Episode 38 - Lisbon, Portugal and Beyond

In this episode we embark on a journey to explore the enchanting areas of Lisbon Portugal.  Nestled along the scenic coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, this is an area that seamlessly weaves together rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Join us as we meander narrow cobblestone streets, listen to the soul stirring sounds of Fado music and taste the wonderful culinary delights of this coastal area in Portugal’s capital city.  Grab your passport and pack a bag as we explore the areas surrounding Lisbon Portugal.

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Tips for Booking flights: when traveling to Portugal, or anywhere in Europe, the flight to you final destination may not be the best price or use of points so be sure to check to see if flying into another city in Europe and then buying a ticket on a different airline may be a better option. 

We highly recommend these tours to see more of the area if you don’t have a car, don’t want to drive, or want to take a tour to learn more about the area!

Arrabida and Sesimbra Day Trip from Lisbon with wine tasting

Fatima, Nazare, and Obidos Day trip from Lisbon

 Sintra Tuk Tuk Tour

The main attractions in Sintra you'll want to see are: 

  1. Park and National Palace of Pena
  2. Castelo do Mouros
  3. Cabo da Roca which is a lighthouse and viewpoint on the westernmost point on continental Europe 
  4. Quinta da Regelaria (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  5. Sintra National Palace

 See all Sintra tours here

You’ll also want to try the famous Portuguese Custard Tarts -  called Pastel de Nata  and in Sintra stop by Pastelaria Vila Velha  for them.  You had to take a number and wait your turn which is quite common when seeking out these tasty treats. 

Where we stayed in Cascais: Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa -  fitness center/spa/pool/walking distance everywhere and overlooks the ocean and is a great location for exploring the town but also being by the water

Other places to stay in Cascais

Here’s a few things worth exploring as I have spent hours just wandering this beautiful town the park -  Parque Marechal Carmona - has lots of little trails and lookouts and if you have kids  - playgrounds there’s Lots of Museums you could pop into - Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum, Santa Maria House Museum, Musee Condes de Castro Guimaraes 

Then there is a walking/bike path up the coast starting at the Farol Museum. You can rent a bike in town like I did and ride all the way to Praia do Guincho - which is about 8 Km one way. 

Some sights on the way is the Boco de Inferno - a famous blowhole - this is right across where where we stayed so we highly recommend the Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa as it is a great location for exploring but has great views too

Check out all the Things to do in Cascais, Portugal

Restaruants and shops at the Casa da Guia - so many of them overlook the ocean so we have been to several for both lunch and dinner

Monte Mar for fresh seafood was recommended to us by a local so be sure to put it on the list and make reservations in advance to be on the safe side to be able to get in 

Moules & Gin is my absolute favorite - i still think of this place. The restaurants served fresh mussels either with pasta or fries and then  Gin and Tonic to drink.  You can get the mussels seasoned dozens of ways or have your choice of dozens of kinds of gin but That’s it. so if you don’t like mussel or gin then you’re out of luck.  Simple and delicious. 

There are Lots of restaurants at the Marina de Cascáis and it is always nice to sit out by the water 

Baia  do Peixe - we also ate here for lunch on the balcony that overlooks the beach in the downtown Cascais area. 

You can also get the famous Pastel de nana in Cascais at NATA Lisboa at on the main street Passeio de Dom Luis I - there’s also an adorable carousel at the end of this street in a park if you have children they would love it 

Things we did in Lisbon.  There are so many things to do here so we by far did not get to explore everything.  We spent a lot of time just walking around but be aware of the steep inclines.  There are the trams which we might think of as streetcars so we used those a time or two but you can always get a uber as well.  But highly recommending exploring by walking around as well.  There’s so many cool neighborhoods to explore and so much to see.

We stayed at Portugal Boutique Hotel in Lisbon which is a boutique hotel near a train station.  The tv was in the mirror which was unique.  There was also an outdoor market nearby. It was in a good location for sharing and is a good value for the cost. 

Other hotels in Lisbon to consider

 Main attractions that we were able to explore: 

Sant George’s Castle( Sao Jorge Castle) - is an 11th century Moorish castle and royal residence with so much history and amazing views of the city from above. You can also see the peacocks and there was a wine truck outside.

The Jeronimos Monastery - this is a late gothic monastery which has both archaeology and maritime museums.  I highly recommend that you book a timed ticket in advance as this is very popular and the wait times can be long.  We caught this is the gorgeous late afternoon golden hour light which is spectacular on the stone 

 Nearby is the famous place in Lisbon for the Pastels de Nata - Pasteis de Belem making them since 1837 - there will be a line but worth the wait to try theirs 

 Definitely Try to find a Fado show somewhere  like we did  a bar or restaurant or again if you like to plan ahead get tickets to Fado in Chiado Show.

Another recommendation that we did not do here would be one of the hop on hop off buses so that you could see all of Lisbon that way. It is very hilly so this is a good option to walking to get an overview of the city and then be able to get off to see the stops. Check out Hop on Hop Off Bus in Lisbon here

Where to eat in Lisbon:

Pasteis de Belem for the Pastels de nada 

Beher Autentico - this was a few blocks from our hotel - fresh sliced jamon sandwiches on fresh bread 

Also check out the Time Out Market in Lisbon if you like indoor food halls with a variety of food options and vendors.

Be sure to also check out the Santa Justa Lift that connects the lower streets with Carmo Square and offers views of the city. 

What to Pack (see our favorite travel things here):

1st trip we took was in Feb/early March

2nd trip was in late April/early May so it was definitely warmer 

  •  Walking shoes
  •  Sandals
  •  Bathing suit
  •  for our trip in Feb/march we mostly needed pants, warmer layers such as a light sweater of denim or packable jacket , scarf for the wind, jacket, I like to do leggings or black travel/golf type pants for travel  but pants or jeans would be fine too
  •  for our trip in late April we needed short sleeves but it does get very windy along the water so having a jacket handy would also be helpful then lighter pants - note that shorts are to as common in europe any time of the year and you will need to have knees and shoulders covered for going into churches so always keep that in mind. 
  •  if you plan to rent a bike then athletic clothes, leggings, layers and tennis shoes 
  •  Sunglasses
  •  Camera

There was no way that we could cover everything so all be sure to check out Rick Steves Lisbon or Portugal would be a great resource to plan your trip as well. Get it here. 

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