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Kate's experience in Lisbon, together with her grandma!
Last September, I went to Lisbon with my grandmother! I had never been to Lisbon before, nor had I ever been on holiday with my grandma, so for me this experience was very special.
My grandma partly lives in Altea (a small village near Alicante and Valencia) and she has decided to make a trip to another European country every year. This year she had chosen to go to Portugal and I decided to join her trip in Lisbon. I spent a total of five days there and we stayed at a campsite just outside the city center.
My first experience in Lisbon was fantastic! The people, the food, the beautiful buildings, the surroundings: everything is beautiful! The people are very friendly and the locals speak English fluently.
My grandma and I walked as many as 15.000 steps a day! I was exhausted at the end of the day, but my grandma could go on for a while. For the first 2 days, we walked through Lisbon and took the well-known Tram 28. This is definitely a must-do as you see the city in a completely different way. I do recommend everyone to take the tram either at the starting point or the ending point as there is little room to join the tram in between.
We started by walking through Bairro Alto, the old center. We walked on to Baixa, Santa Justa, Santa Cruz and the Alfama neighborhood where you can enjoy the well-known Portuguese music called 'Fado' every day around dinner time. This neighborhood is also highly recommended to visit! You see tuk-tuks driving everywhere in Lisbon and you can take them anywhere! Since my grandma likes walking, we did most of our routes by foot.
Castelo de São Jorge
On day 2, my grandma and I decided to go to Castelo de São Jorge. This is a castle on a mountain with views over the whole city ! We walked up, but you can also partly take an escalator. Once you arrive at the castle, there are super many cute stalls where people sell their art and jewellery. The other shops there are also really nice. An entrance ticket costs about €7 and you can buy it by scanning a QR code at the entrance.
Pastéis de Belém
A typical Portuguese delicacy is Pastéis de Belém (they sell these in the center of Lisbon under the name Pastel de Nata). A super delicious sweet tart made of puff pastry and a kind of custard cream! You can get these at the famous shop Pastéis de Belém in the village of Belém. You can get here very easily by bus. The queue can be very long so I would recommend visiting this place early. Belém is also definitely a lovely village to stroll through for an afternoon. There is a beautiful palace and it’s next to the river.
On day 3, my grandmother and I went to the beautiful town of Sintra! This is about an hour by train from Lisbon. The ticket for this is also very cheap. You can't miss Sintra because it's the end station of the train. Once you arrive in Sintra, there are many trains, tuk-tuks, taxis, and vans ready to take you up the mountain. From the station, it is important to know in advance where you want to go. My grandmother and I decided to go to a shop, where locals told us more about Sintra. They recommended going to the Palace of Pena first because it gets crowded there quickly. We took an early train because we already expected this. It is important to buy a ticket to the palace in advance so you can book a time slot for visiting the palace.
Once inside the palace, you will be amazed. It is still in tremendously beautiful condition, not to mention the view! The palace is located on the hill called Monte da Pena and used to be a monastery. Later, the royal family lived here. Unfortunately, after visiting the palace, we didn't have time to visit the other palaces anymore. Therefore, I recommend visiting Sintra for 2 days. Then you can also go to Quinta da Regaleira, the Moorish castle, and the Monserrate palace. All these places are magical and special. Sintra is known for being the most beautiful fairytale village in the world. Not surprisingly, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After spending the day visiting the palace, my grandmother and I walked into Sintra's old town and bought some beautiful photos from a photographer who sold his art.
On Day 4, our last full day in Lisbon, we went back into the center of Lisbon and took several other trams through the city center. It is fun to see that each tram drives a completely different route and you have a different experience of the city. All 5 days in Lisbon were really special and even more so to do this with my grandmother. My grandmother said at the end of the day that this trip with her granddaughter will always stay with her and that it was such a special holiday. So far, this is my favorite city to visit! I didn't have huge expectations of Portugal because I had never been there before, but it was beyond expectations. So, if you are looking for a fun city trip with family or friends, I would definitely recommend Lisbon! It is hugely affordable and everyone is so happy and friendly. I noticed that all the locals were also really grateful for what they had and I didn’t feel unsafe in the city for a single moment. It is definitely a city where I would see myself living for a longer period of time. Would you also like to work and live in Lisbon, just like me? Then take a look at all our vacancies in Portugal!
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