Maybe a little later than I had hoped but as promised in my P&O Ventura Mediterranean Cruise post I will be posting about all of the different port of calls that I was lucky enough to visit! The first two stops for the cruise were Vigo in Spain and Lisbon in Portugal, I actually visited these two places on the first cruise I ever went on, but from knowing what we had done before we made an effort to find and explore new places. Lisbon & Vigo are both cities rife with history and culture, and perhaps a place you wouldn't think of normally visiting, I think they would make such great city breaks and I would love to go back to Lisbon for longer. At each port of call the time you get in the place varies, it could be anything from 4 hours to the whole day, usually by lunch time the heat has got the better of us and we head back to the ship for lunch. But it really is amazing how much you can see in the short period of time. This isn't an exhaustive guide of what I got up to, but more of a brief insight into these gorgeous cities!
After a day at sea we arrived in a rather cloudy Vigo, I swear it happens every year that I go on holiday and the nicest week of the year arrives in the UK, typical hey? Anyway, the port of Vigo is right by the town so it's so easy to get off and explore.
Like anywhere, we always head straight to the shops! It's your typical European city with Zaras, H&M and Stradivarius shops around every corner.
After mooching round the shops for a bit we went on a walk to El Castro Citadel which offers great sea views, a garden setting and ruins from a pre-Roman settlement. We visited here the first time we came to Vigo but the views were so great that we had to venture up there again.
The views and garden area are so pretty, and it was actually really peaceful when we got to the top, there is usually lots of coach tours around this part. After being around people on the cruise 24/7 it was nice to get some peace and tranquility for a short while.
You could see our cruise ship from the top and the surrounding views were spectacular, the walk really was worth it, sort of glad the weather was cloudy as it would have been too hot else.
After exploring we headed back down to the town square. Some of the buildings are so old and quaint but they really do add so much character to the city.Funny how I found a Sephora store right next to the port? Definitely had my priorities right here! I wore the comfiest dress for travelling, this striped number is from Hollister and I lived in it for day trips and going down to the pool. After spending our morning traipsing around Vigo we headed back to the ship for lunch and relaxation!
The next day we arrived in beautiful Lisbon! It was also my mums birthday, so after opening cards and presents and a big birthday breakfast we got off the ship to explore. The port is not close to the centre at all, and we had to take a short coach ride in to reach the town which can be annoying if there is a wait on coaches.
Pastel de nata is Lisbons local speciality, which in English is custard tarts! The bakeries are lined with these delicious looking tarts as well as many other delicacies. I remember seeing these the last time I had visited and regretted not trying one!
Like Vigo, the streets are lined with shops, as well as the more expensive stores. Slightly more choice than Vigo and my delight when I found a H&M home was clear, I literally love this store so much and wish there were more in the UK. I left with lots of pretty kitchen and home things, including an adorable silver pineapple which you can store things in. You really cannot take me anywhere without buying anything, oops!
After some shopping we started to head down towards the sea and away from the town.
The square in Lisbon is called Praca do Comercio which has been claimed as being one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and you can see why with it's incredibly clean and fresh looking architecture and its lovely view which opens out onto the Tagus river.
Trams are still one of the quickest ways to get around the city, albeit very old fashioned. I love seeing trams when I'm on holiday as it's like nothing we would ever see in some places in the UK. In this respect the place is quite similar to Helsinki, with old buildings, narrow streets and trams.
There was a cute yellow tram around every corner.
There was some kind of upcoming festival in the city which is why there were brightly coloured garlands draped along all of the back streets in the town to peoples houses.
On our way up to the castle we took in more great views and admired the sea view, this was the new Royal Caribbean Cruise ship called The Anthem, which by the way looks amazing, maybe next year?
It really is the smallest things that I love about exploring new places, it's the tiny back streets, filled with cute and quaint houses and things off the beaten track that I love the most about travelling.
After reaching the castle it was time for something to eat...
Coffee & Pastel De Nata - perfect!
Seriously, imagine what heaven is like and you'll know how this custard tart tasted. The view was phenomenal and the custard tarts were packed full of yummy sweet custard, I wish I could have brought a box of these home. If you do anything in Lisbon, you need to try one of these. I actually saw the other day a cafe just selling these opened up in Covent Garden so I will definitely have to pay it a visit next time I'm in London!
After our yummy custard tarts we well and truly walked them off by heading back down into the town and to the cruise ship.
What I love about visiting places like this is that they aren't places that would scream out to me for taking a week or 2 week holiday. Cruises allow you to discover places that you wouldn't normally go to, and those few hours you spend there really do give you an idea if you want to go back and explore the place more. That speaks for itself as that is why I'm heading back to Mykonos on Friday for a week, after visiting there on a cruise last year I completely fell in love with the island and I am so excited to go back for more, and of course I will be taking as many photos as I can to get some posts up for when I am back!
On a side note, thank you to you all for still staying and reading my blog,finding time to blog at the moment is a logistical nightmare but here I am awake at 6am on a weekend (stupid body clock!) and thought this was the best way to spend my time! Anyway, I hope everyone is well and is having a fabulous summer, I cant wait to start reading all your blogs again so do leave your links below for me to have a read!
What do you think of Vigo and Lisbon? Would you visit these cities, or have you been before?