This is the first in a three part series about a trip I recently took to Portugal. I went with one of my best friends, Sophie, for three days to Lisbon and also explored the surrounding area. Hopefully it will give some ideas for a long weekend itineary and some must see/tips if you’re planning on going there! Just for the record – Lisbon (or Lisboa as locals call it) is an amazing city and definitely now one of my top ten favourite places I’ve ever been.
We started the trip by flying from London Gatwick to Portugal with Easyjet. Although both of our flights (there and back) were delayed, the actual flight and service was smooth and pleasant. I took some photos and will do a review super soon but in the meanwhile here’s Sophie trying to escape the madness of people (can you spot her?).
After landing we took the metro (which is really easy to use – only four lines) to our hotel and checked in/freshened up etc. As we arrived just after midday we wanted to do something easy for our first day and headed to Parque das Nações. It was definitely an eye opener for our first ‘experience’ of Lisbon. The area is in the north of the city and further away from the main hustle and bustle. It was recently renovated and is the newest, most shiny part of town. It was like walking into a show room with everything being immaculate and made out of the most modern metals and marble. Water features are round every bend as well as fine art sculptures and architecture. It didn’t feel ‘Portuguese’, for all I know we could’ve been in England or Australia but it was very clean and pleasant. There was a large shopping mall with chain stores and boutique designer shops as well as many restaurants and cafes.
The most recommended attraction in the area though is the Oceanario de Lisboa. I’m not normally a zoo/aquarium person but this is one of my top picks to go see! You just walk through the mall towards the river and turn right to get there.
There are temporary exhibits but the main section is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s essentially one large tank in the middle of a huge room and you walk around it getting a 360 degrees view. At each corner there’s a brief outdoor section that has sea creatures related to certain climates/oceans as a breather from the main tank. These include penguins and otters and puffins (I got some really cute photos below). The main fish tank is ridiculous and there are tons of spots to just sit and watch the fish go by. Inside it the main ‘attractions’ include sharks, large rays and a huge ocean sunfish (who we nicknamed Oooooo). You can easily spend several hours sitting down by the tank and literally watch time swim by.
You might have seen in Sophie’s video (see previous post) that we also went on a cable car. It’s just a ten minute ride along the promenade and costs little. It’s more a convenience factor to avoid walking haha but the views are stunning and it’s good to get a birds eye look at the area.
Afterwards we got some dinner and then headed to bed (early start the next day!). Coming up we go on a tour around the outskirts of Lisbon and see a harry potter meets lord of the rings garden and watch some world cup action!