I recently visited the beautiful city of Lisbon. We had decided to take the trip as my parents live in the Algarve and we wanted city break before we headed back to the UK for New Years Eve. We spent two glorious days in Lisbon and I wanted to share with you my top tips of the beautiful city.
We left the Algarve on 28th December and travelled by train from Loule to Lisbon Oriente. We travelled on the Alfa train which departed at 07:10 from Loule, this is the fast train. We arrived in Lisbon Orient station (just outside of the centre) at approximately 10:05. I couldn’t fault the train, it was comfortable and there was more leg room than a Ryanair flight!
Once we arrived we made our way to our guesthouse which was situated in Chiado, a popular lively area of the city. From Oriente station we took the metro to Baxia – Chiad0. The metro is so easy to use and all the ticket machines are translated in English. We bought a day card for the metro, bus, train and trams. It cost us 10.50 Euros per person. We could have easily got a cheaper card for just the metro.
Our guesthouse was located in a little back street close to the metro station. We stayed in a newly renovated guesthouse called Chiado 44. If you are going to visit Lisbon and want somewhere which is conveniently located, clean and home from home, go and check them out. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left the service was absolutely faultless. As we had arrived before check in of 3pm we left our luggage and got ourselves orientated around the city. The lovely young man at the reception of the guesthouse gave us a few recommendations and told us which direction to head to.
One thing we established very quickly was that everything was very close together and the majority of Lisbon you can walk around, unless you struggle with hills.
We walked from the guesthouse to Miradouro de Sao Pedro Alcantara, where we found the most stunning views of Lisbon and the castle.The walk up to this point was up hill. When we reached Miradouro de Sao Pedro Alcantara, it was simply stunning. We then took the tram down to the city. It’s a pretty steep way down to the ‘centre’ of Lisbon. We has an all day metro card but tickets were 3.60Euros per person. The tram drops you at Avenida da Liberdade along that road on the right hand side you’ll find the tourist information centre. You’ll also find the Monumento dos Restauradores which was a monument designed by Antonio Tomas da Fonseca and was erected in 1886.
From there we made our way to the Santa Just a Lift, which is the famous Lisbon lift. It’s very popular and whenever we walked passed it the queue was extremely long. Apparently it’s not worth the wait to head up, but it’s only 5Euros per person.
We slowly made our way back to the hotel for a rest after a long morning / afternoon. Through the backstreets of Rua Garrett and up towards Cafe A Brasileria which was built in 1905 and is extremely well visited by coffee lovers. It’s one of the oldest and most famous cafe’s in the old quarter of Lisbon, so if you’re in the area make sure to check it out.
Day 2 in Lisbon
Our train was departing at 18:23 from Oriente station, so in true fashion we had to cram a lot of the things we wanted to do. We firstly headed out for breakfast. We found this awesome cafe the previous night called ‘Pop Cereal’. It was amazing, for anyone that loves/ likes cereal they have everything and anything here!! It’s a must go to place.
After a fuelled breakfast that cost us only 10.80Euros we made our way across the city to make our way up to the Castle. The walk was extremely demanding and took us around an hour (all up hill).
We walked some beautiful backstreets all the way to the top of the castle. Once we found the castle the queue for tickets was just huge! I was determined to go in after a mammoth walk! The queue was rather deceiving, it didn’t take us long and we made our way in. It was beautiful and you can easily spend hours in there (believe it or not). The views were incredible. Looking back we were so lucky with the weather. We walked but we didn’t have long after all this it was already about 13:30 and we needed to head to the other side of the city to catch the train which would take us at least 30 mins on the metro.
I really recommend allowing at least an hour or more to visit the castle as there’s so much to see and it’s simply beautiful.
After having visited the castle we made our way back through the windy streets to a lovely restaurant that again over looked the city.
We carried on back to the city for some lunch and walked to through the streets. We made our way along Pombaline Lower town, there in front of us was the Arco da Rua Augusta. A stone, triumphal arch-like, historical and visitor attraction in Lisbon. It was built in 1755 after earthquake and the city’s reconstruction.
This lead us to the waters edge and the views of the Santuario Nacional de Cristo Rei.
We slowly made our way back to our hotel and left to catch the metro from Baixa-Chiado, from there we caught the metro to Oriente. This is the main train station in Lisbon where you can find a popular shopping mall and the aquarium. I had visited the Aquarium before and really wanted to show my other half, so we headed that way. It’s a really good and interesting attraction if you have children and they have fantastic wild life. It’s well worth a visit, however we recommend buying your tickets online you tend to save 10% off the normal price.
The train services in Portugal was fantastic we found our platform and headed back to the Algarve.
I must admit we would definitely head back to Lisbon there’s so much more to explore. I do feel like we did rush the trip slightly but we were limited on time. I would recommend at least 3 full comfortable days in Lisbon to be able to take everything. For once in our lives we didn’t have any plans we just wondered around and enjoyed taking in all the scenery. It was a great trip.
I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re thinking of visiting Lisbon or if I’ve made you look at visiting it’s worth it!
Visit 28th – 29th December 2016