The first day of my trip to Portugal was spent in Lisboa, where my friends and I ate a full, fresh and satisfying breakfast in the Fenix music-themed hotel (conveniently located near all the monuments and attractions). As we had planned to spend only one day there, we walked more than 20km that day, visiting all of the main historical tourist attractions – Elevador de Santa Justa, Castelo de São Jorge, Igrejas, Praça do Comércio, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, etc. We followed my friend’s tourist map that happened to be in Korean, so I can’t remember which walking tour it was – some day tour, of which I’m sure can be found in any tourist book (my favourite publisher is Lonely Planet). I found that a majority of the historical points and attractions had to do with us climbing up a hill, taking an elevator up, riding the tram uphill, or in some way getting us above the city; it seemed the idea was to see as many different areal views of Lisboa as possible.
While hiking uphill to the Castelo de São Jorge, we took a lovely afternoon pause and enjoyed a delectable lunch of baked cod with two sides of potatoes (one portion of boiled finger potatoes, one portion of fried-like potatos), placed on a bed of olive oil and fresh herbs. Sadly, I didn’t note the name of this restaurant, but it can’t be missed as you walk (or ride the tram) uphill. After a nice, long hike, we arrived at the castelo, and while we didn’t pay to enter, we did walk through some of the side streets around it, and even caught a glimpse of a muster of peacocks through the gates of the castelo. After our stint as paparazzi to those gorgeous peacocks, we opted to take the elevator back downhill, instead of walking (thank goodness!). In the late afternoon, after enjoying a leisurely hour by the seaside at the Praça do Comércio, we took the tram out to the Belém district to visit the old Jéronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its impressive architecture was inspired by Vasco da Gama and is known for inventing the tasty Pastel de Nata (thank you, monks). Across the parc, we discovered the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (pun intended); this was my favourite spot, as it also runs parallel to the water, and has a gorgeous world map engraving – called a windrose – on the ground directly in front of it.
After hours of touring, we finished off the evening with a swim on the hotel rooftop, an evening walk to the Elevador de Santa Justa to balance out our calorie burn day with a buffet meal – various types of meat and seafood, fresh foods, and salad stuff, all you can eat for a fair price of about 8€! All in all, it was a lovely city (with great food), but it doesn’t make my top-10 favourites list, I’m afraid. I found it rather touristy, and not too much about it that makes it “unique”. However, don’t let this dissuade you from visiting at least once; and I highly suggest planning more than one day in Lisboa, as there is simply too much to see and do in a 12hr period.
Check out some of my other pictures here & stay tuned for part 3….
Your favourite ginger xx