Lisbon has a number of top hostels in the city, and after staying in “Lost Inn hostel” I will never stay at a mediocre hostel ever again. The decor was similar to a 4 star hotel, with chandeliers and gold trimmed mirrors, wooden parquet flooring and titanium white walls. Key cards were used to access the high tech lockers, and the free sangria made by the bubbly staff tied everything together. The only downside is they keep making sure you remember to rate them on tripadvisor and even after I had done so, they sent me another email to remind me.
Lisboetas are excellent English speakers unlike their neighbours, which made it very easy to get around. Their walking tours are honest and informative, and one guide gave me the address to this amazing secret fado bar. I did think Lisboetas were slightly reserved at the bars/pubs towards foreigners.
Please message me privately for the directions to this amazing bar. Me and my travel buddy were afraid of turning into the dark alley and even more so when an old bearded man walked down it. However I heard faint music and we saw the old man knock, thus we slipped in behind him when the door opened. Fantastic upbeat music in a lively setting but one rule: no clapping. Just rub your hands together if you would like to show your appreciation for the musicians. We were delighted.
Getting around by bus/train was easy and taxis were very reasonable. Just watch out for the (lack of information on google maps re:) topography if you want to walk up to the various mirados. Staying at Lisbon gives you the best hostels, and the ability to take day trips without too much hassle as it is well connected to other cities.
I loved Museu Nacional do Azulejo, and was completely awestruck in the church lined with blue and white tiles and gold intricacies. The coastal walk along Av. Ribeira das Naus 2 in the evenings was bustling with musicians, craft markets and people relaxing in the sunshine. If you plan to buy Portuguese ceramics, Cerâmicas na Linha sells them by weight.
My favourite food was the grilled octopus from the Time Out market near Cais do Sodre, however our tour guide recommended we not pay more than 6 Euros for a complete set meal at the local restaurants.
The day trip to Sintra was more confusing then awesome and I did not relate to the strange castles that these millionaires dreamt up. However the views from the Moorish castle were stunning. Bus 434 (5 euros) brings you through the loop of the Palacio Nacional Sintra, the Moorish castle and Pena palace. To get to Quinta da Regaleira it is a flat 15 minute walk from the Palacio Nacional stop.
Bicycle path to Praia Grande
I recommend the bicycle ride from Cascais to Praia Grande do Guincho despite the thigh burn. It took about 1 hr one way and it was relatively flat. I did try my luck to get the free bikes however they get snapped up at 8am so I trodded around comparing bike rental shops, finding Portugal Rent Bike the cheapest and the most friendly. I did not even need to give them my name or a deposit and the guys there just put me on a bike, gave me a lock and asked me to have fun. The beach was very relaxing compared to the ones in the city, and I fell asleep with sunshine on my face.