Portugal was the first country I decided to visit during my year of studying abroad. My roomate and I planned our trip for late October, which turned out to be perfect timing. We left on a Thursday afternoon and were lucky enough to fly out of the Granada airport. We landed in Lisbon around 8:30 and caught a taxi to our hostel located in the downtown area. Kudos to Meghan for choosing an amazing hostel! We walked in right as they were serving dinner and everything was so warm and cozy with the homemade dinner smell wafting everywhere. I quickly fell in love with the place. The living rooms were all decorated by a local graffiti artist and I got to sleep in a bunk bed (hello freshman year of college). We spent Friday exploring downtown, visiting an archeology museum, and visiting a castle! The best castle I have ever seen hands down with the most beautiful views (and I have seen a few castles by now). The sun managed to come out for the tour and having wild peacocks roaming around definitely made things feel so extravagant. Cool fact: The castle has been the site of many archeological excavations that you can go and see if you manage to catch one of the tours. We were able to see old layouts of the priests' quarters, private residences, and three different levels of roads.
The next day I met up with my friend from university back home who also happened to be in Lisbon at the same time. We started off early in the morning with a walk up to one of the markets to buy some gifts for family. There are a ton of hills in Lisbon and it's easy to get a nice workout just walking around. The market was packed with vendors and people milling around looking at all the trinkets being sold. I snagged some pretty tiles in tradition Portuguese style and a bracelet for myself. It was a lot of fun to stroll around and people watch. After a mid-day rest, we ventured out again along the waterfront. Portugal has some incredible wines and I really wanted to do a bit of wine tasting while we were in the area, so we decided to check that out. We found a cute place on the side of the square where you could load up a pre-paid card and then select the wines you wanted according to different regions. It was a lot of fun and we left afterwards feeling warm and happy.
The best part of Lisbon for me was the city itself. Being able to walk around and enjoy the surroundings as much as we did was the highlight of this trip. Every time we reached the top of a hill, I would be in awe of the view and that isn't something you get to experience everyday.
Travel tip: Make sure to take the tram a little bit out of the city and visit the bakery Pastéis de Belém. It is famous for it's Portuguese egg custard tarts that are served warm! Try to get there on the earlier side because there is usually a long line out front.