After Porto, we took a 2 hour train to the capital and biggest city in Portugal, Lisbon.
Lisbon is a coastal town, laying on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Europe’s most western capital is full of tiny alleyways, limestone buildings, and landmark trams bustling throughout the city.
Compared to other European capital cities, Lisbon is pretty small. To us, that is what makes it so special. It has a charm, taking on an easy going personality while still maintaining a big city feel. It’s intimate. Travelers can visit this city and not feel overwhelmed. Despite the hills, you can reach everything by foot in about 15-20 minutes.
The Santa Justa Lift, a tourist attraction that connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher parts alongside a few street cafes.
Our personal favorite? A mobile library in the park!
We were lucky enough to book a hostel room with a balcony that overlooked one of the main pedestrian streets, lined with outdoor cafes and the occasional street artist. All that for a bargain of 12 Euro for a private room! Sitting on our balcony with our 1 Euro bottle of wine was site seeing enough for our first day. We sat there for hours, watching the shops close and the streets empty.
The one thing we knew we wanted to explore was the famous trams. We decided on Tram 28, which is one of the only traditional tram lines left in Lisbon. Manufactured around 1936, these trams run through the city. Although mostly filled with tourists, we enjoyed riding through the town in the slow and hilly ride, taking us to many of the famous monuments, churches, and gardens. It’s a bit hectic, but worth it. It was a quick (and cheap) way to see a glimpse of the city.
From a little research, we found a wine and cheese shop that was budget friendly called Wine Bar do Castelo. We slowly walked in, a bit intimidated by it all. Lucky for us, the man running the shop was from Brazil. Naturally, we hit it off with him and started tasting a few of the wines. Based on our reactions he recommended specific flavors and glasses (ranging from 3 Euro – 7 Euro) to purchase.
We bought a cheese platter to go along with our wine, and after becoming more friendly with the server, he brought us a plate of assorted meats on the house.
We are not exaggerating when we say it was one of the most amazing experiences. If you ever have the chance to go wine tasting in Portugal, do it!
Oh. my. god. Just look at this!
Eventually, we started asking about the Port wine locked away. With a little convincing, he let us take a picture of a 133 year old bottle that cost 1000 Euros! Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford even a glass for 100 Euro.
With the exception of the train station, we didn’t see anything very “new” in Lisbon and we were perfectly OK with that. Wherever we walked, we were greeted by stunning buildings, some could be perhaps described as being slightly past their prime. Graffiti was abundant, but in our minds it didn’t detract from the allure of the city and the incredible history they must have witnessed over the past couple of centuries.
Leaving Lisbon we were quite satisfied, assured that Portugal couldn’t get any better. We were wrong.