I don’t actually like planning. But I do like exploring and getting to know what a city can offer. So when planning the best lissabon trip, what I do is just open up Google maps and start zooming in on and exploring the different areas. Screw tripadvisor, that website has never told me anything interesting. I search in my favourite keywords, like coffee, vegan, market, vegetarian, and start adding beautiful areas. I zoom in on castles and look at pictures to get a feel of an area. I don’t want to plan or lock myself in or commit myself to do something on a particular day. To me, weather, time, and my gut feeling in the situation matters more. If you are like me in this, start soft planning your vacations. To soft plan means to write down things you can do and how you could do them, but without committing to do it.
I look up ticket prices and use Google Maps pins feature to the fullest. Stars for high interest locations like bookstores, music, and social events, hearts for cozy cafes and restaurants, and flags for historical points and beautiful places. I told you all that I struggle with travelling. I am a highly sensitive person and I get easily overwhelmed and anxious in new situations. But I am really really enjoying this trip.
Yeah, there is way more to do in Lissabon than what a three day trip could ever give you.
The best planning for your perfect Lissabon trip
The best start is probably the castle, that will give you a nice view over the entire city. A recommendation is the gelateria just by the castle area: Gelateria Portuguesa where you get great sorbets and ice creams as well as the famous de Natas. After that, we would head down to the port. What I have to learn is a balance between planning and my normal style.
I want planning to avoid being bored or getting stuck waiting for a tram or finding a way home, and I want to make sure there is a nice restaurant or cafe nearby just in case you get hungry. But the most important thing is to just take time to enjoy the view. Its not about seeing the most, its about enjoying it as much as possible. Take time to admire the view, take some nice pictures together, make some memories. Watch the people. Wonder about where they are from. Think about how they live.
Lissabon is meant for walking
Sure, take the tram or metro once or twice if you are up for it, but Lissabon is meant for walking. The hills may sound heavy at first but a day or two in and it gets a lot easier. I get overwhelmed by the overly full trams and its not worth the wait. I try to hit the right areas when its less busy and if something is too busy, we would rather leave and look somewhere else. Not worth standing in line and sweating if it just brings you unnecessary stress and makes you exhausted. Vacations are meant to be relaxing and enjoying.
Today, we are going to go check out Belem and the LxFactory, a big market area. Today, we are cooking in. A vacation should also have elements of what you like to do at home: if you like to cook, you should also be able to do that on your vacation. If you like watching netflix in the evening, you should also do that on your holiday. If you like reading books, why not head down the park or find a nice reading spot and sit down for a few hours? Take advantage of the many amazing viewing spots in Lissabon. Yesterday, we sat down for three hours at a cafe near the Panoramic Elevator “Restauranto Ponto Final”. To get there, just pay 1,5 euro for a single fare ferry ticket. Takes 20 minutes to cross the ferry, and then you can just walk there along the coastline.
Be yourself during your Lissabon vacation
I am a philosopher, so I am always just walking down my head full with thoughts and questions. Thats true for this lissabon vacation as well. I am still walking around, my head buzzing with ideas. I get the most ideas on the move, on the train, on the tram or just when I am walking about. Some things about travelling fit my personality type perfectly: I get a lot of energy from interacting with people and studying them and thinking about where they are from. Travel is perfect for introspection. It gives you a lot of new things to process and teaches you a lot about people. People are the same more or less anywhere you go in the world, but there is always something a little new. What do you love about travelling and what makes travelling worth it for you? Think about that when you go on your next vacation.