In all honesty, while planning for the trip, I couldn’t come across something which could attract me to visit this city. However, in my quest to visit every country in Europe, I included Lisbon in my itinerary during my recent trip to the continent.
I wanted to experience European airliners and came across Portugal Air; I booked a business class ticket from Budapest to Lisbon. Having experienced business class of Emirates and other Gulf airliners I was expecting an excellent treatment.
I reached Budapest airport over 3 hours earlier than my flight, and to my surprise, all the airport counters were closed. Even there was no official to get information. Many passengers were waiting for their flights, sleeping on the chairs or even on the floor.
My flight was at 06.00 am and finally at 04.00 am the check-in started for my flight. The process was quick; the airline staff gave me boarding pass along with a complimentary voucher for the business class lounge. Again, I was expecting something comparable to lounges in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but it was disappointing. There were only three other people apart from me. There was nothing much available in food.
I sat on a sofa to relax and started waiting for the boarding to begin. After 1 and a half hour of waiting it was boarding time, and another disappointment was waiting for me, there was no separate queue for the business class passengers however the business class ticket holders could cut the line. After passing through the boarding gate, I met another surprise, the plane wasn’t connected to the airport terminal, but passengers had to go in a bus, that’s ok, it is quite usual and happen at many airports including Dubai International. However, Emirates and Etihad airline take their business and first-class passengers in a luxury car rather than in a bus with other economy class passengers.
Anyways, boarded the plane, my seat was the first one, though it was not up to the standards comparable to Emirates yet thankfully the seats were comfortable, but it did not have a mobile charging port. Since I was quite tired and it was a night flight I fell asleep for the whole duration of my journey, 4 hours. I had preordered a halal meal while booking my seat. However, I passed it as I was too sleepy. The staff was helpful and friendly.
Having landed at the Lisbon airport, I headed to collect my baggage. There were no passport controls as the whole Schengen area allows freedom of movement. I got the information about transport from tourist information centre which as located within the airport building. 24 hours pass inclusive of the tram, metro and bus cost 6 Euro. I wanted to head to Santa Apolonia Train Station to get my Eurail pass activated. Moreover, the tourist attractions which I had planned to visit, were all in its close vicinity. I had thought to visit:
National Pantheon in the Alfama neighbourhood
Monument of the Discoveries
Just after getting out of the train station was the sea on my left-hand side and I was able to see National Pantheon on my right-hand side.
Having walked around 20 minutes, I reached Commerce Square also known as Royal Ribeira Palace until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
Having it photographed; I took a bus to reach monument of discoveries, it took almost 30 minutes to arrive at the nearby station to this monument. Then it was a 10 minutes walk. Since it was Sunday, there was a Sunday market in the park where people were selling different items.
You must have seen this famous icon on many travel books, in the background you can also see the 25 de Abril Bridge.
The sight of the monument of discoveries was elegant, but I asked myself, was it something worth travelling?
Among many tourists, there was a Japanese couple who asked me to take their photographs. We had a pleasant conversation; I always feel great to talk to fellow travellers.
The Belem tower was visible from this point as it was just 10 minutes’ walk from here. It is at the mouth of the Tagus river; it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of Seven Wonders of Portugal. I headed to this attraction; it was super crowded, anyways, I did not have plan to visit it from inside as it would have taken easily two to three hours.
It was already noon, and I was feeling hungry, I had a meal from Mc Donald as it was nearby and then headed to last thing on my to do list, Tram28.
It was entirely packed and even waiting for half an hour in the queue along with others; there was not a single tram which stopped at the stop. People abandoned the plan to take a ride in it so did I.
I headed back to Santa Apolonia, from there I took a train to reach Lisbon Oriente Station which is one of the main Portuguese intermodal transport hubs as I had an onward journey to Madrid on the Tren Hotel (Train Hotel).
People were somehow friendly, but sadly, I did not come across any notable attraction to visit, and I do not recommend visiting the city of Lisbon.
Have you been to Lisbon? Share your experience in the comments or ask any question to plan your trip better.