Portugal

I’ve always been obsessed with Portugal. Why? I couldn’t tell you, but after visiting for the first time on this trip, it was confirmed that Portugal is my favorite country in all of Europe.

We stayed in our favorite hostel to date, Home Lisbon Hostel. It’s family run and amazing for so many different reasons. First and foremost it was SO clean! The beds were extremely comfortable and had privacy curtains, big plus. They serviced day trips all throughout Portugal for very cheap. There was free breakfast and Momma made a 3 course dinner with unlimited drinks every single night for only 10 euro. Staying at the Home Lisbon Hostel was such a heart warming experience. I loved being able to see how close-knit the family was. The importance that they put on family and spending time together was such a beautiful thing to be apart of and something I truly aspire to have in the future.

We had two and a half days in Portugal. We dedicated one full day specifically to sightseeing all of Lisbon and one day in Sintra.

Before traveling to Lisbon I had a list of must see spots to fulfill a full day in the city. Lisbon is tiny and very easily accessible by foot which is a huge plus for me. The first stop on our list was Praca do Comercio, also known as the main square in Lisbon. The square is home to a beautiful archway and opens up to the waterfront.

Stop number two was a food one, of course. The most popular Portuguese pastry, pastel de nata was a MUST try for us. It is an egg tart pastry and absolutely delicious. It can be found pretty much anywhere and is served both hot and cold. If you’re ever in Portugal, pastel de nata is a necessity.

After we filled up on pastries, we strolled through the streets of the Alfama district. Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and is basically a maze of streets leading up to Castelo de Sao Jorge. Portugal is a very vibrant city full of beautiful tile work and color. The Alfama district is the best representation of Lisbon’s unique decorative style.

We spent hours getting lost in Lisbon and wandering in and out of shops along the way. It was so nice to not have a plan and really immerse ourselves in this beautiful little city.

The last stop we headed to before going back to the hostel was Castelo de Sao Jorge. The castle costs 8 euro to enter, which is a little pricey for Lisbon but totally worth it. There is so much to see and it is a perfect spot to watch the sunset. The castle oversees the entire city and once inside you are given the opportunity to walk/climb all throughout the castle walls. The views are spectacular and very worth the 8 euro.

Before leaving our hostel I knew I had to have at least one of Momma’s infamous dinners and with codfish on the menu, I couldn’t turn it down. The first course consisted of tomato and black bean soup followed by copious amounts of bread and olive oil. I love me some soup, so from the very beginning, Momma stole my heart. Course number two was the beautiful codfish and side salad, AMAZING. The codfish is made a little differently in Lisbon. It’s more of a casserole rather than the fish filet I was expecting, but nonetheless Momma crushed it! The final course was a fluffy vanilla cream with mixed fruit on top, YUM! We ended the meal with a typical Portuguese shot, Ginja and thanked Momma for her delightful cooking.

I went to bed that night with a full stomach, dreaming of ways I could bring Momma back to the states with me so I could have that fantastic cooking every single day.

Day two was dedicated to our Sintra day trip. The hostel supplied our transportation to and from for only 30 euro. The trip included the hour drive to and from Sintra, as well as, the most western part of Europe, Cabo De Roca and our tour guides favorite place to watch the sunset, Praia do Guincho.

Sintra is a UNESCO preserved city that is full of royal history. On our tour we had a choice between three different sites to spend the majority of our day at, Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors or Quinta da Regaleira. We chose the least touristy of the three, Quinta da Regaleria and I am so happy we did!

Quinta da Regaleria is a five floor gothic style house with secret caves and gardens surrounding the entire landscape. We had an amazing time getting lost in the underground world and exploring the unique infrastructure. It was like nothing we have seen before.

After two hours of exploring Quinta da Regaleira. Our tour guide took us to the most western part of Europe, Cabo de Roca. The panoramic view from Cabo de Roca is unmatched. There are massive cliffs leading into the bluest Atlantic Ocean water. We spent about an hour walking around the cliffs and taking millions of pictures, none of which will ever do the beauty of Cabo de Roca justice.

The final stop on our tour was to Praia do Guincho. Praia do Guincho is a beach on the coast of Portugal which is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. Beach atmospheres are my favorite and this was no disappointment. It was so relaxing to sit on the rocks and just listen to the waves as the sun cascaded into the horizon. I’ve seen many sunsets on this trip, with amazing views, but Praia do Guincho is definitely my favorite.

Our time in Portugal was very limited, unfortunately. There is an option at the Home Lisbon Hostel to stay for a month costing only 100 euro and you better believe I am considering taking them up on that offer asap. Portugal is a hidden gem. I really don’t think the country gets enough credit for just how beautiful it is and honestly that’s okay with me. The less touristy, the better.

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The next country on our list is Ireland. I will officially be returning to the motherland and indulging in my Irish heritage. Until next time Portugal, stay beautiful!

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