14.10.17

Lisbon

Last month I went to Portugal for the very first time and stayed in the beautiful city of Lisbon. Like Budapest and Berlin before it, Lisbon seems to be the European city of choice at the moment for 20 and 30-somethings looking for a cool and cultural getaway.


Lisbon is just the right size to be able to walk around (if you don't mind some steep hills and cobbled pavements - seriously, don't even think about heels). It also has great transport links, perfect for exploring the wider region.


Despite being a city, food is reasonably priced, beer is cheaper than soft drinks and you can get hold of some great wine without spending much at all - magical stuff. 


A popular recommendation from friends and across the internet was the Time Out Market, which turned out to be one of my favourite places. A huge hall filled with different food stalls...it was obvious really. Everyone can order exactly what they want, the quality of the food on offer is amazing and it's a great place to spend an evening with friends. I couldn't help going back a couple of times. 




There are lots of museums and unique sights in Lisbon. Having looked through my photos since I got back, about 90% of them are of the architecture and street art - so it's well worth a trip if you're into that.


One of the first places we visited was Belém, about a twenty minute drive from the centre of Lisbon. This place is the home of the pastel de nata (Portugese custard tart) - something I wasn't sure I'd like, but upon trying, became a staple for the rest of the holiday. They are so bloody delicious and just as I moaned about missing them on Twitter (they were making them on the Bake Off and it was torture to watch), I was told that Batchelor's Patisserie on Northdown Road in Margate sells them!




It's very easy to fill a day in Belém. As well as visiting the Tropical Botanical Garden there, we also went to the Berardo Collection Museum, which is fiilled with a huge range of contemporary art. I even managed to track down some images by one of my most favourite photographers, Nan Goldin. It's a vast gallery and I highly recommend visiting it over queuing for some of the other tourist attractions in Belém.


By far my favourite place that we visited on the entire trip was the coastal town of Cascais.




Unmissable for tourists, this place is so pretty and is really different to Lisbon. It's very relaxed and is definitely somewhere you could spend a week in and around for a holiday if city breaks aren't your thing. I'd seriously consider basing myself in Cascais if I went again. 


Another day trip that we went on was to the picturesque town of Sintra. Up high in the mountains, Sintra is always extremely busy with tourists but you can immediately see why, as the scenery is spectacular. To get to the fairytale-like palaces, we took a hair-raising bus journey as we climbed thousands of feet around the winding roads. 



I even got a chance to get my geek on and went to the News Museum in Sintra. With sections on PR, photojournalism, historical broadcast equipment, the role of social media and samples of the biggest front pages in history; it was a really interesting experience and was where I got to try virtual reality for the first time! 



Lisbon is a really exciting city and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It's a great place to experience vibrant culture and city life, but without the noise and chaos of other cities. There are some great day trips on offer and of course, those custard tarts.

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