Portugal beyond Lisboa
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Cabo da Roca
It all begins with low fare tickets
Starting with May 22, 2016 Wizzair started flying really low cost to Lisboa twice a week. That’s a really good reason to start organize a vacation, I said. Any reason works for me. Considering my X-mark for this trip I started looking for plane tickets and bus/train tickets. It’s always a good idea to not just look for a direct flight, but to see what the alternatives are. You can find really nice deals choosing an airport just a ride away from your destination. Considering one city is never enough and Porto was an all times mystery (time started with my first glass of wine and loving it) I decided unraveling it. So, I purchased plane tickets from Bucharest to Porto, train tickets Porto-Lisboa and return plane tickets Lisboa-Bucharest. Do try momondo, a meta-search engine that gives you the lowest fare for your chosen destination.
Time and not just- Managing
Being a 10 days vacation, I had to really think about how to spend well my time. For that I read and I read and read all over the internet about Porto and Lisboa and everything interesting around before planning my train ride Porto-Lisboa and before looking for places to stay. I decided for 3 days in Porto and 7 in Lisboa because in Lisboa District there are so many awesome places to experience and enjoy like Sintra , Cascais , Estoril , Cabo da Roca ; best decision I made about this trip.
Of course I early book everything. I have two reasons for that: wanting to get the most of my experiece with less money and being so impatient about everything when it’s about traveling. Places to stay in are important too. My choise is to stay in more than one place, if I can and it’s not too uncomfortable. Let me explain. I like traveling side by side with Airbnb. It’s the easiest, most convenient way to live like/ with locals and share experiences (if your choise is alike mine) or to rent a place for your own if you just want to relax at ‘home’. It gives you unlimited possibilities with a wide price range. About changing places to stay in a city, I’d have to say it’s for people who want to meet other people. That and the fact that staying in a neighbourhood makes you get to know better (without knowing) that area ; why not knowing more?! It’s the same with people. Having contact with locals has great benefits, it will make your stay in any place a very rewarding experience. Besides, you can develop an opinion about the people living there and their life only if you share experiences with them, the more experiences you share the most accurate beliefs you get. It’s that simple. I always want the full experience.
PORTO : Porto Vino
You’d think that Porto is not a big city, or only I thought so… It is! And a beautiful one, really! It’s all about wine making, their kind, a special kind, and I cracked their code. Actually they are opened about it, just my wine culture wasn’t at is’s best in this area of expertise. Now it is. In few words, anybody should have a wine tasting when in Porto, it’s a must do. Whatever cellar you pick will make you love their wine and apreciate their hard-working, walk you into their world. Besides wine, Porto has some awesome bridges, amazing upper views and quiet beaches. You can take long walks along the river, with or without no.1 tram, to see all sort of people living their lives, from rich to poor, from modern to traditional. Just take care, don’t get sunburned like I did.
Without knowing about it, I got to Lisboa when they were celebrating San Antonio, their guardian saint, a national holiday. So everyone was in the street celebrating, parties everywhere, people spending qualitity time together. So we found a flea market with traditional food. Hungry and happy about that, we rushed in there to get something to eat; we were hoping for fish and seafood, like we dreamed about eating in Portugal. Surprise, surprise! Only sausages and smelly cheese. So that’s traditional for them, that’s what they like, not me. But you have to try Pasteis de Nata, actually Pasteis de Belem.
Lisboa is a really big city, but it has a really good transportation inside and outside the city network and that works very good. The only bad thing about it it’s that there are so many tourists that you have to stay in line for almost everything in Lisboa, and not only you, locals too. I feel bad for them. Because of tourists in the south area, I prefer Lisboa outside city center. I strongly recomand to take advantage of the upper part and Centro Cultural de Belem, my favorite. More than that, buying a 72h LisboaCard, took me to amazing places that maybe I wouldn’t see otherwise: Lisboa:Parque Botânico do Monteiro-Mor, Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Museu Nacional dos Coches and many others.
CABO da ROCA
How could I be in Lisboa and not get to see [Here, where the land ends and the sea begins…]— Luís de Camões, Os Lusíadas ?! Cabo da Roca is the western most extent mainland of continental Europe. Being there makes you feel on top of the world. It’s a once in a lifetime thing to do. You have to get to Sintra by train and from there a bus will take you till the end of Europe.
When we got to Sintra, we bought a daily bus ticket that gave us access to all Sintra castles and to Cabo da Roca too. With LisboaCard we visited Sintra Mitos e Lendas but our timing wasn’t the best. It’s better to see it before going to visit Serra de Sintra national park and its amazing castles, you can connect better with their stories. For me the best are Palacio Dos Mouros and Palacio da Pena, but that’s me. They are all beautiful. Portugal in general is a green country, but Sintra it’s a forest.
ESTORIL and CASCAIS
Now we relax. Have a Mojito. Awesome beaches, cold ocean, perfect view, best meal in Portugal.
Bottom line: Whatever you want or need for a vacation you can find IT in Portugal. There is something for everybody, everything for somebody. I think every place has something special, but in Portugal you have a variety of specialties.