Thursday, 12 March 2015

Travel | Lisbon, Portugal

The next addition to our travel post series is Lisbon.

After a few months into my life as a junior doctor, I was in desperate need of some time away! So what better way to spend this time off than with one of my oldest friends from medical school. A proper catch-up was long over due and I was looking forward to doing just this with a few glasses of wine in a foreign destination. Doctors struggle to get time off so it took a lot of planning to decide on a destination but eventually Lisbon seemed to tick all the boxes: cheap flights, flights from manchester and London, warm mediterranean climate, easy on the budget and the perfect cityscape. I also had a bit of an insiders guide to a few good places to eat and drink as the boy has a lot of Portuguese friends. 

in an Airbnb apartment. Everytime I travel anywhere I try to stay in an apartment. I just love that home away from home feeling. We stayed in a charming 1 bedroom apartment in the Alfama Neighbourhood of Lisbon. Often referred as the sailors' quarter with tangled maze of cobbled streets. If Airbnb is not your thing (I can't understand why), Lisbon has a wide range of boutique hotels and upmarket hostels.

photo from Airbnb listing

Walk around...
the city's districts. Lisbon is a charming mix of now and then. Old yellow trolleys clatter up and down its hills, statues mark grand squares throughout the city, and colourful graffiti creatively dons some of its buildings. We found a fantastic guide book in our apartment with an itinerary for a few days in Lisbon. So we took Rick Steve's advice and explored the city, both on foot and by trolley. 

the tram 28 trolley. This 1920s vintage tram shakes and shivers through the city's streets, climbing its steep hills and taking you to most of the city's main sites and attractions. 

Head West...
to Belem. Take a trolley along the water front from downtown Lisbon to the Belem district. See the incredible architecture of Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site and a perfect example of  Portuguese gothic architecture. Take a picture in its stunning lacey cloisters. Climb up the monument of the discoveries for a view over Belem. Then head further west to the Belem Tower.

Have drinks at...
1) Mercado de Campo de Ourique. Think mid afternoon drinks - you are on holiday after all! This market, located in an upmarket and traditional neighbourhood in Lisbon, is filled with an array of gourmet food stalls, bars and ultra-cool people watching.

2) Park. A trendy bar on top of a car park at the doorstep of the Barro Alto. Wooden tables, potted plants, dodgy lift and great music. Try a shot of Ginjinha (cherry liquor) whilst you are there.

3) Pharmacia. Medicine themed bar. Totally up our street. mmm morphine!

Have dinner at...
the Club de Jornalistas.  My main was delicious and our dessert platter was out of this word. The complimentary glass of fizz on arrival and departure gift were a special touch! The waitress' hospitality was the best I have ever had abroad. If you go and the weather is good,  choose to sit in the garden.

Take a day trip...
to Sintra. A UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its many 19th century Romantic architectural monuments. Walking around these castles and their grounds makes you feel like a real life disney princess! For a bit of variety also visit the Moorish castle and walk along its walls. Try to go on a less foggy day...

There is so much more you can do in and around Lisbon. I think we only skimmed its surface. Lisbon should rank highly next time you are thinking of where to spend that long weekend city break.

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PS. If you go, don't forget to eat a CUSTARD TART (pastel de nata)! 


1 comment

  1. I loved Lisbon and it's somewhere I will visit again and again, looking at your pictures makes me want to go back. I hope you had a nice break and enjoyed yourself :)


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