You guys. Its kind of sad to sit here and write this, while also being super excited at the same time. Portugal was and has always been a dream of mine. Back when I first caught wind of the whole travel thing, I was planning for my first country to be Portugal. With plans falling through and three years passing since then, I was FINALLY making it happen. A little back story, my good friends Andie and Tony were going to be vacationing in the south of Spain and we wanted to shoot their portraits while they were in a Spanish paradise. So I booked a round trip with Icelandair air to head to London before catching a quick one way to Portugal. The goal was to spend time in Portugal, rent a car and road trip to the south before catching a bus to make my way to Andie and Tony. Somethings didn’t work out and Tony and Andie had other priorities that had to come first so this turned into a solo trip for me. Something you know I am NOT shy or scared about doing. So I made a quick change of plans.
The goal for the two weeks were to fly into Lisbon, spend 3 days in Lisbon before grabbing a rental car bright and early and road tripping down to the south – the dreamy Algarve coast. I had no real set plans for Lisbon other than trying to find the best vantage point for the city and to see as much of the sights that I could. I stayed at the Sunset Destination Hostel which was the perfect spot. This was a hostel directly above the metro station making it convenient to get around town and to/from the airport as a main bus stop was here as well. I also want to note the convenience of this spot when it comes to pretty much anything and everything in the city. I was a mere minutes from the Alfama district- known as one of the prettiest parts of Lisbon and I was also directly across the street from the Time Out Market. I ate here every. single. night for dinner. I crap you not. Its pretty much a big ole food court with awesome Portuguese and international options. Get there at a decent time thought because seats are a hot commodity. It was rather funny watching how everyone tries to pull off snagging a seat.
Drone views above my Hostel in. Lisbon is definitely a city you should see from above.
This was probably my favorite overlook of the city. I walked – although slowly cause there were approximately 29384209384209384 steps I had to walk up- this overlook is called Miradouro da Graça and if you find yourself here, grab a beer from the cafe and take in the views. A fun tip about Lisbon, you can take your alcohol to go. So after enjoying a brew at this view, I snagged one to go and walked to a park and sat in the sun near by. It was a perfect way to end a long day of exploring. This is also where I met with Dan and Juliette before we wandering down the hill shooting some adorable couples portraits of them. You can see their cute snuggles here. Also, I want to note how beautiful and colorful this city/country is. In Spanish and Portuguese architecture, they use beautiful tiles to decorate the outside of buildings. These are called Azulejo and they were gorgeous! Im pretty sure I have over 50 images just of tiles! No shame.
On day two I booked a small group tour to the infamous fairytale town of Sintra through viator. This town was seriously magical. The charm here definitely draws in the tourists, that and the stunning Pena Palace. I really enjoyed this little day trip from the city but I am not going to lie, I wish I had more time in Sintra itself. I could easily stay there for two days. The mountains that Sintra and the other surrounding villages sit on are absolutely beautiful. After we stopped and ate lunch in Sintra, we made our way to the most eastern point of the Europe at the Roca Cape Cliffs. This place was stunning and it was my first glimpse of the Atlantic – which hey, Im super jealous that almost everywhere along the Atlantic ocean has beautiful colored water while our Atlantic is always brown and….uninviting ha. Such a tease. Anyhoo, we made our final stop in the town of Cascais for some yummy gelato before making our way back to Lisbon. It was a good day spent with awesome people!
The next day was the day I was looking forward to the most…. driving along the coast on my way down to Faro. I had a list of places I wanted to see and decided I would just drive and see what I could find along the way. This country is absolutely stunning and really easy to drive. If you find yourself here, rent a car and just go!
This little fox was THE CUTEST! I wanted to die from excitement! I was driving down the road and thought I saw my first stray dog within a pretty empty, and big, national park. As I got closer I realized that it was not a dog and was in fact a fox just sitting on the side of the road. I stopped took a few cell phone photos and drove a bit further before I realized how often do I get to encounter a fox that calm? So I turned around and high tailed it back to where I saw the fox and pulled off the road. It was funny because there were two older bicyclists that were equally as stunned as I was about this fox. I mean he was super playful. He was running up to all of us, he was fed something by one of the men and was curious about everything of ours. He sat and posed for me. It was REALLY hard to not try to reach out and pet him but you just can’t take that risk with wild animals.
I was slightly obsessed with all of the fields of Yellow lupines! Its like portugals version of heaven…. even though they were filled with spiders and I was terrified ha!
The Algarve coast was just as stunning as you think it is but only better in person. I spent my evening chasing the sun at different overlooks and beaches. I was surprised I had one beach all to myself. It was heavenly and I highly recommend coming here in the off season if you want less crowded beaches. My next day in Faro was peaceful. I walked around Old Town for what seemed like hours before having the best Italian lunch at L’Osteria. So good, highly recommend! Faro is a very easy town to explore. Everything is within walking distance and the town is either white washed or full of color and charm. I loved every second of it. I should also mention the PERFECT weather I had each day. Its funny… everyone else was wearing big winter coats in 60-70 degree weather like it was cold!
After my easy day in Faro, I packed up shop and made my way to the bus station. I had a 2.5 hour bus ride from Faro to Seville Spain just in time for Easter Sunday.