When you grab your backpack and a Visa card, in a bus, train, or plane ride, you can find yourself anywhere in the world.
Happily, my journey goes so much farther than the green countryside of Northern Spain.
I write to you from sunny Lisbon, Portugal where I arrived yesterday. With little more than my Atmos backpack, passport, Visa, and the desire to explore, I left Santiago de Compostella to see something new.
To get to Portugal from Santiago there are a few alternatives. The first is to fly. I recommend Vueling.com. It is Spanish airline that has many cheap flights from within the country as well as to various other cities throughout Europe. If you can’t find a cheap ticket on Vueling, my next suggestion is to take the train or the bus. While both go to various parts of Portugal, I took the bus because it is the cheaper and faster option of the two.
The bus company that makes the trip is Alsa, a Spanish carrier that has a great reputation for its safe and cheap transportation, both domestically and internationally.
From Santiago to Lisbon, Portugal, it takes about eight hours to arrive and costs roughly 35 euros. One place we stopped in along the way is Porto. While many parts of Portugal are gorgeous and worthy of exploring, Porto is known for its scenic beaches. Yesterday, Maggie, a fellow traveler who I met at the hostel I am staying at (Traveler’s House) described her stay in Porto as an adventure. “ The city has two faces. When I first got there it seemed that the city was an old beach town with some historical parts, and then I later found out there is a part of Porto that is restored and more modern.”
I myself have decided to skip over Porto, only because after eventful an week in Spain, for me that the smartest travel move is to find a central spot to stabilize myself and make day trips from. Lisbon has tons of culture about it. During the day people graze the streets enjoying the sights and making sure not to rush through life. During the night, similar to in Spain or Argentina, Lisbon is one big party. For many, the night does not start until 2 or 3 am.
So far, of all the tips, I can give for traveling to Lisbon, the top two are these: In the metro, remember to save your entrance ticket. If you don’t you will not be allowed to exit the station. Fines for this go up to 20 euros.
Also, do not worry about the language barrier, especially if you speak a little Spanish. People are helpful and respond to you in Spanish or English if they can. But make sure to get a book of travel phrases no matter what, it will come in handy. While there are many foreigners in Lisbon, you won´t find many of them in the outskirts of the center.
September 26, 2009 @ 9:47 pm
Every summer since i was 4 years old me and my sister go and visit my grandparents. They live right in the heart of the city. Lisbon is a truly amazing city and the people are so friendly. I would recomend reading between the lines, and search the smaller streets and cities within the country. It is a shame that you didn't get a chance to go to Porto though. 10 of the 20 summers we have spent there we have visited for a week, amazing beaches.