Rather than spending Carnaval in Spain, I wanted to make the most of the additional days off to explore further afield. My boyfriend (who lives in Northern Ireland) and I decided to meet in Lisbon and spend some time together whilst getting to know a new city and culture.
We spent three full days in the Portugal’s capital that we packed out with site-seeing activities which I’ll share with you below. Our accommodation, Magnolia Guesthouse, had a good location in the city (just a short walk from the metro and several bus stops) and it was affordable and comfortable. The interior was very well decorated and the hostess, Raquel, was really kind and welcoming. She offered a continental breakfast every morning and was happy to help with any queries we had about the city.
There are many ways to travel from Lisbon airport to the city centre which you can find here.
For any visits which cost, we bought all our tickets online to skip the queues and guarantee entry. Not all places offered that so be sure to arrive there early if that’s the case. If it’s not a typically busy location (like the aqueduct or the botanic gardens) this isn’t quite necessary. In fact, for those two visits we were told entry was free, perhaps because it was the Carnaval period.
Day 1: City Centre
The beautiful streets of the Bairro Alto
The famous Tram 28 line…
I found this blog post really helpful for information on tips surrounding the Lisbon trams.
Praça do Comércio
Praça do Rossio, Basílica da Estrela and Águas Livres Aqueduct
Castelo de São Jorge
Feira da Ladra (open air flea market)
Another place worth checking out is the Mercado da Ribeira which is a big indoor food market.
Finally, we also visited the Oceanário de Lisboa which, whilst expensive, was worth it, as we enjoyed the visit and could see that the money was going to a good cause to continue the work they’re doing to protect the ecosystem. You can easily catch the bus there for about two euros – just check for your nearest bus stop on Google maps, which will also tell you what bus line to catch.
Day 2: Belém
Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Torre de Belém, and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
Pastéis de Belém
Probably the best custard tarts I tried in Portugal. You can either take them to go or enjoy them with a coffee in the café. We ate ours in the botanical gardens, about a five minute walk from Pastéis de Belém.
Day 3: Sintra
If you have enough time when in Lisbon, you have to visit this beautiful resort town. A full day is enough to see the main features, but you could easily spend longer here. It was without a doubt my favourite part of the trip. In terms of getting to Sintra, you can easily travel there by train.
Quinta da Regaleira
Note: You can walk here on foot from the train station. It takes about twenty minutes.
Castelo dos Mouros
Note: Google maps is not accurate in showing the walking distance to the Castelo dos Mouros and Palácio Nacional da Pena. From the main city, it takes about an hour and a half to walk up to the two locations (it’s quite steep). We paid 5 euros each to be taken up in an auto rickshaw car and then walked down on the way back (the pedestrian path was closed, so we had to follow the road). There are also frequent buses but the queues to get on them are quite long.
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Obrigada por ler!