Last weekend I got the chance to take a weekend trip to Lisboa and Evora, Portugal, with my study abroad program, ISA. The about five-hour bus ride from Seville to Lisboa was not the most enjoyable ride of my life, but it is nice that Portugal is so close to my little city that has become my home away from home. It was sadly a rainy and gloomy weekend, but I still loved getting the opportunity to explore another beautiful European country. The nice part is that even though we were crossing borders, there are European Union countries called the Schengen Area where passports are not needed to cross borders (though, still a recommended idea to bring yours with you when traveling in this area).
Our first stop was Lisboa, Portugal, which is the capital of Portugal. Sadly, the rain put a damper on our attempt to take a walking tour of the city. Instead, we opted for our bus tour of Lisboa. We started off at Jerónimos Monastery, which was incredibly beautiful on the inside and outside. The architecture withstood the devastating earthquake that shook Portugal in 1755 and only had minimal damages. In 1833, the building title was transferred to Real Casa Pia de Lisboa and became an orphanage. In 1983, Jerónimos Monastery became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is such a beautiful and intricate building.
After the monastery, the bus tour took over due to the never-ending rain. We got to see the beautiful colors of the city that stand out even against the gloomy skies for the day. I love that all of the houses and buildings have their own unique colors, yet somehow still all blend together in a beautiful way. I would love to come back and see them brighten up on a sunny day.
A big tourist sight in Lisboa is Belém Tower. Sadly, the rain caused the bridge to not hold up and end up being closed for the day. At least we got to see it from afar. This tower is a landmark medieval defensive tower on its own little island. The coastal views are definitely one of my favorite sights on this trip.
Lisbon, Portugal, is actually the sister city of San Francisco, California. You can easily tell from the use of cable cars and probably the most distinguishing landmark: the golden suspension bridge. The cool thing about this is that the bridge in Lisbon was built by the same construction company that built the original Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland in California.
My final stop in Lisboa was right next to my hotel, VIP Grand Lisboa, which was such a nice and beautiful hotel by the way. It was the bullring, Campo Pequeno. It’s a huge, beautiful red-brick building that reminds tourists of a Spanish tradition, bullfighting. The difference though between Spanish and Portuguese bullfighting is that Portugal bulls are not killed at the end of the show. It would have been so fun to witness a show, but sadly I did not get the opportunity. It was fun to look at the building though! There is even a mall underground the arena (what I surprise that I end up at the mall, oops).
After a two-day stay in Lisboa, we made a few hour stop in Evora, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, before heading back to Seville. This city feels like I took a step back in old-time Portugal and I absolutely loved it. The only bad thing was that we went on Sunday, aka almost everything was closed because the Portuguese and Spanish take their Sundays at church and spending time with their families very seriously (which I actually love).
Evora is famous for its Capela dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones. I did not make it inside because if you know me you know how easily I get creeped out and scared. So when I heard there was a chapel decorated with actual human bones and skulls, I took a hard pass. If you are braver than me though, I heard it is a must to check out. Instead, I went to go check out some beautiful Roman temple remains that is located in the middle of the city. I also got to see one of their churches that is absolutely stunning. The whole city is extremely charming and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to explore it.
Overall, I loved having the opportunity to explore yet another incredible European country. I am so blessed that I am lucky enough to visit so many historically rich countries. This has been an absolute dream.
Are you interested in spending the perfect 24 hours in Lisbon, Portugal? 197 Travel Stamps has the perfect itinerary for a day in the capital city of Portugal from breakfast in Alfama to drinks in Barrio Alto.
Have you ever been to Portugal? I would love to hear all about your experiences and places you think are a must to visit. Let me know in the comments!