By Seth Fera-Schanes
Getting to Lisbon from New York is relatively easy with jetBlue and TAP airline’s new partnership. I opted to spend an initial 48 hours to familiarize myself with the city before moving on to my other destination.
Lisbon is made up of distinct neighborhoods. I stayed in Alfama which is the oldest and located by a number of historic places such as the Sao Jorge Castle. The area is hilly and requires a special mention.
Imagine a place where you walk up a hill to get to your destination. You would think the reverse direction on the way back down would be easy, right? Wrong. Lisbon is seemingly uphill both ways. Not sure how this is possible but get ready for some strong calf muscles when you leave.
The benefit of this terrain is numerous opportunities for evening drinks overlooking the city and watching the sunset.
I used a combination of walking, local metro and uber. My goal was to get a feel for the city and I averaged 10 miles walking each day (for the duration of the trip.) If I got a little tired and wasn’t close to a subway station, I hopped in a car services which averaged 3-5 euros per trip. Compared to NYC this was a deal.
The subway requires a special mention. Clean, consistent, affordable and covers everything within the city and will even take you to your day trip destinations. Really impressed. Food:
Why do we travel? Family and/or food. It’s simple as that and Portugal has everything I like: fish, pork and custard desserts. Be prepared for a lot of salted cod, whole grilled sardines, breakfast pastry with slices of ham and pastel de nata.
I booked 2 nights at a hotel/apartment which had a kitchen and little dining room table. A regular hotel or airbnb are also great options but have a fairly large price range. I prefer to invest my travel funds on food and activities so my hotel criteria is really cleanliness. My place was super clean, centrally located. I actually started spending a lot less as the trip progressed but I wanted to have a place my first couple nights.
Put Sintra on your list when you visit Portugal. About an hour outside Lisbon on light rail, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a perfect day trip. You can walk around the city and visit the Moorish Castle. However, at the top of the mountain is the Pena Palace. It’s way over the top (think cartoon fantasy castle) but really cool and the views are worth the trek up the mountain. To get there you can take a 5 euro round trip bus ride or pay a local 10 euros each way (per person in your group.) Your call, but I took the bus.
Categories: Escape from New York: Extended Travel