48 Hours in Portugal

8 May 2020

In May 2018 I made a very fleeting visit to Portugal. This was my first time ever visiting the Iberian peninsula (I'm still yet to make it to Spain). The reasoning for this trip was that my cousin and I were attending a semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest and we literally had a few days to spare between work and university exams so we settled on two days and I'm honestly quite impressed with how much we managed to cram into such a short time.

We got a 6.45am flight from Belfast City Airport to Faro. We were heading to Lisbon for the evening but we chose to fly into Faro purely because the flight timings were better for us. It was a little inconvenient but it actually worked out well because instead of just getting to see Lisbon we also got to explore some of Faro which was absolutely beautiful. I'd love to hopefully go back to the Algarve someday when I have more time to explore it.

It was around lunchtime when we arrived so we found a lovely little cafe right on Faro Marina which overlooked the sea and was just really lovely. We then had a bit of time just to wander and explore Faro and I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did, Iberia has never really appealed to me because I'm not a huge fan of the sun so a trip to the beach isn't necessarily my idea of fun! But Faro old town was just so pretty and there were so many cute architectural details everywhere I wish we actually had more time to explore. It also wasn't super hot since it was May so I'd love to go back around this time of year as I think this temperature suits me best!

We then boarded our train to Lisbon. The train to Lisbon was 4 hours and luckily I had exams to revise for so I was kept very occupied. 10/10 recommend revising on a Portuguese train, it definitely beats sitting in the library all day anyway! I actually loved the train journey because we got to see a lot of Portugal just through the window but it was great to see all the different landscapes and again increased my interest in exploring Portugal further in the future.

We got off the train at Parques das Nações which was the region we were staying in so our first port of call was finding our hotel so we could leave our bags down. Since we were only there for an overnight we only had hand luggage with us so I managed to fit everything in my trusty Madlug backpack. If you're not familiar with Madlug they're a social enterprise which operates on a buy one give one principle and help to provide bags to children in care who don't have a bag of their own. (Check them out here). The first thing we saw when we arrived was the Eurovision sign followed by the Altice Arena which, being the whole reason for the trip, was MOST exciting.

We walked a couple of blocks to get to our hotel, we were staying in an Ibis Hotel, it was my first and only stay in an Ibis hotel but it did the job for what we needed and it was so close to the arena which we hadn't even realised when we booked it. We got dressed and then headed out for dinner, we were the worst and just ended up getting McDonald's from the local shopping centre but we were a) in a rush, and b) too excited to eat anything else! Then it was Eurovision time, but that's a whole other story!

The following morning we got to explore Lisbon a little bit. Now, we really did not get to take in as much of Lisbon as we could (I didn't even get a Pastel de Natas) we checked out of the hotel and went in pursuit of some breakfast where I had some fresh fruit and my cousin had a pastry. We then did a little bit of shopping because I just HAD to buy something from Bershka because I have a problem where every time I go to Europe I need to buy things from Bershka to make up for us not having one in Belfast. 

We then decided to do a gondola tour which was super fun. It took us along the coast and although we didn't get to see a lot of Lisbon it was still a cool experience even though as you can see Lisbon day two was pretty overcast and not as warm as I had anticipated!

After we disembarked the gondola it was time for us to head back to Faro to catch our plane home and we also had a typical tourist lunch of a Subway in the train station. Seriously I am NOT the person to ask for Portuguese food recommendations! We again hopped aboard our 4-hour train and I got some more studying done. Once we arrived back in Faro we didn't get any more time to explore and instead headed straight to the airport where we had (you guessed it) Burger King for dinner! Our flight ended up being massively delayed and I managed to read the entire in-flight magazine before the flight took off but we eventually made it back to Belfast safely at 1am right on time to watch semi-final 2 from the comfort of our own home that night as if we hadn't even been there just 48 hours previous!

So that was my fleeting visit to Portugal! What is the most random trip that you've ever been on? and have you ever been to Portugal and if I was to go again, what should I check out?

Post a Comment