Hello again fellow nomads 🦜
2022 is here and this was my first long expected trip for the year. Believe or not, it felt like an eternity being at home for a month after my 90-day trip in Europe. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, check all 14 posts starting from this one.
For my first journey, I wanted to choose a country in Europe with warm weather. But there weren’t too many options for early February. Had to choose between Cyprus, Malta and Portugal, but I guess you already know what I went for. The tickets were unexpectedly cheap and the weather was almost perfect. One day it was a bit cloudy, but still warm to walk.
Wanted to surprise my gf and went for a super cozy AirBnB in the heart of the Lisbon. The location was exactly what we were looking for – I will always remember the iconic train on the street.
Day 1 – Free Tour and exploring the hidden gems
We had an early flight in Bucharest, which was great. Had the whole day super sunny and wanted to get the most out it.
There were a few ways to get to the AirBnB – bus, metro & taxi. Yeah, you heard right. In Lisbon, you can take the metro to pretty much everywhere and all the lines are super connected.
Note: If you are planning to use the public transport, would be better for you to get a daily ticket. Especially if you want to take the tram. One tram ticket costs €3 if you pay at the driver and the all-day ticket costs €6.
Once we got to the AirBnB (earlier than expected), we were so lucky to find the cleaning lady there. She was kind enough to check-in early, so we can go for a walk in the market. And that’s what we did actually – our first stop in Lisbon was TimeOut Market where we had our first meal. The market is super huge and has everything you wish to find to eat and drink.
After that, we strolled for another hour over Tagus River on some ice-cream enjoying the beautiful weather. Being away in Northern Europe for 3 months since September, I got an early taste of winter. And feeling 17 degrees again was heaven for my skin.
Holiday mode on and we booked a free tour starting from where we had the AirBnB in Bairro Alto. All the way down to the beautiful neighborhood of Alfama. During the tour, we learned about the history and the exciting stories of Lisbon. The best part was the free tasting of the Portuguese Custard Tart called Pastel de Nata. As you can imagine, it became my all time favourite desert. In Alfama, we got 2 Ginjinha shots, a sweat sour-cherry liqueur originated in Lisbon.
The tour takes about 2.5 hours and the experience is just amazing. The best part is that there aren’t too many people in the group which made the entire experience better.
Once we ended the tour we took the tube quickly to Primark to see if they have anything interesting there. We packed light and wanted to get something new and cheap from there to wear. From where else if not from Primark?
In the evening, we almost fell asleep clothes on after a long day of walking. But the night couldn’t be complete without another round of Pastel de Nata ❤️
Day 2 – Discovering Sintra
After a long good night sleep, we started our day early to Sintra. A charming Portuguese town situated within the cooling hills of the Serra de Sintra.
This variety of fascinating historic buildings and stunning natural scenery, makes Sintra an outstanding tourist destination. If you wish to add a day trip from Lisbon region, Sintra will make a fantastic addition.
We got a 40 mins train from the city for only €5 one way and return per person. Once we got there, we strolled around for a bit to explore the paths. On our way up, we were approached by a tuk-tuk driver with a €10 offer per person. He tricked us into taking us only up, but karma was there. I realised I got all my money back after he left. I think he made a mistake when he changed €50 and forgot to take his €20. Oh well… what can you do? The Universe is fair and square again.
If you are fortunate to have a car, there is a lot to see within the hills of Sintra. There is the stunning driving along the N247 between Almoçageme and Almuinhas Velhas.
There are so many places and grand mansions to visit in Sintra. Historically, the reason was due to the slightly cooler climate that the hills of the Serra de Sintra provide. This enticed the nobility of Portugal to construct their summer residences there. During the 19th century, Sintra was a popular destination for Europe’s wealthy artisans and elite. They built elaborate mansions following the Romanticism style of architecture.
On our way back, we followed the short paths in the forest for an hour until we reached the village. We stopped for lunch at A Mourisca restaurant to get a real feel of the traditional Portuguese cuisine.
The homemade cheese with jam was just amazing and went smoothly with the olives and their fresh cottage cheese. For the main meal, we had the house codfish which was basically a fish pie, baked in the oven and layered with fried potatoes, spinach and bechamel sauce and Codfish with Alheira crust, which was basically baked codfish with a Portuguese bread and white meat sausage, garlic, sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes 🤤
In the afternoon, we took the train back to Lisbon and agreed to take a quick nap so we can party in the night since we had bars wherever we walk. Well, nothing really worked as planned as we were super tired after 10kms of walking in the mountain and fall asleep until next morning 🤪
Day 3 – Exploring Belém and tasting Pastel de Belém
This morning was a sweat one. We were both craving for a warm Pastel de Nata from the best place we found so far – Manteigaria. From there we had 2 pastel each and started our discovery journey in the West side of Lisbon to Belem, where the famous Pastel de Belem has been created.
The first recipe of the Pastel de Belém was created in 1837 by the monks of the emblematic Jerónimos Monastery. To date, the recipe is kept secret and therefore becomes a true specialty! Thus, only at the Fábrica Pastéis de Belém, the family pastry with more than 100 years where they are made, you will find the original Pastéis de Belém. Only there these little custard tarts can be called that since its name was even patented!
From there we continued our path to visit Torre de Belem, one of Lisbon’s most striking monuments and the icon of a country historically moulded by its proximity to the ocean and its maritime discoveries of new worlds. The tower was surrounded by lots of small food & drink businesses, a fun outdoor gym (which we happily used) and lots of electric bikes. Walk for 5 minutes and you will find Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River.
From there we took the bus to quickly see the beautiful gardens of Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira and went for two well-deserved burgers to balance out the 10-min gym time in the park.
We had our siesta in the famous 28 Tram where we went for about 1.5 hours connecting Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique, passing through the popular districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela.
Day 4 – Stroll in Sao Jorge & visit the Aquarium
Another sweat day started with a super early Pastel de Nata. For this day, we planned to spend the morning in Sao Jorge Castel in Alfama from where we had a scenic view over Lisbon and the Bridge. The castel was full of beautiful peacocks walking around everywhere – we played around in the castel towers and had some fun shooting some cool photos.
From there we took the bus to Conserveira de Lisboa – I really wanted to get some authentic souvenirs home and Lisbon is really the best place for fish and wine, so we had both. The family-owned specialist grocery store established in 1930 is famous for selling canned products. I got 4 types of cans and hopefully they are good. Will come back with an update on those and the wine.
After the wine tasting, we started to get hungry so we went to a local shop where they serve an amazing beef meat in Portuguese bread with a slice of cheese at only €3.5. We didn’t wanted to fill our bellies only with that, since we had in mind an Italian restaurant which we spotted during the free tour a few days ago. We halved the sandwhich and got the tube to Baixa-Chiado where we stopped for another Pastel de Nata. Really like how the cashier told us – don’t worry about sugar, it’s Portugal.
In the afternoon, we went to that Italian restaurant after we back-traced our steps from the tour. We both took pasta with gamberoni and I tried the Porto Tawny wine, but I didn’t really like it. There is a tendenacy in Porto wines to have more alcohol than the usual ones which gives a different taste.
The evening we spent it in the Ocenarium which was quite a bargain (€10pp) only between 5-7pm. And trust me – you will stay 2 hours there to watch the underwater forests and fish. A trully unique experience for a Friday evening.
In the night, we were both happy to go for some drinks at one of the bars in Bairro Alto.
Day 5 – Admire the Botanical Garden and get lost in the Flea Market
Last day in Lisbon and we were not missing home. Especially when the last day was the warmest and sunniest of all. We really weren’t looking to go back to 5 degrees, or even -3 when we landed in the morning 🥶
We were both lucky to have a night flight, so we had the luxury to enjoy the last day strolling. Started from early morning to Botanical Garden where I got my last Portuguese attempt of tan. And a sip of a chill cappuccino. Oh wait – forgot to mention my super early Pastel. Well, not that early as the first one, but early enough to be the last. Or maybe not?
The Botanical Garden was not very large. We ended up our visit in about an hour and then took the bus to the Flea Market. Once we got there, we were shocked by the magnitude and crowdedness of the place.
Got a small souvenir to remind me about this warm & beautiful place. That street was the one we were accommodated. It will always remind me how each and every morning I was breathless walking the hill to the supermarket 🤪
Flight: Got a bargain deal from Skyscanner I couldn’t refuse – €50 rtn for both of us.
Accommodation: 4 nights & 5 days in Lisbon (including the late-checkout) for a cosy AirBnB in the Old Town – €200
- 4 days parking and gas from Constanta to Bucharest and return – €50
- All-day transport tube in Lisbon per person (which included the airport metro) – €6.5pp
Insurance: $7.5 per person for 5 days in Lisbon on SafetyWing.
- Lisboa Aquarium Ticket – €10pp
- Entry to Sao Jorge Castle – €10pp
- Botanical Garden- €3pp
- Ticket to Sintra from Lisbon – €10pp
- Free tour tip per person – €10pp
Souvenirs: Magnets & small painting – €20
- 4 x Traditional can fish with various flavours – €13
- Ginginha (sour cherry liquor) – €7
- Green wine – €17
Food & Drinks: €200 per person