Lisbon was not on my “places to visit” radar. Most of those places are either tropical, beachy places, or places that can cater to my adventure-seeking stomach, like Thailand.
But Lisbon is definitely visit-worthy. It is an old city with a rich history, beautiful city views, and more cobblestone streets than any city should still have, and I it was a shame to see graffiti on almost every building in the city.
WHERE WE STAYED:
During previous trips to Europe, we stayed in hostels and low-end hotels. However, even the price of hostels has gone up. One of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy, recently had a post about Airbnb, a website where people post vacation rentals. So, without a second thought, I jumped on, reviewed a few places, and swiped my credit card.
Luckily, it was a great experience. We rented a studio in Alfama, the old neighborhood in Lisbon.
Best surprise: the flea market that happens twice a week was right around the corner from this apartment! And the our host, Ema, was fantastic. She even came down to the train station to hunt for us when we didn’t arrive at the apartment on time. And we needed saving, that’s for sure! Highly recommend the vacation rental route… just read the reviews carefully.
– Castelo Sao Jorge:
maybe 20min walk from our studio, a very cobblestony walk. Beautiful, old castle with wonderful views overlooking Sanfrancisco… I mean Lisbon. But it could seriously be San Fran’s little sister city… steep hills, a bay bridge, graffiti… didn’t notice an Alcatraz-look-alike though.
A 45 minute train ride from Lisbon, this town is enchanting! It is the home to several spectacular castles. Unfortunately we waited until our last full day to visit, and we were only able to see the Moorish castle. The castle was something out of fairytales. We walked on the perimeter walls that overlooks large boulders and the city of Sintra. And we also had a great view of the colorful Palácio Nacional da Pena. I hope someday to return and spend at least 2 days exploring the beautiful countryside.