Two in One – How to effortlessly enhance a trip to the Azores with a tour of Lisbon
I would like to recommend a great way to complement your trip to the Azores with no extra travel.
Every time I was flying to the Azores I had a stopover in Lisbon. I did not want to waste my time waiting at the airport, so I always decided to have a look around in the city. So it was just me and my guide book, trying to make the most of my stay in this wonderful city – but somehow it did not feel right. Even though I have seen a lot, I did not have the full picture of Lisbon, and how this city truly is. I have to admit I felt a little disappointed, especially after doing my homework and reading so many good things about the capital of Portugal. However, the last time my friend Virag and myself were in Lisbon, another friend of mine, Krisztina – who is a tour guide and has been living in Lisbon for 9 years – took us on a 3.5 hours long sightseeing tour.
We could choose between several half-day trips, and we ended up taking the one showcasing the Alfama and lower Baixa districts. I cannot even compare how much better this tour has been than me wandering the streets alone. Krisztina pointed out buildings, places, and shops, explaining us why they are there and why do they look like they do. I had lots of questions about Lisbon before, to which I could find no answer in my guidebook. But with Krisztina all these questions have been answered, and I did not even need to ask them – her explanations were so thorough and detailed. For example: I adore the Portuguese painted ceramic tiles (Azulejo), and thanks to Krisztina I know more about them now and why they are so popular in Portugal. I have even found out new things about the Azores, which made me very happy. I think a tour like this can be a great warm-up before or a wind-down after a trip to the Azores. We have been to a store selling Azorean products. We have made several stops and got a taste of the culture, the local drinks (we tried a fruit-flavored alcoholic drink called Ginjinha), and speciality food (we tasted Pastel de Bacalhau – salted cod fritters – and observed how it is made). There was even time left for shopping. We spent a lot of time in a store selling everything made of cork, you can see what we bought in the album below.
We have seen lots of beautiful, and high quality souvenirs. Krisztina knows all the hidden treasures. Cork products are very popular on the Azores, too. You can buy cork bags, backpacks, shoes, even a cork tie!
When I was sightseeing by myself and had way more time to spend, I saw less than half of what I discovered with Krisztina. Therefore, I highly recommend taking a 3.5 hour Lisbon sightseeing tour during your 4 – 5 hours (or even a day or two) long stopover to or from the Azores. Also I think it is worth doing so with the help of a professional tour guide. This way the cultural and natural wonders of the Azores are complemented with a real Portuguese experience. When you are traveling to the Azores with TAP Portugal airline, you can opt for a stopover in Lisbon or in Porto (you can find more information about this at the end of this post). Krisztina is a fantastic tour guide. My personal highlights of the tour were first of all the new information about the Azores, and secondly the local food and drink specialities. We even visited a fruit and vegetables shop where we looked at typical Portuguese produce and discussed preparation methods.
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Krisztina for showing me this exciting city and changing my original impression of Lisbon based on my solo wanderings. I am looking forward to discovering more of Lisbon and its surroundings with her in the near future.
Those of you who would like to complement their trip to the Azores with a Lisbon experience – with a 3.5 hours sightseeing, or even a multi-day tour – please contact us here. Also drop us a mail if you need advice on how to make the most of your stopover in Porto, Algarve or Madeira.
Further hints for a tour of Lisbon
At the Lisbon airport after the baggage reclaim once you exit the terminal and turn right next to the P2 parking you will find the BAGGAGE STORAGE AREA which is open 24⁄7. You can leave your luggage here if you decide for a short city trip.
Pricing information (per day and item based on weight):
2.90 EUR for a bag of 10 kg or less
4.30 EUR for a bag weighing between 10 – 30 kg
8.60 EUR for bag over 30 kg
Of course you can store your luggage in Lisbon, too, for a few hours if you would like. More info here.
Best Ice Cream
Oou really need to check this out. This Italian ice cream parlour recommended by Krisztina has been one of the highlights of our trip. To my amazement they had gluten-free cones and gluten-free ice cream, too. YUMMMM.… and the ice cream was divine. Next time I am in Lisbon I will definitely return here to ask the Italian owner about how he ended up making ice cream in the Portuguese capital. I apologise for the picture quality, I was so focused on enjoying my ice cream that I only took a quick snap without adjusting the settings. However, now I have better photos thanks to Krisztina. Click on this link to find out the location and opening hours of Gelato Davvero.
Stopover with TAP Portugal
What is the cheapest way to make a stopover with TAP Portugal when flying the Budapest – Lisbon / Porto – Azores route? TAP Portugal is advertising stopover with the slogan „2 destinations for the price of 1”. This is how it works.
- TAP Portugal offers a stopover if your final destination is the Azores, Madeira or Algarve. If this condition is met, you can choose from the following options: several hours between connecting flights (if you would like to spend only a few hours in Lisbon), round trip stopover (both ways), one way stopover.
- If you selected stopover in your booking, you can define how long it should be (between 1 – 5 days).
- TAP Portugal has special offers and exclusive hotel and car rental deals to help with the stopover travel arrangements.
You can find out more about TAP Portugal stopovers by clicking here.