“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
Without further adieu...Lisbon!
If you're reading for the first time, WELCOME! Thanks so much for checking out Tout Echielle *virtually hugging you*. This post is Part 2 to a beautiful vacation I took in August and will fill you in on everything that you should check out while visiting the beautiful city of Lisbon.
If you're curious about other areas of Portugal, particularly in the Algarve region, check out my Part 1 post here.
tl;dr: Warning, this is a long post - but I did my best to break it up into digestible sections. There are TONS of pictures down below so scroll and let me know in the comments which day was your favorite!
After a few days at the beach, it was so nice to get back to concrete (gorgeous cobblestone in this case)! I'm a New York City girl after all. I've been to Lisbon once before actually, but I was just passing through, so I couldn't wait to explore the city. We stayed at the cutest boutique hotel called H10 Duque de Loulé. This hotel wasn't as luxurious as the one that we stayed in in Portimão, but it was still so amazing and beyond our expectations for the price (less than $2oo Euros a night). Our hotel also had one of the best rooftops in Lisbon. The view was perfection. Check it out in the pics below. One thing to note is that August is vacation time for a lot of Europe. This means that you'll run into a bunch of people from a number of different countries which is really fun, but there's a chance that a lot of the Portuguese are out doing some traveling of their own.
We spent one day exploring the main city, another day checking out the castles in Sintra, and the next drinking a lot of wine in Montemor o Novo. Our last day was spent at the beach, Praia da Comporta.
Day 1 - The City of Lisbon
Bring your sneakers with you. We walked A LOT. Nothing really new for New Yorkers but I had gotten really used to life on the beach. Funny how that happens so quickly lol! I do want to mention however, if you're shameless and lazy (me half the time) Uber is so so cheap - like 4 Euros. Pretty cray.
What I appreciated most, and what I think you will too, was the architecture. It's just so rich and filled with history. It feels like every building has a story to tell. The city itself is really chill. I feel like that's a terrible way to describe it, but that is seriously the vibe. For some, New York can be overwhelming, London can be stuffy, Paris, too romantic, but Lisbon, it's almost like you can just be. Maybe that's anywhere outside of Manhattan, though!
I'd say that my favorite part about Day 1 was waking up, going into the city, and having a beautiful brunch with my girls. I can't recall the name of the restaurant. I got a salad that was good, but nothing to write home about. The restaurant itself was super cute however, which is why we ate there! I know, I know, such shallow restaurant go-ers! Typically not the case, we actually planned to go somewhere else but it was closed for holiday. (Again, August is holiday time for Europeans so keep this in mind when you're planning!)
DAY 2 - SINTRA
Sintra is a must see. It's home to a number of 19th century romantic castles and architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The reality is that this is a tourist spot, but it's just so beautiful that you'll need to suck it up. Being a tourist isn't the worst thing.
Most people spend a whole day visiting Sintra and Cascais which is nearby. We were trying to hit a few spots that day so this was a speedy excursion...like three or four hours. We were looking for the train to get there at one point and we told a police officer that we were on our way to Sintra. He basically laughed in our faces, haha which I don't blame him, but if you're trying to hustle it's doable.
Sintra is hilly so be prepared for uphill walks and windy turns. Once we got there it totally made sense why that police officer laughed at us. Like I said, totally doable, but not without breaking a sweat. We only went into one castle, which was The Castle of Moors. The details were stunning. I'm a sucker for beautiful interior decor and this place, even hundreds of years old, was breathtaking. The fact that someone focused on detailing every crevice of this castle just blows my mind.
DAY 3 - Montemor o novo
This was my favorite day! Not necessarily because of the wine (although that helped) but because we went to the most beautiful winery/resort ever. I'm not exaggerating, it was just so out of this world and I'm dying to go back and stay there. We actually went to two wineries, but I will focus on the best one because everything else pales in comparison.
L'and Vineyard. I dream about this place. Someone, please please please take me there. We had a private wine tasting with our sommelier Giancarlo (sp?). Portuguese wine, in case you don't already know, is phenomenal. They're famous for their "vinho verde", a green wine. It's not literally green, but it's a very young wine that is quite light and pairs well with their famous fish, bacalao (cod).
I'm more of a red kind of gal and those were equally delicious. The charcuterie platter that was paired with our wine was so so good. I'm pretty sure I could eat cheese all day. Anyway, check out the pictures below. There's really nothing more that I can say to describe this place so I'll just let you see for yourself.
DAY 4 - Praia da comporta
The last and most relaxing day was spent at Comporta beach. But before the relaxation, there was a trek. I so recommend heading over to Comporta. It's a gorgeous private beach, but is somewhat difficult to get to. We took a train, boat, and taxi. I kid you not. It's also in a resort area so taxis are very limited. If you muster up the energy and the brain power it is worth it. Once you get there you can rent out a cabana like we did, get a massage, and enjoy delicious cocktails.
Like with Part 1, I'll finish up with food. These are the three places that I'd say you NEED to go to.
- Mini Bar by José Avillez - If you're looking to have a nice dinner somewhere fun and trendy, Mini Bar is it. It's definitely an experience. We opted for their surprise menu. Basically, you let the staff know if you have any allergies and they bring out four surprise courses. There were some clear winners but all in all it was interesting and exciting. My favorite dishes would have to be this amazing short rib risotto and a sorbet that was wrapped in this bright green lemon-lime coating.
- Pastéis de Belém - Famous Portuguese egg custard tarts. Don't ask questions. Just go.
- Restaurante Bonjardim - This is a hole in the wall. There is no website, but Google will show you how to get there. If you want authentic peri peri chicken, this place is sooo good. We actually went there twice. I also get really excited and addicted to certain foods and can eat them on repeat, so maybe I'm just loco. These pictures do it no justice. They don't look appetizing but I promise you it's delicious and also very very affordable. Thank me later!
Ok! That's it for Portugal. I really hope that you enjoyed reading or looking through the pictures (I know it's a lot!). If you're planning on heading to Lisbon or the surrounding areas please let me know. I have a full itinerary for you to peruse. It's sure to be a beautiful trip.
New Yorker | Lover | Believer