Dream Solo Travel Destination: Lisbon, Portugal

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The breathtaking cityscape, nature, and many cultural activities are only a few of the items Lisbon has to offer. 

Over the Christmas break, I took my first-ever solo trip to Lisbon, it indeed proved itself as the perfect spot for solo travelers, and I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience.

To fly to Lisbon from Spain, as you might assume, is straightforward. It is possible to find flights as cheap as 15 euros depending on the time of your travel. The Lisbon airport (Humberto Delgado Airport or LIS) is easy to navigate even for those who do not speak Portuguese. 

Overall, before my trip I had assumed not speaking the language would create problems in communication however almost everyone I encountered spoke either English or Spanish.

If this was enough to convince you to travel to Lisbon, you might have questions regarding accommodation, restaurants, and activities to do there as a solo traveler.

Accommodation

I stayed at Lisbon Lounge Hostel, it was in the perfect location and had great hospitality. 

The staff was exceptionally helpful and friendly. Staying at a hostel is the best option for those traveling alone. You can meet fascinating people and make the most out of your trip. The hostel has both dorm rooms and individual rooms depending on what you are comfortable with. It also has a great lounge area. It’s near the metro and the famous Arco de Rua Augusta.

Sights & Museums

Lisbon is an exceptional center that houses incredible museums and sights for any kind of interest. 

My travel trip to the museums is to take your student ID with you if you want discounts. In my experience, student tickets overall give you a larger access meaning that it covers all the parts of the museum for a cheaper price than with a normal ticket you might require to buy multiple accesses.

1)     Museu Coleção Berardo

This extremely beautiful collection is a must-see if you are a contemporary and modern art fan. If not, I would still recommend you give this collection a chance, and let it change your mind. It is located in Belem, so it’s a quick train ride away from the center. I would to give you 1-2 hours to properly cover this collection, perhaps even more.

2)     Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência

Lisbon’s national history museum was one of the best parts of my trip. It caters to those who enjoy sciences and nature perfectly. One of the best parts of the museum was its interactive curation that teaches about Portugal’s landscape and biodiversity. I only had an hour to cover the museum since it closed at 17:00, however, as a solo traveler it was enough time for me to set my own pace and cover most of what I wanted to see.

3)     Garagem Sul Expasição

This exhibition is the perfect stop for anyone interested in architecture, construction, and environmentalism. The curation has video installations, physical installations, many models, and drawings. The student ticket costs 3 euros and covers the entire exhibition. It also has a book and gift store holding many great architecture books that architecture students dream of owning in their collections. This exhibition also is located in Belem and takes approximately 20-40 minutes to cover.

4)     Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara

This viewpoint was exceptional, and currently holds home to many Christmas stands where you can have mulled wine, eat, read and enjoy the view.

5)     MAAT

Yet again, located in Belem, the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design is a must-visit.

Restaurants & Bars & Cafes

1)     Grapes and Bites

The Mediterranean restaurant located at Rua do Norte was the place I dined on my first night. They have a wonderful wine selection, vegetarian, and even vegan options. Most importantly, I recommend this place for solo travelers because they had live music and it made me enjoy my dinner way more as it felt like I had company with me.

2)     The Folks

If you are looking for a less traditional breakfast spot this is your place to visit. They have great coffee and good staff. Most importantly, if you crave a well-done avocado toast this is your place. However, bear in mind that this is not a traditional spot to explore the cuisine of Lisbon.

3)     WineGuest

This place is a great spot to watch Belem from, the staff is exceptionally nice and they house incredible wine.

4)     A Tasca | Tequila Bar

On Wednesdays, they host a Latin Music Night, a great spot to socialize with the staff. If you want to grab a couple of drinks and dance this is your spot to do so. You might encounter many tourists just like you and make friends.

5)     Pasteis de Belem

This is an infamous spot, everyone and their mothers know about it. However that’s for a reason if you are in Lisbon and want to try their famous pastel de nata, you might as well do it in the most famous place.

In a nutshell, Lisbon was an incredible experience. My advice for those looking to travel there is to walk and take the city step by step – there is rarely a dull corner in Lisbon so you will enjoy your time better if you walk around and are open to meeting new people. 

If you are a solo traveler grab a book, and you will very soon recognize almost everyone reads in parks and cafes.

Most importantly, bring your love for other cultures and go see a live Fado show. If you are struggling with travel anxiety and need to get familiar with places you can watch this video to do so. 

All images courtesy of Nisa Serin

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