*My time in Lisbon was sponsored by i-escape Hotels
As many of you already know, my favourite city in the world is Lisbon. I miss it dearly when I’m not there and spend most of my time counting down to when I’ll be back, so when I spent two weeks in Portugal in August, of course we spent time in the city!
We hadn’t spoken much about our plans before coming back to the city because we were more chilled out and relaxed about this visit, we’ve mostly seen and done it all in Lisbon by now so spending time in Lisbon is now something we do to relax, we like to stroll through the streets, find somewhere to sit and drink and obviously, shop.
Time seems to pass me by quite quickly whenever I’m in Portugal, it’s also when I feel the most in the moment. I’m not distracted, I’m present and I feel at my most comfortable. Coming back is always a pleasure, and there’s always tons to do and lots of sunbathing to be had.
I’ve been thinking about doing a “final” guide of sorts, this will not be my last visit to Portugal but I do feel like we’ve done everything that can be done in and around Lisbon without beating the same drum, however now we do have a new place to recommend for you to stay at, everything on the itinerary was very samey. Not that I’m complaining though, there’s nothing wrong with visiting the same places twice or thrice.
When we were spending time in the city, we stayed at The Independente Suites, I didn’t know what to completely expect from this hostel because I’ve never stayed in one before, and when we normally come to Lisbon we stay in AirBnB’s, but I’ve been doing my research and have learned about how the people of Lisbon aren’t great fans of AirBnB, I’ve found entire websites dedicated to talking about how the service is taking away from the city and although it promises a more authentic homely experience, you’re missing out on the true hospitality of Lisbon.
I have to agree with the latter point, staying in this hostel meant we were treated to incredible hospitality, the staff in the hostel were probably the friendliest that I’ve ever come across anywhere, not just in Lisbon. They were all happy to help and to guide us through, they answered any questions and all seemed happy to be at their job. In the morning you’re invited upstairs to the rooftop to enjoy breakfast with a view, we obviously took advantage of it and one employee in particular stood out to both me and to Pedro, we didn’t catch her name but she told us that she baked the cakes that were being served all by herself, she danced and sang as she worked, made conversation with guests and didn’t stop smiling the entire time.
But let’s talk about the hostel itself. The building is located very centrally in Lisbon, you’re basically at the top end of Bairro Alto right on the street of one of my favourite viewpoints in the city, from the balcony you can hear buskers and chatter amongst the street which was by far my favourite feature, as I stepped out and enjoyed the view, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be stood there. The room was also incredible. It was very me, too. Something we both noted. The vibe felt very “hipster” and dabbled between traditional Portuguese interiors and more modern quirks such as the coffee machine and posters.
One of favourite features in the hostel is the teeny-tiny lift, we used it to get to our room more than once because when you’re walking in the city of seven hills, a staircase is the last thing you feel like climbing. It could barely fit us both inside, we thought it was so funny and so quirky and it’s pretty hidden too, it looks just like a regular closet until you open it up and behold: an elevator.
The restaurant inside the hostel which is also located where you have breakfast in the morning serves mostly traditional Portuguese food, we all know that I’m a picky eater (erm, picky eaters guide anybody?) but I really wanted to use every service the hostel had to offer so that I could really experience it, so I decided that we were going to eat there. Now: there’s two restaurants, one inside the hostel which as I said, is on the rooftop, and next door where you check in. We looked at both menus and I do think that the menu inside the restaurant next door looked nicer, but we stayed inside the hostel and went to the rooftop to enjoy their cuisine.
Because of my pickiness I did have to send my meal back to get the meat cooked juuust a little bit more, I’d already eaten around the meat and had all of the vegetables, so when it came back they actually gave me a totally fresh plate which I was surprised by! I ate it all and really enjoyed the food, it was something different and out of my comfort zone, these are the type of things that I want to do more of in life, so I was happy to make a good start at the hostel!
For easy booking for your trip to Lisbon to stay in The Independente Suites or anywhere else, I recommend using i-escape. This is a service designed to make finding a place to stay during your visit to anywhere in the world, easier and hassle free. i-escape help you find boutique hotels which otherwise, are quite difficult to find anywhere else and they’re obviously not just limited to Portugal, they have so many hotels available in many destinations around the globe. For those of you with kids as well, they have specialised a collection for kid friendly hotels and hostels, so it couldn’t get any easier to find your perfect hotel.
So… what did we get up to?
We filled our time in Lisbon with some more touristy sight seeing that I hadn’t yet gotten around to doing, but we found ourselves in a situation that I’ve been here so much that I’ve pretty much seen it all, and as I said, this led to a more relaxed and easy visit. Staying in once or twice didn’t feel like a waste of a day, and when we did go out, we savoured it.
So, we went to the movies twice, once to see Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and the new Spiderman movie, loved both and left the cinema feeling thrilled both times, and then of course, with access to a car means access to the cooler more niche restaurants that are slightly more difficult to get to, we ate at The Fifties once, I’m writing up a separate post all about them because I enjoyed their food that much and think it deserves a picky eater spot, but if you know how to get here and don’t need my review to convince you: this was my favourite meal of the trip and I think you should go.
We also spent time outside of Lisbon, we went to Aveiro and had a canal tour on a boat, both of us were getting a bit stressed though because it got so busy, it’s high season so there were toursits absolutely everywhere, we found parking to be a nightmare and walking around was slow and crazy hot. But I’m glad we went, it was something new for me and I did like it, I find the smaller towns tend to be the most interesting, but I’d like to come back at a lower season when it’s less busy.
The trip this time felt more centred on relaxing and winding down though; we did a lot of driving to nowhere and sitting around having a drink and a snack which was much needed for me because I’ve been feeling worn down as of late with work, I wanted the time off to rejuvenate and relax.
The one thing that we did though that I probably wouldn’t want to do again if we go back soon is another palace walk, I’m definitely at the point now where I can say once you’ve seen a handful you’ve seen them all, the only feature we haven’t experienced before is a maze-like garden, but I was at the point of, “How many palaces before one is completely unique?” and so we left earlier than anticipated and had a long drive instead which was super super fun!
I’ll miss Lisbon once again, I always do and I always long to come back but perhaps my next visit will be a while away now, time will tell.