After being unsure where to visit next I finally decided on a destination to visit over the New Year period. I opted to check out Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. Although I’ve visited Spain about a hundred times, I’ve never visited their next-door neighbour!
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is famed for its trams, beach weather and friendly locals. On this trip I purposely decided not to research or plan anything, instead I chose to discover and get lost in lovely Lisbon by making decisions there and then.
Was this wise? Well, it certainly turned out to be more exciting than having an itinerary planned each day, sometimes this can be very draining and not much fun, especially over the New Year period.
If you’ve ever visited Lisbon then you’ll know that some parts are rather steep, therefore my first piece of advice is to take some good walking shoes!
New Year was an ideal time to visit the city, although the locals complained of being cold from 14 degree temperatures, for a true Brit it was rather lovely compared to the -5 I left behind at Heathrow that morning!
Lisbon’s tourist trail is well and truly trodden so it was rather hard to get away from the hordes of tourists, however sometimes some normality is what every travel geek needs. Prior to visiting I’d been told about all the typical sites to see, therefore I was aware of what might be available.
Probably the most famous photo of Lisbon is one of its yellow trams that rattle around the city’s seven steep hills. Tram 28 is the most famous and is frequented by visitors as well as locals who often battle for space on the historic wooden trams.
Personally I found it a bit cliché, although the views were great, the trams do go quite fast and are usually jam packed making it a rather uncomfortable experience, therefore I think for me If I visit the city again I’d probably walk the route. However if you do decide to try the route, I highly recommend buying a day travel card which currently costs €6 and includes buses, trains and trams so it’s great value.
Portugal has many famous wine regions, unfortunately over the New Year period I didn’t get chance to visit any wineries but it will definitely be something I return for. As it’s produced locally, wine shouldn’t be too expensive in restaurants, which I used as an excuse for trying one of two bottles!
On advice from a local Lisboan, I was recommended to try a restaurant called Cervejaria Trindade, due to the time of year many restaurants were already fully booked for New Years Eve. Thankfully I was able to book a table and I spent my evening enjoying Portuguese food, wine and a fantastic singer who was excellent at entertaining her diverse crowd. Highly recommended if you visit for NYE 15/16.
Next to the restaurant is a viewing platform overlooking the city, this was a great spot for watching the fireworks and seeing in the New Year.
During my short trip I know there are many famous sites that I was unfortunately unable to get to, but one place I just had to come see was Belém. Just a short tram/train ride from Lisbon is this “village in the city”, a place featuring several UNESCO world heritage sites, be prepared to get there early though as queues can be really long, even in winter!
After saying goodbye to 2014 and welcoming 2015 in Lisbon, I’m really glad I chose to spend my New Year here, it’s a very beautiful city with many hidden delights. Just make sure you walk everywhere, especially getting lost in the Old Town – you won’t regret it!
If you’d like to discover more photographs and information from this trip or any others please feel free to ask me any questions. You can visit my Facebook page and please don’t forget to ‘Like’ Travel Geek UK.