A picture heavy blogpost is totally acceptable for a holiday post….right?
5th April I set off for what I thought would be a relaxing, sunny vacation, first stop was Lisbon for 4 days and then moving onto Barcelona for another 4 days. Getting a connecting flight from Lisbon to Barcelona was super cheap – around £22pp, if this summer you’re planning a trip into Europe I would definitely recommend splitting it up into two locations.
We arrived mid-day on Easter Sunday and it was scorching hot, 24degrees to be exact. Getting into town from the airport is made really accessible. There is an aerobus which takes you from the airport into the city centre and it only costs around 4euros pp and it runs every 10-20mins depending on the time of day. Or you can get the metro which is around 1.25euros and takes around 35mins. I much prefer taking a bus, this way I get to see the city. If you really wanted to get onto the Metro, they have pretty much an oyster card system, (obv much cheaper) you just reload whenever your money runs out.
We booked VIP Executive Apart Eden Hotel which is literally in the middle of the city centre – on the left of the hotel were all the traditional markets and stalls and to the right of the hotels were all the high-end luxury stores. We stayed more on the left side as there was more culture and really cute boutique style restaurants. There’s definitely a relaxed vibe in Lisbon, completely different from London. The cobbled pavements, worn down walls, graffiti on every surface, all have history hidden within the streets, very endearing.
Easter Sunday most places were closed, some restaurants were open but majority of the shops and markets were closed for business, so we just grabbed some dinner and browsed through the lanes trying to get a feel for the city. The next day, we were told that it’s a bank holiday which means that most museums and shops would not be open. On top of that it was raining, started off as a drizzle but there were moments where it was raining quite heavily. We didn’t want to waste an entire day cooped up in a hotel so we braved it and walked to Saint George castle. The cue to get on the tram (which are so vintage looking) were really long – we started asking for directions and walked towards the castle. It was about 25mins of walking constantly uphill but you get to see the backstreets and the locals. Luckily throughout all of this the rain stayed away but once we got the castle it poured down! We didn’t get to enjoy the view and explore as much as I would’ve have liked. We made our way to a metro and got back to the hotel to dry up and get some lunch. Rain hadn’t stopped so I started googling places to go when it’s raining in Lisbon I actually googled that entire sentence and all reviews were pointing towards the aquarium. Apparently it’s the largest aquarium around in Europe so we jumped onto the metro and off we went. Definitely recommend going here – probably one of the best aquariums I have been to. Even now, writing this almost 10days later, I remember how beautiful and peaceful it was inside.
There’s a massive shopping centre and food court opposite the aquarium so we made our way in to explore – I was just looking for a Sephora.
If you know me, you’ll know that my exercise routine is between me getting out the house, driving to work and then running around a classroom. Beyond that I do very little walking which means I don’t really own any comfortable walking shoes and I had only taken a suitcase full of sandals and flip flops. By now my feet were aching in my super uncomfortable gladiator sandals so I went into Nike and brought a pair of Free Runs 5.0 – best investment ever! My feet thanked me the whole trip!
Tuesday we went to Sintra which is a 40min train journey away, you can use your metro travel card here just make sure you have enough topped up. I love train journeys, you get to see so much more of the city. Sintra in beautiful. Definitely need more than one day here. It’s whole land full of palaces and stunningly sculpted gardens. We only managed to get to two of the palaces and luckily the weather was on our side, it was sunnier and rain free. I think I’m definitely going to go back and possibly stay near Sintra just to explore it a little bit more. There was a lot of walking involved – what would I have done without my trainers?
Wednesday we went to Belem which again, is a train ride away, but much shorter maybe 15mins? I brought the most delicious Custard tarts (and I don’t even like custard) but it was raining so I didn’t get to explore it a whole lot. We came back to the city centre and just spent most of the day walking around local towns.
The local cuisine seems to be either fish or ham/pork, I don’t eat ham/pork and not really a fan of fish so we pretty much ended up eating anything with chicken or vegetables. I really liked Lisbon but obviously would’ve preferred it if the sun was out a bit more. There’s a lot of walking uphill involved so if you’re planning to go take comfortable walking shoes and maybe a rain jacket. Out of everywhere I’ve been in Europe it’s definitely the cheapest in terms of travelling/food and tourist sites. I flew out to Barcelona on Thursday which was a mission of its own – there were strikes with French Airlines which pretty much has a knock on effect through-out the entire airport, more on that in the next post.
I also attempted to vlog – which I am going to start editing now, hopefully should be up this Sunday so make you’re subscribed here.