21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

It’s proper Springtime!

A few weeks ago, I told you about how we had such a lovely time in Croatia, and all the unique things that we did!

However, we did more than just go to Croatia.

Yep!

We also went to..

Wait for it.

Dubrovnik!

And what a magnificent city. I really can’t hold it in any longer so this week, I’m going to tell you why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit, and that if you haven’t been, you ought to go now!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European citities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!
21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

If you’re just joining, this is what you missed:

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Whoopa!

LET’S GET A LITTLE HISTORY!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Dubrovnik , otherwise known as Ragusa, is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, in Dalmatia!

The name Dubrovnik is first recorded in the Charter of Ban Kulin in 1189 and was mostly explained as a Slavic name, meaning an oak grove or oak forest. However, both names Dubrovnik and Ragusa co-existed for several centuries.

Ragusa, recorded – since the 10th century – considered to stem from the Greek word Lausa – remained the official name of the Republic of Dubrovnik until 1808, while Dubrovnik – first recorded in the late 12th century – was in widespread use by the 16th or early 17th century!

The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade, and during the 15th and 16th centuries, became famous not only for it’s wealth, but also for it’s skilled international diplomacy!

Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport, and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It’s population is about 42,461, and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

WHY GO TO DUBROVNIK?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who issued me with a press pass, and very kindly invited us to a Croatian traditional lunch, and organised a private customised walking tour, we were in fact, able to do quite a lot.

Thanks so much!

What now?

I thought you would never ask…

Welcome to the Old City in Dubrovnik, otherwise known as Grad!

1.  The Dubrovnik Old City & City Wall: Dubrovnik is a museum city crammed with hidden treasures. If you don’t do anything at all, make sure you climb the City Wall! Top tip! You can use the ticket of the City Wall to get into the Lovrijenac Fort – for free – and there is no need to buy another ticket!

2.  It’s a waterfront port city: You know how much I enjoy water destinations. Dubrovnik ticked each, and every box!

3.  History: Dubrovnik is an old city alive full of history and stories, and Dubrovnik like the city of Split, is a flagship heritage attraction, utterly protected by UNESCO, since 1979!

A large part of Kings’ Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside the City Wall in Dubrovnik – and just a few minutes away!

4.  Walking Tours: The Dubrovnik Tourist Board very kindly organised a private customised walking tour which was peppered with the history of the old Republic of Dubrovnik, tips about famous Croatians, and the secrets of where Game of Thrones was filmed. A large part of King’s Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside Dubrovnik’s City Wall and just a few minutes away! In fact, I’m watching the bestselling cult series again right now, and I’m ecstatic. I must have seen the complete 1 – 6 series American Amazon here, British Amazon here, German Amazon here, at least four (4) times, and I’m watching it all over again!

5.  The port of Dubrovnik is romantic: You can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the river-side or towards the castle and fortress. Or you can simply have a meal or a glass of something bubbly, while basking in the early evening sun!

Take me to the island of Lokrum in Croatia, which is a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve!

6.  You can visit an island: You can take a daytrip to the Elaphiti Islands or to the island of Lokrum, a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve! We really tried hard to get there, but either it was raining and no boats were going out, or we spent a hell of a lot of time on the City Wall!

7.  You can stroll through the very small Old City with nothing to fear but the selfie stick of other tourists!

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

8.  It’s a city of history through the ages: You only have to walk through the City Gates and history is right before your very eyes. Turn here, and you’ll see ancient sailing vessels, turn there, and you’ll hear the whisper of centuries of wealth, power and fame!

9.  Dubrovnik is known as a city on the palm of the hand: The city is so named due to it’s history, it’s beauty, and it’s openness to the world!

In a living city, there are strings of washing strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

10.  Dubrovnik is an authentic living city: I always felt as if I was in somebody’s backyard, as on practically every corner and side-street, there were stairways and steps, and strings of washing seen strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

11.  Dubrovnik is international: We saw plenty of American, Korean, Italian and Croatian tourists, dominated by Brits and the Irish! A quick look around and a bit of a natter with other tourists would reveal a bevy of young wealthy Indians. Many of whom actually lived in Germany!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

12.  Dubrovnik is small: I don’t know how they do it, but Dubrovnik is tinier than Split! And with a population of just 42,461 inhabitants, is perfectly walkable. In fact, no vehicles are allowed into the Old City except for those trolley-like carts!

13.  The nightlife: Dubrovnik has a great nightlife. In pretty much every corner, there’s a bar or a few tables, and in the summer, live music. As this was a family holiday, the party would have to wait however, almost every evening we found a nice little place where we could enjoy a glass of wine or champagne, while the sun set!

We found a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites. It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s the Cave Bar More in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

14.  Secret bars: We found two bars that were not well-known, but were absolute fantastic. We stumbled upon both of them! One was whilst we decided to go cliff walking around Dubrovnik instead. We found a restaurant, but deeper inside it was a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites! It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s called the Cave Bar More where you could have wine and cocktails. Which we did!

The other place we saw whilst we were on the Castle Walls itself. It’s difficult to find as it’s part of the cliff and sort of tucked behind a side street, that leads to the City Wall. There’s no signage, but if you’re determined, you’ll find it! On talking to one of the waiters, he told me that their customers tend to be locals or those “in the know.” It can get a little chilly, and there are no barriers or fencing, so you’ll need to keep a hold of young kids, but it was awesome.

A marvellous place to have a beer and watch the sun go down in front of the Lokrum island. It’s called Zto Bard. Go find it!

Night life in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

15.  Museums & Galleries: I love places that teach you something and give you an impression of the lives of those living there, and Dubrovnik had them in spades. We were only able to make it to the Maritime Museum, which really gave me some insight into the maritime history of Dubrovnik and how important the sea is, but I so desperately wanted to visit the Ethnographic Museum. We managed a quick peek into the Franciscan Monastery which I recognised from Game of Thrones, and a peek into the Cathedral, but we weren’t able to do it properly, and simply had no time at all, for the Dominican Monastery!

The cable car is a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik!

16.  Dubrovnik Cable Car: What a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik! In fact, once you’ve taken the cable car, and you’re at the top of the Srđ Hill, there’s a viewing platform where you can see enchanting views of the Old City, the Lapad Bay, and the other nearby islands!

17.  It’s off the beaten path: Croatia, not to talk of Dubrovnik, is still relatively unknown! Perhaps, it was the fact that we had arrived in the low season, but in Zagreb we saw very few tourists except for Americans and local Croatians. In Split, mainly German and Italian.

Most of the Asian and British tourists seemed to be in Dubrovnik!

There was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the Dubrovnik City Wall!

18.  Cats: We saw cats everywhere. They weren’t as feral or as wild as the cats that we saw in Portugal – but quite cute. In fact, there was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the City Wall! You can make a donation or leave tins of cat food, and even play with the cats. If the cats let you!

19.  A budget destination: In comparison to Italy and Austria nearby, prices are lower and the quality just as good!

OMG! The seafood in Croatia is so impressive!

20.  Croatian food: OMG! The seafood was impressive. More about that next week!

21.  Because Game of Thrones!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Dubrovnik right away!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus / FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Split-Dubrovnik.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Dubrovnik has the potential to be most popular!

Not in April.

But it has the potential to be, as Dubrovnik is most popular!

In fact, most of the tourists were on the City Wall, and many tourist attractions  were still very much empty as it wasn’t yet “the season.” Many a restaurant were looking for punters and luring customers in with 10% discounts, or more!

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS DUBROVNIK LIKE?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Marvellous!

We were only there for 4 days, but we could have stayed for a week, as we had so many things to see, and the weather put a hamper on some of the activities that we wanted to do.

It’s rich in history, is of architectural interest and has a wonderful harbour. There are castles and fortresses galore, the seafood and wine is not to be missed, and the islands nearby are attractive.

If it’s good enough to reflect the main filming location in Game of Thrones as King’s Landing, the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, it’s good enough for you!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN!

I’m guessing that the parrots don’t speak much Croatian either, although I couldn’t quite understand what they were doing there!

No worries!

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You really can’t live on the Dubrovnik City Wall. Even if you want to!

Not at all.

Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This glass of beer was quaffed on our Dubrovnik apartment terrace, and was a gift from our Croatian landlord!

We’ve all been there.

Dubrovnik isn’t cheap-cheap, but if you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at budget prices!

And the seafood is delightful!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking lots of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

This was our sunny terrace at our Dubrovnik apartment. We were very comfortable!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standard of apartments available, is exceedingly high.

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

I have plenty of ideas. Just ask me!

Always.

Go ahead and ask me!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Lots of people, walk or take the bus. But you can just as well canoe your way around!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

Cars are not allowed into the Old City! For the day-to-day, the locals used some sort of cart!

Dubrovnik is pretty small so everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bicycle, boat, cable car, the local bus, or simply walk.

We were lucky to get a private customised city tour courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who paired us with the expertise of the PR Department Coordinator!

ANYTHING ELSE?

You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!
You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!

Ditch the heels and expensive leather brogues, and take comfortable walking shoes.

There be steep and cobbled stones!

Oh, and get the Dubrovnik Card. It includes the cost of the City Walls, which more than makes up for itself!

MY VERDICT:

Dubrovnik is a dream!

Dubrovnik is an undisputed dream.

It’s medieval.

It’s appealing.

It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.

If you’re looking for one of the top European cities to visit in 2017, that is safe, lively, and ready to be discovered. It’s right there!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Because the White Walkers from Game of Thrones, scare me!

Utterly!

Because, Game of Thrones!

Go visit Dubrovnik. Now!

Where we stayed: Green Park Apartments – Just €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Marvellous!

Book your hotel here!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a press pass, and a complimentary city tour courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, all opinions and the delightful Castle Wall that we sprawled over, are my very own!

In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia!

From May 17th – May 20th, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

From June 8th – June 9th, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week. It’s going to be so much fun!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re quite mad!

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be pleasing!

Croatian food is most delicious!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Have you ever been to Dubrovnic? Any ideas why parrots are in the Old City? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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17 reasons why Lisbon is the next top European place to be!

An iconic tram. Is Lisbon the next top European place to be?
An iconic tram. Is Lisbon the next top European place to be?

I’m back!

My brother wrote a book and it’s exciting!

OMG!

This summer is going to be so awesome!

I can’t give you any details right now but I’ll tell you all about it in June! Promise!

But first, Pooooortugal!

A few weeks ago, I told you about how we had such a lovely time in the Algarve and all the unique things that we did!

However, we did more than just go to the Algarve.

Yep!

We also went to Lisbon. And Porto!

But today, I’m going to tell you why Lisbon is the next place that you should visit!

17 REASONS WHY LISBON IS THE NEXT TOP EUROPEAN PLACE TO BE!

A traditional neighbourhood shop in Lisbon.
A traditional neighbourhood shop in Lisbon.

Lisbon, also known locally as Lisboa, is the capital of Portugal. It lies on the north bank of the Tagus Estuary, on the European Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city in continental Europe! It’s also  slap-bang in the centre of Portugal, and is approximately 300 km from the Algarve in the south, and 400 km from the northern border with Spain!

Lisbon offers a wide variety of options to the visitor, including beaches, countryside, mountains, and areas of historical interest, only a few kilometres away from the city centre, and boy did we take advantage!

This wasn’t my first time to visit Lisbon. In fact, my first and previous visit was back in 2007. The very same year that I went to Vietnam!

However, The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” had never been before, so I wanted to ensure that they saw everything that needed to be seen, and that they had a good time!

WHY GO TO LISBON?

The former fishng village of Belém. In Lisbon!
The former fishing village of Belém. In Lisbon!

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

  1. It’s a waterfront port city: You know how much I like river destinations and Lisbon is no exception.
  2. The port of Lisbon is romantic: You can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the river-side, you can take as many selfies as you like on the monumental terminals, or you can simply have a meal or a glass of something bubbly, while basking in the early evening sun!
  3. Lisbon is known as the white city due to its unique light: The city is filled with monumental statues that are glaringly built with bright white stone!
  4. It’s a city of lively character: The suburb of Bairro Alto is one of the most characteristic quarters of the city, crammed with traditional restaurants, packed alongside cosy bookshops, hipster design shops, and diverse little cafes, where cups of steaming hot tea cost 80 cents and you can see right through into the living room!
  5. Lisbon is authentic: I always felt as if I was in somebody’s backyard, as on practically every corner and side-street, strings of washing would be strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!
  6. Lisbon is young: A stroll down the Quarter known as Chiado would throw up an area of art, theatre, and young musicians. In fact, one of our favourite things was to find an upper hill platform and chill-out on the steps. The Music Producer wasn’t comfortable “chilling” with the 20-something student crowd, “chilling” with cheap bottles of beer, or “chilling” with young drug-dealers who kept trying to sell him some illegal substance, until they saw me and ran speedily away! So we went to a very smart family friendly roof-top bar called Madame Petisca, and spent almost €70.00 on tapas and fried potatoes / sweet potato crisps, that came in a metal jug-like bucket, an excellent roof-top view, and glasses of wine and cocktails instead. I  know!
  7. Lisbon is small: The city is quite small with a population of slightly over 600,000 inhabitants and perfectly walkable, as long as you watch out for the trams and mind your head lol!
  8. The nightlife: Lisbon has a great nightlife. In pretty much every corner, there’s a bar or neighbourhood dedicated to having some sort of party.
  9. Unique music: You can’t go to Portugal without experiencing the haunting mournful tunes and lyrics, of melancholic feeling and loss, known as Fado. And if you drink a glass or two of delicious portuguese wine, you can relax a little, and even sing along!
  10. Friendly people: Most people speak English and were very helpful and open to visitors and tourists.
  11. Quirky museums: I love places that have quirky museums and Lisbon has them in spades such as – the National Tile Museum, the Puppet Museum, the Water Museum, or the National Coach Museum of the 17th – 19th centuries!
  12. History: Lisbon is an old city full of history and stories.
  13. Lisbon has not one, but two (2) World Heritage Sites: The Jerónimos Monastery also known as the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Torre de Belém otherwise known as the Belém Tower or the Tower of St Vincent, both built in the 16th century!
  14. It’s off the beaten path: Funnily enough, Portugal, not to talk of Lisbon, is still relatively unknown! I saw plenty of Americans there, lots of Germans, but very few Brits, and most of them were in the Algarve! In comparison to Madrid (the capital of Spain), the prices are lower and the quality is better!
  15. Portuguese food: OMG! Marvellous. We found a farmers market that was so good. We went back twice! More about that in a couple of weeks!
  16. Close enough for day trips: Lisbon is so on point that you can take a day trip to the lovely “Garden of the Eartly Paradise” otherwise known as Sintra, the spectacular landscape of Costa Azul, or the glamorous Portuguese Riveria, otherwise known as, Estoril and Cascais!
  17. Because dessert: The best place in the world to try out the pastéis de nata, otherwise known as Portuguese custard tarts, is in Lisbon. Nom! Nom!

TAKE ME THERE?

On the funicular, in Lisbon!
On the funicular, in Lisbon!

Getting from the Algarve to Lisbon was easy-peasy.

It was possible to take either the train here, or here, or the by bus-coach here!

The bus-coach was cheaper for the three (3) of us and took almost the same time, so we decided to take the coach-bus instead! Oh, and even though I can no longer remember the exact details, the company was called EVA and the cost was something like €15.00 for adults and €10.00 for children, so a no-brainer as far as we were concerned.

The coach was comfortable and had WiFi which sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. It also had a toilet on board and you could eat your snacks (as long as you wer discreet) unlike in Germany and Eastern Europe, where beer is sold on the coach-bus for everyone (over 16) to partake in!

The journey from the Algarve to Lisbon was roughly 3.5 hours.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

The strength of a lost global empire!
The strength of a lost global empire!

Not in my opinion!

Well, a little, but only because Lisbon is tiny. It was a little after Easter and of course, Lisbon is a university town and a working city. By 20:00, the place was booming and the trams were packed!

WHAT IS LISBON LIKE?

We were only there for three (3) days but Lisbon definitely made an impact on me back in 2007, and it made an impression on me once again!

I DON’T SPEAK PORTUGUESE 

He can't speak Portuguese either! He's a scary water-spout gargoyle in Lisbon!
He can’t speak Portuguese either! He’s a scary water-spout gargoyle in Lisbon!

Unlike Madrid, English is widely spoken however, if you speak Spanish or German, you won’t be out-of-place. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with learning a few basic words of Portuguese as a measure of respect!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You're not going to live in a hut, and you're not going to live in the palace of Estoril either!
You’re not going to live in a hut, and you’re not going to live in the palace of Estoril either!

Not at all. Portugal isn’t Germany, and even though we saw an awful number of abandoned or derelict buildings, Lisbon is certainly a high-income advanced economy, with a very high standard of living.

You’re definitely not going to be living in a cave!

I’M ON A BUDGET, BUT I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY AS I DON’T WANT TO ROUGH IT! WHAT SHOULD I DO?

What say you to Lisbon’s bohemian nightlife?!
What say you to Lisbon’s bohemian nightlife?!

We stayed at a rather lovely boutique hostel located a few minutes walk from many historic and tourist attractions, right in the heart of Lisbon’s Bohemia nightlife!

Located in the Bairro Alto Quarter, the hostel is just two (2) minutes walk away from all the action in the Chiado Quarter, and a few minutes from tiny bars, restaurants in one direction, and about a ten (10) minute walk from fancier bars and up-market restaurants, in the other direction!

Which ever way you go, you’re not far from the delights of a thriving nightlife!

I first saw mention of this hostel as part of the Luxury Hostels of Europe project on the website of one of our top world-known bloggers – Kash of the Budget Traveller – who is a great guy and a mate of mine, and also some inspiration from the blog of another top blogger – Agness of eTramping – a sweet girl and another good friend of mine.

So I just had to check it out for myself!

And omigosh!

StayInn Lisbon Hostel wasn’t your ordinary hostel.

At the StayInn Lisbon Hostel!
At the StayInn Lisbon Hostel!

It was akin to a fancy hotel!

We were lucky to be on a part-sponsorship with the StayInn Lisbon Hostel and as a result, they very kindly gave us a heavily discounted suite, and a double room!

Thank you so much!

Wow!

The hostel is on the first floor and as you enter, there’s someone to help you with your bags, a warm welcome smile waiting for you, and a very wide, clean, colourful, artistic space!

At the StayInn Lisbon Hostel!
At the StayInn Lisbon Hostel!

StayInn Lisbon Hostel features a modern décor, bright airy rooms, parquet floors, comfy squashy bean-bags, colourful soft sofas, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a common lounge and living room area with patch-work cushions, a mini-library, and a large flat-screen TV!

This boutique hostel was designed to embrace the sophisticated charm and historical delight of Lisbon and has a cosy space of just nine (9) rooms – two suites with private bathrooms, two double rooms, two twin rooms, one eight (8)-person mixed dorm, one six (6)-person mixed dorm, one six (6)-person female dorm, and a feng shui botanical smoking area.

My husband and I were in one of the suites with a huge private en-suite bathroom, whilst “The Tall Young Gentleman” was a very happy Larry, as he had a double room all to himself!

Blissssss!

The "Tall Young Gentleman" looking blissfully happy! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The “Tall Young Gentleman” looking blissfully happy!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As “The Tall Young Gentleman” has become older and almost as tall as his father, it has come to our realisation, that in order for all of us to get a good nights sleep and reduce teenage drama, separate bedrooms are necessary.

And that was what we got!

It was marvellous to have the luxury of separate bedrooms especially when you’re travelling, you’ve got a tween who’s “on holiday,” and knick-knack is just thrown everywhere!

It was lovely just to have the space LOL!

A hostal is Spanish in style but does the job!
A hostal is Spanish in style but does the job!

Whenever we go on a family holiday, I like to mix things up a little in order to experience a wide variety of accommodation possibilities, to meet the locals, and to stretch our budget in a more comfortable way.

In Madrid, I decided to book a triple room Spanish-style hostal! In Seville, we stayed with friends in a lovely traditional Spanish suburban villa. complete with pool! In the Algarve, we booked a really nice studio-villa apartment in the coastal town of Lagos. This time around, it was time for a little more comfort.

Our stay at StayInn Lisbon Hostel was an absolute pleasure.

When you book a room on-line, you can never be entirely sure what you’re going to get, and can only hold your breath, and cross your fingers.

I didn’t know what to expect in Lisbon and was delighted at what we received.

Our suite at the boutique StayInn Lisbon Hostel in Portugal!
Our suite at the boutique StayInn Lisbon Hostel in Portugal!

Our suite consisted of a hallway, and a large private bathroom. Our bedroom had a double bed, one (1) rather nice fancy armchair, a writing-table / make-up table with mirror and stool, a large enclosed wardrobe, a huge open window, lots of wall adapters and a relaxing window-sill that you could imagine yourself sprawling on, whilst drinking a glass of wine..!

The second (2nd) bedroom had a large double bed, a bed-side table, a huge mirror, a large wardrobe, and very spacious, open windows. “The Tall Young Gentleman” was delighted moreover, he even had an electric card-key which only he had access to!

Our private bathroom at the boutique StayInn Lisbon Hostel in Portugal!
Our private bathroom at the boutique StayInn Lisbon Hostel in Portugal!

Our private bathroom was very clean and had two separate shower cubicles, a separate WC cubicle, two Mr & Mrs sinks (which I loved), a hairdryer, a huge mirror, and was fitted out with hair and body wash items, and plenty of fluffy towels.

The hostel also had two chill-out areas, a dining room, a fully-equipped kitchen which guests were free to use, free WiFi, and a more than generous free buffet breakfast!

For breakfast, you could help yourself to a large basket of bread, rolls of butter, a platter of ham and cheese, as well as a variety of cereal, fruit, slices of home-made cake, juice, and as much tea and coffee as you wanted!

All this from €60 – €80.00 per night in the suite, from €45.00 in the double room, and from €16 – €21.00 in the dorms.

Awesome!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Lisbon is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bus, train, funicular or tram. You can also hang on while the tram is moving, but don't do that at home kids!
Lisbon is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bus, train, funicular or tram.
You can also hang on while the tram is moving, but don’t do that at home kids!

Lisbon is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bus, train, funicular or tram. The best parts are the historical trams that looked as if they couldn’t get up the steep hills, but did.

Each and every time!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Ditch the heels and expensive leather brogues, and take comfortable walking shoes.

There be steep and cobbled stones!

MY VERDICT:

Lisbon is quaint. It's appealing. It's got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.
Lisbon is quaint. It’s appealing. It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.

I have a fondness for Lisbon.

It’s quaint. It’s appealing. It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.

If you’re looking for the next best European city of 2016 that’s safe, lively, and ready to be discovered. You’ve found it!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Utterly!

Go visit Lisbon!

Taking a taxi in Lisbon.
Taking a taxi in Lisbon.

This article is part-sponsored by the lovely boutique StayInn Lisbon Hostel, but all opinions and the fascinating historical trams that we huddled over, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be focusing on Porto!

From June 2nd – June 3rd, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.

From June 28th – July 2nd, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be fantastic!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re insane!

Watch this space!

17 reasons why Lisbon is the next top European place to be!
17 reasons why Lisbon is the next top European place to be!

Have you ever been to Lisbon? Do you think Lisbon is the next top European place to be?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com