For the last trip of my study abroad experience, my friends and I choose to go to Portugal. During this five day trip, we visited both Lisbon, the stunning capital of Portugal and Lagos, a town in southern Portugal’s Algarve region. Being Lisbon is a pastel-colored city right on the coast and has a vibrant red bridge linking Lisbon to Almada, the city reminds me of a combination between the Almafi Coast and San Fransico, California. Also, right on the Atlantic, Lagos offers breathtaking beaches that are surrounded by colorful sandstone cliffs extending right into the crystal clear water. Here is how we spent our five days traveling from Lisbon to Lagos.
Day trip to Sintra
On our first day in Lisbon, we started off by taking a day trip to Sintra to see the brightly painted Pena Palace. Who knew castles came in all different colors!? This trip made for some great photos!
Tip: Purchase the “park ticket,” which is much cheaper and still allows you to go up to the castle and walk around the main area.
Lisbon Night Life:
The Bairro Alto district and Pink Street both feature many little bars perfect for a night out. Some of the locals also recommended going to the LX Factory which is supposedly an underground club. However, since our time in Lisbon was short we didn’t have the opportunity to make it there.
Where to Eat in Lisbon:
If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, two places I definitely recommend trying are the Time Out Market and Pasteis de Belem. The TimeOut Market features a variety of Portuguese style dishes and is great because you can see what you’re ordering before you get it. Which is especially helpful if your like me and not familiar with any Portuguese food. Pasteis de Belem is a traditional Portuguese restaurant featuring the famous Pasteis de Belem (yes, the restaurant and the pastry are the same). It is located right next to the Monastery and hard to miss because of the line of people out the door. Also, while in Belem be sure to visit the Belem Tower.
My Favorite District: Alfama!
While in Lisbon you must check out the Alfama district (The Old Town). It is right on the water and offers some of the best views in all of Lisbon. In my opinion, it looks a lot like the Almafi coast. One of my favorite views was from Castelo de S. Jorge. You have to pay a small fee to get in, but I promise you won’t regret it!
Take the 28 around Lisbon to explore the area and figure out where you want to go back to. The number 28 Lisbon tram connects Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique and passes through the districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela. Make sure to start at one of the ends because we made the mistake of starting in the center of Lisbon so we only got to go a few stops, so we ended up just walking the rest.
After spending two days in Lisbon we took the train to Lagos for some warmer weather and beautiful beaches. Lagos is a town in the Algarve district of Southern Portugal and is known for its stunning beaches. I can’t even describe how breathtaking the experience of looking out over the cliffs onto the ocean was. The two that we went to were Praia Da Camilo, and Praia Da Anna. Which I recommend checking out both if you’re visiting Lagos!
Tip: Taking the train is a great way to travel throughout a country on a budget and in my opinion, less of a hassle. With taking a train there is no need to arrive two hours before your flight and no dealing with baggage check.