Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment, because I clearly love dragging my suitcase all over the world and over every paving stone in Lisbon, because while we were there I stayed in three separate types of accommodations: a hostel, an airbnb apartment, and a hotel. Why you might ask? well, as I mentioned in this post about hating hostels, the first night there I arrived from the States without my dear companion who came the next day from Rome (we’re fancy like that). Once he was there we switched to the apartment in the Alfama neighborhood. Then the last night because of our spectacularly early flight to Rome (6:30am) we stayed at a hotel nearer to the airport. So! Here is a Tale of Three Accommodations:
1. The Independente Hostel:
I’ve touched on some of the issues at this hostel in the above-linked-to post. It was probably the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed in in terms of decor/comfort/view. This was the view:
Not bad. The breakfast was reasonable and there were plenty of generally unoccupied lounge areas if you wanted some alone time. However it suffered from all of the same complaints I have about hostels generally (again see above linked post). But, if you were looking for a hostel in Lisbon I would 100% recommend this establishment.
2. Airbnb Apartment in the Alfama neighborhood:
This was my first experience with Airbnb. I was nervous about it, but it turned out spectacularly. The apartment was great because it allowed us to keep some of our own food (including tinned octopus, which was awesome) and it was cheaper that most of the hotel options in the city. Lisbon seems to be awash in reasonably priced airbnb apartments and I would suggest you take advantage of those options over the hotels. Because we were in Alfama we could hear fado inside the apartment. Every night we heard the singing, and while we weren’t particularly inclined to actually go to a fado bar and spend the money for the experience, it was lovely to hear it in the comfort of our own home. I was also amazed by the service from the apartment manager: she picked me up to take me to the apartment, when there was an issue with the electrical it was dealt with promptly and had we wanted she would’ve taken care of an early morning airport taxi for us. A+ service. I know lots of people who have had similarly wonderful airbnb experiences, so far I am a big fan.
While the Alfama neighborhood was gorgeous and totally atmospheric–especially because of the fado–it was a bit of a hassle to get in and out. As I mentioned in my previous post about the non-triumphant public transit issues, there was only one tram that we could take to get up the hill and when that was having issues–too crowded, taking forever, in an accident with a Porsche–we were shit out of luck. Not great. Luckily Lisbon is relatively walkable despite its seven hills (do all capital cities have seven hills? I swear, everywhere is trying to be the new Rome).
Speaking of Rome…
3. Hotel Roma, a hotel closer to the airport– and yes I choose this one because of its name and because we were leaving to go to Rome. I’m logical like that.
Because our flight was so ungodly early I thought it made sense to cut the transit time getting to the airport and I wasn’t sure beforehand how tricky it would be to get a cab from the apartment (turns out it would’ve been no problem, live and learn), so we spent our last night in a hotel only about 7 minutes from the airport in a suburb-y type neighborhood. The hotel was a bit anonymous, but the neighborhood was great. Unlike the city center it felt like–as we wandered around in the evening–that this was the type of neighborhood that regular Lisboetas lived in. We tried to get into this amazing looking restaurant that was jammed packed–clearly the favorite neighborhood joint–but no chance. It was great to see a different, less-tourist-centric part of the city. The metro made it super easy to get out there and the ride to the airport was fast and pretty cheap (ten euro I think).
As ridiculous as it was to stay in three different places for my five night visit, I feel like I learned a ton more about the city–and where I would want to choose to stay in the future.