Day two of our Portugal trip started with an early morning walk to the train station, with a quick side-trip to the TimeOut Market. The market was really cool – tons of different food stalls with a huge variety of options: Portuguese, vegetarian, baked goods, smoothies, grilled meats, fish, etc.
We grabbed breakfast then stocked up on snacks at the dried fruit and nut stand. The vendor was so friendly, giving us advice on local beaches and warning us to slather on the sunscreen because our skin wasn’t used to the intense Portuguese sun rays. Everyone we met in Lisbon was ridiculously nice and friendly. They were all happy to chat and seemed eager and excited to share their city with us.
We hopped on the train and headed an hour West to Cascais, a sleepy European beach town. While Lisbon is right on the water, there aren’t really any beaches in the city; you need to head a bit out of town to enjoy the water. We set up camp on a SANDY beach! Pretty much every beach we’ve gone to this summer has been rocky. While it’s pretty, it’s not the most enjoyable to lie on. And my tender, little feet really don’t like it.
Both Split and Barcelona are on the Mediterranean but Lisbon is on the Atlantic. We’ve clearly become accustomed to the clear blue, warm Mediterranean water, where you can float because it’s so salty. Our first reaction to going in was “it’s cold! And you can’t see anything.” Not sure how I’ll ever go back into the Pacific!
When it got too hot lying in the sun, Jillian and I explored the cute town of Cascais. It felt like a quintessential European seaside resort town, but one that hasn’t been overrun with American tourists. While it was definitely full of people, it had a more local feel, like it hasn’t been discovered yet.
I would love to spend a long weekend here, enjoying the white washed buildings and sun sparkling on the water.
And here’s a video of the main square of Cascais.
We headed back to Lisbon in the late afternoon and checked out the LX Factory for dinner.
This old shoe factory has been converted to a hipster haven of local shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, most things were closed on a Sunday night, but we were able to grab dinner at the one spot still open. And lucky for us, it was another delicious meal.
Monday morning, we headed out to Torre de Belém, a 16th century fort built on a short, sandy peninsula. We realized right before leaving the apartment that it was closed on Mondays, but we were able to walk around the outside and took plenty of pictures.
Since so much of the LX Factory was closed the day before, we went back to get breakfast…
…and shop around. While there were tons of small boutiques, this bookstore was easily the highlight.
Our flight didn’t leave until Monday night, so that afternoon we all explored a bit on our own. Our AirBnB host told me about a park on top of the hill where he enjoys reading, so I huffed it up there and was rewarded with this beautiful view…
…and joined by locals reading on their lunch break…
…and the best part, a BREEZE!!
Lisbon might have a bit of an identity crisis. They have cable cars…
…and a mock Golden Gate Bridge like San Fransisco…
…and a Christ the Redeemer statue like Rio.
We never quite figured this one out.
It’s been no secret that this summer has been HOT and this weekend was no exception. I swear, we hit even stronger heat waves on every weekend trip we take. Although, I guess I’d rather have mass sweating than dealing with rain.
So although we walked blindly into the weekend with no plans and no real idea of what to expect, Portugal showed us an incredible time. The locals were friendly, the food was delicious, the architecture was stunning and there were hidden gems all over the city. I already want to go back to stay longer and explore more of the country!