Last month, I had the chance to go to Lisbon on a work conference. The last time I was in Lisbon was three years ago so I was stoked to go back. We spent a few days in Caiscas, which was more of a resort/beach town. There was really little time to actually see the city so I woke up extra early to go on a morning run to the coast and specifically Boca Do Inferno (or Hell's Mouth) - these amazing cliffs along the coast.
After our conference, we got to stay a couple more days in Portugal and almost everyone decided to go to Lisbon. My friend Maddie and I decided to venture off to a smaller town, Sintra, since we’ve both been to Lisbon before. En route to Sintra, we stopped by Cabo da Roca, which is the most western point of continental Europe. The coast was stunning and very touristy. I climbed down further on the rocks to take in the view of the ocean blending in the with the sky.
Once we got to Sintra, we found our hostel for the night called Almaa. I’ve stayed in tons of hostels over my years of travelling but nothing quite like this one. The decor was so unique with much of the furniture being made from recycled bits and the building itself had a nice charm to it. I could tell right when I walked in that this was a hippie hostel…maybe because of the intense incense. I wish I had taken photos of the interior because it definitely wasn’t a typical hostel - felt like more of a family home and there weren’t any locks anywhere. Honestly, I would go back to Sintra just to stay at the hostel again because it felt like a retreat. The hostel had its own natural swimming pool, offered yoga classes and had a nice garden overlooking the city. Also had its own apple trees and brought in fresh bread every morning for brekky. Oh and can’t forget about the hostel dog. It’s small things like this that really make a hostel for me.
We spent our 24 hours trekking the hills of the city. It was lush - a mixture of beautiful trees and coloured tiles throughout the city. Definitely a good day trip but very touristy still. We pretty much roamed the main part of town in the morning and hiked up the mountain to see the palaces at night. Although we didn’t actually get to see the palaces (they were closed when we got up and closed when we hiked up again really early the next day), the view of the city at the top was worth it.
Sintra is a nice getaway from Lisbon if you’re looking for something calm and peaceful yet compact. If I had more time, I would have definitely stayed another day to check out all the palaces but that’s just another reason for me to go back! It only took us about 40 minutes to get to Lisbon so perfect for a nice day trip.