I checked my map on my phone again as I lugged my carryon suitcase over the white cobblestones of Portugal’s narrow sidewalks. Cars, busses, and even the local versions of tuktuks whizzed past me as I made my way uphill. According to the blue dots on my map, I just needed to keep going straight, but despite what the map said I kept second guessing it and checking to make sure. Getting to a hostel was never this easy, I always ended up getting turned around or lost. But, amazingly, this time it was, and just a few minutes later I found myself standing outside my home base for the next three days: Lookout Lisbon! Hostel.
When I was researching where to stay in Portugal, Lookout Lisbon! was one of the first hostels I came across, but if I’m being honest, I was a little bit skeptical. This hostel has 9.6/10 rating on hostelworld which seemed pretty high. As an avid traveller, I’m no stranger to establishments making some sort of trade with travellers, often in terms of a discount or alcohol, in exchange for a perfect rating, and a tiny part of me wondered if this was the case. But, I decided to take a chance anyway.
Was I ever glad I did because I can honestly say that having travelled through over 40 countries (at this time), Lookout Lisbon! hostel was easily one of the best hostels I have stayed in; no bribes offered or needed.
While your first climb up the massive hill to get to Lookout Lisbon! may seem like a giant pain in the butt, the location is pretty amazing. It’s located directly across from one of Lisbon’s beautiful and free miradouros, or lookout points which means gorgeous views from directly below and from the hostel’s common room.
There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and even a patisserie right next door (yes, they have delicious pasteis de nata, I tried them twice). And, while it is still a very central location in the city, especially with the miradouro and Gloria Tram right across the way, it’s not constantly crawling with tourists.
Another awesome perk to this location is that Lookout Lisbon! hostel is located right beside Bairro Alto district which is known for its clubs, bars, and Fado Music. Making it the perfect location for anyone interested in Lisbon’s nightlife.
On top of being in an awesome location, Lookout Lisbon! Hostel had a bunch of great amenities. Perhaps of interest to most: a free breakfast. Bread with several different jams and spreads, cheese, meat, boiled eggs, and cereal along with coffee, tea, and juice were available every morning.
For first time visitors there was also a local walking tour associated with the hostel, a guide would come every morning to pick up any interested travellers and lead them to the meeting place. The same goes for the nightly pub crawl, which does have a charge but comes with free drinks. For those interested in tours, the hostel can also arrange for you to take surf lessons, or to visit Sintra.
There is a full kitchen for anyone who wants to do their own cooking, laundry facilities (4 euro to wash, hang dry) and bike rentals for anyone interested in exploring the city by bike.
There is also a large common area attached to reception. There are several couches and chairs and, my favourite, a comfy bench by the window overlooking the park with the miradouro. A small balcony was also accessibly for those who wanted to smoke, or just enjoy the view.
In the evenings around 9:30pm the hostel guests would gather in the common room for the nightly activities; sangria night on Wednesdays, Trivia Night on Tuesdays etc. It’s a fun way to get people together and socialize for a couple of hours before pub crawl or whatever other plans you have for the evening.
One of the things I really liked about Lookout Lisbon! Hostel is that it was small, only four dorms, which made it easy to meet people. I stayed in the twelve bed dorm which was very spacious and had lots of room for everyone to move around and pack/unpack their things.
There were large lockers for everyone under the beds (bring your own lock) and each bed had an outlet for charging and a light. There were also several other plugs in the room for any extra devices.
The only downside of the bunks is that they were three high, which could be a problem if you don’t like heights. I was definitely grateful I had a bottom bunk but they were very sturdy and I didn’t feel any shakiness as my bunkmates climbed into their respective beds above mine.
Our rooms were also cleaned every day and had big bright windows to let the light in. At night, we closed the shutters to block the noise from the streets. Being Lisbon, it could also get quite hot but there was a large fan in our room to help keep things cool.
The bathrooms were not ensuite but rather down the hall; one for the men and one for the women. There was also one private bathroom with a toilet and shower. Like the rest of the hostel, they were always clean and presentable.
As with everywhere you go, it’s the staff that really make it or break it, and during my three-day stay at Lookout Lisbon! Hostel I can promise that the staff will help make your experience that much more enjoyable. From the friendly check-in to the helpful tips to joining in our evening chats, the staff at Lookout Lisbon! are fun, easy going, and feel more like fellow travellers and friends than anything else.
I got lucky and, after expressing an interest in going to see some Fado, had a couple of the girls take me after their shift ended. Thanks to them, I spent my last night in Lisbon listening to authentic and amazing Fado, then grabbing a 1-euro cup of sangria and heading to another gorgeous miradouro to see the city lit up at night.
Special shout-out to: G, Elaine, Fabio, and two volunteers, Roberta and Lyka who helped make my stay extra awesome.
So would I recommend a stay at Lookout Lisbon! Hostel? Absolutely. It’s in a great location and set up to be social and meet other guests; perfect for solo travellers like myself. I also recommend taking advantage of the walking tours (a great intro to the city because Lisbon is pretty big!) and the Wanderlusters tour to Sintra. Plus, the friendly staff and a fun vibe easily made this hostel one of my all-time favourites.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Lookout Lisbon! Hostel for hosting me during my stay. However, all opinions, as always, are my own.