After having lived in Spain for quite some time, I really should have found a week within that time to pop on over to Portugal for a wee adventure!
But my time finally came earlier in the year when my boyfriend and I were looking to book a cheeky getaway to Copenhagen. Although flights to the must-see capital of Denmark were endearingly cheap, everything else was looking like it may cost us more than we could afford at the time and so, the cheap travel gods averted our eyes to the ever wonderful Lisbon.
1. Rainstorms only serve to make it more beautiful!
Anyone thats been to Lisbon knows it’s hilly. I mean, it’s really, really hilly! So here I am, on my second holiday ever with the boyfriend, wandering around all the tourist places and having a real nice, cute and fun time… Aaaaaaaand then the clouds opened up above us and rained like I’ve never known rain before.
The hills became never ending and the rain turned them into waterfalls. I’m completely soaked through and my coat has become 10x heavier from the rain soaking into it. I could almost swear I can feel the pneumonia I am sure to face following this rainfall coming on and I’m about to sit down and write my goodbye notes.
That’s when we find a small kitchen/cafe type thing sitting at the top of one of the hills. I wish to god I knew what it was now to direct you all to it to spend your money there, because we were met with the sweetest, most wonderful woman who helped us dry up and filled us with hot drinks until we were ready to brave the great outside for a second time.
From that cafe, we made it to go and look at the cathedral before enjoying a large old jug of wine and olives whilst sitting down under a blanket and taking in this view:
2. The wine comes in unexpected forms!
It would be a difficult task to order just a glass of wine in Lisbon I feel, but I’m okay with that. You can order small jugs, large jugs, whatever size you want jugs, all filled with the grapey good stuff.
One evening, we tried to find a particular area and restaurant that was ranted and raved about on all of the review sites, only to find that we were too out of season for it to be open while we were there.
It was for the greater good though, because it allowed us to find this tiny, lovely little tapas restaurant that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. Tucked and hidden away, it felt like you were one of the chosen ones by finding your way through it’s door. We were greeted by the table next to us being given their chorizo on fire which is what told me that this restaurant and I were gonna get on just fine.
We ordered a standard jug as we usually did while we were there, but I shit you not, out comes the biggest jug I’ve ever seen which I’m pretty sure contained about 2 bottles worth of wine, 2 little tea cups and the wine went on for what felt like forever.
3. The viewpoints are ones you’d want to Insta!
4. The people!
Oh me, oh my. The Portuguese are really quite wonderful. On our first night in Lisbon we decided to eat in the Hotel restaurant as we got in so wet and late. Normally I try to get out and about and not eat in a Hotel restaurant, but I am so glad that I did! The waiters came and chilled and had wine with us whilst teaching us Portuguese phrases and letting me practise my Spanish with them.
Even once they had to return to cleaning down for the evening, they continued to serve us wine long after they were supposed to, show us pictures of places that we had to add to our bucket list and teach us about the Portuguese culture.
They were only a snippet of the really lovely people we met and spoke to along the way, but they were the ones that I’ll probably rant and rave about to anyone that listens.
5. The quirky street art!
Pretty much anywhere I walked in Lisbon was a gram waiting to happen. It was so full and vibrant, and told a million different stories if each artists life.
I didn’t see one single bad angle to Lisbon that you couldn’t snap away at, chuck a decent filter on and then pop in your Whatsapp group to make your friends look at their desk with resentment.
Let’s be honest… subtle boasting is the best kind of boasting.
6. To sway the night away listening to Fado!
Fado is a Portuguese music genre that can be traced all the way back to the 1820’s in Lisbon, but to be honest it probably goes back much much further than is traced.
I wasn’t really too sure what I would make of this kind of music after hearing a big old bag of mixed reviews. What I did know is that it was going to be an acquired taste and I just hoped that I would love it.
We found this restaurant with very little choice on the menu which turned out to be an absolute godsend as I’m the most indecisive person I know.
It was a small and intimate venue where the waitresses would take it in turns for their time in the spotlight with the elderly gentleman, and I disagree with the acquired taste thing… even if the music isn’t something that you wouldn’t put on yourself at home, I think there is something for everyone sitting in a small venue listening to Fado.
It will fill your arms with goosepimples and make you feel all sorts of emotions even though you don’t understand a word that they are singing.
7. To indulge on Pastel de belem!
I made myself sick with tap water on this day, LOL. So was in and out of the loo for a while being sick which was pretty unfortunate as I couldn’t fully eat my pastry. But what I did have was absolutely delicious and already has me considering going back just to indulge on some more of these.
The most popular and original place to grab yourself one of these is Pasteis de Belem and here is a little information from their website:
In 1837 we began making the original Pastéis de Belém, following an ancient recipe from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. That secret recipe is recreated every day in our bakery, by hand, using only traditional methods. Even today, the Pastéis de Belém offer the unique flavour of time-honoured Portuguese sweet making.
8. To go to a tower in the water!
There is pretty much nothing about the sentence above that doesn’t sounds badass.
You get to walk over a footbridge whilst getting splashed by the surrounding Sea to get into the tower. The views are spectacular and you feel like you’ve somehow cheated the system and taken a little step back to view a bit of History that you weren’t a part of.
I quite enjoyed all the canons towards the last bit of the tower before you leave because I’m a little immature and like to pretend to shoot them at boats, but ya know, if you also like playing then this place is well worth the visit.
9. It’s all gross and romantic!
Wine, insane viewpoints, walking, music and dancing are all makings for a weekend where you want to spend the whole thing kissing your partners face.
10. You can discover yourself in the City of discovery!
Sweet old Lisboa is incredibly proud of the hand it’s played in the age of discovery. The City found itself being the starting place to dozens of exploratory journeys around the World and that’s really quite cool if you ask me.
The one difference I would hope for the next time I visit Lisbon is a bit of sunshiney Summer, not because I didn’t love the rainy season that we had, but it would be nice to meet a different side of Lisbon the next time I go. Filled with rooftop drinks and dancing outside in the streets!
Have you been yourself? What really struck out to you when you visited? I’d love to hear in the comments below!