Exploring Lisbon, Top Things to Do and See in this Capital

Portugal was one of the major destinations which I always wanted to visit. It has always been on top of my list for quite some time and being able to tick-it off my bucket is just quite a personal achievement. Growing up in the Philippines, they always teach in our social study classes as to how the Portuguese people has influenced our country. Well, basically, we were under the Spanish rule for 300 years and the famous Ferdinand Magellan who conquered the Philippines for Spain is indeed Portuguese. 

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Going back, I arrived in Lisbon from Paris, the flight only lasted for like around two and a half hours. After going through security at Lisbon’s Airport, I took an Uber straight to my accommodation, but upon arriving there, I was informed by one of the  staff that I could only check-in after one in the afternoon and I looked at the time and it was only nine-thirty in the morning, so I was like, really?! But fortunately, my accommodation has a bar, so I just ordered some beer, opened my computer and did some photo-editing. And after being able to check-in, I left my luggage and bags in my room and went out to explore Lisbon’s old town. 

It was summer when I visited Portugal, so aside from the great weather, there were also lots of interesting events happening during that time. The FIFA world cup for example, it’s like their religion. Since it wasn’t Portugal who was hosting it that year, Lisbon has set up giant screens to air the live football match in their main square! But that’s not the crazy part, the crazy part was seeing the square jam-packed with lots of people from different parts of the world wearing the uniform and waving the flag of the team they are supporting as they scream and cheer for them. 

In this article, I will be sharing some of the best things to do and see in this beautiful capital. 

JOIN A FREE WALKING TOUR

One of the best way to explore Lisbon and actually know the history of some of its monuments and landmarks is by joining a free walking tour. You can easily spot different guides offering free walking tours from Lisbon’s Squares.

EXPLORE LISBON’S ALFAMA NEIGHBORHOOD

Perhaps one of my favorite spots in Lisbon. Alfama is one of Lisbon’s oldest areas. Here you can find lots of shops selling traditional crafts and cozy cafes which offers some of the best coffees and pastries. You can also witness tons of artistic murals painted on walls here. 

TASTE THEIR FAMOUS PASTEL DE NATA

Basically, it’s a sweet custard tart. I just drool whenever I think of this. Basically one of my favorite pastries in the whole world. I basically had at least five of these per day when I was in Lisbon. 

photo courtesy of Pasteis de Belem

TAKE A SHOT OF THEIR FAMOUS GINJINHA

Your visit in lisbon woudn’t be complete if you haven’t tasted their tasty Ginjinha. Basically it’s one of the most well known alcoholic drink in Portugal. Traditionally, it is a go-to drink for those who are broken-hearted haha. 

INDULGE IN LOCAL CUISINES

Sardines and cod dishes are some of the dishes which I highly recommend, they just cook and present it in a totally different level. Portuguese cuisine is just one of the best in the world. To be honest, I haven’t tasted bad food when I was in Portugal. 

EXPLORE BARRIO ALTO

Barrio Alto is often dubbed as the Bohemian District of Lisbon. It looks amazing during the day cause you can see all the old houses in the neighborhood are decorated with vivid street art, definitely a great place to stroll and take instagram-worthy photos. And at night, a diverse crowd fill the streets and the pubs. I went bar-hopping one night and ended up tasting tons of different local beers! The ambience in this area is just indescribable, sort of like the high you get from smoking weed haha. 

ASCENSOR DA GLORIA

The Glória Funicular, sometimes known as the Elevador da Glória, is a funicular railway line in the civil parish of Santo António, in the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal. It connects the Pombaline downtown with the Bairro Alto, operated by Carris.

reference: Wikipedia

TORRE DE BELEM

Belém Tower, officially the Tower of Saint Vincent is a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served both as a fortress and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. 

reference: Wikipedia

PRACO DO COMERCIO

The Praça do Comércio is located in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated near the Tagus river, the square is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paço, because it was the location of the Paços da Ribeira until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake. 

reference: Wikipedia

ELEVADOR DE SANTA JUSTA

The Santa Justa Lift, also called Carmo Lift, is an elevator, or lift, in the civil parish of Santa Justa, in the historical city of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa, it connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo.

reference: Wikipedia

PADRO DOS DESCOBRIMENTOS

One of Lisbon’s famous landmarks, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary, in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon. 


MAAT

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology  of Lisbon. A great place to visit if you are into any of those crafts.  You can also see a great view of the Tagus River from here. 


PONTE 25 DE ABRIL BRIDGE

Often referred to as the famous red bridge of Lisbon. This bridge connects the city of Lisbon to the municipality of Almada. It is also one of the longest bridge in Europe. 

Aside from the ones above, there are still tons of other things to do in this city. But yeah, I’m reserving that for my next visit. My trip to Portugal was one of the most memorable summers in my life. So, I’m definitely am looking forward to my next visit. 

Have you been to Lisbon? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more! 😀


How To Apply For A Schengen Visa for Philippine-passport holders.

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How to apply for a Schengen Visa (Step by Step Procedure, Documents required and Tips on how to successfully obtain a Schengen Visa)

Applying for a visa can be one of the most-tedious task to do, especially with visas for highly-industrialized countries. Aside from the inch-thick documents we need to collect & submit and the time it takes for it to be processed, there is also a certain amount we need to pay. And above all these, there is still no guarantee that our application will be approved.

Anyway, in this article, I’ll be discussing mainly about the different procedures and documents required  in obtaining a Schengen Visa.

First, what is a  Schengen Visa? Well basically, a Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them.

Below are the Schengen States:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland,France,Germany,Greece,Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Aside from the Schengen States, you can also use your Schengen visa to visit other countries like:

Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey

Documents Required:

Fully Completed and Signed Visa Application Form

Cover Letter Stating the purpose of the visit.

Original Passport and passport Info Page Copy

Residence Visa Copy (if you are based abroad)

ID Photos (Bring at least 2 copies)

Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation

Travel Insurance

Proof of Accommodation(hotel bookings, etc.)

Proof of Financial Means (latest 6-months bank statement)

Employment Certificate if Employed

Day to day Itinerary

Invitation Letter if you’re invited by Someone from the EU

Affidavit of Support if someone else is paying for your expenses

Enrollment Certificate if you’re a student.

Step by step guide in getting a Schengen Visa

Basically, the first step in getting a Schengen Visa is to choose your main country of travel or the country of which you’ll be spending the most time (if you’re planning to travel to several Schengen States) as this will determine which Visa Application Center you will need to go.

For Schengen Visa Applications, it is mostly handled by VFS GLobal, although there are some countries where the Visa application is handled by the country’s embassy itself, there are also those which are handled by a different agency. So it is important to make sure to decide which country is your main country so you can go to that specific Visa Application Center.

Book an Appointment Online. Well after choosing the country, you should set an appointment where you will submit all your documents for your application. As mentioned on the first step, you should book an appointment based on your main country. In my case, I applied for a Schengen Visa for the Netherlands, and VFS Global handles visa application for the Netherlands, therefore, I booked an appointment on the VFS Global Website.

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I highly suggest that applicants should apply for at least 60-90 days before their intended travel dates to have ample time to fix any problems if there will be any.

On your appointment day at the Visa Application Center, representatives will collect and scan your documents, they will also assess what else may be lacking from all the documents you have submitted. After this, once everything is ok, you will then be called for biometrics collection (fingerprints and photo). Once everything is finished, you will then be given a receipt for you to claim your passport once the result of your application is ready. A tracking number is also written in the receipt for you to be able to track the progress of your application online. You can also opt for an SMS message update with an additional fee.

Processing time takes up to 21 days, so I advice that you only contact the Visa Application Center if you haven’t received any result yet after this timeframe. In my case, I received my passport with a Shengen Visa after 8 days.

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Shengen Visa Fees varies from each country of Application, Since I applied for The Netherlands through VFS GLOBAL in the UAE, then here is the breakdown of all the fees that I paid in the local currency:

99 AED around 26 USD – Appointment fee paid at the VFS Global site

260 AED around 70 USD – Shengen Visa Fee to be paid during the day of application

30 AED around 8 USD – Courier Service (Optional) – the passport will be delivered to your desired address.

I hope you find this article helpful. For questions, feel-free to ask it on the comments below and I will try to answer as soon as I’ll be able to read them.

Thank you for reading!