We are going to Portugal
It all started three years ago with a picture on Pinterest. I set up a “to visit” board there and with the thought “dreaming is not harmful” added a magical view of some Portuguese beach to it. It turned out, really, not harmful – so I dreamed up to the best vacation in my life.
As a result of long discussions, a preliminary plan was formed: in a couple of days to have time to say “Ola!” To Lisbon, take a look at the surroundings and move south, where a village house was waiting for us. And the ocean.
How to go?
We flew from Moscow to Lisbon with a direct and convenient evening Transaero flight.
It turned out to be expensive, but I really did not want to lose the time of vacation for transplants due to dubious savings. Unfortunately, flying from Moscow to anywhere costs about the same cost. Travel time is about 5.5 hours. Tickets for a direct flight during the peak season for two round-trip cost us approximately € 600.
By the way, the Lisbon airport is located right in the city and it is a special adventure to fly low-low over the roofs of houses.
At the airport, a brand new white Fiat 500 was already waiting for us like a marshmallow – the perfect car for parking in narrow European streets and, as it turned out later, very busy parking lots by the beaches. We rented cars in advance through the site autoeurope.com. When they left, they handed it over there at the airport. Very comfortably.
From the airport we went to visit our friends, who immediately at dinner helped us plan the route for the next three days: Lisbon – Sintra – Cape Roca – Peniche – Berlengas Island.
Lisbon: speed dating
Having almost one day at our disposal, from Lisbon we wanted everything at once. That is why we began our acquaintance with the city in a bird-like manner – we climbed to the highest points of the city and examined the beauty. The most postcard views – from the observation deck of the castle of St. George. To get to it is best on the landmark tram number 28. For a couple of stops you have time to feel the flavor of Lisbon and even consider millions of options for the same ceramic tiles, which almost every house is faced with here.
And from the heights all the power of the Tagus River was revealed to us, which tourists invariably take for the ocean. This wide river is connected by two famous bridges. The first is the April 25 bridge, which closely resembles the Golden Gate of San Francisco, and the second is the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest in Europe and also a handsome man.
Another great way to stare all over Lisbon at once is the Elevador di Santa Justa elevator, a neo-Gothic lift that connects, like floors, multi-level city streets.
After walking along the hills and drinking coffee with pastéis de nata national cream cake, we made an unexpected maneuver – like small children, we went to the Oceanarium. Who knew that visiting this place would be the main impression of the day.
Thousands of miracles awaited us inside – sea bastards, incredible fish and marvelous underwater jungle. We were surprised at every step: how incredible it is that all this exists in the world, it is alive, and now it is at arm’s length from us.
To digest childhood experiences, we, as adults, went to one of the many fado bars. They say that in order to understand the soul of a Portuguese, you need to listen to fado – a special style of Portuguese music, like Russian romance, but only sadness in fado is bright. There are a lot of bars like that, go into any – you won’t be mistaken. If you don’t understand the local soul, then you will begin to sort out the port accurately. Port in Portugal is a topic for a separate guide. The main thing about him I can say one thing – he is always good, even the cheapest for € 3-5.
Nowhere to Go: Sintra and Cape of Doom
The next day we went on a short trip around Lisbon: Sintra – Praia Grande – Cape Roca.
It would be completely inadmissible to miss Sintra – a city located just 23 km from the capital, with its famous monasteries, magnificent castles, mansions of all stripes and architectural whims, generously paid by rich people from all over the world.
Life hack: in no case do you need to go to Sintra on Saturday or Sunday – you and your car simply cannot find a place there.
If you, like ours, have one day on Sintra, you will have to choose: you will not cover everything at a time. Our choice was fairly obvious, but still extreme: we decided to climb to the very top – in the castle of the Moors. After the climb, my legs ached, but the reward was generous – we had absolutely incredible views, including the fantastic Pena Palace. I know that for one paragraph a lot of enthusiastic epithets came out, but believe me – these are the most modest words to describe what they saw. You are a princess in the middle of a fairy tale, this is the main impression of Sintra. And it only intensified during a visit to the next palace – Quinta and Regaleira. Grottoes, labyrinths, fountains, Masonic signs everywhere – the triumph of romanticism and mysticism. We were especially impressed by the “Well of Initiation” – a spiral well with arches, occupying nine levels, each of which symbolizes the Dante circle.