphal arch was designed to celebrate the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake;
- The Second is Equestrian Statue in bronze of Joseph I of Portugal (1750 – 1777) ; Joseph I was King of the country during the Great earthquake.
I visited Sintra , a wonder of Portugal which you fall in love with. It is 30 minutes far away from Lisbon by train. Sintra is a nearby town that has been a beloved destination for kings and now is a favorite place for numerous tourists. No surprise as this little gem makes a perfect day trip from Lisbon!
After a day trip in Sintra I went back to Lisbon . I had an amazing dinner in Bairro Alto in a little restaurant called Ristorante d’Esquina, in Rua Diário de Notícias, 27. The gentle owner “a senhora Anna” offered to my palat and to my spirit a great wine tasting. She explained that most grape varietals for wine grown in Portugal are native. Here a list of the most important vineyards:
- Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (same as Spanish Tempranillo), Touriga Franca and Baga for Reds;
- Encruzado and Alvarinho (Spain’s Albarino) for Whites.
Blending is very common in Portugal, although you can find single varietal wines. Each wine region in the country is known for a particular blend.
My last day was dedicated to and Villa Nova de Gaia with its famous Porto . I cannot describe only in words all that which is beautiful seen only through one’s eyes . That’s here some stunning photos that give better the feeling I had inside about these other charming places in Portugal.
After a day trip in Porto I went back to Alfama . I relaxed in my Air B&B enjoying a gorgeous landscape of Lisbon and its ocean. The old building’s façade of my apartment was covered in patterned tiles produced in the mid-to-late 1800s that cover thousands of buildings in Lisbon. The variety of colors and designs on the streets of the Portuguese capital is part of the city’s identity.
I booked my trip to Lisbon on a whim and it was on my list of places to see. All I can say about Portugal is wow, wow, wow! Portugal is so extraordinary : History, Culture, Landscapes, Wine, Food & Friendly people. Well, this is the end of my stay in Portugal. I wish I could come back here for much more time .
Até breve Lisbon