Lisbon, Portugal Exploration
The last stop on our RTWreset trip – Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal with a population of around 505,000 within the city limits. And boy is this city hilly! You will certainly not feel guilty about eating all that good food and sweet treats while here because you will burn it all off as you explore.
The city is comprised of six different districts, all of which have a different feel to them. One of our favorites, Alfama, is definitely one of the most popular with cool old alleyways, cafes, a castle and several great lookout points.
Free Walking Tour
We would say walking this city is the best way to really see all that it has to offer. In fact, a great way to do this is take at least one walking tour. We signed up online with Freetour.com (the same organization we used in Coimbra), but if you go to either the Luis de Camoes monument or Dom Pedro IV square you will see numerous groups ready to take you on a tour. No reservations needed!
Several people had mentioned the Alfama and Mouraria districts as being a great place to explore so we opted for a tour of this area.
“Free” walking tour is a bit of a misnomer. The idea with most free walking tours is that at the end you tip the guide an amount that you deem appropriate.
Like every walking tour we have been on, our guide gave us insight in to so many things we would have not known about or overlooked if simply walking around ourselves. Remember all those hills I mentioned earlier? Well, after 3 hours of walking during this tour we were definitely feeling the burn!
During our tour we had the chance to try a local specialty drink called Ginjinha. Ginjinha is a liqueur made by soaking ginja (sour cherries) in alcohol and adding sugar. It tasted just how you would expect. It was good, but we didn’t feel the need to buy a bottle.
Not to keep talking about alcohol, but we have been blown away by the low cost of Portuguese wine. And it’s good! As compared to a decent bottle back in the states you can get the same quality (if not slightly better) here in Portugal for a third of the price. We joked that we should just throw out all of our clothes and fill our bags with bottles of wine before heading home.
Pastel de Nata
Another treat you must try when in Portugal is an egg tart known as pastel de nata! Like a lot of treats made in Portugal, pastel de nata were originally made in the monasteries as a way to use up all of the leftover egg yolks after using the egg whites for “starching” clothes. In our opinion, they are the best when sprinkled with cinnamon and accompanied by a nice glass of port.
Mouraria Area Exhibition
When walking around the Mouraria area of Lisbon, be on the lookout for photographer Camilla Watson’s exhibit. She took photos of some of the elderly residents of the neighborhood and their photographs are displayed on the walls along the streets. Here are a few of our favorites.
One Lisbon Lowlight
Watch out for the dog poo! Although walking around Lisbon is great, one negative thing we have noticed is all the dog poop on the sidewalks. Unfortunately, this seems to be an issue in many parts of Europe. Having to look out for landmines really made it challenging to look up and around at all the great sights.
While we liked Lisbon, it felt a bit disjointed to us and took more time to get comfortable in. We don’t know that we would visit Lisbon again, but would rather spend more time in Porto the next time we come to Portugal.
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