Friday 16 June 2023


Beautiful, quirky Lisbon.
Holiday apartment in Lisbon
The view from our balcony.
Where to stay in Lisbon?
Seven of us, a group of friends, went to Lisbon in Portugal for a budget four night break.
We booked dirt cheap flights with Ryanair and wanted nice accommodation, preferably with a bed each, having a room each would have been nice but that wasn't going to happen on a frugal city break. 
Lisbon has fantastic accommodation, but this three bedroom, one bathroom apartment we found is a bit of a gem.

Holiday rental living room

Booked through Airbnb.
It is in the heart, but on the edge of the Alfama district. The oldest and most traditional area, which is all little winding streets with quirky bars, restaurants and fado music everywhere, the pink building in the first picture is the Fado Museum.

Being on the edge of the area, it's just a couple of minutes walk to the sea and an easy walk to the main tram terminal, train station and city centre.
There's lot's of handy tuk-tuks parked in the square by the Fado museum too.

The apartment looks great, simple, practical Ikea d├ęcor, just what you want for a group sharing.  There is nothing worse than unnecessary clutter in a rental.
The living room in the photo above is large and had a good, new sofa bed for the seventh guest.
You could easily sleep eight if two share the sofa bed as it's massive.

Rental kitchen in Airbnb

Kitchen with a large fridge, full size cooker and a washing machine, handy if you are flying with hand luggage only on Ryanair (tiny bag allowance).
The wall directly behind where this photo is taken is a full blackboard chalk wall which looked pretty cool, especially as the more artistic guests add decoration.
(Didn't photograph this as I am an absolute photography idiot).


Nice clean bathroom with decent shower.

holiday apartment dressing room

Next to the bathroom is a bit of an added bonus, especially with seven women, a dressing room!
There is a decent hair dryer in there so no need to pack one, saving essential hand luggage space.

large bedroom with balcony doors

The unusual and best thing for a group of friends booking an apartment was,
three bedrooms but each with two single beds.
Couples could push them together.
But for a group of friends ideal.
If I ever own a holiday apartment, this is the one idea I would pinch.

Apartment Alfama Lisbon

That's the apartment there, pink building on the right, first floor balcony, in the heart of the action.

traditional balcony

The tiny but perfect front balcony which is accessed from the lounge or one of the bedrooms, luckily for me that bedroom was mine.

traditional houses from the balcony

The view from my bedroom side of the balcony.
We thought we had lucked out already but then we saw the Alfama area at night!

cool restaurants Alfama

Granted I took this photo from our small back balcony as everything was closing down, but look,
tiny little independent restaurants appear all around the Alfama streets at night.

Fado singer and guitarist Alfama

Fado singers and musicians under the window,
looking unbelievably cool and wailing a lament about the sea.

Fado museum light show Alfama holiday

Then to put the top hat on it, the square in front and the Fado museum were having a music event at the weekend, (gutted we left on the Friday).
But the crew had already set up and were doing practise shows with lights and films projected onto the Fado Museum with the accompanying music etc in the late evenings.
It was one of the most gorgeous things I have seen.
Between that and nosing at the passing cruise liner walking tours, I was rarely off that balcony.

Also the owner Sofia sent us lot's of practical info beforehand such as where to get train tickets and prices, which was very much appreciated.

What we did.

The weather was perfect, it was September and we all lived in mini skirts and t-shirts or little dresses teamed with converse or similar to aid the miles of walking, but not so hot you are breaking into a sweat or need a hat or sun cream.

This is some of the things we did which I would definitely recommend, and do again if I ever go back.

The flea market Feira Da Ladra

Flea market Lisbon city break

every Tuesday and Saturday 6am till 5pm
Campode Santa Clara

Is not to be missed.
It's massive and insane.
People throwing down rugs and selling random cr**,
artists, jewellery, mad vintage, to boho hippy silk clothes.

I picked up this lino print for three euros.

black white lino art print

Portuguese art print in bedroom

I don't think anyone was impressed with it when I showed them,
but I love it, here it is back home and framed.

There are lots of traditional little restaurants around the market, selling good food at really reasonable prices usually with a free shot of something thrown in.
I can't remember the name of the one we ate in but it was brilliant, it's towards the bottom of the main part of the market, if you turn your back on the market it's the left corner, it will be the busiest one with a host carrying on and everyone looking very happy.

A Ginja at every opportunity.

A small shot of cherry liqueur in a chocolate cup.
Every small independent shop, and small stalls outside houses has these for sale for around one or two euros. 

cherry liqueur Lisbon city break

Absolutely delicious and a good shot of energy.

The Time Out Market

Time Out Market Lisbon

Loads of different food stalls all in one place.  Grab a table then go to whichever food stall you want, they give you a buzzer to take back to the table to alert you when your food is ready. 
In a group you wont have to decide which type of food you all want, each person can go to a different stall but you can all sit and eat together.
And all the different food we had was amazing.

Harry Potter style protest.

Student protest Lisbon holiday

We just came across this and I haven't really a clue what was going on here. Every year students have this quiet protest all wearing black graduation gowns with lights and occasionally they all let out a kind of shout.  No idea, but it looked very Hogwarts.

Street art 

graffiti in Alfama Lisbon

Street art is everywhere, especially in the Alfama district.


Sintra gardens

This small town is just outside Lisbon and I would 100% recommend going there.

The mad colourful Palace of Pena and the absolutely beautiful and crazy grottos of Quinta Da Regalira

You can take a train from Lisbon central station straight through to Sintra for a few euros.
Then when you get there, brace yourself as you will get jabbered at by people trying to sell tours and taxis, it's slightly crazy, even the official tourist officer appeared to be caught up in the madness, shouting "Knowledge is power" for some reason.
I think the best thing is to ignore the lot of them and go to the main bus stop outside the station, buy a circular ticket for about ten euros, it's a hop on hop off bus, stopping at all the main places, it get's really busy but it looked the simplest and cheapest way to see everything.

We walked up from Sintra town centre to Quinta Da Regalira which is a really nice and gentle walk with lots of shade and dotted with small market stalls.
It's an amazing place, full of grottos and caves.  I loved it so much I had to overcome my massive fear of heights to walk down the circular steps of  Dante's nine circles of hell and I'm glad I did, it's just amazing.
(If you have a fear of heights and are looking at this, if I can do it, anyone can).


Belam Portugal

Just a short tram ride from the central tram stop, Belem is the home of the famous
I was averaging about two a day of these absolutely gorgeous pastries with espresso's.

custard tart and coffee

There's open parks by the sea here and you can have a swim in places and get a cocktail from street vendors.


Mude Museum Portugal

I really wanted to go to the Mude Museum of Design and Fashion but unfortunately it was closed for building work and while I write this it's closed again for work, but it looks brilliant.
If I ever return, I'll definitely be visiting (if it ever opens again).

A friend gave me a tip she got last time she was in Lisbon, instead of queuing to pay for the glass lift that takes you to a viewing place at the top, go up in the glass lift in the shop at the side, it's free and no queue.

To attempt to off set the impact of flying I plant a tree for each flight. Usually a hazelnut tree grown from a hazelnut, I don't know if this makes much difference but lots of small things together make a big difference, so every little bit must help.

More budget holiday ideas, camping.


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