Our first stop after leaving Canada was the charming Portuguese capital of Lisbon. After months of preparing, we needed a bit of a holiday and we were more than pleased to spend 10 days exploring Portugal (the crazy cheap flight we found on Kayak also helped). Our trip would be divided between Lisbon and Porto, with Lisbon’s Alfama district being our first stop.
We arrived mid-morning and both Dave and I were blown away by how hot it was for October – I was widely overdressed in my wool sweater, but still appreciated the heat. Our first AirBnB was located in the Alfama district – Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. Alfama is characterised by its small winding alleyways, which transport you back to medieval time.
I was so excited to stay in this area as it was in close proximity to some of Lisbon’s most iconic sites and held so much charm. What I hadn’t anticipated was that our AirBnB wasn’t accessible by car.
After being dropped off and told by our cabbie that our flat was “somewhere up that there” as he pointed up the hill, we started hauling our 3 suitcases around and around Alfama. Without access to a map, we had to stop every stranger we passed in order to try and get a sense of where we should be going.
No one knew. No one had a clue where our street was.
After a couple of trips up and down the cobblestone streets (which also included a series of steps) we just happened to bump into someone who lived on a nearby street. She graciously drew us a map, and just 10 minutes (and three sets of stairs later) we found our home!
We took a quick nap and a shower, and we were back out and ready to explore. Alfama was beautiful. Described as one of the neighbourhoods with the best views, Alfama did not disappoint. We decided to wander to see what we could find, taking the time to stop along the way to take snaps of the breathtaking views.
In search of the best view, we walked all the way up to the Graça district and decided to take a break and grab a bevvy at Miradouro da Graça, which offered us a fantastic spot to gaze at St. Jorge’s castle and central Lisbon.
A couple of beers and a dip in the temperature later and we decided to make our way back down the hill. Along the way we wandered everywhere we could; we left no alley unexplored. It was the perfect introduction to Lisbon.
After a delicious meal of octopus (so delicious that I didn’t even have a chance to insta!) we were back to our AirBnB. The next morning we were up bright and early for our trip to Porto. Although we’d only be gone for three days, I already couldn’t wait to get back to Lisbon to explore all that the city had to offer.
You can read the second instalment of our time in Lisbon here: Travel Diary: Lisbon Pt. 2
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