Exploring Portugal – Touching Down in Lisbon & the UNESCO-Listed Sintra

A dream of intricate tiling boasting colourful florals at every turn paired with the famous cork-everything. Portugal might lie just next to Spain but it is a world away from being Spanish. Touching down on my European travels in Portugal’s capital city I uncovered just what exactly this amazing place had to offer with it even featuring in my top 5 cities to explore. Read on for more of what I got up to in this incredible city.

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Feasting on Pasteis de Belem

Situated just outside of the centre, Belem is home to endless grand buildings and a breath-taking waterfront. Whilst you are here, it would be a crime not to sample the world-famous Pasteis de Belem. Grab a box to-go and enjoy your feast sat on the stone steps of the waterfront overlooking an intriguing tower that seems to float on the water. Those looking for a good place to snap away will have no end of sights to explore here with a giant globe printed on to the ground, perfect for those looking to plot out their future ‘to-visit’ spots.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sintra

Bathed in ethereal palaces of varying colours and styles, the Sintra is a wonderland of aristocratic architecture with castles and meandering gardens galore. Absolutely captivating by day, we got caught out in some fog whilst exploring the castle, making for a truly breath-taking spectacle as we saw it emerging splendidly from the mist.

The People

Amazingly friendly and always happy to help, the Portuguese people will go out of their way to get you where you need to be, especially if you make the effort to learn one or two phrases before you go. I got away with one or two mixed in with some Spanish but aim to clue myself up on a few more before the next time I visit. Sat down in a cafe, I had a lovely older gentleman who didn’t speak a word of English, try and teach me his language. He was so happy to share his culture with someone visiting. As the world’s eight-largest producer of wine (and 50% of the world’s cork), you’ll never fall short of a glass or two to enjoy with the locals.

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The Trams and More

Walking the colourful streets of Lisbon, these iconic trams will cross your path more than once or twice. Whilst you can probably get around without them with the metro being super handy for stop-off points, they are a notable feature of Lisbon’s metropolitan atmosphere and make for some quirky shots. Book-lovers should definitely make time to head to the world’s oldest bookstore in continuous operation, Livraria Bertrand, for an absolute haven of a store. Those after a good read will certainly not fall short in this city with its endless supply of second-hand book shops around every corner.

Looking for more? Click the button below for more wanderlust-worthy destination guides or check this post out for a helpful infographic of my favourite city destinations.

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