Sleeping Beauty's Castle

If you´d like to visit Disneyland gone dark, you certainly need to visit Sintra. This World Heritage site helds some of the most incredible castles I've ever seen. 

There´s plenty to do in this town (which by the way, is only an hour away from Lisboa, on the train): exquisite palaces to visit, extravagant residences and decorative gardens to admire and astonishing beaches to relax at about 20 minutes away.  

The sights are spread across the hills of the region, and there are a series of challenging hiking trails, so if you are not very sporty, hold your breath. 

As you get into town, you reach the historic centre, where pretty cobbled streets meet with traditional shops and cafes, all centred around the Gothic styled National Palace. 

If I had limited time and I could only visit one sight though, that would be Quinta da Regaleira. I feel this stately home is slightly underrated as you have to walk for a long while but it is certainly worth it.  The gardens are filled with mystic symbolism and hidden features which include secret tunnels, Gothic towers and stone fortified walls. I mean, hello?

To finish our day, we took the bus like the locals and ended up at a tiny village by the sea. Little we know there were local festivities and we would end up dancing samba with the Portuguese...SO MUCH FUN, that´s all I will say.

Stay tuned, 

TCB xx

Scorching Lisboa

Lisboa is exactly what they've told you: colourful, vibrant, mesmerizing and HOT! The city is full of energy, day and night, and that's exactly what I was looking for. Plus a good company always makes a trip better, and British-Irish squad and I had a blast. 

I'd say you probably need at least 2-3 days to get to know Lisbon properly. More than that, and you are in for a treat of discovering local gems. 

Portuguese are very Mediterranean in their food culture, therefore if you are visiting the city, you are in for a treat. I particularly enjoyed having lunch at Pharmacia, a pharmacy-inspired restaurant by the museum of Pharmacy. You can enjoy some seriously delicious petiscos (tapas) and a good wine for a very decent price (€25-€35 average).

As for sweets: PASTEIS DE BELEM. I mean, what else do you need? I must tell you that it is also my favourite dessert of all times. Can you imagine how hard it was to keep myself at bay? They are so goddamn good! My favorite were the originals from Belem, but you can literally find them at every corner.  Manteigaria is really good if you are in downtown Lisboa. 

Of course you need your postcard picture by the Elevador de Bica, but make sure you stop along the way and enjoy a drink at Park, a rooftop terrace in a car-park. Yes, you may think you are at Frank's in Peckham, but the temperature and the price of your bill will tell you differently.

Views from the Rooftop at Park

Views from the Rooftop at Park

To top up your visit to the city, I highly recommend visiting LX Factory, which you could also visit on your way to Belem (a must). 

A bit hidden in the middle of nowhere, this village is full of up and coming artists. Whether you are looking for a great bar or you'd like to get some home furniture or souvenirs, this is your kinda place. 

Grafitti Wall at LX Factory

Grafitti Wall at LX Factory

Views from Rio Maravilha Rooftop, at LX Factory