In celebration of the recently-concluded Euro 2016 and its winner – Portugal, let me tell you all about my trip to this southern European country.
Portugal was honestly never on my list of must-visits, but when the opportunity to visit the capital presented itself, of course I had to go for it. So one fine morning in November 2014, I flew to Lisbon. My stay was incredibly short, so let me summarize the things I suggest you do while in the city.
Start from Rossio Square
The airport buses arrive and depart from this very square, so it’s a convenient start-off point. From here, I made my way towards Praça do Comércio, which is located right by the coast.
Admire the Old Streets of Lisbon
This is why I’ve always made it a point to explore a place on foot; you get to see the architecture, the food, and the locals up close.
You’ll notice that this part of the city houses several historic buildings, which seemed to have stayed true to its original design.
As you find your way to Praça do Comércio, you’ll find little shops and small bakeries / cafes that you’d might want to make a stop in. And of course, now that you’re in Portugal…
Give that legit Portugese Egg Tart a try
There are several stores along the roads leading to Praça do Comércio that offer egg tarts, so make sure you grab one – or two!
Find your way to Castelo de São Jorge
If there was one thing I made a point to see during my short stay in the Portugese capital, it was the Castle, better known as Castelo de São Jorge; from here on out, the photos you’ll see below were taken, as I found (and lost) my way to the main attraction of this trip.
Walk up the hilly streets of Lisbon
One thing that you should very-well note, most especially if you opt to see the city by foot, is to take a good pair of walking shoes, as Lisbon is incredible hilly and though most of the roads are paved, there are still a couple of rocky / cobblestone roads that’ll give you that extra push when walking up these hilly streets.
Make a stop at Lisbon Cathedral
On the way up, if you take the route I took, you can make a stop in the oldest church in the city – the Lisbon Cathedral.
Take in the view from Miradouro de Santa Luzia
If you want to get that picture-perfect photo of Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon, then take a quick photo stop at Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which is, again, a stop you can make while going up to the Castle.
Ride the tram
By this point, you’re nearly halfway to the Castle, but if you’re feeling a little bit tired and you want to sit down for a bit without losing travel time, then hop on one of the trams, which I think will take you closer to Castelo de São Jorge.
I, however, didn’t take this option and decided to walk the rest of the way up.
Have brunch in a Portugese restaurant and indulge in local cuisine
On your way up, you’ll come across a couple of restaurants you could take a break in, but if like me, you’d rather take a break when you’ve finally reached the Castle, then note that you’ll have a number of choices, as there are restaurants lined up right by the Castle walls.
I’ve always been a meat-eater, but since I was in Portugal, I decided to try the local recommendation: Portugese sardines. Again, when in Lisbon (as in any other foreign city)…
Make it a point to try the local cuisine
Explore Castelo de São Jorge
Arriving into the Castle, you’ll notice that most of it are in ruins, and what’s mostly left of it is the citadel that circles through the area.
Enjoy the views from this hilltop Castle
Though the Castle itself no longer amounts to much, in my opinion at least, the highlight of my trip to Lisbon was still from this very same area. Why? It was cause of the incredible views it offered – of the city and the Tagus River.
From the top, you’ll see many of the city’s iconic attractions.
End your trip with a pleasant stroll down to the main square
As your trip to the Castle comes to a close, you’ll find yourself in a vibrant part of the city, right by the exit of Castelo de Sao Jorge. There are performers, several shops and restaurants. If you opt to walk down to Rossio Square, you can take a different route or the same one as when you were going up; either-way, the dynamic streets of Lisbon will surely make the rest of your stay enjoyable.