In December 2016 I had yet another long weekend (thank you Spain), so I decided to catch the overnight bus to Lisbon, Portugal, for the weekend. I’ve visited a lot of cities, and I think Lisbon is my favourite city I’ve ever visited (huuuge call). I caught the bus from Madrid about midnight and arrived at 6am in Lisbon.
Day 1: I checked into my hostel, Sunset Destination Hostel. It was really nice! Great location, a pool, amazing sunset spot (hence the name) and free breakfast with pancakes! I couldn’t check in until the afternoon, so I just left my things and went to explore the city. My first stop was Praca de Comercio, which was amazing at 8:30 in the morning, because there was no one there! It made for an amazing photo. The best feeling for me was being by the ocean again. I’ve always been a beach baby, and now I live in a land locked city, so I am always happy to be near the ocean.
I explored the city for the day, walking around the beautiful streets for a while then I went up to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. There is a lovely view point on the way up, Mirador de Santa Luzia but the castle also has ridiculous views of the city, it’s a must do, and there are gorgeous peacocks wandering around. After some recommendations from friends, I decided to go up the Triumphal arch rather than the more popular, Saint Justa Elevator (I’m obsessed with seeing cities from above).
I was trying to do this trip cheaply so I didn’t go to any nice restaurants, just kind of got food on the go and from supermarkets, which was fine for me, since the only food I really wanted were the famous pastries, which are aaaamazing, 10/10 recommend the trip here just for them (especially from Belem).
This was my first solo trip in a while and I honestly loved it so much. I relaxed on the beach for an hour just people watching and taking in the atmosphere. Sometimes all you need is to take a step back from reality and take everything in that’s around you.
Day 2: You cannot go to Lisbon and not go to Sintra. It’s a magical little town about 45 minutes away from Lisbon on the train, and home to two beautiful castles. I caught the train from the main station about 11am and from memory the return ticket was 11 or 12 euros. When you arrive in Sintra, get off the train and turn right and go up the road to find the bus that takes you to the castles. I don’t recommend walking, as there is a huuuge hill. The round trip is 5 euros.
Because I went 5 months ago, I can’t remember the exact price i paid to visit the castles, but I paid for a combined ticket for the Moorish Castle and the Peña Palace and I think it was 16 euros. I started the the Moorish Castle, which was an old fortress. It was such a windy day when I was there, but the views were amazing, and it felt so good to be away from a city and in nature again. The walk up to the Peña Palace is 15 – 20 mins, but there’s a shuttle you can take as well. Now I’ve seen a lot of castles and palaces during my travels, but never one quite as beautiful as this one, the colours, the desgin and the mosaics were so beautiful to see.
Day 3: Belem! I took the bus with a girl I met in the hostel, to Belem, which was only 10 minutes down the road. We headed to the Monastery which was soooo beautiful, and especially on such a lovely, clear day. After this we got the famous, Pastais de Belem, which were a dream, so delicious! Next we headed to the Tower of Belem. I don’t actually recommend going in, it’s actually nicer to just see from the outside. We just relaxed by the sea for a bit, eating our pastries and people watching. I had loads of time to kill before my bus in the evening, so I explored the city some more and relaxed back at the hostel to see the sunset.
Lisbon has been my favourite weekend break, and I’m going back in the summer because I loved it so much. I feel so lucky to be in a city like Madrid where it’s so easy to take weekend trips to Spain and Portugl by bus or train, and even just as easy to fly anywhere in Europe. My favourite saying is, ‘Viajar es Vivir’ / ‘To Travel is To Live’.