My name is Hanna and I am one of the Co-Founders of Monarchessa. This summer, I decided to do something BOLD and quite UNEXPECTED. I went on my first ever solo trip.
You might ask yourself why? Well, I'll tell you. I love traveling and I love exploring new places and experiencing new cultures. I would love to travel the world with my family and friends, but nowadays people are so busy. I realized that I couldn't wait any longer and so I decided to take a leap across the pond to Portugal!
Since this was my first solo trip, I honestly wasn't so sure how I would like traveling alone. I planned a 6 day trip. I felt that was enough to test the waters and see if I liked traveling alone or not.
So It Begins...
I started my trip flying to Lisbon and staying for two days. The first day I got there, I explored around and got lost wandering random streets. (Of course, I had to wear the Opera Crossbody in Portugal. It was the best bag to keep all my little travel supplies with me!) I was truly fascinated with all the colorful buildings around Lisbon. I am a sucker for anything with tile and I couldn't get over how there was tile everywhere! I probably took 50 pictures just the first day of all the different tile designs I saw around town.
I was glad that I chose to go to Portugal for my first solo trip because I have some friends there so they were able to give me more of a locals perspective on where to go and what to eat. My friend and I went to beach the first evening and took me to a little tucked away restaurant that only the locals know about and we watched the sunset and enjoyed the BEST Sangria I have ever had. I was in awe.
The second day, I had signed up for a day trip to Sintra and Cascais. Unfortunately, at the time there were some wildfires going across Portugal and Spain so instead of seeing the iconic castle, we went to the National Palace of Sintra. It was still so beautiful and the town was quite charming. My favorite part of the day was exploring Cascais. This was a cute beach town which so happens to be the wealthiest city in Portugal.
Made My Way Down South
The following day, I hopped on a train and found myself in Lagos. It was close to a 4 hour ride. Trying to figure out the train station was a whole other adventure but luckily I made it in one piece.
I am going to say this loud and clear, Lagos is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It was by far my favorite city in Portugal. I was mesmerized by the sea and all the unique rock formations. Although the water was pretty cold, I was so content just being there and wandering around the beaches. The cool thing about the beaches is that to get to some of them, you have to follow this trail and walk through a few tunnels. These two days I did a whole lot of relaxing. I did discover a spectacular point for sunrise/sunset to get a great view of the sea and all the unique rocks. The last day I was there I was really torn on either doing a tour to see the famous Benagil cave or a boat tour to get up close with the different rock forms. I talked a lot with the people in the hostel about it and the locals recommended not going to Benagil because of how packed it would be. Apparently, if you want to get a cool picture of the cave, do not go in the summer time because it will be crowded. With that said, I ended up doing the boat tour. I can't complain. It was peaceful and just as cool of an experience.
I think the reason why I loved Lagos so much is because it was a lot smaller than Lisbon. In Lisbon, it is easy to get lost but Lagos was small enough where I could wander and still find my way back without a GPS. I also felt that the vibe of the city was a lot more relaxed.
I returned to Lisbon and spent the last two days of my trip trying to devour all the food and yummy desserts and coffees I could find. I did try the iconic dessert, Pastéis de Nata and it was as incredible! I made friends with strangers from the hostel I stayed at and spent my time exploring with them, cooking dinners together, and going out for drinks. I think it is safe to say that I would definitely do another solo trip again. It was easily the highlight of my summer and am so glad I took a chance to really do something like this. I learned a lot about myself and about the spectacular country of Portugal. But for next time, I think I will extend my trip just a bit longer. :)
Sending my love,