Travel Diaries: Lisbon, Portugal

The ice cold winds, constant grey skies and rain have pushed me to throw my posting schedule around. Posting a new outfit simply is impossible when you can’t be outside to shoot the photos. But for once, my empty concepts folder didn’t cause a panic. Last Wednesday my boyfriend and I boarded a plane to Portugals’ capital to re-energize after our January exams. I originally planned to share all about our mini-trip on Thursday, but I really didn’t mind editing these photos a little earlier. Flipping through them in my editor made me feel like I was right back in the coastal city of Lisbon.

This is clearly a happy post. And as if travelling isn’t happy-making enough I have more happy news to share! While waiting at the gate to board our plane, I received a text message from a friend to inform me our grades were available online. I have never been more grateful for free wifi. Guys, I passed all my exams! I celebrated with liters of fresh orange juice, tens of pastéis de Bélem and two new nail polishes. Because being a good student is not an excuse to break your shopping ban. But for €2.90 each, they were a steal!

And now… Pictures!

We arrived in Lisbon at noon, and our hotel was easily reached using the metro, which left from the airport. Less than an hour after landing we had settled in our hotel room, changed our clothes and were well on our way to the cities main tourist attractions. We walked to Praça do Comerçio first, because it lies somewhat central-South of the city and therefor seemed like a good spot to start our unguided journey of discovery. We hadn’t done much research about Lisbon or Portugal, and basically only knew what our friends had told us. The day before we left, I remembered Hannelore had been on Erasmus to Lisbon and had written an fantastic city guide for her readers. I took great inspiration from her list of must-sees, so muito obrigado Hannelore! I loved the fresh juices and appetizers at Bar LostIn (website), and after our quick pit-stop here we enjoyed the amazing view over the city from Miradouros, just a few meters from the bar. Sadly, None of the photos I took from that view are blog worthy. My camera was still in manual, and I hadn’t changed the settings, haha.

Breakfast of champions! Fresh juices, €0.95 lattes and a whole lot of Portuguese pastries. At A Padaria Portuguesa (a local variant of the Belgian Panos) we payed €6 for a delicious breakfast for two. There was a venue right across our hotel, and considering the hotel price was €6 for breakfast p.p., where we’d be eating was an easy decision!

On our second day in the city, we took tram 15E on Praça do Comerçio to visit Santa Maria De Bélem. As you can probably guess from the above photos, the weather was crap. There’s just no other word for it. I had hoped for clear skies allowing a beautiful view on the Abril bridge, but the tall red construction was hidden by a layer of mist. It stopped raining for a moment, so we walked around the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, then followed the seawall to the tower of Bélem. But before long, the rain came pouring down with buckets again and we sought refuge in the maritime museum. The entrance fee for students is€2.50, and my boyfriend really wanted to see the boat models and hydroplanes inside. I gently let him, knowing he’d buy me pastéis de Bélem afterwards. These custard pies taste so incredibly good! At the official pastelaria of Bélem, the pastéis are served slightly warm and with cinnamon on top. Finger-licking good.

On our last full day, we took a metro to the Oriente Station. We walked along the seaside, enjoying the views on the Vasco Da Gama bridge and the scenic board walks. It was beautiful out, very windy but sunny and warm. We were a bit bummed that we had planned an “inside day” that day, with a visit to the Vasco Da Gama shopping center and Océanario (€13 entrance fee). You might think we’re a little too old for an oceanium, but it was so. much. fun. They had puffins! And penguins! And otters! And a very ugly fish of the Mola Mola sort. I could have looked at the aquarium with exotic fish for hours. They were so beautiful. Alas, we only had a short time to visit, and K lured me back to the city with the promise of yellow trams and scenic views over the city and ocean. 

I hope you enjoyed these photos! I wasn’t really feeling it photography-wise on this vacation, but I’m still happy I could capture parts of the beauty that is Lisbon. My favorite places were in the historic town part. I am a sucker for viewing points and picturesque squares, so the route of tram 28 was a treasure for me. We didn’t take the tram itself, but we walked past the line for a good distance so that I could take pictures easily and we had the chance to hop into the little gift shops along the route.

Lisbon was everything my friends had told me it would be. May it be a little less sunny because we visited in February, but the rain didn’t spoil all our fun. Not at all! Fresh juices being cheaper than cola, and pastries for every lunch: Portugal is the country of my dreams. Next time we fly down south it’ll be to visit the lovely looking city of Porto! 

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  • Great photos! The old buildings and bridges are so picturesque! And the juice and pastries does look good… 😉

  • Zo mooi! Ben er zelf nog niet geweest, maar staat sowieso op mijn to see lijstje! Ben vorig jaar wel in Porto geweest en ben er ook verliefd op geworden! Idd very cheap food (en cocktails :D)! Proficiat met je resultaten!

    • Dat goedkope eten heb ik inderdaad gemerkt! 😀 En zoooooo lekker!! Porto is zeker onze volgende stop, mochten we nog eens terugkeren naar Portugal 😉

  • That looks marvelous, indeed 🙂 you took wonderful pictures and congrats with passing all of your exams!

  • birtegovarts

    Het lief en ik zijn eind 2012 ook naar Lissabon geweest en we vonden dat ook een geweldig leuke stad. Wij zijn btw ook naar Océanario geweest! Hmmmm… pasteis de nata!

  • Wat een mooie foto’s! En proficiat met je resultaten!

    X Sara

  • Your photographs are gorgeous!

  • One is never too old for an oceanium/aquarium.

    Also- these are fun photos. Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

  • These are lovely photos, Nikki! My father’s been to Portugal before, and ever since, I’ve been so determined to go at some point in my life. Your post has got me even more excited (about a trip that won’t happen for a while)…I’m glad you had fun and congrats on passing 🙂

    -Rose

    rose-et-violet.blogspot.com

    • I hope you can one day make your travel dream come true! Portugal is a beautiful country, both in the cities and on the country side. It’s a must if you ever visit Europe!

  • PSV

    NIkki thanks for this coverage. Amazing job writing it and illustrating with photos. Lisbon (and Portugal) have been hidden gems but they starting to get noticed by virtue of multiple awards that start to ad up in the last couple years. All these awards are a testament to the quality of the attractions in Portugal.

    If your readers are visiting Portugal, I recommend using services like http://www.WiserGo.com which let’s you design several travel packages with Portuguese agents, select your favorite, they will book everything and provide customer support while you’re in Portugal. Since they are local agents, they know the ins-and-outs of everything and you get to experience the country as a local!

  • Bea

    Hi Nikki!!
    I really really love these photos!!
    And now I want to visit Lisbon!!! 🙂

  • Oh what a great start to your holiday, congrats on passing your exams! 🙂

    You’ve taken a lot of beautiful photos too – the otter one made me go “aww” out loud! 🙂 It looks like such a lovely place to visit.

    Away From Blue

  • Wauw ziet er geweldig uit!

  • Superleuk report, Nikki! En KEI veel zin om naar Lissabon te gaan nu! Ik zet deze blogpost bij mijn favorieten 😉 Mocht ik er ooit naartoe gaan…

    • Ik heb gisterenavond zelf nog jou posts over Valencia gebookmarked! Mijn vriend begon er in Portugal ineens over, dus ze gaan me deze zomer misschien van pas komen! 😉

  • These photos are so beautiful!! And congrats for you exams ^^
    Have a lovely week and a lovely Valentine.

  • Nicole

    This looks like so much fun! What a wonderful break and celebration of your exams. Congrats!

  • Ik ben absoluut stikjaloers, leuke foto’s ook!

  • gorgeous photos!! sounds like an absolutely perfect getaway 🙂 and congrats on your exams!

    xxoo,
    nikki

    http://www.dreaminneon.blogspot.com

  • I’m so jealous. Awesome photos!

  • These photos are just amazing! What a great reward for all your hard work leading up to exams (congrats on passing, too!). Though I’m so jealous to see warmer climates. What I’d give to get away from the cold and grey!!

  • Ben er ook al geweest, zalig mooie stad. Zo’n mooie foto’s weer. Die tweede met dat gouden mannetje is echt super!

  • oh my, lisbon is such a beautiful city. I think i need to go back there now! I’m craving that pasteis de belem! I’ve often thought of trying to recreate that custard treat, but I really don’t think I could do it justice. Beautiful photos! even though you weren’t ‘feeling it’ photography wise, you captured lots!

  • Zo heerlijk om te lezen, zoveel herinneringen die terug bovenkomen 😉 Tram 28 stopte trouwens vlak voor mijn deur ginds, maar in het minder toeristische deel dus ik schat de kans heel klein dat je er langs gekomen bent. En ik heb het oceanarium nooit gedaan maar ik wou dat stiekem ook heel graag, enkel de prijs hield me tegen (met 13 euro kan je véél eten/pintjes mee kopen in portugal…) Ik mis de goedkope pasteis (ik heb hier eens 3 euro betaald voor ééntje! Wat een afrip.) en de goedkope sapjes (ok en bier en wijn… 😉 ). Portugal heeft ook mijn hart gestolen, maar dat wist je al 😉
    Proficiat trouwens met je examens!

  • Ik wil ook zo graag eens naar Lissabon! Door deze foto’s heb ik er nog meer zin in gekregen, wel spijtig van het weer. Citytrippin’ is altijd leuker met het zonnetje op je gezicht 😉
    Naomi, x

  • Desirae

    Those photos are all stunning! Goodness, I would love to see all of that in real life!

    http://www.stylishsilhouettes.blogspot.com

  • Congrats on passing your exams! This looks like the perfect way to celebrate. 🙂

  • Ooooh jaloers! Ik wil al lang eens naar Lissabon gaan, maar het komt er nooit van! Maar deze foto’s motiveren mij toch wel extra hard om er eens werk van te maken 😉

  • Oh hier wil ik ook zeker eens naar toe, ziet er mooi uit!
    En proficiat met je resultaten 😉

  • Waauw, echt mooie beelden! Ben zelf nog nooit in Lissabon geweest maar het lijkt me echt een geweldige plek om te bezoeken.

  • Mammabelle

    Hoedje af. Echt prachtige foto’s.

  • HansDeZwans

    Prachtige foto’s. Portugal staat bovenaan mijn lijstje.

  • bec

    Beautiful pictures – I can’t wait to go to portugal. I loved spain
    http://www.dancingthroughsunday.typepad.com
    x

  • Oooh mooi! Ik wil er ook echt eens gaan 🙂

  • Zalige foto’s! Die van die meneer in het geel is echt dikke favoriet 😀 wil ook echt eens Lissabon bezoeken!

  • Mooie foto’s, ziet er echt zo’n zalige stad uit! 🙂