Why didn't anyone tell us about Portugal?! This should be a first vacation destination for expatriates. Primarily, because clothes and shoes are affordable and of good quality, 2nd, food is excellent and affordable, 3rd, there are so many sites to see, 4th, history is so rich-so interesting, 5th, the people are friendly, 6th, the tour guides are so friendly, polite, and passionate about their work, and they speak at least 3 languages and they speak English fluently! Bravo Rota Monumental and to out tour guides, Luis and Veira, Job well done!... 7th, the tours are so affordable, 8th, they have a beach, 9th, they don't have snow in the winter (only up the mountains), 10th, the temperature when we went there was just around 12 degrees celsius....I can go on and on. We love this place.
The next time any new expatriate would be assigned here in Switzerland and ask us where to go for their first major vacation, I would definitely answer Lisbon, Portugal. I foresee hesitation from the receiving end. An obvious answer would be "You should go to London..You should go to Paris...You should go to Rome.." Yeah, the top 3 most visited cities. For a tourist visiting for a week or a month that would be the right answer, but for someone expected to spend several seasons in Switzerland that wouldn't be my answer.
Why Portugal should be a first destination? Primarily, because you need a set of new clothes for different seasons if your coming from the tropics and transferring to Switzerland. The shirts, pants and jackets we wear in the tropics would only be good until autumn.
Winter is a different story - You need winter clothes and buying it in Portugal will save you a lot of money. One can buy a very nice trench for 50 Euros, exquisite scarfs for 12 Euros, a very good pair of leather shoes for 30 Euros, etc... One can buy his own winter wardrobe here for a fraction of the price in Switzerland or in France. A very good reason why this should be a first stop. Stop and stack.
Another reason would be food (not a reason for a first destination, but a good reason to visit) They're not only affordable, they also taste so good. Presented below are the restaurants we dined in. They're not high-end types , but just your average family restaurants.
One more reason to visit (forgive me, but I am not going to explain all the reasons why one should visit, but there are many...), are the tours. the walking tours, bus tours, and tourist bus tours we took were very affordable, convenient, relaxing, fuss-free, and affordable.
The walking tour took us around the historical sites of the old Lisbon centre. Our guide was fluent in English, which was a plus. She shared with us so many historical facts, both well-known, and not so well-known, that our Spanish companions didn't even know (The Spanish and Portugese histories mostly are interrelated)
If there was one place we would love to explore again, This would be it.
Address : Avenue Sidonio Pais 4 Lisboa Portugal
How to Get There : One (1) hour plane ride from Madrid Spain to Lisbon Portugal via Easyjet and twenty (20) minutes taxi ride to Hotel
Contact Nos : +351 213502060
Cost per night : 110 Euros (Rate at the time of our stay for room good for four (4). Breakfast included.
Wifi : Yes, average speed.
Wifi Speed: Fast enough for Facebook, not enough for Skype. Strong Signal near the room door/corridor side.
Our Rating: Good Value for Money
Address : Exact Address Not Acquired.
Address in Google Maps Link : https://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&q=38.72775,-9.149251&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&ei=SLLuULmqJM2OswaP84GoAg&ved=0CAsQ_AUoAA
Contact Nos : Not acquired
Reservation Needed : No
Cost : 8.95 Euros (I ordered beef with fries and 1 bottle of water)
Website : Not Acquired
Wifi : None
Our Rating : Very Good
At first glance, the front and interior looks like an old ice cream shop, but the food here is good and the servings and price make it great. Yes, we are cheapskates and this find is a keeper. We liked it so much we ate there almost every night.
Address : Travessa de Santo Antao 11 Lisboa Portugal
Website : http://goeatlisboa.com.pt/bonjardim-restaurant/
Reservation Needed : No
Cost : 10.40 Euros (One Order Piri-Piri Chicken good for 2), 4.60 Euros (One Order Cream Spinach)
Wifi : We did not ask
Our Rating : Good Very Tasty
We're from the Philippines and in our country we have more Chicken Barbecue joints than burger and fries joints. Our barbecue chickens range from saucy types to grilled and oven roasted from marinated to rubbed types. Grilled and roasted chickens are what we grew up with. So finding out from our tourist guide that Lisbon has a very good Piri-Piri Chicken joint made us excited and a little bit half-focused on the tour.
After tour our morning tour around Lisbon, we immediately went to this restaurant. I was surprised to find out that customers didn't need to make reservations to be seated in this very famous restaurant.
The chicken was excellent. Simple seasoned roasted chicken. Didn't taste like it was marinated just lightly seasoned.
- Buy locally made shoes in Portugal. Look for the Made in Portugal mark on the shoes. Our tourist guide mentioned that the Portugese are very proud of their shoe workmanship.
- Buy pastel from Pastel de Belem
- Take the walking tour to see the old Lisbon with insidelisbon.com.
- Take the van tours to Fatima, Nazare, Sintra, and Cascais. Contact Rota Monumental.
- Explore Belem. We didn't get to visit the lighthouse up close and take a good picture of it. It looks very nice though from afar.