Destination Hostels. Alfama Patio
One of the things we knew about Lisbon was that it’s one of the cities that has the most hostels in the world. Over the years, our experience with hostels was so and so, nothing extraordinary, but it wasn’t disappointing either. Since we like to walk around a new city a lot during the day, a bed was more than enough for us. Sure, there was the kitchen and common area where you could socialize with the other guests, but we never got to do that because we were out in the morning and would return pretty tired in the evening. So we decided that this vacation would be different. We searched for a friendly place, where you could have a good time and meet new people. After some research (there are indeed a lot of hosteles in Lisbon that look nicer than some hotels), we found the perfect hostel for us, Destination Hostel.
Destination Hostel was voted the 5th best hostel in the world so it wasn’t so hard to make a decision. They have 3 locations in Lisbon, Lisbon Destination Hostel, situated in Rossio train station (one of our favorite buildings in Lisbon), Sunset Destination Hostel, in Cais do Sodré train station and Alfama Patio Hostel, in Alfama. All hostels have breakfast included, private rooms and 4-6 mixed and female dorms. They’re the kind of hostels where everybody is welcomed, not just younger people. If you want to stay in one of their hostels, don’t wait until the last minute to book your room. Even in the extra season when we went, they were almost fully booked. We made a reservation 2 weeks before our arrival and the only available room was at Alfama Patio, in a 6 girl dorm. We figured it was the perfect opportunity to meet new people and didn’t think twice about booking it.
Alfama Patio is located in Alfama, one of the oldest and traditional neighborhoods of Lisbon, in a historic building, being the smallest of the three. They told us that they were’t allowed to make major modifications to the building and that’s why, from the deck terrace, you entered the upstairs rooms through a big window. That was pretty cool! Once you get to the hostel you are given a bracelet (you have to have it on you all the time so you can enter) and are welcomed into the family. With that bracelet you can also visit the other hostels and chill for some time in their relaxation rooms. We’ve only been to Destination Hostel and it’s so different from the one in Alfama, it’s wort a visit. It’s more modern, located in the city center and has a more cosmopolitan vibe to it. They all have the same facilities, with free wi-fi, breakfast with a kitchen that anybody can use for cooking and a big relaxation room with hammocks, comfy couches, pool a ping pong tables that you can use anytime. The reception area is opened 24/7 so you can drop by at any hour.
We’ve told you that we stayed in a shared female dorm. Well, on the first night we had the room for ourselves. Then 2 girls from the States arrived and after that 2 girls from Singapore. We exchanged stories about our countries cultures and found out a lot of interesting things about theirs. But our favorite moment of the day was at breakfast, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee with. You can have breakfast on the deck terrace overlooking Alfama, with the yellow tram passing by, or in the garden patio surrounded by flowers. And since food brings people together, it was the moment when we planned our day with the other guests. Sharing the same table, you find out what everyone has planned for the day and go explore the city together.
Besides the included breakfast, the hostel offers a lot of interesting activities. We went to the walking tour through Alfama, where our guide told us a little about Lisbon’s history, stories about Alfama and the sights we were seeing. It was one of the most interesting tours we’ve taken, our guide having a cool style of telling stories, making most of them pretty amusing and interesting. He also took us to try their traditional alcoholic drink, Ginjinha, which can also be drunk in a chocolate cup. All the walking tours are free, but is recommended to leave a small tip at the end. The same night we went to the fado night, also organized by them, and we listened to 6 singers singing the traditional music. They also have tours in Belem (on bike), day trips to Sintra (at promotional prices if you stay in one of their hostels), pub crawls and a bunch of other cool activities every evening, so you won’t get bored. If you don’t want to go out to eat, they have a lady that comes and cooks dinner (for 9 euro/person), and if you’re lucky, you can listen to her singing some fado music. We truly recommend this hostel, we had one of the most interesting vacations, mostly because of them and their activities. At the reception area you’ll find one of the most friendly and helpful people, you can ask them anything you want. And we did meet a lot of cool people from all over the world, making our vacation more interesting and memorable. Thanks for having us, we really did have a great time.