I know I have not posted in over a year, I could make many excuses but the simplest explanation is that I lost my passion for blogging, in fact most of my hobbies fell away as my degree became more intensive. But now that I am done with my undergraduate studies, I am excited to dive back in.
In June I visited Portugal with my university friends as a final hurrah, celebrating the end of our degree.
As we had no specific place in mind, we typed anywhere into sky scanner for our dates of interest and sorted it by the cheapest and thus we chose Lisbon, Portugal.
D A Y 1
After an early morning flight, we wanted nothing more than to sleep the day away but alas we were not allowed the privilege to do so, as our check in time was 4 pm. This meant we had 6 hours to spend and with our luggage in tow, we went off to see as many tourist things as possible.
We started off in Cais de Sodra and then walked to the beautiful commerce square that faces the sea.
Found a shopping centre and had a cheeky Maccy D’s.
Following this we decided we wanted to catch the iconic tram 28. When you hear Lisbon there are likely two things that come to mind; custard belines and trams. Whilst many of the trams have been phased out in favour of the metro system, there are still quite a number and none so more famous or more popular than tram 28. Now is it worth hopping on to be crammed like sardines in a can? No, definitely not. But we waited and after 2 trams passed us by, we had room to get on and be able to breathe.
We got off and saw the old part of Lisbon, explored and stumbled across a park.
As we sat on a bench soaking in the sun and planning our next stop, we saw we were close to the Panoramic view and decided to get a bus to it. We did not expect much from it but were trying to kill off the hour or so we had left.
We found that nearby was a Panoramic view at the Amoreiras 360º Panoramic View. Surprisingly there were very few people there and so we enjoyed beautiful views of Lisbon and its orange tiled roofs.
We also held an impromptu photo-shoot, because what is a holiday without photos?
We went to our apartment, located near the Commerce square and took a well deserved nap.
We woke up around sunset and took an evening stroll along the pier.
There is nothing that beats exploring a city in the evening, when the air has cooled and grabbing a bite to eat as the night comes alive.
D A Y 2
We opted for a day trip to Sintra and set off later than we probably should have. We arrived at the train station to find it packed.
I had done some research on how best to schedule our day trip visits to the castles and we began with the National Palace of Sintra. What I loved about Sintra is that the palaces were built on hills and at each one you got beautiful views of the others.
We then walked to our second destination- Castle de Rogelio which was a complete surprise to me. I did not realise it was many different structures and just how wide spread it all was. We enjoyed exploring, climbing the various turrets and finding various caves. I only knew the Quinta da Regaleira, which is a spiral staircase but the Castle de Rogelio contains so much more and give yourself ample time to explore it all.
My personal favourite was the Penn Palace. It had brightly coloured turrets and the unique Portuguese/Moorish tiles. However, to get to it we had to get an uber as it would have taken an hour climbing the steep roads to reach it and time was of the essence as everything closed around 6pm.
Our car ride up gave us a chance to enjoy the rolling hills and see the historical centre of Sintra from a high vantage point. The car journey was an unexpected highlight of mine.
Looked like it was straight out of a Disney film
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and were unable to visit the Moorish Castle but regardless, with the 3 we saw, I know that Sintra was a wonderful place that I would remember for years to come. The only thing I won’t remember so fondly is how steep it was- we decided to walk all the way back into town and it took us around an hour, following the turns of the road and having to dodge traffic every once in a while as the pedestrian path disappeared..
Armed with knowledge of when the last train back to Lisbon was, we had pizza and unwound in Sintra before bidding it a bittersweet goodbye.
Sintra is beautiful with steep cobble stoned streets and lush surroundings. If you are visiting Lisbon and have the time, make a trip to Sintra.
We had another early start- we headed out to Cascais for our booked kayaking session. It was another highlight of this short trip as we spent 90 minutes rowing along the coastline and our guides were the sweetest, with words of encouragement and advice.
As we were near the beach, we decided to spend a few hours laying in the sun and enjoying a slower, less hectic pace of day.
Our trip coincided with Portugal day celebrations and so we visited Cacilhas- which is a part of Lisbon and is across the sea. That evening we took a ferry to Cacilhas and watched the city skyline come to live as we had the fresh sea breeze.
The streets were alive with music, dancing and celebrations. Unfortunately, due to it being so late, we weren’t able to see many of the attractions in the area but we did have some great local interactions.
And then we came to our last day, we were flying home in the evening and still had so much of Lisbon to see.
We began our day bright and early by visiting the Santa Justa lift.
We arrived at 8 am and there was no queue, the view was spectacular and honestly would recommend. However it is not worth queuing 2 hours+ for, which is what people were doing just 2 hours later when we walked past later on, on our way to drop our luggage off at the Rossio Lisboa station. If you have a late flight and an early check out time, the train station has luggage lockers that you pay per hour for. The locker doesn’t open if you don’t come back within the 2 hour time frame, rather you pay for the time period it had been in there. Are there cheaper places to store your luggage? Yes but this location was more convenient for us as it was closer to the station we needed to catch our train to the airport from.
With our luggage in the locker and with 4 hours left till we needed to make our way to the airport, we decided to explore the Almafa district.
We began with a view over the district from Miradouro das Portas do Sol. This area was heaving with tourists and every picture spot had a queue preceding it so be warned. Regardless, it gave a beautiful vantage point and was a nice place to sit, chat and grab a bite to eat.
Before long, we headed back towards Commerce square, ending up at the same shopping centre we had visited on our first day in Lisbon, having another cheeky McDonald’s meal and cooling down from the heat. You would think considering we were in walking distance of the train station that we would get to the airport with time to spare? Well no, we thought we had time to try the electric scooters, they wouldn’t work then had to find the correct location to leave them and a long story short, we were running, suitcases in tow to catch our train as we only had just over an hour until boarding began for our plane. We made it to the airport by the skin of our teeth and luckily got through security quickly. The next worry, was that we wouldn’t be able to board with our carry on, as EasyJet is a budget airline and works on a first come first served basis. But we were the last ones allowed to keep their carry on luggage with them, those behind us weren’t so fortunate. All in all, we returned to England in one piece, with a bucket load of funny stories.
You can find me elsewhere!