14 Places to visit in Portugal

Hello Internet-friends!

Since my last post (Lisbon Erasmus guide) I really got into that mood of telling you about what you could/should do if you choose Lisbon as your exchange semester location. Well, I guess not too many of my readers are considering that, though. hahaha. Still going to keep writing as long as I am inspired. Deal with it! Imagine me wearing cool sunglasses while preparing this guide for you on a rainy day. (Yes, rainy season is about to start. Noooooo.) So without further ado, here is a list of places that are worth a visit:

  1. Belem: area that belongs to Lisbon, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (monestery), Torre de Belém (very famous tower), Centro Cultural de Belém (looks very nice from the outside, about the inside I don’t know, because I have only seen in from far away haha)
  2. Cascais: it takes about 40mins by train to get to this small town (leaving from Cais do Sodre), very touristy place, Farol da Guia (lighthouse with a nice view)
  3. Carcavelos: about 25mins by train, nice beach and easy to reach
  4. Sintra: about 40mins by train (Rossio train station), known for its very old palaces, very beautiful landscape (Google it)
  5. Óbidos: about 1h by car, I would not recommend the train since it takes waaaay too long compared to the car, know for its Christmas town (also middle ages market in summer)
  6. Coimbra: about 2h by car or 2-3h by train, one of the bigger cities in Portugal, according to wikipedia many students are living there, maaany sights you should definitely see (one of the cities than many people recommended me to go)
  7. Setúbal: 40mins by car and much longer by train, one of the trips organized by the language course faculty (FCSH), known for the good wine
  8. Nazaré: known for its HUGE waves –> take a look at the pictures on Google haha (up to 30 meters)
  9. Caldas da Reinha: near Óbidos, famous for its thermal water, also organized by the language course faculty
  10. Évora: 40mins car ride, Temple of Diana (Roman Temple of Évora), language course faculty trip
  11. Batalha: near Nazaré, Batalha Monastery
  12. Algarve: region in the very south of Portugal, know to look like a “paradise”, very nice beaches, etc
  13. Porto: Stop talking, just go there! Either by plane or by bus (both starting at 10-15€), Look in my previous blog posts, I uploaded a lot of pictures from my trip. 🙂
  14. Madeira: (kind of) near the Canary Islands, if you are lucky you can find a flight for about 50-60€ round trip, very well known for its wine

Hopefully you find some places worth a visit after my brief summary. I have got all the information from 1) being there and telling about my own experience, 2) remembering what others told me or 3) doing a little research on Google. I am very open and would also really appreciate it if you find some mistakes and tell me, or if you have anything to add to this list. Thank you in advance! 🙂

Cheers!

Claudia

p.s. I took that photo in Porto. 🙂

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Why arriving in a new country brings about so much confusion – part 1

My exchange-adventure has started on the 6th of September when I arrived in Lisbon after a 3 hour flight across Europe. The first three to four days were very stressful for me, as I had to run errands, such as trying to finalize the course enrollment at the university, get a monthly ticket for the public transportation system, find shops where I can buy food and other things that I needed in order to survive for the first few days, and so on.

Well, when looking at the tasks mentioned above one might think, that this would not take too much time. Be warned, you might be totally wrong. Here are some examples of how difficult it can be to finally settle down in Lisbon: (This is how it really happened, but: Attenzione! The content below might violate someone personally, so make sure you speak sarcasm fluently. I love this country and the people here, so stay calm and just enjoy reading this.)

  1. The course enrollment

As a person who comes from a very well organized culture and university, where „Atomuhranmeldung“ is a thing, I was at first very pleased by how the enrollments are done in Lisbon. (What is Atomuhranmeldung?: It means, staring at your computer for at least 15 minutes, starting at 1:45pm so still have a chance to log in with your account. Then trying not to miss the enrollment period, which begins at 2:00pm (sometimes at 1:59:59) and ends (not officially) at 2:00:10pm. = 2pm and 10 seconds.) During this 10 second time period, a rush of adrenalin might occur and, if you are lucky, you will end up being enrolled to e.g. 5 out of 7 classes for the whole semester.)

Back to the Portuguese enrollment: „Take your time“ gets a whole new meaning here, because I was able to enroll to and change my courses HOURS after the enrollment has started. This sounds really good, doesn’t it? At first yes, but when I entered the online platform I was only able to choose the name of the courses, but I did not know at what day of the week (or time) they take place. I just went on and thought, I will figure it out sooner or later. Then, I received an email saying, that some courses overlap and I got deregistered from half of the courses that I have selected. WHAT? (This also happened to many other people who I have talked to.) After that, I was finally able to look at the timetable and I had to enroll again. The first and most important question that comes to my mind is: Why can’t I just do that in the first attempt? By the way: Finding this timetable also took me some days, it is somewhere on the bottom of the moodle website.

Summing up, it took me much more time to enroll to the courses than I had expected and to be honest, my courses still overlap with each other so wish me luck tomorrow when the next enrollment period starts!