Jesus, it’s been a LONG time since I did a post. Not intentionally, I’ve just been burrowed away working my ass off for the whole year and have finally got some much much needed quiet time.
I’ve been meaning to do so many posts about work, life and a trip to Italy I took with my mum in May but here we are with Portugal. From the 4th to the 7th of October Mikee and I were in Setúbal and from the 7th to the 11th in Lisbon. I’ve split this into two posts to save you from scrolling through a million photos.
HOW WE GOT THERE:
We flew good ol’ Ryan Air out there and back – from Stansted to Lisbon. I think the flights cost about £80 per person with one piece of luggage between the two of us.
It was super easy to get to Stansted and back – tube to Liverpool Street and then a train out. They seem pretty frequent and I believe you can get a coach or a bus if your flight is at an awkward time.
HOW WE GOT AROUND:
WALKING – Wear good walking shoes. There is a lot to see, a lot to explore, lots of great views and LOTS of hills. It was almost like going to San Francisco again.
TRAIN – We got the train to Setúbal from Entrecampos in Lisbon. It cost €8 for a return ticket + 50c for the physical ticket too. The journey there took about an hour and half… It is a 40min drive but we don’t drive.
We also got the train out to Belém from Cais do Sodre which took ten mins, although we walked back and it took two hours!
And the train out from Rossio to Sintra and back which took 40mins, both journeys didn’t cost more than €4 I believe.
METRO – We used the metro a couple of times during our stay, it seemed to work pretty well and was a quick way to get around. Very easy to navigate the four lines as well. We did get an Aerobus which cost €8 the first journey from the airport, however we really could have just got the Metro from the airport to the station we needed. I think a single journey on the metro costs around €1.60 plus the cost of the card which you can top up. We ended up with about three cards – not sure how the loading of money works for different journeys as it didn’t seem like you could use one card for both the mainline trains plus the metro. That was confusing as they all look the same.
TUK TUK – They’re literally everywhere. We got one in Sintra to get to the top of a hill. I think the costs of these vary and you could probably haggle.
BOAT & CAR – We went on a boat trip to see Dolphins in Setúbal on our second day which cost €35 each. And Our Airbnb host picked us up in her car in Setúbal which we were really grateful for after a day of travel.
We stayed in two Airbnb’s, one in Setúbal and one in Alfama in Lisbon. Both of the apartments we stayed in were in the older parts of each city, though Setúbal felt quite like a seaside town.
The Airbnb in Setúbal was amazing. We had the loveliest host, she was so on it with arranging things with us and as mentioned above she came and met us from the station which was great. The apartment itself was small but so well designed that it felt spacious, there was a good amount of stuff in the kitchen so we ended up cooking together a lot. The bathroom was compact but the shower had great pressure and it was well lit. Overall it just felt clean and calm. There was a restaurant literally outside the front door and dogs that were hanging out on their balconies along the road so it was a little noisy but we really had such a nice stay there. It was £35 a night so if we ever go back we’ll definitely look to stay here again.
In Lisbon we stayed in Alfama which is the historical district of Lisbon. Alfama was really nice, very hilly and small winding paths so it felt like a little labyrinth. The apartment was a bit basic – they only had one mug for example, but we mostly used it as a base for sleeping and then spent our time exploring. When we arrived we were shown the apartment and given some pastel de nata which was sweet. It was just above a Fado restaurant, so we had some people singing and playing traditional Portugese music until midnight all nights except Sunday, so this place wouldn’t be for early to bed people. The airbnb cost £50 a night which was good but bit steep as I’d seen some nice places for less, I just hadn’t booked them in time ’cause I was super busy.
DAY ONE : BEACH DAY
We had technically arrived the day before but only had enough time and energy to go and get food and cook before passing out. So let’s call this the first day. We made ourselves a breakfast and then had a little adventure to Pingo Doce the supermarket to get some supplies for our beach day. We’ve both been working quite hard (I had literally just delivered work for a big deadline the day before leaving) so a proper chill day was on the cards. We made our way to the closest beach. Setúbal actually has a beach that was voted the most beautiful in Europe this year, we absolutely would have loved to have gone there but unfortunately it was too far for us to walk to. Maybe one day we’ll be able to drive. We managed to walk to Praia de Alberquel. We took Polaroids, chatted, ate pastel de nata, and picnic food, watched people, boats and paddle boarders. We attempted to swim, collected tiny shells and soaked up some vitamin D – we were super lucky as they had a heatwave and it was about 30degrees every day… We also witnessed a man sunbathing behind a curtain but we were privvy to his bare back side – delightful. We walked back after the sun started going down, had a little shower and went to the restaurant in front of our airbnb for food. The food was good and affordable, there was a lot of it, our eyes when ordering were definitely too big for our stomachs!
DAY TWO : EXPLORING, SAILING & DOLPHIN WATCHING
I had seen that dolphin watching was something that you could do there as Setúbal is home to a pod of around 26 dolphins that live in the wild. We hadn’t managed to pre-book so we wandered down to the harbour and found a place that luckily had a service going out in the afternoon that wasn’t full (hooray for going in off season), we booked to go on it and went to find some breakfast. We stopped by Moscatel de Setúbal Experience, ordered some fresh pastel de nata (more Portugese egg custard tarts), Mikee got a coffee and I had a freshly made pear juice which was amazing. The staff were super friendly too. We wandered around the city centre, up little alleys and found a good viewpoint before walking back to the harbour where we managed to find a food truck next to a tall ships festival. We had a look around one of the ships, ordered some fresh chips which were the best chips we’ve both had in a long time. And went to our meeting point for the dolphin tour.
The dolphin tour was amazing. Highly recommended. We were on a catamaran which had nets to relax on at the front. They spent about 30mins watching the dolphins so as not to bother them or to overly pollute the water there, and then they sailed up the coast for about an hour before heading back. In the pod there was a 50 year old dolphin and three new dolphins – 2 were a couple of months old and the other one was only 7days old at the time. It was tiny. The guide told us there are only three pods like this in Europe living wild, the other two are in Scotland and Ireland, so we might have to go on an adventure closer to home. The journey up the coast was lovely and relaxing. I just sat and listened to music, while enjoy the sunshine, Mikee had a little nap on one of the nets. When we got back we went and got more chips – they were just too good, we wandered around the centre a little more before calling it a day.
DAY THREE : LISBON EXPLORING
We got up early again, sorted out our stuff, had some food and went to get the train from Setúbal back to Lisbon. We checked into our second apartment after walking up a lot of hills, and then set off to explore again. We decided to wander around Alfama as that’s where we were staying, we found some views. We then wandered to Fábrica Coffee Roasters as we’d heard good things, Mikee got to enjoy some coffee and I got some pastel de nata to take away. We then went to see the sunset from Park bar, it was quite busy so we left pretty soon after but it looked like it would have been a nice place to hang out. I really fancied a burger for dinner (so adventurous) so we found a place close by that had a veggie burger option. Weirdly some teenage girl who was dining in the restaurant came up to me and spoke to me in Portugese really quickly, before going and sitting down with her family again, and I have no idea what that was about.
So that’s that the first half of the trip! Read part two of our little guide to Lisbon here.