Since Portugal was the first European ground I ever stepped on, it’s only fitting that I begin this series with Lisbon!
I’ll be posting a different post for each city I visited because I want to be as thorough as possible! There was so much to see, therefore there is so much to say! I want to share with y’all all the places I saw, shopped, and ate at! Also, I took like a million photos, so….
Before I begin, let me preface by saying that I booked this trip through EF Ultimate Break. They took care of everything! I literally just had to show up and have fun! More on them later. (Also, if you email me I can get you $100 off on a trip with them! Just gotta be between the ages of 18-29)
Alright, let’s hop on a plane and travel to Portugal’s capital: Lisboa! (that’s what the locals call it)
We arrived in Portugal after an 8 hour flight out of Atlanta on a red eye flight (about 12 hours travel time total). I had never heard of these before, but I didn’t mind it. I didn’t sleep as much as I had wanted, but I did take like a 2-3 hour nap. The excitement was just too much! Delta treated us very nicely though! Food, blankets, pillows, and entertainment were all included!
Since we arrived at around 7am, our hostel rooms were not ready, which gave us a chance to pre-explore. Not gonna lie, I was terrified to explore a brand new country with people I didn’t know! In the end, it was great! It gave us a heads up on the rest of the group, and I got to bond with some of my fellow travelers! 🙂
What To See:
Like I said before, the majority of this trip was planned for us. I know people are hesitant to use these kinds of services because they feel like they don’t have any free time, but EF gives you ton of free time! The problem is knowing how to use it wisely.
The tours we went on took us on tours to palaces, parks, famous landmarks, and more! I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
I’m not a huge history junkie, I have a hard time remembering dates and names. But seeing it right in front of you does something to you…
We did not go up the lift because EVERYONE told us it’s a rip off and a tourist trap. And depending on what time you go, you could be waiting hours for a 5 minute trip up. If you go around back, there is a restaurant with a walkway straight to the top main area. For a few euros, you can go to the very top and get GORGEOUS views of all of Lisbon!
This arch resembles the Arc of Triumph in Paris right? Well this one leads to the city center which lines up to the Tagus River. Right behind this (going the other direction) is where you’ll find the part of the street filled with shops and restaurants! Again, these restaurants are tourist traps, but shops include H&M and Pull and Bear.
We ended our walking tour here. One thing I do recommend about tour groups is that your guides usually have connections or can buy tickets ahead of time so you don’t have to wait in line! Because once you see the lines, you are glad you went with a group! We used Wild Walkers and I HIGHLY recommend them. They do walking tours for free and work off tips, but their knowledge of the city and their charisma is like no other!
You will see street art everywhere! The thing I love about Europe is that they are beginning to embrace it. Instead of shunning them, they are giving artist a creative outlet by giving them designated walls and areas where they can show their art. And their work is AMAZING!
Where to Eat:
Ugh, no matter where you go, this is always the hardest part!
Y’all I didn’t weight myself before the trip, but I for sure know I gained some weight (even with all the walking!), but the pastries were just so good!
For cheap and good food check out Barrio Alto and Chiado. These are both neighborhoods in downtown Lisbon. It was recommended to order form the Menu del Dia as the food is usually fresh-er and the menu can change daily. If you want to go eat somewhere more fancy and classy, check out Clube de Jornalistas on Rua Trinas 129.
Also, don’t eat at restaurant who have their menus blown up on the street and with pictures. If a restaurant is busy, or you see older people inside, that is usually a good indication that they serve good food. At least, that’s what I was told. We tried to follow these rules as best as possible, but it’s hard when you’re exploring the tourist areas.
What to Do:
>Sunset Boat Tour
Our amazing tour guide offered us a sunset boat tour as an extra excursion. When she told us later that not enough people had signed up and that we might not do it, it literally broke my heart. How could you not want to be on a boat riding into the sunset IN PORTUGAL?!!? Luckily, everyone in the group ended up signing up and I truly believe that it was this moment that we all bonded and became a “family”.
I was also glad we did this because we got to see these monuments which I don’t think I would have seen had I not been on that boat.
We only went out one night in Lisbon (out of three). We went to this really cute latin bar in Barrio Alto and danced our little butts off! Be warned, these people party hard! Be prepared to stay out till 4-6am.
An area our tour guide recommended is called Pink Street. Lots of bars down there and yes, it’s pink! Our tour guide also recommended Park rooftop bar and Lux Fragil club.
There is also museums, aquariums and a zoo! Oh and a beach which I didn’t realize until I was back in the states.
I had never taken the metro before, but I had to learn real quick! Also, I had my friend Sam who is extremely resourceful and great with a map. Let’s just say I never left her side and I made it back home safely…
The metro, and public transportation in general is definitely the preferred method of getting around. Our trip included metro cards so it was great not having to pay for that. The metros run till 1am, but you can get a taxi or uber after that. I hear Uber are very inexpensive there.
Or, if you want, you can just walk everywhere. We did that a lot, but I can’t say it was 100% willingly….
I think Lisbon, Portugal was the perfect introduction to Europe. It’s not too touristy where you can’t get in anywhere, but it also holds so much history and charm that you can’t help but fall in love with it. And y’all Lisbon is so beautiful, the tile building are stunning! I literally wanted to do a photo-op at each building!
Speaking of, I don’t know if you could tell, but I didn’t post many pictures of myself. Like I said, Lisbon was an introduction. I was still warming up to the idea of all this and just trying to soak in as much as possible. You will see as the progression of this series goes on, how much I opened up and grew on this trip. I mean, that’s what travelling is all about right?
If there is something I didn’t answer or if you want more information on anything, please let me know! I love being able to relive this trip over and over again!
Have you ever been to Lisbon? Is it on your list of places to visit (now)? Let me know in the comments below!