This weekend I made my first ever journey to the land of Portugal. Why have I never been here before?! It is one of the nicest places I think I have visited so far in Europe. My travels took me to the beautiful city of Lisbon where everything is so colourful, vibrant and full of exciting nooks and crannies. The minute I arrived in the airport I was excited, the people were extremely friendly from the get-go and wanted to make your Portugal experience as positive as possible.
Where did we lay our heads?
We stayed in an amazing little hostel slap bang in the centre of Lisbon. It went by the name of Good Morning Lisbon Hostel. The first morning we were there we certainly realised that they go to a lot of effort to ensure that your morning starts of in the best possible way. We woke in our cute little dorm of 4 that had extremely comfortable beds with real duvets and super sort pillows. Our room was lovely and bright and overlooked the beautiful wide street of Rua Primeiro de Dezembro. Now let me tell you about breakfast. I think their breakfasts are competing for the best breakfast I have ever had never mind the best breakfast I have eaten in a hostel. Waiting for you when you get up are homemade fresh waffles and to accompany them there is one of the biggest tubs of Nutella I have ever seen. They told me that one tubs lasts 3 days maximum…they must have extremely hungry guests. If you don’t have a sweet tooth in the morning there is also the option of a toasty made with cheese, tomato and pesto. Out of this world. If breakfast really isn’t your thing then there is coffee, tea and a selection of lovely bread with jam and butter go to with it. If you are going to Lisbon and are planning to stay in a hostel you would be absolutely mad not to stay here. For 3 nights accommodation in a 4 bed dorm we paid a little over $50. I think i probably consumed this amount in food for breakfast never mind taking into consideration the bed I slept in. It was extremely good value with a great atmosphere and absolutely amazing staff.
Where did we eat?
Before I arrived to Lisbon I was told the cuisine was something special. This advice could not have been anymore true. Being by the coast their speciality is sea food and of course the traditional Portuguese egg tart. Be prepared to loosen your belt after your visit. One place you absolutely have to visit for dinner is a restaurant called Ramiro. A traditional eatery that is extremely popular with locals and tourists a like. Inside it really isn’t anything fancy but the quality and freshness of the food was second to none. We ate clams, prawns, manchego cheese and I read an article before suggesting you have a steak sandwich for desert, so of course how couldn’t we take this advice. Finally for real desert we had a mini ice cream and a delicious coffee. We washed our food down with a bottle of red wine between 2 which was such a treat. We payed a total of $44 for all of this fresh food which was so reasonable for the quality. This place is so popular there tends to be a queue along the street of people waiting for a table, so be prepared to wait.
Another place I would recommend for lunch or dinner is a restaurant called Carmo. Situated right in front of the archaeology museum it is in the perfect location. Here we sampled some really traditional Portuguese dishes; cabbage soup for starters and for main we shared a dish consisting of salted codfish, eggs, potato an onion and a mushroom dish with sheep cheese and jamon. Both were absolutely delicious.
If you are looking for something sweet look no further than the most famous cafe of Lisbon that goes by the name of Pasteis de Belem. Voted Lisbon’s best egg tarts it really is a must visit. I say no more, I will let the photo do the talking.
Where did we party?
Let me try and recall what the nightlife is Lisbon is like…!! AMAZING!! Barrio Alta is one of the best places to start your night off. There are a lot of character here and plenty of quirky bars to chose from. In amongst this area there are some little local gems that are worth visiting. We managed to find a local hangout that was run by a husband and wife team. They served all the drinks in tall plastic cups usually associated with a house party and they were joining the revellers a few cheeky shots or 5. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of this place but I’m sure there are plenty of places very similar with just as great atmosphere. Another good area to go to is the area with the ‘pink street’ otherwise known as Cais do Sodre is lined with pubs and small dance bars. This area was a great easy option with lots of choice located in close proximity to each other. Now, lets talk about clubs. I was told Lisbon is very famous for its nightlife, something that I wasn’t aware of we we did experience some of this. We only managed to make it to one big club over the weekend. Our age is definitely showing through because this time last year in Valencia we managed 3…changing times. The club we managed to crawl to called Lux and it was located next to the water front with amazing views from the terraces over the water. Sometimes clubs can be either too claustrophobic or far too big but this one was perfect. $10 entry which included a drink you could party the night away into the early hours of the morning. Just as well the hostel had the most epic hangover curing breakfasts.
My top 5 things to see
1. Aflama area. A perfect place for a relaxed stroll and great views of the city.
2. Elevador de Bica. Picture perfect street where you can pay $3.50 for a ride on a tram
3. Admire the beautiful architecture of Jeronimos Monastery
4. Exploring the boutiques of Bario Alto
5. Enjoy a drink in the magnificent Praca do Comercio
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post about Lisbon and it gave you an idea about how spectacular a city this is. I had a fantastic weekend exploring Portugal for the first time. I am already desperate to go back!!