When I found out that Lisbon was a stop on my Iberian Adventure, I was super excited because it is a place that I visited back in 2015! Not only was I visiting Lisbon again but I would be staying at the Oasis Backpackers Hostel Lisbon too! It felt like a full circle moment!
From Porto, I used my Eurail pass and took the 9:00 A.M. train to Lisbon Santa Apalonia Station. The train ride was super comfortable, I had an individual seat and it felt fabulous! There was also WIFI on the train service which felt like a treat because I totally expected to be on a four hour train ride with no entertainment other than my book ‘Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs’ By: Henry Caroll.
My destination was to get to the Oasis Backpackers Hostel Lisbon, a hostel that I was familiar with due to my last stay in Lisbon as I previously mentioned. From the Santa Apalonia Station, I found the hostel with ease, and with no more than the memory from my last visit! I took the metro to the Baixa – Chiado Metro stop, which was only three stops away on the blue line. Then I took the right exit towards Largo do Chiado and went all the way up the main road passing the famous Elevador da Bica on the left-hand side and took a left on Rue Marechal Saldanha towards the beautiful Miradouro de Santa Catarina!
As I approached the beautiful yellow building with the signature palm tree in front of it I knew I had arrived to the hostel! There, I was welcomed by Nadia, who gave me a run-down of the hostel and the activities that happen nightly like happy hour and hostel dinners! She signed me in for the Vegan Burger dinner that was happening that evening and even though it was lunch time, I was already looking forward to dinner! I went up to my room that was a six female ensuite dorm, unpacked a bit and decompressed for about an hour. Let me tell you, my backpack was kicking my butt!
I made a new friend in the dorm and since it was so hot outside we decided to go enjoy some Portuguese wine while sitting on a terrace. My legs thanked me yet again because they weren’t ready to climb the six hills of Lisbon! Next door to the hostel there is a great little rooftop terrace called Madame Petisca. I had a Vinho Verde, and as we prepared to leave we saw a party get a white sangria, and we decided to get one as well! We sure were happy that we stayed and ordered it because it was absolutely DELICIOUS. I spent around 11 EUR there but it was great for a little afternoon rest!
After we left the restaurant I went on the hunt around all of Lisbon for a nail salon. I know that this seems a little ridiculous but after travelling and changing between shoes and sandals, your toes get caught in the crossfires. Trying to get a pedicure on a Saturday surprisingly turned out a lot harder than I thought! After lots of walking and no nail salons that would take me, I decided to try in the next city! I returned back to the hostel to find a message from one of my Hostel friends from Porto saying she wanted to check out a bar that was recommended to her… the twist was that it was in a Parking Garage! I had about 45 minutes to join her for a drink before it was time for dinner at the hostel!
We met at the Parking Garage, went up the elevator and walked to the top floor. Its name was PARK Lisboa and it was a super chic bar that was PACKED… which makes sense for a Saturday night! We went in and ordered a Caipirinha, the popular Brazilian drink and enjoyed the sunset from the rooftop! The drinks were expensive here but you can expect to pay for the experience and the view! If you’re in Lisbon and looking for a relaxing night out, I would start by seeing the sunset here.
Once I was finished, I headed back to the hostel for our 8:30 P.M. Vegan Burger dinner night! The chef at the hostel was a total wizard because her vegan burger tasted like a genuine beef patty and was absolutely delicious! (It was so delicious that I had bites out of it before I could stop to take a picture!)
The dinner was set up at a long table where staff, volunteers, and guests all sat and ate together. I loved that about this hostel because it made everybody feel at home. These are the moments that make hostels stand out from other accommodations. There aren’t many places where you can sit and chat with interesting people from all around the world. It was refreshing to be in a place where I could let my guard down. To top it all off the WIFI crashed, which removed us from our phones and allowed us to really converse with one another.
At the Oasis Backpackers Hostel you can start your day off with three delicious choices for breakfast from 9 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. everyday for 3 EUR. Available for breakfast is Chia Pudding, Croissants and Jam, and my personal favourite, Eggs with Farinheira (a type of Chorizo)!
After having my Eggs with Farinheira, I had enough energy to browse around the city. I went for a nice stroll along Barrio Alto and Chiado. I was so amazed by how colourful yet rugged the streets were. The stark contrast made the city so charming.
My lovely stroll brought me back to the hostel to rest up a bit before the Out Jazz Festival! It was exciting because it was a whole hostel outing! The staff got everybody together and encouraged us all to go with them to this outdoor music festival! I was so excited that I joined in and cabbed to Belém with a great group of new hostel friends that I had met in the living room thirty minutes prior. Oh, the magic of hostels!
Arriving in Belém felt nostalgic for me because I had been there three years prior, when I visited the Monsteiro dos Jerónimos and Pastéis De Belém. This time around it was so cool to see a crowd right in front of a historical building! Experiencing the festival with everyone from the hostel really made it feel like I was there with family!
The festival wrapped up at 9 P.M. and since all the means of transportation were packed, my hostel friend from Porto walked past Monsteiro dos Jerónimos right to Pastéis De Belém, because let’s be honest you can’t be in Belém and NOT have a custard tart. The Pastéis were just as delicious as I remembered them to be! We ended the night with a tram ride back to our Lisbon Hostel. I started to feel like I was getting sick so I made myself a nice cup of hot tea that the hostel provides for anyone and I went to bed.
After waking up, I could confirm that I was officially sick! I couldn’t even taste how delicious my Eggs and Chorizo were, that’s how bad I was feeling. Regardless, I met a few people during breakfast that were doing the Free Walking Tour in the morning and decided to join! In hindsight, that might not have been the greatest idea based on how I was feeling but I managed nonetheless.
Quin (pronounced like the ending of the name Joaquin), a volunteer from the hostel, took us on the Walking Tour! He was very thorough with the history and the pop culture of the area. The tour took us through Barrio Alto , Chiado, Baixa, the side of Castello, Alfama, Praça Do Comércio (where the Eurovision Village is currently set up) and then all the way back to the hostel. If you look at the map of Lisbon it really was an all-encompassing tour! I have done two Free Walking Tours so far, and they were the perfect way to get a feel for the area and gave me plenty of ideas of where I wanted to revisit later on my trips. (That is always my #1 recommendation when someone visits a new city, do the Free Walking Tour!)
After I got back from the Free Walking Tour, I was 1. Drenched in sweat and 2. Exhausted. I think it had been the hottest day so far and I was pooched. I ran to the pharmacy to get some medicine, I grabbed some food and prepared my laptop to do some work in preparation for the long train journey that was ahead of me.
I was looking for somewhere to have a meal so I could be filled up for the rest of the evening. I remembered that I had passed by Ink Farm Food, which was right next to the Oasis Backpackers Hostel and thought, “why not give it a try”. Oh I was happy I did! Officially, my new favourite falafel place.
I am not going to give much away because it is something you have to try but just know I enjoyed every single bite! Go and check them out if you are in the area!
After dinner, I showered and got my things together. Monday nights are Petiscos Night for dinner at the Oasis Backpackers Hostel! I was so sad I couldn’t have anything because I had to leave at 8:30 P.M., right when it started! I had a peak in the kitchen to see what the chef was cooking up and it smelled SO GOOD and looked delicious! It was an ‘all you can eat’ menu of Piri Piri Chicken, Chorizos, Cheeses, Tuna Salad, Octopus Salad, and MORE!
I said goodbye to Oasis Backpackers Hostel Lisbon and made my way back to Santa Apalonia Station! Bilbao, the next stop on my Iberian Adventure, was a 16 hour train journey from Lisbon. Thanks to Eurail I got a sleeper cabin for the long journey!
Goodbye Portugal, muita obrigada! Hola España!
Recommendations for Lisbon
Stay at Oasis Backpackers Hostel
Do the Pub Crawl
Do a Free Walking Tour
Fall in love with the Alfama neighbourhood
Visit Belém for the famous custard tarts at Pastéis De Belém
Go on a day trip to Sintra
Visit LX Factory
Go to a beach on the Costa da Caparica
Go to ‘Lisbon Under the Stars’! It runs from May 3rd – June 30th, Monday to Saturday (time sensitive)
Food + Drinks:
Have the vegan dinners offered at Oasis Backpackers Hostel Lisbon
Enjoy the sunset/drinks at PARK
Try the falafel at Ink Farm Food
*For traditional Portuguese food
Try Taberna Portuguesa (I wanted to go but ended up going to early in the day, they open up daily at 7 P.M.)
Try Zé dos Cornos
Buy freshly squeezed orange juice from a juice stand
Enjoy a white sangria from Madame Petisca