Portugal was one of the nations that I always wanted to visit, one of those countries that I always heard really good things about it, great food, great weather, cheap prices and more nice food.
So last October (I know, it was a while ago), myself, my lovely girlfriend and a couple of good friends decided to go there for the bank holiday weekend to check if all the above things were real or maybe just a very complicate plan to trick tourist to visit their country and when you get there everything is expensive, the place is awful and the only restaurant is McDonalds or a Jamie Oliver’s restaurant (which is not good for me).
Fortunately most of the things I heard were true, so many great restaurants with very good food at reasonable price, I even went to a Michelin starred restaurant one evening and I had a great dinner for a price that it’s what you normally pay on a decent restaurant here in Dublin. We also tried the world famous Pastéis de Nata, an egg tart pastry, which is rather popular in Portugal, and I see why, as it’s super delicious and damn cheap and I have no photos of them simple because they couldn't last long enough.
So for the food we are good here, but what about the city?
Well, I can’t say it’s awful, you can see beautiful decorated buildings almost everywhere, and some places are simply stunning architecturally speaking, Belem or the city center are simply beautiful, the Vasco De Gama and the 25th of April bridges are impressive, and if you are a photographer like me, just get lost in the streets of the city and start pressing the button of your camera, or better, take the trams, an experience you cannot miss in Lisbon!
But, like any other southern european cities, and probably even because of the economic situation that Portugal is living, or at least was living when I visited, and maybe because it was low season, it was not extremely clean, and it was like some of the infrastructures were built in the 80s and then nobody cared about it since then, a overall sense of decadence, apart the most touristic places. And it is a shame, as that city has a lot of potential, a lot of beautiful buildings left almost in ruins, not far off the city center.
But some people find fascinating a city like this, and maybe I don’t like simply because I generally prefer northern european cities, and for example my friend loved Lisbon sense of decay, but me? Not much.
Apart from that I would recommend to see this city, it has some downsides, but it also has a lot to offer, and you can visit easily in a long weekend.
As usual you can see some of the best pictures I took down here, while here you can find the full set.