I always wanted to visit Lisbon. Well, to be fair I could start most of my travel posts by using a similar phrase and only change the name of a city or country. In case of Lisbon it is very true though. My visit was long overdue! Last year I had flights booked and high hopes for a sunny break but I had to cancel. Sudden relocation to Barcelona and a new job were the reasons why I had to postpone. Eh.. good things come to people who wait! At least I had plenty of time to ask my Portuguese and non-Portuguese but Lisbon-loving friends for tips and recommendations.
The moment I stepped out of Baixa-Chiado metro station I saw Tram 28 passing in front of my eyes. Lisbon was living up to its postcard-like reputation from the start. Warm evening, lively streets and a little cat meowing outside the place I was staying in was like the icing on the cake. I am not even a pet lover! Exploring other areas was pretty much a similar story. My heart was melting.
So Pretty it Hurts
I decided to stay in Chiado, in a very old but nicely furnished and decorated flat that I found on AirBnB. It was a perfect location for me. It was central, fairly quiet and round the corner from Bairro Alto, which offers a great nightlife experience.
My first day in the city was pretty much about chilling in Rossio, catching up with friends and admiring Tagus river from Praça do Comércio or many viewing points scattered around Lisbon. Following days introduced me to the hills and tiny (a bit dodgy too) streets of Alfama. Although I did not go inside the Castle of São Jorge, I can assure you that a lot of tourists did so it might be worth booking admission tickets in advance.
After a quick peek at it I spent my morning walking up and down the hill but rested in the afternoon, basking in the sun in Belém… and yes I had Pastéis de Belém from the famous pastry shop located there! You need to try this heavenly food – great texture and taste. If wish to stick to other heavenly pursuits when in Belém, there is the Jerónimos Monastery you can visit. Just giving you some options.
Going for the Arts
On my last day I visited Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, as recommended by my friend, and Centro de Arte Moderna situated round the corner from the modernist museum complex. I was pleased to find out that Sundays are the days of free admissions. The fact that there were no wild crowds inside was also a bonus.
The lisboetas I came across were nice, polite and welcoming and a lot of them thought I am Portuguese. It made me laugh considering I had my big camera with me and clearly looked like a tourist but maybe my tan from Barcelona was to blame!
You can find more pictures from Lisbon on my Flickr page.