Saturday, 17 June 2017

Travel Diary: República Portuguesa- Portugal Part I

Hi friends, 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful June! As its holiday/travel season again, I thought I'd share about my last few trips and some tips/tricks and advice about some interesting, but maybe not as popular holiday destinations.

Last September, I went to Portugal with a few friends and we spent 5 days, flying into Lisbon from London. I've split this Travel Diary into two parts so I can share some pictures and information without it being too incredibly long. This post will cover Day 1 and 2, and I'll link information where I can!

General Information 
Mid to late September- warm, and can swing between humid and somewhat dry depending on which part of the country you're in. In Lisbon and by the beach, in Caiscais, it was very warm and extremely hot during lunch time and even until late afternoon. But in certain areas, like up in the mountains where Sintra is, it can be cooling and slightly chilly, especially when there's rain. Most tickets prices listed will be with a student discount

A meal in Portugal is relatively cheap, considering the size and the price ratio. Its generally easy to order and most restaurants speak English or have other language menus available. Seafood here is fresh and most restaurants have variations of the Portugese Seafood Rice dish (Arroz de Marisco), which is very filling and extremely tasty. Pair the seafood with Vinho Verde- Portugal's take on white wine which has a green tint as a result of the grapes and climate. 

Portugal, especially Lisbon, is a generally accessible city- taxis, trams and tuktuks (if you want to have some fun) are found throughout the city, and most places of interest are accessible by train and trams. There is generally a minimum spend of €5 for around a 7-8 minute trip, and many taxi drivers and locals speak some English. 

Various forms of tile art on display at a shop on the way to the Castle

Day 1- Lisbon

Location: Alfama District

Located in the heart of Lisbon, there is a lot to see and experience that is merely walking distance. In September, it pays to walk and have a stroll through the cobblestone streets. The main square, Praça do Comércio, is full of storefronts that are both internationally and locally famous. Have some snacks outside and enjoy the streets and architecture, like the tiles on the pavements, buildings, and scattered around the city. 

Lisbon central square 

Lunch idea: Maria Catita Restaurante- while not necessarily the cheapest lunch option (probably as a result of its Tripadvisor fame, 3 dishes may cost around €20)- it is still well looked upon by locals and tourists alike. 

Look out for: The Santa Justa Elevator- in the middle of the city- its just fun to spot whenever you're walking around.

Fountain in central Lisbon

Day 2: Lisbon & Cascais

Take the train from Cais do Sodre station- approx. €5

Lisbon- "Hike" up a picturesque hill to get to the Castello São Jorge (entrance approx €5). It overlooks the whole city and beyond. 

Casicais- Famously home to the infamous "Boca do Inferno"- Hell's Mouth- a majestic crashing water and cave structure that can be found in Caiscais' seaside cliffs. Take a walk around Caiscais and the seaside and enjoy the backdrop of the colourful summer houses and buildings. 

Boca do Inferno from the side

Dinner idea: Casa Velha- If you're not necessarily on a budget, this is a place with pretty decor and good service, located in an easily walkable location back to the train station and surrounding bus and taxi stations. Try the lobster dishes, you won't regret it. 

Lobster dish at Casa Velha. Pair with Vinho Verde -muralhas de monção vinho verde
Pictures are from a shared photo album

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