I just returned from a much-needed weekend away in Lisbon, Portugal. Life overseas is not always full of beautiful Instagram photos, delicious food and laughter. Yes, much of it does involve those things. But choosing to live full-time in a culture different than you own can be challenging at times. I’ve found that a little traveling can do wonders. So, it was so great to get out and play tourist for a weekend. Lisbon Destination Hostel played a big part in my lovely weekend of being a tourist.
The overnight bus
There are many ways to get to Portugal from Spain. You can of course fly, take the bus or find a BlaBlaCar if you’re in a town somewhat close to the border. I opted to take an overnight bus from Madrid because it would put me in Lisbon early … very early Saturday morning.
Here are a few Spain-Portugal travel options:
- BlaBlaCar. This is a ride-sharing app that I’ve mentioned before on the blog. My friends got one from Sevilla. If you search BlaBlaCars from cities close to the border, you’re likely to find a few.
- Alsa. This is the biggest bus company in Spain. You’ll want to check the times on the website to see what works with your schedule the best. For example, Alsa had no buses leaving from Sevilla Saturday morning. So there went my plan of spending the night in Sevilla Friday night and then catching an early morning bus Saturday.
- Other bus companies. Avanza, Anibal and EVA also have service between the two countries.
- Renfe. They offer one train from Madrid to Lisbon and it’s overnight.
- Flying. I actually flew part of the way home because it was less expensive that way. I flew TAP Portugal. Vueling is another airline that operates between the two.
And it made for an early morning
The only downside about the overnight bus is figuring out what to do so early in the morning. Like the bathrooms in the train station had yet to be opened. So that was an adventure. After I finally relieved my bladder, I took the metro into the center of the city and wandered around as the sun was coming up. It was such a cool way to be introduced to the city.
And then of course I had to take a little selfie with the sunrise in the background. I created this look in a bar bathroom. I feel like it’s not so bad for having little sleep on an overnight bus.
Just like we all do, I had looked up the Lisbon Destination Hostel online. It looked nice for sure. However I found the concept of it being inside a train station to be perplexing and intriguing. I wondered if it ever got noisy and if at the end of the day, it would just feel like I was in a train station. However I was pleasantly surprised.
I loved how they made a map of the world with rope. The common area was full of neat little touches here and there that made the place feel like home.
I fully regret not jumping in this …
Lots of things to do
I like it when a hostel offers you lots of things to do. I was a semi-solo traveler on this trip. I was staying at the hostel by myself but had a few friends who just happened to also be visiting Lisbon this past weekend. They were staying at a different hostel, but we met up throughout the weekend.
Many people these days travel by themselves. I myself did so in Scotland over this past New Year’s. Sometimes you find that amazing airfare for a weekend away or simply just want to go but cannot find any friends to come along. So what do you do? I will always tell you to just go. If you stay in a hostel, you can meet other travelers so easily. And when you’re solo, you completely control your schedule.
You can just see here all that they have going on each week. Breakfast is included in your stay and dinner was 9 euros. Additionally, they have daily tours and a pub crawl several times a week. I went to two pub crawls and two tours during my stay with the hostel. For any of you who follow me on Instagram, I had quite a detailed story from the pub crawl and really my entire time in Lisbon. Part of said story was me singing “Wonderwall” because why not?
This was dinner. It was amazing.
I stayed in a 6-bed female dorm room. While I was given the top bunk, it was cozy. That was probably the only thing I would have changed. When you’re young and at summer camp, the top bunk sounds super fun. However as a 29-year-old woman, it can be precarious and then there’s the simple feat of moving all the crap around. However up on that top bunk, it’s quite spacious. Also they have a plug (I’ve stayed at hostels without a plug by the bed), a little container for you to put your stuff and your own reading lamp. Also there are curtains all along the top offering you a bit more privacy.
The bathrooms were nice. There were more than enough showers (I’ve stayed at hostels like like 3 … for all of the women in the entire hostel). They also had hair dryers. I never used one because I brought my own hair dryer. But I’m glad that they had them.
My stay in Lisbon was amazing. It is one of my favorite cities in Europe. You know you like a place when you think “hmm, I should come and live here one day.” I mean I’m not making any plans and have applied for a second year to teach in Spain. But it is definitely a thought. I really would love to at least spend more time exploring Lisbon and Portugal. And also the Portuguese language is very fascinating to me. It’s similar in so many ways to Spanish and could be a fun third language to learn.
I’ll just leave you all with a few photos I snapped while wandering around Lisbon.
I received a complimentary stay from Lisbon Destination Hostel however all options are 100% my own.