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  • Writer's picturenacilia mccarthy

Lisbon Portugal

Updated: Jun 17

This place is easy to love. The weather, coastal living, the laid-back culture of the people, the diversity, I mean real diversity. This place (to me) has the spirit of New York and the atmospheric weather of California. I can't say for sure that it will be, but it almost feels like moving to Lisbon could be a seamless transition for anyone. I loved so many things about my visit here. So much so that I felt my heart smile every day I was there. While Portugal is known to be one of the safest countries for female solo travelers, Lisbon is a very diverse city, so it makes you feel even more comfortable while visiting. For this post, here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to do for this post, I'm going to tell you about some of the things I did and some of the things I wish I did.

Walking through the streets feels like you're walking through a museum. The beautiful hand-painted ceramic tiles that clad each wall are just breathtaking. You think it would make the architecture look too busy and overwhelming but it doesn't. It just keeps going and going with every building you walk by. Then there are the cable cars. These add to the charm. Lisbon may be one of the largest little towns I've visited. I know that's an oxymoron but if you saw it, you'd agree. 

Let's talk about food. Beignets are to New

Orleans, what Pastel De Natas are to Portugal. It's the pastry they are known for and rightfully so. Pastel de Natas or as the Portuguese call it, Pastéis de Nata are tiny flaky pastry cups filled with a sweet custard and topped with cinnamon. They are so light and sweet, you'll want to eat a dozen. You can grab these delectable pastries at any bakery or coffee shop. Speaking of Coffee Shops, a latte or cappuccino (which looks the same to me) is rather inexpensive compared to what they are sold for in the US. Prices start at $2-$3 (typically the cost of an espresso) and end at a max of $5. I'm not much of a coffee person, I prefer matcha to be honest, but I find their coffee to be much tastier than coffee you buy in the US. Another popular food item in Portugal is Pastel

de Bachalhau also called Pastéis de Bachalhau. It's made with Codfish and potatoes and has cheese. Food in Portugal is pretty affordable when compared to the cost of food in other European cities. Of course, if you wanted to, you could rack up a bill. But you don't have to. This is what makes Lisbon ideal for vacation travelers. My daily food budget was around $25 to $35 (USD), with most of that budget spent on dinner. This means that for a week's vacation, your cost of dining will probably be $175 to $250. Now there's always the pizzas and pasta if you wish to have a tighter budget, but even if you want something more substantial, you can still get these at affordable prices. 

In terms of seeing the sites, Lisbon is a very walkable city and there is plenty to do. If you want to explore, dine, or shop, it’s just like other cities. However, Lisbon is right by the water so it adds this extra charm to the area. While some areas have bluffs, the shopping areas are located near small area shores so you could put your feet in the water if you so desire. In terms of getting around the city, there are metro subways and buses that are very clean and quite comprehensive. If you are in the mood however, you can doing one of the city cruises or boat tours. These can be quite fun and beautiful.

There are also cable cars. These don't necessarily get you to places quickly but it's just a fun activity if you're in the mood for that. To use the subway, you need to have a MetroCard which can also be used on the busses (but not the cable cars).

There is also an option to get a travel card at the airport that gives you access to subway trains, busses, cable cars, and access to some museums. I didn't bother to get one of those and to be honest, I don't think I needed it because the city itself is a museum. But if you are a history or architecture buff, then you should probably go ahead and get one.

Here are some budget things you can and should do while in Lisbon. 

  • Try the pastries (Pastel de Natas and Pastel de Bachalhau). 

  • Have a shot of Ginja 

  • Tour the Praça do Comércio

  • Visit Pink Street

  • Tour the Alfama district

  • Visit the Santa Justa Lift (but don't take the route with the line, go around the block and enter it from the other side, take in the views of the city).

Now here are some things I wish I had done while in Lisbon. 

  • Visit Cais Cais

  • Visit Time Out Market 

  • Visit the Christ the Redeemer statue

  • Do a sunset cruise 

  • Take the train to Porto

Safe to say I will be going back!!!

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