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Citybreak in Lisbon
Friday 06 November 2015
I travelled to Lisbon in November for a 2 night break. A quick 2 hour flight and we were met with a lovely 15 – 20 degree heat when we departed the plane and that lasted for the whole weekend! Getting from the airport was so handy. The Metro underground goes from the airport right into the city centre. Our stop on the Metro was Rato and in about 30 minutes we were within a 5 minute walk of our hotel the Clarion Suites.
The Clarion Suites was a good 3 star hotel. Our room was actually like a one bedroom apartment. We had a separate twin bedroom and there was also a large enough kitchenette with dining area and living area. In the living area there was a pull out sofa, so this hotel would be perfect for a family. Outside there was a small outdoor pool but we weren’t brave enough to use it in November! There is a Restaurant/Bar offering breakfast, lunch and dinner but we were on a room only basis in the hotel so we didn’t eat there. On the whole the hotel was lovely however it is a bit far out from where we would consider most of the night life and restaurants are. It was a good 20 minute walk from our hotel to the Baixa – Chiado or to the Bairro Alto areas. Whenever I go back to Lisbon I would definitely try and stay somewhere around either of these areas.
The Metro is a great way to get around the city. We bought a ticket for €0.50c which we kept for the whole weekend and every trip was only €1.40! There is a one day ticket available for €6. After that there are trains, trams, buses and taxis! It depends where you need to get to and how much you want to spend. If you were thinking of visiting major museums and attractions you could consider purchasing The Lisboa Card which is a Lisbon City Pass. The card offers free or discounted entrance to more than 80 Lisbon museums, sights and tours but you also get free transport around the city on all trips on the Metro, public buses, the trams and the funicular. Prices start from €18.50 for a 24 hours Lisboa Card.
Things to do see and eat:
We arrived on a Friday morning flight and arrived at our hotel around 10 o’clock and our room was ready! Excellent! We dropped our bags and headed out just as quick to discover Lisbon! We headed down town using a really bad map but in the name of research we walked to see how long it would take! It took 20 long minutes in inappropriate shoes on very uneven footpaths! Ladies, the best tip I could give for Lisbon is, wear comfortable footwear and leave the heels at home! You’re taking your life in your hands to walk in heels on those footpaths! We walked around the magnificent Praca do Comercio and as it was lunchtime by then we stopped off in a restaurant along the waterfront to have a beer and a pizza, sure why not! We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the maze of little streets in the Baixa – Chiado area. There is an endless amount of shops and restaurants around here but it is kind of commercial and touristy. That evening we had a gorgeous meal in a restaurant off the Praco do Comercio. We wandered around looking for somewhere to have a drink after but we felt like we were missing a party somewhere that everyone was invited to except us because it was very quiet for a city on a Friday night. That night we were really too tired for a late night so we headed back to the hotel in a taxi.
On Saturday morning we awoke to another lovely sunny day. We headed down town again in the Metro this time to the get the hop on hop off bus. I know, I know, typical tourist but I don’t care I like the hop on hop off bus it gives me a good idea of a city, I’m able to get my bearings! We decided on the package that offers a bus tour and combines it with a Tram tour. The Tram in Lisbon is amazing! The turn of the century trams and colourful funiculars remain a common sight there. You wouldn’t want to depend on this form of transport if you were trying to get anywhere in a hurry though, as we found out! There was a slight fender bender on the tracks and that was it, end of the trip until the cars could be removed! We were getting hungry by now so armed with a recommendation from one of our customers we went to find the Time Out Mercado da Ribeira. This is food and drink heaven! It brings together restaurants from Lisbon in one place in a ‘Market Place’ style where for very reasonable prices you can sample all the different types of foods Lisbon has to offer. There is a huge communal eating area in the middle of the building where you can eat your food until you move off to try something else! After here we took a trip on one of the funiculars. It is short and sweet but you can’t come to Lisbon without going on one!
That evening we decided on visiting the Barrio Alto area. As a result of our trip around the lovely little streets on the tram we discovered that this seemed like an interesting place to get food in the evening. We were right! This was where the party was!! It was teaming with people. The restaurants and bars were full with everyone sitting out enjoying their evening. I loved this area. The atmosphere was excellent. There was music from bars with live bands and also from the famous Clube de Fado which has performances most nights from musicians of this traditional Portuguese music. We were leaving on an early flight Sunday morning back to Dublin so we made the most of our last night in Lisbon!
I really enjoyed my weekend in Lisbon however 2 nights was probably too short. There was still more we could have seen not to mention taking a trip to the beach! I will just have to go back another time!