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I think everyone has heard about Porto in Portugal. It is very popular due to its amazing vibe and architecture, but also because of the Erasmus programme, which attracts student from all over the world. There are plenty of things to see and do here, but if you’re in a hurry and want to spend only one day in Porto, then I have some great suggestions for you.

Porto is located 4 hours by train from Lisbon. Tickets are quite cheap and I think that it’s worth doing a short trip there. I didn’t expect much from Porto. I know that it’s best not to have any expectations and not to look at some amazing travel photos from that destination. I didn’t do any of that at all and the visit to this historical city was a very pleasant surprise.

I am lucky because my sister lives in Porto and I have had a several occasions to spend a weekend there. I have seen all the tourists spots and those that are less popular. Out of all attractions, I chose a few that would suit those that don’t have much time and want to spend only one day in Porto. Here are a couple of my choices.

Where is Porto?

Porto (also known in English as Oporto) is located at the Douro River in the northern part of Portugal. It’s about 3 hours drive from Lisbon.

Its area extends over to the Atlantic Ocean. Its location makes the city quite windy and chilly during the winter months.

When to come to Porto?

The best time to come to Porto is April – May and then October. During the Summer months, the city is overcrowded and really busy with tourists. You can still find some quiet spots here, but if you want to spend only one day in Porto, you will visit the most popular spots. If you happen to visit the city during the high season, be ready for crowds.

Winter is quite cold and rainy in Porto. On a sunny day sightseeing is pleasant, but bare in mind that the houses here don’t have heating and quite often it’s colder inside than outside.

What is the best way to see Porto?

The best way to see Porto is on your own two feet. Walking is highly advisable. It’s such a beautiful city that it would be a shame to hire a taxi or rent a car. I normally like to get lost in the streets and just see whatever I can. It’s important not to rush as it spoils the whole experience.

If you would like someone to help you with seeing the best bits, or you want to see the nontouristy parts, then hire a local guide. I really recommend Withlocals, which is an amazing company that connects tourists and independent guides. They create amazing tours that you can adjust to your needs. By hiring a guide like this you help the locals, you support the local economy and you are creating something truly remarkable. I did a tour around Lisbon with them and can’t recommend them enough.

EN: With Locals

Make your holidays even more memorable! Go off the beaten path, discover all the hidden gems, eat where the locals eat. Withlocals organise custom tours with independent guides to create really special memories for you. Check out their website and find out more!

What to do in Porto in one day?

If you are visiting Porto only for a short amount of time, you will want to experience the best of it. Below you will find my favourite activities and sights.

Walk around the narrow streets of Porto One of my favourite photos of Porto. This view can be seen from the main bridge.

Porto, similar to Lisbon, is small and very atmospheric. Its streets are full of history. It’s impossible not to fall in love with them. If you spend only one day in Porto, forget about major attractions and simply walk around and get lost. Have a look at the hidden corners, sit down somewhere and drink some wine and some beer and observe the life as it happens.

Walk the Dom Louis I bridge Dom Louis I bridge is the main attraction here.

Dom Luis bridge is the symbol of Porto. To me the area around the city is amazing. It’s easy to imagine the boats with supplies sailing around, just like it was back in the 16th century. Today such boats still sail through the river, but they are mostly for tourists.

The area around the river is a must-see spot during your one day stay in Porto.

During the day, go to Jardim do Morro and stay there until the sunset. After dark, cross the main street and climb Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, where you can admire the views of the city.

Jardim do Morro is a very small park, where people like to relax and where sunsets are magical.

I also recommend to walk along the river in Gaia – where you can visit the wineries. When you pass the crowd and the buildings, you will get to a place, where tourists don’t really go and where life is much slower.

Map

Drink some Port in Gaia If you know me, you know that I like trips like this.

Everyone who goes to Porto thinks that the wine Port comes from Porto. While the wineries are very close to Porto and it seems that the drink is produced here, not many people know that the other side of the river is not Porto anymore – it’s Porto de Gaia.

The drink is actually produced in Douro Valley and brought to Porto de Gaia, where it is put in barrels and then matures. From there it is bottled and sent out all over the world.

If you like alcoholic drinks, then the visit to one of the wineries will be a treat. During the tour, you will find out how the wine is made and you will have a chance to try Port. A standard tour with a guide costs 12 Euros and includes two tastings.

Recommended winery: Calem

Get some rest at Palacio de Cristal One of the most beautiful places in Porto and one of my favourites.

Tired with sightseeing? There are no better options for getting some rest than a beautiful park. Palacio de Cristal is a big park, situated on a hill, where you can admire beautiful views over the river and the city. It’s stunning at any time of the year, but a sunny day is the best for a visit. It’s worth stopping for a coffee at a small kiosk in the middle of the park and to watch the grazing peacocks.

Map

Admire the azulejos at Sao Bento Station This station is a work of art.

Definitely, something you should see in Porto. Azulejos at the Sao Bento station are true masterpieces. Sightseeing is free here and the impression is surreal – the life goes on as normal around the station, but you still feel like you are in a gallery. Trains come and go, people rush and you just stand there and can’t get your eyes off the walls.

Mapa

Eat Francescinhia How can I even eat this?

Francesinhia is a meal from Porto. It consists of …..hmm…. mostly everything: there is bread, every type of meat you can imagine (but there are some vegetarian options), it is baked with cheese on top and everything is soaked in orange sauce. Ah! I forgot about fries! In one simple phrase – it’s a heart attack on a plate.

Locals love Francesinhia. They usually have their favourite places to eat it and go there on a regular basis, at least once a week.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try it. Impressions? It tasted like I described it: like bread with cheese, meat, and sauce with a lot of fat.

Visit Cemitério de Agramonte Can I say that this cemetery is nice and pleasant? Will that be offensive?

This part I left for the last because it’s not really something that you must see if you spend one day in Porto. I think there are plenty of other things you can do there. This cemetery really made a great impression on me. Maybe because that was my first time at a place like this in Portugal. Cemeteries here are completely different than those in Poland.

Cemitério de Argamonte isn’t a tourist place, so be respectful. No one will be offended if you just walk around and take some photos. It seems weird, but trust me, you will want to take some for sure. The graves at this cemetery are real works of art.

Map

Where to stay in Porto?

Similar to Lisbon, in Porto it’s hard to find nice rooms in a reasonable price, especially during the high season. That’s why it’s worth planning ahead. If the below options are not good for you, check out some other offers.

O2 Hostel – quite a new hostel in a renovated tenament house. Clean and spacious. The owners are very eco-friendly, so it’s a good place for those who care about our planet.

Canvas Atelier Hostel – small, cozy hostel, where you can meet other travelers. Breakfast is served everyday and you can also attend a barbecue, or use it for your own, private party.

LightPoint – a new place on Booking.com. Interiors are very bright and spacious. There are private rooms and dormitories on offer.

Faria House – very nice and clean rooms with helpful staff. Great location. What to want more?

How to get from Lisbon to Porto?

There are a couple of trains that connect both cities. You can easily book your ticket online. The Portuguese railway has a good site and you can also use GoEuro which is a nice website that offers affordable tickets. One way ticket costs 20-30 Euros. The trip takes 3-4 hours. There are also some flights between Lisbon and Porto. You can check GoEuro for latest offers. I recommend BlaBla Car, which is very effective in Portugal.

The post What to see in Porto in one day: Suggestion for those in a hurry appeared first on The Blond Travels.

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More and more people choose to move to Lisbon. Some stay for only a couple of months, some stay forever. It’s very easy to fall in love with the city. If you have ever been on a holiday in Lisbon, an idea might have popped into your head – maybe that’s the place for me? Whether you’re considering moving to Lisbon, or you have already made the decision, this post will help you with settling down here.

At the time of writing this post, I have been in Lisbon for a year. The beginnings weren’t great. I was disappointed with the cost of living and the constantly changing weather. I had imagined it being completely different. But then I started going out more, I changed the apartment, I had an amazing time during the summer and suddenly I find myself in love with my surroundings. It took me a while to get used to everything, but I am in a good place right now and I would love to share my experience and some advice with you.

You might wonder if living in Lisbon is for you, whether that’s a good decision to live here. Maybe you are afraid that you won’t find a job, you’ll have problems with finding an apartment, or that you will struggle and hate your life here. I think that preparation is the key. That’s why I created this post, to help you prepare for the change. I hope that after reading this post the transition will be much more pleasant.

Why Lisbon?

Lisbon is up and coming location in Europe. It’s a cool, vibrant, colorful city. Sometimes living here seems to me like living in a magical place, where I can be inspired every day. It sparks my creativity and thanks to it I am even more productive. It’s a great place if you’re a freelancer or an artist.

If you’re not a creative type, life here can be very pleasant as well. It’s not a huge city, like London or Paris. It’s much smaller and thanks to that it takes less time and money to move around it. No more wasted time on the underground.

Portuguese people like to hang out outside, sit in cafes and take things slowly. Life is all about food and wine, which I really love here. It seems that despite the weak economy people are more laid back and that affects you as soon as you settle down here.

I also like the fact that Portugal is so small and you can travel to some really nice places from Lisbon. Algarve is only 3 hours away, Peniche is one hour away and the wineries are all around the city.

Is Lisbon for you?

Moving to Lisbon is not for everyone. Salaries are low, prices are high, finding a good place to live is a problem, the relaxed attitude towards life of the locals might get a little annoying with time. In some cases, the Portuguese remind me of Polish people sometimes. In the offices you are met with cold stares from the clerks and inability, or rather complete lack of willingness, to speak English. Sometimes you feel like an outsider and that you are not really welcomed here.

Lisbon has a lot of advantages and once you go through the initial culture shock, it becomes apparent that the city has a lot to offer and is a nice place to live.

Some people I’ve met go back home after just a few months, claiming that Lisbon is nice for a short holiday, but not for living. However, the majority of people I know, who moved here for many reasons, love Lisbon and they want to stay here forever.

So, I think that you need to have a certain amount of patience to be able to settle down here successfully. If you don’t like dealing with some rules that don’t make much sense, with endless bureaucracy and you are looking for a place to live to earn good money and make a career, then Lisbon is not for you. Otherwise, you will have a great time here.

Know before you come

Before you pack your bags and move to Lisbon, it’s important that you know the basics. I’ve prepared the most important information to help you with your decision.

Location and geography

Lisbon lies on the Iberian Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. It is the largest city in Portugal and 11th largest city in the European Union. The population of Lisbon is only over 500,000, but the urban area extends over the city limits with a population of almost 3 million. A lot of people live on the other side of the river, where you can easily get by car, or by public transportation.

The city measures 100,5 km2. Its western part consists of the Monsanto Park, the largest urban park in Europe. The area of the city extends to the city of Setubal and includes other cities, such as: Amadora, Queluz, Agualva-Cacém, Odivelas, Loures, Sacavém, Almada, Barreiro, Seixal and Oeiras. You will find that some companies have their headquarters not in Lisbon itself, but in some of the above-mentioned towns and municipalities.

Language

Portuguese is the Western Romance language. Because of the colonisations, it is spoken not only here, but in many other countries, like Brasil, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, East Timor, and many others. To me, it sounds more like an Eastern European language than something similar to Italian, or Spanish. In fact, at the beginning, I always thought I was hearing Polish.

It is not difficult to learn Portuguese. You can easily get your head around it in a couple of months. If you have contact with it every day, you will be able to communicate very quickly. It’s good to learn some basic Portuguese phrases even before you come.

Locals speak really good English. They will sometimes apologize to you, saying their English is very bad, but in fact, their level is so much better than in any other country I’ve ever lived in. In the center, you will not have any problems with communicating. In the suburbs, it’s a different story and quite often you will need your Google Translate and your body language to get what you want to say across to the other person. When you go to any government institutions you will need to be prepared because the staff there doesn’t, or doesn’t want to, speak English. Most of the time some basic Portuguese and a little patience will do the trick, but if you’re worried that you won’t be able to understand anything, take a Portuguese friend with you.

Currency and the economy

The currency of Portugal is Euro. You can check the exchange rate here. The economy has been steady and expanding continuously. According to Wikipedia, the budget deficit has been reduced from 11% to only 4% in the last couple of years. The unemployment rate is now 11 %, which is down from 13% in 2014.

These are the statistics and how does it look like in real life? From my observation, Portugal is much poorer than Poland. There are lots of homeless people on the streets and the Portuguese live quite modestly. Many complain that their salaries don’t match the actual state of the economy and that it’s hard to find a good job. It’s good to be aware of this before moving to Lisbon and it’s a good idea to look for employment first.

Weather

The weather in Lisbon is mild. The summers are long and the winters are short. This is what any holiday portal will tell you. My experience here has been different. The last winter (2017-2018) was extremely long. It started in November and finished in April. Then came the spring and that went on until early July. The summer was…Well, there was no summer. Locals say that it was an exception and normally, the weather is much better. Hopefully, they are right.

One thing that you need to be ready for is that the houses here don’t have good isolation and no heating. The older buildings have single glazed windows. The winters might be mild comparing to other countries in Europe. The temperatures don’t fall below 5 degrees, but inside it is usually colder than outside. Buying an electric heater is a good idea, but that won’t help you with your budget. Be ready to suffer, especially if you like warm temperatures.

Food

I have a strange relationship with food in Portugal. The locals here eat a lot of fish and seafood. Their national dish is bacalhau – codfish. It is usually served with potatoes or/and fries. Cod is served in many ways. Except grilled, you can also find pastel de bacalhau – small pastries made out of cod paté.

Other dishes consist of meat: pork and chicken are the most popular. Different cuts of the animal are called differently. These are served with potatoes and fries. Normal price for such dish is about 6 Euros.

Portugal is famous for its pastries and there’s no lack of it in Lisbon. There are bakeries everywhere and there are so many baked goods to try out and it’s a never-ending tasting party. Don’t forget to order coffee with your sweet bun!

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are not that common. You can find them here, but you will pay much more than for traditional food. It’s much better and much more affordable to cook at home. You can do your shopping in frutaria – small grocery shops, where the array of fresh produce is really huge.

Average earnings

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, so the earnings here are higher than in other parts of the country. However, they are not very high. It is said that the average salary in 2017 was 860 Euros! That’s really little if you compare that to other major cities in Europe. If you are lucky and get a good job, this will be higher, but you cannot expect too much.

The average cost of living

On average a single person spends around 600 Euro in Lisbon. This includes only the basics: food, accommodation, and transportation. If you like to go out, your costs will be much higher than that.
From my experience costs of living in Lisbon are high and I spend around 1,000 Euros per month, sometimes even more than that.

Accommodation

One of the most problematic things in Lisbon is finding accommodation. There’s a lack of good housing for a good price. Most of the flats are taken over by Airbnb and those that are left are either poorly maintained or the prices are so high that when you earn an average salary you won’t be able to afford the rent. I have written more about finding accommodation in Lisbon and I recommend it if you are planning to come here soon.

Visas and regulations

If you are from the European Union, you don’t need a visa for Portugal. You are free to live here and work. Just remember that you need to register as a resident if you are here longer than 150 days. If you want to work here legally, you need to register for taxes and insurance. If you sort it out, you’re free to live here permanently.

If you are from the outside of the European Union, you need to check the regulations before you come here.
If you are from the UK, you can still come and register as a resident before March 2019. If you manage to do so, you can stay in Portugal. At the time of writing this post, it was said that all the UK passport holders that are residents in Lisbon will be allowed to stay in Portugal indefinitely without any major changes and difficulties.

Healthcare

Healthcare in Portugal is almost free of charge. For some of the services, you need to pay extra even if you pay your insurance here. These are not great amounts and the level of care is really good. They even have house visits if you can’t be bothered to go to the GP (it normally costs 15 Euros).

However, in order to use the health system, you need to register for taxes and national insurance. If you don’t have these, you can buy a private insurance from a provider from your home country.

I thought that moving to Lisbon will be as easy as moving and living in Thailand. As it turned out, it was a much more difficult. It took me several months to get used to life here. I think the legal side of things are trickier and require even more patience than in Thailand. I would say that if you come here to make money, then there are better countries in Europe to do just that. If you come here for the food, the fun and the atmosphere, then this is a great place to be!

Did I miss something? Do you have questions? Let me know if the comments. 

The post Moving to Lisbon: Know before you go appeared first on The Blond Travels.

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There are free places to work remotely from in Lisbon. Yes, you read that right. In the capital of Portugal, there are quiet spots that are ideal for those, who want to focus for a couple of hours. You don’t even need to buy a coffee there!

Lisbon is undoubtedly the European capital of digital nomads. Programmers, designers, copywriters and even online teachers come here to enjoy the weather, the beaches and the amazing atmosphere of the city. The infrastructure here is great and it’s ideal for those working remotely. Coworking spaces are very popular here and there are new ones being built all the time. They are very modern and provide everything what a digital nomad might need. There is no lack of coffee shops in the city either. You do need to look for them and make a bit more effort to find something nice, but it’s still possible to work from a nice spot that smells with good coffee.

Personally, I am not a big fan of coworking spaces. I really like coffee shops, but those that I like the most in Lisbon are very far from where I live. I also like to have a total silence. That’s why when I found out that there are free places for working remotely in Lisbon, I was very excited. Such spots are very neat and tidy, extremely quiet and perfect to focus on your work. I’m talking about libraries here, which can be found in every corner of the city. Today I would like to introduce you to 4 of them.

Why libraries?

I have been wondering if I have ever heard a digital nomad saying: ‘the best place to work from is a library’. Everyone always recommends coffee shops and coworking spaces. It’s common to see pictures of people working on a beach, under a palm tree with a cocktail in hand. That’s very cool. Would anyone be jealous of your lifestyle if you put a photo on Instagram of you working at a table lit up with bright light, surrounded by students studying for their exams?

Because no one has ever suggested working from a library before, I never got an idea to do it and didn’t consider it. Until the moment I got to Lisbon and someone told me about the libraries here. Since then I have been thinking that there’s no better place to do it.

Before you get to know my favorite free places to work remotely from in Lisbon, allow me to convince you that they are the best spots for digital nomads.

  • The libraries are very quiet. No one wants to talk to you here and you won’t have to listen to other people’s conversations. The libraries are almost like churches. Loud behavior is frown upon and total focus is recommended.
  • You can stay as long as you want. You will only need to leave when they close. You are allowed to sit whole day, leave and come back whenever you want and no one will ask questions.
  • In Lisbon, everyone can use the libraries. You don’t need a card and you don’t need to register. You just simply show up, enter, sit down and work.
  • You sit in beautiful surroundings. The libraries in Lisbon are amazing and really special. It really benefits your productivity.
  • And everything is for free! You don’t pay an entrance fee. You can use the libraries in Lisbon and pay nothing!
Worth knowing

Just like anywhere else in the world, the libraries in Lisbon also have their own rules. I think it’s just common sense, but it’s worth reminding you about a couple of things.

  • Don’t make noise. Don’t talk on the phone (just switch it off) and don’t do any Skype calls. You can listen to music on your headphones but put the volume down, so the others cannot hear it. Try not to stir, move your chair all the time and don’t chat anyone up.
  • The access to libraries is free. You don’t need any ID to get in, but have one with you just in case.
  • Every library in Lisbon has wi-fi. Ask the receptionist for the password. Be prepared for problems. Many people use libraries in Lisbon and the internet can be slow sometimes.
  • A library is not a coffee shop. Food and drinks (except water) is not allowed. Don’t bring any snacks with you either.
Libraries – the best places for working remotely in Lisbon

The libraries in Lisbon are spread out around the city. Almost in any part of it, you will find one. I chose 4 for you. I like these the most. Below you will find them with short descriptions.

Library de São Lázaro What a pleasure working here!

My number 1! A beautiful place that looks like out of one of the Harry Potter movies. It was the first I visited in Lisbon and as soon as I saw it, I wanted to see more of them. Sitting at one of the tables, I couldn’t focus on work because the surroundings were so amazing. What a treasure! I thought it was an honor to work from such a place.

The building is not very big and it consists of one small reading room, a library for kids and this beautiful space that you can see in the photo. During my visit there was enough space for everyone, but if there are more people you might have a problem with finding a seat. Be prepared that you will need to leave or wait for your turn to sit down. However, it’s worth coming here just to see the room.

The Internet works pretty well. It’s not the fastest though, but it’s enough to answer emails and browse.

Next door there is a kindergarten and during breaks, or at the end of the day, the library is quite loud.

Website

Map

Biblioteca Camões Rooms in this library are quiet and cozy

Biblioteca Camões is located in the center of the city, near the Baxa Chiado metro station. The entrance is very beautiful. Have a look at the amazing azulejos – traditional, Portuguese tiles, which are everywhere in Lisbon.

The library is much larger than Biblioteca de São Làzaro. You will find 2 big rooms and a great choice of tables and chairs. Space doesn’t make such a great impression like the one I mentioned earlier, but it’s cozy and you can even sit on one of the big, comfy armchairs. The halls have big windows with a view over the river. On a sunny day, it’s really nice here.

The Internet is free and fast.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars around, where you can take a lunch break.

Website

Map 

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian The building from the outside is not that attractive, but inside it’s a great space to work.

In the Gulbenkian Foundation, you will find not only the library but also a gallery and a museum. The main building is surrounded by a beautiful garden, which is perfect for relaxing on hot days.

You can use the library for free without registering first. There is a nice coffee shop next door, where you can also eat lunch. The place is worth visiting even if you don’t indent working.

Website 

Map 

Biblioteca-Museu República e Resistência

The Library of the Republic and Resistance – it sounds serious and political. Don’t get discouraged. It’s a nice space. The library is located in the suburbs of the city, near the zoological garden. Because it’s very close to where I live, it’s one of my top 4 free places for working remotely in Lisbon.

This place is recommended for those, who stay in Portugal longer and they are looking for somewhere to work without having to travel to the city center.

Website

Map 

I visit these 4 places regularly. You can see me there on Wednesdays or Saturdays when I work on my lesson plans. To me ,they are an oasis of peace and quiet, where I can focus 100% on my work, which sometimes doesn’t happen when I work in a coffee shop or at home. I recommend them to everyone, who is looking for something that’s special and would like to try out a different, unsual place to work.

The post Free places for working remotely in Lisbon: My top 4 appeared first on The Blond Travels.

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Those that come to Lisbon for the first time focus more on Alfama. It doesn’t really surprise me. Alfama is very atmospheric. However, don’t focus only on that part of the city. At least one day spend in Bairro Alto, where you will find really interesting sights, beautiful buildings and many, many places to eat and drink.

I admit that I like Bairro Alto more than Alfama. For some reason, I am really attracted to that part of the city. It seems that there are lots to see there. I go there again and again to admire the architecture and to get to know the city even better.

Before you start reading, check out my comprehensive guide to your short holiday in Lisbon! You will find there everything you need for your stay in this amazing place! 

How to get to Bairro Alto?

Bairro Alto is located very close to Alfama, which is one of the most famous areas in Lisbon. The closest metro stations are Restauradores, Rossio, Cais do Sodre, or Rato. Many buses also operate to these spots from various places in the city.

Map 

How to visit Bairro Alto?

Bairro Alto is best visited by foot. I think walking, in general, is the best way of seeing Lisbon. This way you can check all the little allies, walk into wine bars, shops and just wander endlessly. As any other areas in Lisbon, Bairro Alto has an amazing history. That’s why it’s sometimes best to use a guide. If you’re after a real, local experience, hire a guide from With Locals. They only offer custom made, unique tours, which are conducted by independent guides, who actually live in the place you’re visiting. You can ask them to take you to places that are off the beaten path, eat in bars and restaurants they normally eat and ask them lots of questions about the Portuguese culture. You’re not only getting a genuine experience, but you also support the locals!

What to see in Bairro Alto?

I think there are so many places in Bairro Alto that you would run out of time to see them all. That’s why I written about those I love myself and I keep coming back there. Here are things to see in Bairro Alto:

Rossio These fountains on Rossion Square are really amazing.

Start your sightseeing from the most popular place in Lisbon. Rossio Square, which official name is Peter the 4-th Square is very beautiful and is the lively center of the city. It is also its symbol.

The name comes from the tall column of the king of Portugal, which stands in the middle. A very interesting fact is that it was supposed to be a sculpture of Maximilian the 1-st, who in the 19th century ruled Mexico. The art was ordered to be made in Portugal and then it was planned to transport it to Mexico. Unfortunately, just before it was finished, Maximilian died. Smart Portuguese didn’t want to waste good work and decided to use the monument. They announced that it’s the sculpture of Peter the 4-th and put it on a column in Rossio Square.

Map

Elevador da Bica You can see Bairro Alto quicker if you use the lifts here.

One of the attractions of Lisbon – a small tram with only one carriage, which goes up and down on the hills of the city. In the past, this used to be a very convenient way for locals to get to their homes. Today Elevador da Bica is a tourist attraction and really amazing fun for visitors. The ticket costs 3 Euro – a bit much for such a short distance, but riding one of these trams is a must thing to do in Lisbon.

Ticket: 3.70 Euro

Map

Convento do Carmo The monastery is small, but you can really fall in love with it.

This place made a big impression on me during visiting Bairro Alto. The medieval monastery of Carmelites was destroyed during the famous earthquake in 1755. Until now it hasn’t been restored and is a live proof of those events.

There is also an archeological museum in the area, where you will find very interesting artifacts. Unfortunately, they are not described and there’s no information, but it’s really worth having a look nevertheless.

Entrance: 4 Euro

Map

Elevador da Santa Justa The view from the lift.

There are really long queues at this elevator. People come here for amazing views. Elevador da Santa Justa is in every single guide book, but not many know that there’s an easier and cheaper way to get to the top. After you leave the Convento do Carmo, turn right straight away. Go up the stairs to the Bellalisa restaurant. You will find another staircase there, which lead to the entrance to the lift. From here you can get to the top for only 1.50 Euro.

Entrance: 1.50 Euro

Map Elevador da Santa Justa 

Map Bellalisa

Igresa and Museu Sao Roque The amazing ceiling in this church is a true work of art.

This little church was on my list of things to see, but I wasn’t that keen on going there. There are many churches in Lisbon and I thought it was going to be ok if I miss this one. It’s actually lucky that I went there at the end because Sao Roque is very charming and has one of the most beautiful ceilings! During my visit there was a rehearsal for a nativity scene and I couldn’t take that many photos. I was just standing there and looking up until my neck started to hurt.

Entrance: free

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Cais do Sodre You can party here, but you can also relax by the river.

Do you fancy a drink or a party, go to Cais do Sodre. At the metro station, a couple of metres in the direction of the city center, you will find a countless number of bars and the famous Pink Street. This area used to be lined with brothels and today it’s a great location for parties.

At the river, you will also find bars. I recommend K-Restaurant for a romantic evening and a glass of wine. The atmosphere there is amazing!

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Santa Catarina

If you want to watch a sunset, go to a view point. Santa Catarina is one of my favorites. You can admire the panorama of the city and the bridge. During the summer you can enjoy a free concert. Crowds gather here to drink beer and have fun until late.

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Embaixada Concept Store Embaixada is a small shopping center with a very stylish decor.

It’s one of the newest attractions in Lisbon. During your visit in Bairro Alto, don’t miss this small and very stylish shopping center. All the shops here sell handmade clothes and home decorations. The stock cannot be found anywhere else. Of course, you will have to pay a higher price for it and not everyone can afford that. However, you can still come here and admire the stores and the decor.

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Miraduro De Sao Pedro de Alcantara I really like this viewpoint for its relaxed atmosphere.

Another one of my favorite spots in the city. I really like coming here because there is a small kiosk with coffee just around the corner and there are not that many tourists, especially in the winter. I also spent the New Year’s Eve here and I recommend coming here during that time. You can party for free and admire the city.

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Jardim de Principe Real This is perfect for relaxing.

A very lovely park located near Miraduro De Sao Pedro de Alcantara and opposite Embaixada. The main attraction is a huge tree under which you can sit on a bench. It’s also a good place for families with children.

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Bairro Alto – Where to eat?

During visiting Bairro Alto you will get hungry. At the moment I am still trying different things in Lisbon and have a lot still to explore. For now I can recommend you:

Estrela da Bica

A very nice, quiet restaurant, which serves a few dishes. It’s mainly Portuguese cuisine, but you can also find some Japanese specialties. I chose to go there for Valentine’s day and I really recommend it. The food is delicious.

Website

Pharmacia

A little bit more expensive, but it’s a great idea to come here for dinner. The restaurant is located in the museum of pharmacy and the decor reflects that. During the warmer days, you can sit in a big armchair outside and admire the panorama of the city.

More information 

Nannarela Gelato

This place was recommended to me by one of my readers, who loves this little ice cream shop. I am not such a big fan of gelato, but ice cream in Nannarela are like clouds from the sky. I really recommend it to everyone who loves sweet desserts. Portions are quite big and the prices are affordable.

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Bairro Alto – Where to stay?

Dear Lisbon Charming House – beautiful rooms with a view over the city. The service is nice and breakfast really good. The price reflects the standard, so it’s only for those, who can spend a little bit more.

Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel – this nice hostel is located near the Santa Catarina viewpoint, so it’s a perfect starting point for your trips to the town.

Friendly Hills Bairro Alto – a perfect localization and amazing service. What not to like?

The post Bairro Alto: Don’t miss these places! appeared first on The Blond Travels.

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Looking for your next winter escape? Are you dreading the cold weather and dream of going somewhere nice and warm? You want to treat yourself and feel pampered, but you also want to discover something new and exciting? Why not cruising to the Caribbean? Before you say that this type of holiday isn’t for you, read the below post, which I’m sure will change your mind.

Cruising might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you haven’t been on a cruise before, you surely think twice before booking your trip, but I really believe that trying new things is a great way of keeping yourself young and interesting. The world is so small nowadays and it offers lots of exciting opportunities. Going on a cruise is really something that you should try, especially that it offers you to see a few destinations on one trip and Caribbean is surely too beautiful to see only one of them.

If you’re still not convinced if booking a cabin on a cruise ship is something you will not regret, then let me give you some food for thought. Here are 5 reasons why you should cruise to the Caribbean.

Relax and unwind in a paradise! 1. You will escape the winter

I hate cold. How about you? I just don’t like wearing layers of clothing and having to take it all off when you go inside. I much prefer wearing flip flops than big boots. That’s why I’m always on a lookout for a warm destination, where I can escape the winter.
The Caribbean is one of the warmest places in the world in December and January. The average temperatures are around 30-40 degrees with almost no rain at all! For me, that’s the best reason to cruise the Caribbean.

2. See much more than just one place

Some of us can’t afford to go on holiday a few times a year. There are also other places to see and visit and I often avoid visiting the same spots all over again. That’s why I like the idea of seeing as much as possible in one go. On a cruise, you can visit a couple of islands and experience the best what the Caribbean has to offer.

3. You can treat yourself

Choose a Caribbean Celebrity cruise to pamper and treat yourself. You can live in a luxury suite or even a villa with huge windows overlooking the ocean. You can tailor your holidays to your own needs, have a private butler and spend your time getting massages, swimming in a pool and going on adventures on exotic islands. That sounds like a dream holiday to me!

You will go once and you will not want to leave! 4. Everything’s included

Fully equipped gym with state of the art equipment? Check! Fine dining? Check! Yoga classes? Check! Waterpark? Check! Trips and excursions? Check! Beautiful rooms? Check! Do you need more? Just ask! Nowadays cruises are like little towns. They really offer everything that you need for a good holiday. It doesn’t matter if you go there to relax, or to party, you will really get what you pay for and more. This is especially important if you normally work hard and have a stressful job. Imagine that – you pay once and you don’t need to worry about anything ever again! Plus, you will sail through the most beautiful part of the world!

5. Be careful! You might not want to leave!

That’s the only downside and one reason why you should think twice before booking your cruise. After seeing all that beauty, all those beaches, crystal clear waters, and stunning landscape you might not want to go home. The Caribbean really is amazing and spending your time on a luxury cruise ship will feel like a fairy tale. It will be a great shame to leave and I am sure that as soon as you’re back home, you’ll be planning yet another excursion.

So, here you go – only 5, but solid – reasons why you should go to the Caribbean for your next holiday. I can assure you that you will have an awesome time and you will enjoy yourself. This will be a holiday of a lifetime!
It’s time to search for that best Caribbean cruise, book your ticket and pack your bags, my friend. You’re going on an epic adventure. Have fun and let me know how it was. You’re welcome!

The post 5 Reasons why you should cruise to the Caribbean appeared first on The Blond Travels.

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