Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Little of Lisbon

A few weeks ago, Ben and I took a little trip to Lisbon. I'd seen so many gorgeous photos of this place and it tempted me even more to visit the Portuguese capital.

It certainly is a gorgeous city, full of history, colour, friendly people and of course, the famous patterned tiles. I took sooooo many photos (as I often do on these city breaks!) so I wanted to compile a list of what I would say are 'must-sees'!

The first destination on my list is Belem; a district in Lisbon, home to a good few historical sights, including the Jeronimos Monastery. It's such a beautifully detailed building, inside and out and is so worth seeing. Especially as just up the road you can find Pasteis de Belem which serves delicious patel de nata and is a tourist attraction in itself.

We also visited the Tower of Belem, which is a good sight to tick off the list. It gets super busy, so the chances are, you'll have to queue to get in and even once you're in, the queue to the very top gets pretty blimmin' long! We decided not to queue in the heat, but instead visit the Monument to the Discoveries just down the road which offers amazingggg 360 degree views of the city.

Aside from the historical sights, Belem is quite simply a lovely place; full of cute little food/drink/ice-cream stalls and vintage trams running through. We even managed to stop for a famous Santini ice-cream there too! It was so nice to just be strolling around, through the harbour and along by the sea. Definitely a must-visit!

The next must-see place on this Lisbon list is Alfama. The oldest district in Lisbon (which survived an earthquake, tsunami and fire in 1755 btw!) offers the most stunning views of the pastel coloured buildings below it. We wandered in and out of the winding corridors, admiring the gorgeous little neighbourhoods as we made our way to the viewing point. This is also where a ride on a vintage tram in a must, just to say you've done it if nothing else! But it also weaves its way around some other gorgeous sights, such as the old cathedral.

The next place on my list, is the LX Factory. This is a cute and quirky shopping destination, full of independent shops, restaurants and cafes and is a bit of a photo-taker's heaven. Without doubt, my favourite shop was the Ler Devagar bookstore. The walls are completely lined with books, making it a pretty wonderful sight to see. There are so many other gorgeous little stores too - there's definitely something for everyone there.

The Timeout Market is another place that's not to be missed. It's an indoor market that combines some of Lisbon's best restaurants and shops all under one roof. We stopped there only for a drink as we'd eaten not long before, but it was amazing to see all the things on offer!

As well as exploring Lisbon, Ben and I decided to spend a day in Sintra, which is a town in the mountains about 40 minutes on the train from Lisbon.

It's a wonderfully colourful place with loads of palaces dotted around to take a peek at. You could probably spend a fair few days in Sintra as there's a lot to see! But Ben and I chose two palaces to explore; the Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira which are probably the two most famous. The Pena Palace is incredible. Its bright colours are so striking and it offers such beautiful views of Sintra. The Quinta da Regaleira has a more gothic style and even though its style is different to the Pena Palace, it is probably equally striking and it also has the most gorgeous gardens, full of wells and waterfalls. It's a really calming place. We also jumped on an open top bus, which took us to the most westerly point of Europe. That was a really nice added bonus to be able to say we'd been there! The sea just looks like it goes on forever there.

Beautiful Lisbon is well worth a visit, although perhaps better explored when the sun isn't beaming down on you throughout the day as it was per-etty hot! A few degrees lower would probably be perfect exploring temperature. Nevertheless, my first visit to Portugal was definitely a goodie!

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