Earlier this month I had the privilege of traveling overseas to Western Europe with my boyfriend, Brent, and our friend, Storm. It was a whirlwind trip. We spent a day in Lisbon, traveled to Sintra (an hour train ride outside of Lisbon), rented a car and drove to Seville, Spain where we spent two days, then drove to Lagos where we spent the afternoon, and then finally back to Lisbon where we spent another day and a half. There was so much to see and I took around 1,200 photos. Even after paring them down there would still be far too many to share in one post. So I’ve decided to divide them up by day and city.
We arrived in Lisbon on a Friday morning. After checking in to our AirBnB in the Bairro Alto neighborhood we set out to explore the city. We were a bit hungry and our AirBnb host suggested that we check out a couple of spots in a park just a couple of blocks away called Jardim do Príncipe Real. It was a really cute public garden with an incredible cypress tree that’s more than 20 meters in diameter. On Fridays the park is filled with artisans selling their work; everything from pottery and jewelry to paintings and handbags. On Saturdays there are stands with fresh, organic produce.
After buying a few pieces of handmade pottery we ventured on to find food. We came across a bar called Pub Lisboeta in the Príncipe Real neighborhood. It’s a narrow, cozy bar with a large list of Portuguese craft beers. We each had a beer and split a couple of pizzas. Much like the rest of Lisbon, it was incredibly affordable and the pizza was delicious.
As we ventured on through the MANY undulating hills of Lisbon I couldn’t help but notice the colorful tile on the facades of a great deal of the buildings. Coming from New York City it was a bit of a shock to see such an array of colors and patterns adorning the streets. This was probably one of my favorite aspects of Lisbon.
Our first point of interest was The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Chiado neighborhood. During the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 the church on the southern facade of the convent was destroyed and today it remains as one of the main traces of the earthquake. It is now an archaeological museum with tombs, fountains, statues, and other architectural relics including a couple of corpses. Upon entering the nave of the ruined church the ceiling opens to the sky and is reminiscent of the Great Hall in Hogwarts. Unfortunately it was quite overcast on the day that we visited, nonetheless it is a really incredible sight to behold and is not to be missed.
We then made our way to the Alfama neighborhood to try and catch the sunset from an observation deck called the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Along the way we stopped in to the Lisbon Cathedral (Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa), often referred to as the Sé. It was built in the Late Romanesque style and completed sometime between 1147 and the early 1200s.
After a steady climb we finally made it up to the Miradouro de Santa Luzia in time to watch the sunset. While there were some really incredible views of the city and the Tagus River below, it wasn’t exactly the best place to actually see the sun set. We took in the views, snapped some photos, and rested for a few minutes before wandering back down to the water.
We wandered around downtown for a bit before making our way back to our AirBnb in Bairro Alto where we had a couple of glasses of wine that our host had left for us. After resting for a bit and getting cleaned up we ventured out to find a restaurant for dinner.
At this point we were pretty worn out from our flight and from wandering up and down the hills of Lisbon, so we quickly settled on a restaurant called Flower Power in Bairro Alto. The ambience was cute, the service was great, and the food was good, but it wasn’t our favorite meal. After dinner and a couple of glasses of wine we decided to call it a night and rest up for our trip to Sintra the next day.