We were greeted by our Airbnb host with a bottle of wine and pastéis de data (Portuguese egg tarts). It was such a nice gesture and set the scene for what we were about to experience during our stay in Lisbon - very friendly people and wonderful hospitality.
I absolutely loved the colourful and tiled buildings that line the hills of Lisbon (which our tushes and calves did not enjoy). It was also quite affordable and we enjoyed indulging in traditional Portuguese dishes (although we did end up eating Indian twice, after finding an awesome 'hole in the wall' spot with incredible, authentic food). I know, I know...we go all the way to Portugal to eat curry. But the heart wants what it wants...or should I say the stomach craves what it craves...
The highlight of this portion of our European adventure for me, however, was travelling to Sintra, which was about a 40-minute train ride from Lisbon. To avoid being packed into a shuttle bus like sardines, we decided to wander the quaint town and take our time deciding whether or not the hike up to the Moors Castle and Pena Palace was worth it (spoiler: it was). The word hike became quite literal as we were directed to a pedestrian hiking trail up to the top of Sintra, which certainly lacked the tourist crowds we were desperate to avoid. It was a pleasant surprise as we enjoy being active and love being outdoors, but man was it a workout!
Dev actually made a comment that the experience should be a 'bucket list' item because the views were absolutely incredible and the trail was surrounded by green trees, tropical plants and waterfalls. At times it felt like we were walking through a jungle. It took us about 45 minutes but our prize at the top was the Castelo dos Mouros, a medieval castle with even better views of the town and Atlantic Ocean. An additional 30 minute hike from there was the Palacio da Pena, a brightly coloured, (OTT) Romantacist castle and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It's basically in the clouds!
Despite getting sunburnt and feeling exhausted, our day in Sintra was one I'll remember forever.
Check out the rest of these photos from our time in Lisbon:
Day 1: Wandering Lisbon & Castelo de Sao Jorge
Castelo de Sao Jorge from a distance
Day 2: Sintra - Castelo dos Mouros (Moors Castle) and Pena Palace
We hiked all the way up to the top!
Apparently I have a thing with doors...
Day 3: Ponto Final
A quick search on the trusty Internet pointed us to Ponto Final, a traditional Portuguese restaurant located across the river in Almada. We took a quick ferry ride there to eat lunch while sitting on the restaurant's patio, which provided beautiful views of Lisbon.
Man sharpening knives powered by bicycle
We (our stew) made a friend!
It's hard to believe we've been back for more than two weeks already. The travel bug has bitten me hard and I can't wait to plan our next trip. The question is...where should we go?!