Why Lisbon? here are my top reasons why you should visit Lisbon!
Reason number 1: Budget Friendly
It can be hard to narrow down your choices for your next holiday, when you’re faced with so many options. I had heard wonderful things about the city of Lisbon. It was also reported to be one of the most affordable cities in Europe to visit. Since this was going to be our first international trip, budget friendly was a top priority for me. When I’m trying to figure out where to travel to, I usually start my search with a few destinations in mind, pop them all into Pinterest, and see what kinds of images and guides comes up. The old world charm of the city, coupled with the rumors of budget friendly travel, settled it for me.
Deciding on Lisbon was only the first step. Figuring out which area to stay in was just as challenging. I recommend spending some time on the city’s tourism info sites reading about the vibe of the different neighbourhoods. Ultimately the choice depends on the experience you’re looking for. If you like to stay up late and want to dine like the locals (after 8pm), then heading out to experience the night life, then Bairro Alto & Chiado may be just the place for you. The rich, medieval history, narrow pathways and tiny town squares, along with the gorgeous hilltop views of Alfama, were exactly what we were after. It was also important for us to immerse ourselves into the environment as much as possible, so we chose to rent a simple, inexpensive studio flat for €50 a night on Airbnb. I baked a big batch of granola, packed our own coffee and filters (mostly because we are THAT picky about our coffee), and we were ready to roll!
We arrived in Alfama, and wound our way through the medieval maze of streets to our flat. The charm of Alfama is striking. We’d truly never been anywhere that compared. Around each corner is something new to capture or explore, and the old women still hang out their windows and shout down the streets to each other. No phones needed. It’s easy to feel as though you’ve travelled back in time 100’s of years.
This was the view from our window. There was some sort of tv production going on, and the alley had been covered in colourful umbrellas. What a welcome!
With a city steeped in rich culture, you can experience so much of the value of Lisbon just by walking the streets. From hilltop photo ops, to gathering on the green to watch the sunset with the locals, you don’t have to visit a museum to get your moneys worth out of Lisbon.
The streets of Lisbon are so rich in textures; the azulejos (ceramic tile art) that cover so many of the old buildings, and the doors, so full of colour and texture. This is definitely where my door obsession started!
Reason number 2: Tourist friendly without being touristy
Looking back at our trip, I was surprised to see how many “touristy” things we had done, since that really isn’t our style.
The area of Belem is home to two UNESCO world heritage sites. The Torre de Belém (Belem Tower) is a 16th century lighthouse that was fortified to protect the port.
Jerónimos Monastery, also from the 16th century. It was built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India, the first linking Europe and Asia by ocean route.
Don’t forget to stop at Pastéis de Belem. I didn’t get a picture of ours (because they were gone so quickly!) so I’ve inserted one of theirs for you to drool over.
We also visited Castelo de S. Jorge, it has spectacular views of the city and is definitely a must visit.
Reason number 3: Day Trips
Only 40 minutes by train, and you can either be at the beach or in the mountains. I recommend both!
Cascais, easy to get to but hard to pronounce, is an adorable little beach town just right for more street wandering, dipping your toes in the sand, and dining al fresco.
There is so much to say about Sintra, Portugal’s enchanted forest, that I made a separate post. You can read about our visit to Sintra here. Trust me, though, this royal mountain get-away is well worth the trip.
These are my top three reasons to visit Lisbon. Have you been? If so, what were your favourite things about it? If not, does this post inspire you to go? And, of course, if you have any questions about Lisbon, I would be happy to try and answer them! Thanks for reading.