As I mentioned in my last roster post, I was lucky enough to get the 5 days off that I bid for, perfect for a little holiday with my man. We decided on Lisbon, as it was a place that neither of us had visited before and seemed like a great choice for a 5 day trip.
I sorted out the hotel, and after he arrived from a trip to Rome, we packed our bags and made our way to the airport. Neither of us had realised the flight was fairly long, just under 8 hours from Dubai. Luckily we managed to get some exit row seats with plenty of extra leg room!
Upon arrival we took the metro into the city, which was pretty easy and fairly quick. We arrived at our hotel, the Internacional Design Hotel, a gorgeous boutique hotel, which was located on Rossio Square right in the centre of downtown Lisbon.
The view from our room, which had a small balcony, was perfect – right out onto the bustling street below.
After a complementary welcome drink at the hotel (a delicious glass of Portuguese wine) we made our way outside to do some exploring.
Since our hotel was located just by Rossio Square, that was our first stop. We admired all of the beautiful statues, buildings and architecture to be found, as well as the gorgeous flower stalls on the edge of the square.
We strolled through the streets, stopping by all of the beautiful buildings and admiring the city.
Our walk took us past the Santa Justa Elevator, which was built over a century ago and is still working today.
We continued on towards Praça do Comércio, which is one of the main squares in Lisbon. It’s located at the edge of the Tagus River, so it was pretty windy and quite chilly!
The Royal Palace was once located here, until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake.
We walked on down to the river for a bit, and sat enjoying the fresh air and watching the clouds go by.
From the square if you look up behind you, you can see the sprawling luscious greenery of the Sao Jorge Castle. We decided to make our way up there, through the windy streets.
Passing by one of the many little cafés tucked away, we decided to stop for a coffee. Upon seeing the traditional Portuguese egg tarts “Pastéis de Nata”, which I’d heard so much about, we couldn’t resist.
They are made of crispy, flaky pastry, filled with a delicious egg custard, which is creamy and light, with a hint of cinnamon. Absolutely deliciously addictive!
Our walk continued upwards, passing more beautiful buildings and churches, stopping at plenty of viewpoints, debating over where the best view of the city could be found.
The traditional yellow trams were everywhere in the city and having been originally commissioned in the 1930’s, the same ones continue to be used today.
Only the original trams are able to navigate the steep inclines and sharp curves of the tracks, and we saw plenty passing us on the steep hill up to the castle, through the Alfama district.
Shortly before arriving at the castle gates, we stopped at another viewpoint. I can’t get over just how pretty the red tiled roofs are!
The Sao Jorge Castle is a Morrish Castle occupying a hilltop overlooking the city of Lisbon, and dates back from the medieval period of Portuguese history.
The castle has tons of spaces to explore, with steps leading up to outposts and gardens, as well as the ruins of the royal palace.
As the sun was slowly starting to set, we strolled back through the Alfama district in search of some dinner.
We were both in the mood for seafood, so stopped by a small bustling restaurant with lots of fresh fish and seafood on display in the window. We ordered fresh octopus, served with new potatoes and steamed broccoli, and a fish platter to share which had the freshest fish and grilled squid, all served with some crisp local white wine.
A delicious end to our first day in Lisbon!