September 8th, 2016
Postcard from Portugal: A trip full of colour, bacalhau, pastel de nata, vinho verde, azulejos, fado – these are the keywords of this trip, that made it to the list of the best trips of my life! I’m so excited to share my time in Portugal with you – I got so much love for this country, I don’t even know where to start! Spending time in Lisbon, Belem, Cascais and Sintra did nothing but goooooood to my soul! Portugal, you’re a piece of beauty, and I’ve madly fallen in love with you! Are you ready for some serious Portuguese eye-candy?
I’m a true city girl- I love the hustle and the bustle of big city, well, I’m from Istanbul, that says already a lot! So I was really looking forward to dwell right into Lisbon and have a nice break in Cascais from it all. But little did I know that Portugal was going to be the place to discover the new-me: the nature-is-actually-pretty-cool Elif! Well, I’m still not so crazy about nature but, hello, have you seen those shores? My jaw dropped every time we stopped in the middle of nowhere to appreciate the insane beauty that is the Portuguese seaside between Cascais and Sintra!
Portugal also has been the place for me where I went (again) crazy with food. I mean, I told my boyfriend that we’d have to go to Belem, to the bakery where they have the original recipe of pastel de nata (the egg tarts), for my everyday pasties de nata fix- I’m not even joking! Aside from the best pastel de nata that I’ve ever had in my life, I also learned to appreciate cod fish. Well, when in Portugal, you can’t really expect to escape from bacalhau so we embrace the bacalhau, became one with bacalhau, and you know what? Now I see why the Portuguese are mad about their bacalhau, because it’s insanely delicious!
Being in Portugal gave me all the excuse to drink all the wine that there was, okay not really but you know what I mean. Because the wine is so accessible (duh, Portugal) and affordable for that very reason, you HAVE TO drink all the Portuguese wine! Porto and vinho verde, I got so much love for yous boo!
Cascais gave me the most relaxed, nicest, bitter sweet end of summer vibes with its all serene, colourful and slow mood. Lisbon on the other hand, is this cool, big, busy, colorful and colourful and colourful and beautiful city. I have never seen a country before that is so obsessed with colour and that it naturally suits in the most charming way. Seriously, I should ask my boyfriend how many times I had to poke him saying “PINK BUILDING! YELLOW BUILDING! BLUE, GREEN…” Constant Disneyland feelings, me gasping, being in awe, and admiring the incredible beauty of this city (and the country). Guess it’s safe to say that Portugal has quickly become my favourite (in Europe)!
– WALKED! We love walking, and we end up walking almost everywhere but this was different! The hilly Lisbon is a challenge, which gives you the perfect excuse to hop on the trams or tuktuks that are EVERYWHERE in Lisbon! It was the best way to explore and see the most of the city during the insane heat. And we always ended up with the friendliest drivers that gave us little bit of insight to the city as well.
– 4×4 tour between Cascais and Sintra! This has to be one of the best things we ever did with our time in Portugal. We were planning of going just to Sintra but then thought why not spruce it up and saw the nature and the unbeaten tracks in-between! Oh boy, all the crazy shore photos above is from that trip. We did some (minor) trekking and exploring under the 40 degrees sun but it was oh so worth it!
– Spending an afternoon at Palacio da Pena in Sintra was oh-so-magical! I have never seen anything that is so colourful like this castle before! Portugal has definitely helped me to rediscover
my love for colour!
– Visit neighboring towns/cities! That includes Belem and Cascais! Even if you don’t have the sweet tooth for the pastel de nata or pastel de Belem, it’s worth the trip from Lisbon to see the city (again colourful and cute) and visit the Belem Tower! Cascais is a must for the beaches and the a-mazing see food!
EVERYTHING! Really though! I’m not going to list everything that I ate (because it’s just not possible) but will give you the creme de la creme:
– Bacalhau a bras and Bacalhau com Grao– the most typical cod fish dishes that are available almost everywhere. And trust me, they know how to handle their fish, so anywhere you walk in you’d be safe to have some drool-worthy experience!
– Pastel de nata! Go to Belem, find THE BAKERY, which is also called Pastéis de Belém, walk inside and sit down to order yourself a plate full of pasties de nata and bica (espresso). While you’re busy wondering how a dessert can be a life-changing experience, also try to enjoy the architecture that is something else! You’ll develop an eye for the tiles and the artwork that is azulejos!
– The Portuguese love their dessert and so do I! Don’t leave Portugal without trying salame de chocolate and queijada de requeijão!
– Okay, it’s food related again, sorry, i just can’t help it! Timeout Food Market is definitely worth the visit! From tuna burger with chocolate bread (yes, that’s a thing) to typical Portuguese dishes, they got you covered!
– Alfama was one of the neighborhoods in Lisbon that stood out the most to me. It’s charming little cobblestone streets with every shade of pink buildings and friendly local people (and the cutest dogs that I spotted along the way) was just topped the trip! Just lose your map and walk around in Alfama and don’t forget to stop for ginjinha along the way! We discovered Medrosa d’Alfama, it’s a cute (PINK) little place, great for drinks and to sit outside to enjoy the fado that is going all around Alfama!
If you have made it this far, thank you and I love you! I know this is rather on the lengthy side of the posts but I just couldn’t help it- there’s so so so so much that I wanted to share with you, hence the crazy amount of photos that I couldn’t narrow it down any further!
I’m definitely going back to Portugal, sooner or later- it’s so happening! Have you been to Portugal before? I would love to hear your experience! If not, I hope I did manage to convince you for your next summer trip!