Lisbon

A and I spent five days in Lisbon for our first summer holiday together. It was a place we had both never been, but wanted to. I was looking forward to spotting beautiful tiles and exploring castles, and eating at Lisbon’s many vegan restaurants.

Our first day began with a wander around the city centre. So many tiles! We stopped for a late lunch and made it down to the waterfront to sit and watch the boats. As well as boats, there were jellyfish, floating like plastic bags just under the surface. We ate dinner at Jardim dos Sentidos, which was two doors down from our apartment.

On our second day in Lisbon, we went to see Padrão dos Descobrimentos. The view from the top across to Belém Tower was amazing. We didn’t climb Belém Tower, as the line was far too long for such a hot day. For the same reason, we skipped Jerónimos Monastery. I regret not waiting to go in, but the front was covered in scaffolding so it wasn’t as grand as it could be. Also I would have melted.

That afternoon, we stopped by Camo Archeological Museum, set inside the ruins of a Gothic church. We looked out over the city from the Santa Justa lift platform, down to Rossio Square.

Our third day was spent in beautiful Sintra, a brilliant day trip from Lisbon. We caught the train out and returned late in the evening.

We had saved Castelo de Sao Jorge for our final full day, which allowed us to take it a little slower. Our previous day in Sintra had been busy, so I enjoyed taking our time at the castle. For lunch, we stopped at Princesa do Castelo. A few doors down, we found a handmade tile shop, where we spent 40 minutes trying to decide what we wanted to buy.

Continuing our more relaxed day, we had a drink at a bar with a beautiful view of the harbour, then made our way to dinner at Ao 26. It was busy, we didn’t have a booking, so did have to wait a while for a table, but it was definitely worth it for the soya creme brûlée!

On the day of our departure, we went for brunch at Aloha Cafe. Unsure what we wanted to do, we ventured out to explore the city of Lisbon one last time. We walked through Al Fama, which smelt of sardines. Lisbon is big on sardines, it turns out. On the way back from Feira da Ladra, a flea market, we stumbled across Monastery of Sao Vincente De Flora. It was full of gorgeous blue and white Portuguese tiles. I think walking through the monastery might just have been the highlight of our trip. A perfect way to soak up the last of our holiday before we flew back home to London.

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