Portugal I – Lisbon

Or Lisboa as it is known to the locals. The first thing to say is this place is that it is hilly. Very hilly! Pick a sight to see, get Google maps to show you the way, and before long you work out that you are never far away from a turning that will lead you up a street to rival Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Yes, THAT steep! Walking in Lisbon is bloody hard work, just as well then that there alternatives such as trams, buses, an underground train network, and our personal favourites, Uber and scooters 😊

Carol had never been to Portugal so this was on our European wish list; however we also had another big reason to head to Lisbon; to meet up with my daughter Elisa, and her husband Tucker, the first time we had seen them since their wedding in June! Excitedly we flew from Malaga into Lisbon to meet up with them.

Our arrival into Portugal was a little unpleasant; flying in between EU countries is supposedly no issue if you have been fully vaccinated which we have; however Portugal were not accepting of our proof of a US CDC vaccine card and so upon arrival we were marched by Police to a covid testing facility within the airport. A negative test each and €60 lighter and we were finally off to meet the happy couple. Tucker had managed to rent us all a really nice Airbnb for two nights which was gratefully appreciated and we met them at their old apartment before having some breakfast and transferring to the new place. With a recommendation we headed up to a viewpoint which wasn’t too far away called Mirhadouro de Senhora de Monte for a beer and to enjoy the sunshine.

It was Elisa’s birthday the day after, so we did, well, whatever she wanted to do to be honest. It was her day. We started the day with a tram ride and wonderful, leisurely breakfast at The Mill,

We had a bit of an unsuccessful mission with the scooters as it was all a bit too hilly but the afternoon was spent lazing in the sun in the beautiful park Jardim da Parada.

This was followed by Happy Hour cocktails at Lost In. In the evening we went to a foodies heaven, a restaurant called Xico Rolo where a large selection of Portuguese specialties were served. Elisa enjoyed her birthday day, and that was all that mattered to any of us 😊

The next morning we said goodbye to the newlyweds as they were heading off to Seville and we moved properties to the Hotel Lisbon City Apartments & Suites for the next couple of days. This was basic and a bit cramped but did a job and was reasonably priced in a more central location.

Castelo de Sao Jorge

We had fun getting from place to place on scooters, though to be truthful the hills of Lisbon often proved to be too much of a challenge for them. Good fun going down hill though, and on the flat, so the next day Carol and I had another go. We started with a short walk to a local cafe for breakfast, a pastel de nata and a croissant with a coffee to wake us up a bit. Crazily, we ended up walking to St George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge) The hills, food, drink and heat quickly taking their toll on us. Boy was it hot so we stopped to have a drink to recover somewhat before we went in.

We paid an entry fee of €10 and we felt we had good value for money. It had great viewpoints, including the big 25 de Abril bridge over the River Tagus, the castle was in great shape and attracted many visitors. The gardens were lovely, filled with peacocks, some of whom had recently become parents. The babies were cute too.

After exploring the grounds we were able to go up into the castle itself; it was quite steep on some of the stairs but despite its age it was in pretty good nick. The views from up there were even more spectactular across Lisbon.

From there, we used scooters to head downhill towards the water, which would have been great fun if it wasn’t for the cobbled streets and pavements, they are real bone and eyeball shakers, and of course the pedestrians, though we did manage to avoid hitting any of them. 😊 The fun came when we got close to the river, and were able to ride at high speed on a flat green path on the roads designed especially for cycles and scooters. We were rejuvenated enough to consider riding them all the way back to our hotel, which we managed to do, taking in a few tourist landmarks on the way. The main square Praça do Comércio was pretty impressive.

We also stopped by Praça do Rossio or Praça Dom Pedro IV as its also known in the downtown area which had lovely fountains and some rather psychedelic mosaics.

Hitting an amazing green cycle/scooter lane we whizzed straight up the road for about a kilometre and a half before we happily saw our hotel just on the left! We parked them up, ended our ride and saw the fee was under €10 each, great value!

In the evening we revisited the viewpoint we visited during the day with Elisa and Tucker at Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and saw a beautiful sunset. It was recommended as a great spot for a sunset and we weren’t disappointed. It was a popular spot but we were still able to get a good view.

Football

Lisbon is home to two world famous football clubs, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica. Of course I had to visit both, leaving Carol happy snoring in bed. The first stadium I visited was the José Alvalades Stadium, formerly the home ground of footballing greats Luis Figo and Christian Ronaldo.

Just over a mile away is the Estádio da Luz, home of arch-rivals, and currently Portugal’s most successful club, Benfica, and home to another Portuguese great, Eusébio, who has been honoured with a statue outside the ground.

Football…done! We spent the rest of the day at the lovely Sintra, a place so nice it was worthy of its own blog post here. Our time in Lisbon had now come to an end and to move on to our next destination Nazaré.

This is the first of 4 blogs of our time in Portugal, and we expect you will notice a recurring theme. It’s hilly, VERY hilly! Luckily life was made much easier here with the availability of cheap Ubers. Our step count may have been lower here, but our spend on Uber and the local scooter hire companies, was way up. All worth it though to see this beautiful country. 😊

Carol & Nigel x

2 thoughts on “Portugal I – Lisbon”

  1. WE love Portugal as you know and yes Lisbon rivals San Francisco for hills..One time we were there and i wanted to vist the famous bookstore,which you sadly did not visit because of the crowds.I recommend the book Night Train to Lisbon….cheers Dennis

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