Thank you for joining me for another European Report Card. This one will not only be interesting, but may be even controversial. I would love to hear your comments if you have visited Lisbon before!
What I did in Portugal:
For this Portugal trip, Corey and I were mainly in Lisbon, but we did take two day trips to Cascais and Arrabida National Park. Both of these places were very different from Lisbon, and in my opinion they were much more beautiful. If I had to rank the Portugal trip solely on Lisbon, I would rank the beauty as a C. One of the oldest cities in Western Europe, the city is beautiful with that old charm that can be seen from miles away. The architecture is bright, colorful, and beautiful, but the reason I would grade the city as a whole as mediocre was because it was truly so dirty. Almost everywhere we went, the streets were dirty and filled with broken glass and trash.
*Disclaimer* I did go during supposedly a huge party month in Portugal, so I am confident that my feelings about Lisbon can be changed if I choose to go again. I don’t want anyone to be negatively influenced by this blog, but if you do have any questions, I will always answer honestly.
Anyways, despite the city, the day trips we took were gorgeous. Cascais was a 55 minute train ride from where we were staying and the beaches were soft white sand and gorgeous blue waters. All down the coast there were multiple beaches you could visit, but there were about 3 main beaches that were considered Cascais. We were sick of the heat and beach after a few hours, so we walked about 1 mile to get to Boca De Inferno, a natural rock arch and cliff formation. It was really interesting to see and I definitely recommend checking it out.
As for our second day trip to Arrabida National Park, we booked an Airbnb Experience at this link and it was worth every cent! We had private transportation from the zoo in Lisbon and all equipment was included. Arrabida was an area like I have never seen before. It is on the Atlantic Ocean, so there were beautiful white sandy beaches, but it was also surrounded by mountains.
Lisbon has an abundance of easily accessible public transportation. They have the standard metro system that runs throughout the city, as well as having the famous tram 28. Lisbon is called the City of Seven Hills for a reason, so it is imperative to utilize the public transportation if you want to be able to feel your legs at the end of the night.
The public transportation I experienced did feel old and dirty, but fortunately, Ubers are very inexpensive in Lisbon, so I did choose to use them a couple of times.
When researching Lisbon, I quickly found that it seemed like many accommodations were very affordable. Due to us being in Portugal for 6 days, I decided to plan on booking an Airbnb. Spoiler alert: I should not have done that. I should have done so much more research.
Naively, since Lisbon is on the coast, I thought choosing an Airbnb with no A/C would be okay. It was not okay and I am telling you right now that unless you want to sleep in 90 degree weather with no breeze, choose a hotel or a place with A/C. Or do not go in the summer months, the heat is not for the weak.
We stayed in the Mouraria region of Lisbon. It was a great location, very diverse and vibrant, but an area that knows how to party all day everyday. A major downside to this area was that there was loud partying until 6 a.m. – hence the loud Lisbon title!
A huge positive factor of Portugal is that it is rightly known for being affordable. Normal meals that we had were around $10-$15 per person for good portion sizes and groceries were cheaper than they are in Indiana. There is really nothing I can complain about price wise, so for anyone looking for a cheap-ish place to travel when you’re young, this should be your place!
I want to continue stressing this, Lisbon was not my favorite, but some of it was personal error. There were parts that I couldn’t control that I didn’t like, but I still think this country is beautiful and I do want to go back and explore. The beauty of travel is that different destinations speak to different people. Lisbon was an interesting trip for me, but in the end I learned a lot and that is very important. Travel should be an educational tool, so my hope is for everyone that reads this learns to take every travel experience as a learning oppurtunity!