I kicked off the year with a short trip to Lisbon.
Its a great city, with loads of personality.
I stayed in Baxia/Rossio, the centre, its great super central, lots to do, and easy to get to everything.
From the airpor, I took a taxi to Baxia, it cost me 11 euros one way.
The hotels are expensive, so I opted to stay in a hotel, but got a suite, which is your own bedroom with a private bathroom for 50 euros a night. I stayed in Downtown Design Hostel. Its amazingly central, looks super dodgy from the outside and its next to a titty bar. But when you get to the third floor, its clean and the people are really nice. My only gripe is they don’t clean your room during your stay, so you need to be neat, but its comfortable and cheap.
I met a girl at dinner one day and she was staying at the Living Lounge Hostel, she raved about it and also had her own room.
The Baxia area is great, lots happening, good shopping, lots of little shops to browse.
Rua Augusta is the main street, always something happening, great stores. There is a great ice cream store called Amorino in indulge your inner child delight. Also on Rua Augusta, for breakfast – go to Casa Brasileira, its great. You go in, stand around the counter, order an espresso, or fresh orange juice, and order what you want to eat. Then stand there and eat it like a local. Tip: order Pastel de nata’s, they are little custard tarts that are amazeballs… I ate them every morning. Breakfast will cost you 5 Euros here. Cheap and orgasmic.
Ginjinha do Carmo is a great spot for gihjinha.
El Rei d’Frango is a small little spot to eat. Its cheap as chips. 10 euros for wine and dinner. When you go in it looks like a corner café, with the TV blearing Master Chef Portugal or a local soapie, you will feel like you are in a old Portuguese ladie’s kitchen. The food is not fancy, but good. The grilled fish is the winner, 6 euros with savory rice, chips, salad and two big fish steaks. I ate there every night.
Food: They say you should try the sardines and buy tinned sardines, there are loads of sardine shops so if you feeling adventurous try them. Also they say snails are a speciality there.
Ride on Tram 28
Tram 28 is nice, but its a long wait as the trams are small. I waited 1.30 hours, but its cute and takes you up the tight little streets. Catch it from Praca Martim Moniz, you will have the best chance of getting a seat on the tram, you don’t want to stand.
Walk around… a lot
Spend time walking around the streets of Baxia and Alfama, the streets are just gorgeous, the street art is impressive, the little shops are delightful and you will fall in love with the wall tiles. I have a new found love for tiles after this trip.
I missed the markets, but the three they talk about are Feira da Ladra, Mercado de Ribeira and LX Market.
Laze on the beach in Cascais
I was out looking for the sun and beach, so I caught the train from Cais do Sodre to Cascais, there is a direct train and takes 40 minutes.
From Baxia its a short walk to the station along the promenade, about 10 minutes max.
Cascais is gorgeous, small little town with a small beach but lovely. I spent two days there, rented a lounger, 20 euros for the day (umbrella, 2 x loungers) and drank Sangria all day. The beach has a little café/bar, and serves the best Sangria I have ever tasted!
Get ready to point if you don’t know Portuguese
If you are like me and want to stay off the beaten track, people don’t speak loads of English, so get ready to point.
There are loads of them, so be careful and watch your stuff.