I have waited a while to write these travel posts about Spain and Portugal because I feel that when you first get back from a trip, its all a bit depressing and a little overwhelming! It takes talking to various people to realise all of the things you really loved and want to see (and eat) again.
Lisbon was probably my favourite place I visited in those 2 and a half weeks. Which is a tough call considering I managed 2 countries, 5 cities & 3 towns during that time. It was just SO beautiful and I would say if there’s one place I would (and do) recommend to everyone, that would be it.
As you would have seen on my Instagram I went to Spain and Portugal earlier on this year and let me tell you, I LOVED IT. Lisbon especially, stole my heart – and my stomach. Dreams people. Dreams.
There were MANY things on my to-do list for Lisbon. However I was only there for 3 days so couldn’t quite finish the list however these are the places I did go and would highly recommend.
FOR THE VIEWS
Alfama. Alfama is great for many things. The small lanes, the hole in the wall coffee places and the teeny tiny restaurants that have old men living above them yelling and shaking their fist if you are noisy after 10pm (Not only is it the oldest suburb of Lisbon, it has the oldest residents..)
But best of all, I think it has the best views of Lisbon. Every ‘I went to Lisbon’ picture you see on Insta will include the view from here because it really is amazing.
WHAT TO EAT
PASTÉIS DE NATA Famously, there is a shop in Belem that does the ‘best ones’ however, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was queuing up for an hour to get in. I found the best ones I tried to be from a place called Manteigaira at the Time Out Market.
In fact, the Time Out, was where I got some of the best food I ate in Lisbon, So I would highly recommend going there and trying a few of the different places.
Its a great stop on the way back from Belem and is also very close to the city centre (as far as I remember) if not, there is public transport just across the road.
You HAVE to try Ginjinha which is a traditional Portuguese Liqueur made from Sour Cherries. You will find little hole-in-the-wall places all over the place (Even in Sintra) and I promise it is delicious.
Fresh fruit. I found myself eating a lot of fresh fruit on this trip. 1, because it was so hot that fruit, just sounded good. 2, it was easily accessible with little carts of cherries and berries scattered all around and 3, its cheap! and tasty.
On my last night in Lisbon, I had dinner with one of my new friends in a place called Lisboa Tu & Eu. We tried a lot of different things on the menu (sardines were… interesting, wine was delicious!) and the atmosphere was fantastic.
After having the old guy living above the restaurant come down and yell at the owners for the noise, we were moved inside and for the inconvenience, offered alcohol shots along with the other 10 or so people in there (which might I add were mostly older people). It was great. I happily declined the small beverages but I decided from that point on wards that this place was my favourite.
THINGS TO DO
São Jorge Castle – there are also some beautiful gift shops on the way up to the castle
This place was really cool. Super arty, funky and trendy. Its a little strip of old factories which have been turned into boutique, cafes, music stores, cork retailers & creative hangout spaces. I had the BEST chocolate cake i’ve ever eaten here from a place called Landeau. Def try if you get a chance.
About 6kms west of the city is a suburb? called Belem. It is well known for the Belem Tower & Pasteis de Belem, which drew me here and I never had 😦 but I also discovered it had beautiful scenery, gardens and the walk/ bus/ tram trip here alone was worth the visit.
There is many a beautiful Hotel here, just in any city. But I say, if you want to get to know the locals and get a bit of a different feel, stay in an AirBnb or a hostel. I booked my accommodation quite far in advance and because I wasn’t so sure on this solo travel thing just yet (hindsight tells me BOOK THE HOSTEL). However, my airbnb was great, the location was fantastic and the people were seriously cool (with many pets).
As with many cities in Europe, the public transport here is great! I used mostly trains and trams to get around Lisbon which worked a treat however there is also Uber which I used a fair bit and buses. All options really cheap.
I would say however, if you are semi-fit. Walk. Its a BEAUTIFUL city and is best seen that way (just wear sensible shoes because its hilly AF and also slippery!)
While researching Lisbon, I knew I wanted to do at least 1 day trip and the place that stood out most to me was a Town called Sintra. It is very well known and there are many ways to see it. I chose to do it alone and not with a tour group as I knew there were particular places I wanted to see and didn’t want the time crunch. Good choice in the end I say.
the Gardens. It was seriously stunning. I could write a whole post on this place ( if you want it, lemme know) so I will just leave it there. If you would like more info on how to plan a day trip to Sintra let me know!
Overall, Lisbon, Portugal was the best last minute travel decision I could have made. I spend HOURS planning this trip and when a few extra days came up in my schedule I had a really hard time deciding between here and Paris but decided, you know what. I ahve plenty of time in my life to go to Paris and Lisbon won’t be an under-rated destination for long. Overjoyed with my choice. Absolutely can not wait to go back and next time visit the rest of Portugal too!
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page
I have now been lucky enough to travel the Great Ocean Road a few times. Once, with a tour & once hiring a car and driving down for the weekend. So I feel as though I can give (a few) tips on what to see & do.
Go in Winter. Off peak season – less tourists, less cars on the road – you actually get places quicker. Also hot spots such as The 12 Apostles are a lot quieter and you can take all the photos you like.
Another advantage of this is that things such as rental cars are a lot cheaper. We got this bad boy below from Avis Rentals and it cost us $130 for 3 days! Bargain!
KOALAS, PARROTS & KOOKABURRAS
Obviously this is Australia and what would a trip be without seeing some of the locals. My favourite spot to see these is a little place called Kennett River. You are (almost) guaranteed to see some of these guys on a trip here! It’s pretty cool. They are definitely there, but you just need to keep your eyes peeled as Koalas especially blend in with the surroundings really well.
Look higher up than you think – including the really small branches you don’t expect the koalas to be. Go early in the morning! By about 11am, there will be so many tourists that you can not move and also buy some seed from the ‘Kafe Koala’ to get a chance to get up close & personal with some parrots & cockatoos.
On my first trip to the GOR, we did stop at Loch and Gorge, however, only for a few minutes so we did not get to see much. The second time, it was pissing down with rain so we just ran off in one direction to (quickly) show Dietmar what it was all about. However, we ran the wrong way, BUT it worked well because as well as eventually finding Loch and Gorge,
we discovered the Thunder Cave which is quite possibly one of the coolest parts of this place!
This little town is the perfect place to stop for a snack, a quick beach trip or lunch along the Great Ocean Road. Its about smack bang half way between Melbourne and the 12 Apostles – right before heading into the Otways! Because of this, this is also the place we decided to stay for our weekend trip.
We booked a motel last minute and there were many to choose from (even in winter). Most of the Motels & Hotels are really close to the centre of the town (we stayed here .), so everything is really only a 5-10min walk away which is perfect!
WHERE TO EAT
Great Ocean Road Brewhouse – Great dinner options. The food was really good pub food and the atmosphere was great. Get the Lamb & the date pudding, dreamy. The Bayleaf Cafe – Breakfast and coffee both top notch!
THE CANOPY TREE WALK/ OTWAY FLY
I’m not gonna lie. I am not the most adventurous person. However, one thing I have always wanted to do is ziplining (don’t get excited, I did not go ziplining) and when I discovered a place that had this, I was (almost) sold. We then did some googling and discovered that for this trip it wasn’t in the budget. BUT they also had a more reasonably priced activity, which was The Canopy Tree Walk and it was awesome.
The walk itself is the tallest and longest of its kind (at this point). Its around 600 meters long and 35 meters above the ground, so maybbbbeee not your thing if you don’t like heights! There is also a spiral tower which goes up an extra 12 meters above the ground and gives you an amazing view of the forest! But, be aware, it does sway around with the wind which can be a little unsettling!
CRAFT BEER / WINE / WHISK(E)Y
Strangely enough, this area of Victoria has a sheitload of breweries, wineries and even a whisky distillery. We stopped by a brewery near Forrest called Prickly Moses and it was pretty cool. While known for their beer, they are a small scale wine and cider producer so if beer isn’t your thing they can cater to you also.
The tastings are fairly comprehensive and reasonably priced so I would recommend stopping in if you are in the area.
Other recommendations in the area for the crafty scene (which we were recommended) are: Timboon Forrest Brewing Company – Their fish and chips were top notch!
THE 12 APOSTLES
These natural rock stacks do look pretty cool. However, they are so hyped up that when I first saw them I was very underwhelmed. I do think that they are worth going to see because the history behind how they got there etc. is quite cool but I think the trip actually getting to this point (and beyond) is much cooler. If I was to go back I think doing the helicopter ride would be the top of my list.
Along the Great Ocean Road there are quite a few lighthouses. My favourite would be this one.
There are a few walks around here, including up to the lighthouse and I think at certain times you can even do a tour of the lighthouse and get some pretty amazing views down to the marine reserve.
There is also a (very) small chance of seeing whales here as they do come into the bay at certain times of the year. We weren’t so lucky, maybe next time?
I would recommend coming up here earlier in the day because I think we only saw two people.
One of my favourite stops on the second trip up the GOR was Sheoak Falls. Its only a short, easy walk from the carpark and well worth it. It was really quiet too which was lovely considering how busy the road can get!
Fun Fact: To the left of this picture there is actually a guy sitting on the edge reading a book. Other waterfalls we didn’t manage to get to but would have loved to had we had more time were Erskine Falls & Phantom Falls.
Go check em out!
I would really recommend a trip down the Great Ocean Road and could really add about another million and one things into this post. If you do have any questions or want to know more about certain things, feel free to leave me a comment!
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