Where I stayed and where I explored
I got home in the early hours of yesterday morning and I wanted to share with you solo travel experience of the charming city of Lisbon. In this post, I am going to share all of the pretty places that I explored. If you are a fellow solo travelling female and looking for a fun city to explore than I recommend this city. I thankfully had no issues and I found the local people really friendly and polite. I found the public transport easy to navigate around and I found some amazing places to explore. I also have put together a Vlog if you want to check it out and you can see the beautiful city of Lisbon for yourself.
Where I stayed
Lisbon is a really popular city with tourists and there aren’t a lot of hotels. I stayed in the Baixa Tile Blue by LU holidays apartment, you can find it here. This apartment had two bedrooms and would easily fit 2-4 people comfortably. The location was amazing as it was central to most tram an bus lines. It was also only a short 5 min walk to the Rossio train station. The decor of this apartment was fab! I loved the blue tiles. My only one annoyance was the bathroom! You know how I hate mouldy shower seals, well, there was some mouldy shower seals and although the overall decor of the apartment was fab, it could do with some freshening up. It was clean, tidy and the hosts were super efficient and friendly.
Here are some other hotels that I thought were nice if you are thinking of booking a trip. I booked my hotel through booking.com
Where I explored
When I first arrived I dumped my bags in my apartment and I went out to explore my neighbourhood. Lisbon is known for its steep hills and steps but there are lots of trams and buses to take you to were you want to go. I walked a lot on my trip to Lisbon and I started off by exploring the old town of Alfama. There were lots of quaint side streets and places to get lost and explore around Alfama. I ventured up the church to take in the amazing view. I also stumbled across a flea market behind the church and I overheard a tour guide saying that the market takes place on a Saturday and Tuesday. There are loads of markets around Lisbon on different days so don’t worry if you miss one. I was able to pick up loads of Portuguese china which I was delighted with. For €20 I got a massive look of fine bone china.
The area where my apartment was called Baixa. This is really central and from here you can walk to Bairro Alto. I got the funicular from Ascensor Da Bica. This is one of the more photogenic trams that go uphill and really fun to hop on. The cost is also covered in your public transport day ticket.
I wanted to see the infamous Pink St. I had seen pictures of this on Instagram and I wanted to see it for myself. Pink St is actually quite a dirty st. At the time of visiting they had just repainted the st. There are lots of bars along here and I recommend visiting during the day. From Pink St, it is a quick walk to the entrance of Ascensor Da Bica if you want to get the funicular.
If you want to get a tasty Portuguese pastry ( Pastel de nata ) then there are loads of places to visit. One of the popular places to visit is Manteigaria. This is in Bairro Alto and really easy to find on google maps. These are delicious! I also got the ones from the infamous Pasteis de Belem. I was hooked on them! There around €1 for one and most places will do a box of 6.
I visited the Timeout market for some dinner. I got a boat trip down from Balem and the boat left me near the Timeout market. In here you will find loads of stalls and options for food and drink. A really casual and relaxed vibe. I ate in lots of places, mainly the ones on the side streets ran by the locals. I didn’t go to the popular ones as the queues were so long and full of annoying tourists trying to the get perfect Instagram shot so instead I favoured the smaller local restaurants. The food was amazing value. I also didn’t find it awkward eating solo, most of the restaurants have the option to sit outside so I would have some sangria and do some people watching. I find Tripadvisor really good at finding cute places to eat or explore when I am travelling.
A lot of people head to Balem to see the Balem tower and taste the infamous Pasteis de Balem. It is a gorgeous town to spend the afternoon exploring. You can catch an Uber but I chose to take the tram. I took the number 15 tram and got off in Balem. From Balem I hopped on a boat back up to the centre of Lisbon. It is a long walk from the centre to Balem so I recommend the tram or getting a taxi. Make sure to get a pastry! They are delicious.
Sintra is such a magical place. I remember watching a cooking programme with Rick Stein and he was walking around Sintra. Since watching that I really wanted to visit. I hopped on the train from Rossio train station to Sintra. The train was only €5 return. There is more to see in Sintra than just the castle. As it is really spread out I decided to get on one of the tour buses. There was loads of tourists and the queues for the buses can be really long so try and visit at an off-peak time. I first stopped at Quinta da Regaleira, I spent a good hour exploring the woods and views from this magical place. You can also go inside and there is a coffee shop if you want to have a pit stop. I then stopped at the most western point of mainland Europe which is Cabo da Roca. I stopped here to have my lunch and take in the amazing views. The views are breathtaking and I just sat on the cliff and took it all in. I then headed to the main attraction which is Pena Palace. This colourful castle really is a must see. It gets really busy with tourists so do try and get their early. A lot of people try and do Sintra and Cascais in the one day. There is so much to see in Sintra that I would recommend giving it the full day, there were places that I missed that I would love to go back and see. I missed out on the gardens at Monseratte and I really want to see the Chalet da Condessa too. I spent the whole day in Sintra and finished off my day trip with a glass of Sangria in the centre of Sintra. I also picked up some more handcrafted porcelain too. I then headed back to the train station and into Lisbon.
Walking photo tour
A great way to meet people when solo travelling is to go on walking tours and trips. I went on a four-hour walking photography tour with Miguel from lisbonphoto.com. I learnt more on this walking tour about photography than I ever had. He explained my camera setting to me and I left with more ideas for composition and setting up my camera. This was one of the highlights of my trip. We walked through old town Alfama and it was great to see the locals and how they live. I am also so pleased with the photos I took on this trip.
Some things to note
The streets to Lisbon have lots of cobbles and can be narrow, I noticed a lot of tourists struggling with their suitcases and lugging them up hills. Just be mindful and try and pack a bit lighter. The streets are also narrow, especially around Alfama. If you are renting a car then you may be restricted by the car parking so do your research before arriving. The local currency is Euro and overall the city is a really good value compared to other European cities. Queues in Sintra for the hop on hop off buses were long and people were often left waiting, if you are a large group then maybe book with a private tour. There are lots of tuk-tuks flying around offering personal tours. Like all big cities, there are issues with pickpockets especially on trams and in the usual hotspots. Thankfully I had no issues and I found the city to be safe overall. Lisbon is much safer than the likes of Paris and I didn’t feel unsafe as a solo female traveller.
I hope you found this post informative. Let me know if you are planning a trip to Lisbon or if you have been then let me know what was your favourite place? Don’t forget to check out my Vlog on my youtube channel also!
Thanks for reading,
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