I don’t write about my holidays in much detail, mainly because a picture tells a thousand words, I find, and I am not an engaging travel writer. I do like reading other travel writing, and I do like travelling, the transport usually being the best part, so all is not lost.
I’m making an exception because 1) friend is going to Portugal in a week and I promised I’d write down some things I thought highlights and, 2) my easily distractedness means that I haven’t written anything on my wordpress for a year. Here goes.
We went to Lisbon in May because I have always really really wanted to go. I am incredibly lazy so I used lastminute and got a Hotel and Flight package. For social engagement reasons we flew on a Sunday but you can fly every day to Lisbon.It was cheaper to fly from Manchester and the week before half-term but something in the region of 40% so that is what we did. I also booked a transfer with them but now that I know that Lisbon has a fantastic public transport system I wouldn’t bother again.
We stayed at the VIP Executive Lisbon Hotel more details here because it was a good deal, was in the centre of the city, had a small kitchenette, and had a rooftop pool. It is also a converted theatre which meant an interesting facade and room configuration. What we didn’t know was that there was building work going on so the facade was covered and a crane passed over the pool! The work wasn’t loud, though, and we spent little enough time in the room it wasn’t a problem.
Being on Restauradores the hotel is right in the centre and close to Rossio station and lots of restaurants and cafes. It’s also close to a branch of Pingo Doce which was our first stop on the Sunday for milk, terrible tea bags (take your own!), breakfast supplies and water. It has a deli counter and was amazingly useful for a tourist with a kitchenette.
Monday we looked into the best options for tours etc. and decided to get the Lisboa card. As we were there for a week we got the three day card and booked a wine tour for the Friday. A good guide to the lisboa card is here.
We used it Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday we went to Sintra with it and I think I wouldn’t do that again. The tourist bus is separate from the Lisboa card and it’s a PITA trying to catch it anywhere along the popular route. It probably makes sense to get a tour for Sintra (if you don’t, and do decide to get the train and bus, get off at Pena Palace and then walk *down* to the Moorish castle rather than the way we did it) but we did enjoy our Chinese by the station there.
Wednesday we got the train to the Oceanarium. There’s a shopping mall and some sights to see here, including a gondola ride and the Vasco da Gama Bridge (which you go over on the wine tour we booked and is awsome if you like bridges – I do.) It’s probably pretty niche. We missed doing a lot of the central Lisbon because of this but we did see the aqueduct (file under bridges).
Thursday we went to Belém and I would say that this is a must do and is somewhere you can do easily with a Lisboa card. The time turtle guide is pretty good: link. We concentrated on the area by the dock so missed Ajuda Palace. Definitely go to the tower, the monastery, sit down in Pasteis de Belem with a cold drink and lovely pastries (staff are fab) then walk along the to the Museum of Coaches. We went along to the Modern Art museum after but it’s very much personal taste on that.
I sort of want to and don’t want to recommend places to eat because I think Lisbon just does good food.
We went to Oficina do Duque twice tripadvisor site
We had a nice Indian at the tamarind – the wine was excellent tripadvisor site
We found this a bit too late: Casa 7 cafe. Decent burger, not too pricey, round the corner from the hotel tripadvisor
So there you go. I am not a travel blogger but I will be going back to Lisbon again, if only to go to all the central museums we missed.