12 Reasons to Travel to Lisbon
Whether you’re looking for vibrant culture, unique (and delicious) food, some good old relaxation, stunning beaches, or a booming nightlife, Lisbon is one of the few cities that can truly claim to have it all. Discover 12 reasons to travel to Lisbon.
This charming city offers something for everyone, no matter what your interests may be. Here are twelve reasons why Lisbon is not only a must-see destination for any traveler, but also an amazing place to live:
1. Rich Portuguese Culture
As soon as you arrive in Lisbon, you’re immediately surrounded by a certain charm that most urbanized, big cities tend to lack. The intricately patterned cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and picturesque shops make a simple walk around town an entrancing cultural experience, especially later in the evening when traditional Fado music (a genre of folk music that originated in Portugal) starts wafting through the streets from the bars.
In addition to the city’s distinct cultural flair, the Portuguese people themselves are known for embodying a culture of kindness and hospitality that makes a visitor from any location feel more than welcome.
Lisbon is a super affordable city to live in, especially when compared to other capital cities in both Europe and America. Eating out — and, equally as important, going out for drinks — is significantly cheaper in Lisbon than it is in the United States. The average beer costs €1.50 ($1.64), and most meals, even in classier restaurants, tend to remain below €12.
3. Culinary Hotspot
Lisbon lays claim to five Michelin-Starred restaurants, the freshest seafood available anywhere, and some amazing custard tarts, pastel de nata (some say the tarts are reason enough to visit the city). Between the food’s affordability, sophistication, and innovation, it’s no wonder Lisbon is currently the trendiest destination for gourmet tourism.
The city’s #1 tourist attraction, the Time Out Market, has 35 stalls selling regional specialities. It features some of the city’s most prominent restaurants, including two with Michelin stars. The easy access to high quality foods with attractive prices makes Lisbon the perfect spot for foodies of all sorts.
Summers in Lisbon are long and warm, but a pleasant breeze brought on by the Atlantic Ocean offsets heavy heat waves. Rain is infrequent and the sun shines bright — in fact, Lisbon is the 3rd sunniest city in Europe, according to data from the Telegraph.
5. Concerts and Festivals
The music scene is extremely prevalent in Portugal: the NOS Alive music and arts festival, running from July 6–9, will feature The Weeknd, Phoenix, Foo Fighters, and The XX. The venue is a mere 20 minute drive from Lisbon and well worth the drive. The following week, the Super Bock Super Rock festival will bring Red Hot Chili Peppers and Future to Lisbon. Come August, the Sudoeste Festival will feature The Chainsmokers, Lil Wayne and Mac Miller.
6. Some of the Best Beaches in Europe
Lisbon is located right along the coast of Portugal, giving it easy access to beautiful, sandy beaches. There are four coastlines that Lisbon’s beaches extend through, each with varying characteristics.
The Estoril-Cascais Coastline offers family-friendly beaches for tourists and locals alike. The Serra de Sintra Coastline has unspoiled beaches that face the Atlantic, which makes them perfect for surfing; however, these beaches are more rugged and rocky, so tourists are less likely to frequent them, especially since no public transport goes to this particular coastline. The Costa da Caparica Coastline is a popular tourist area, offering gorgeous beaches and an exciting bar scene. The Serra da Arrábida Coastline is perfect for exploring since it is surrounded by verdant, forested hills until you come upon the ocean’s calm, clear waters.
Beaches are often an underestimated part of the Lisbon experience, but these stunning shorelines are not to be missed.
7. English is Widely Known
Communication is easy in Lisbon since almost everyone has at least a basic knowledge of the English language. Even without knowing a single Portuguese word, English-speaking travelers will be perfectly alright in Lisbon since English is so widely known amongst the Portuguese people.
8. Full of Historic Sites
Lisbon has a long, elaborate history, and witnessing some of these ancient locations firsthand is a must-do during your stay. From visiting the many castles in the area, to seeing the Torre de Belem (also known as the ceremonial gateway to Lisbon), to taking a ride up the eccentric Santa Justa Elevator, there is no shortage of historical sites with either a rich cultural or architectural significance.
9. Web Summit
Web Summit, the largest tech conference in the world, will be hosted in Lisbon in November of 2017. This gathering is an incredible networking opportunity for attendees, and the impressive array of speakers (such as the CEO of Intel, the founder of Tinder, the president of Microsoft, and many more) are not to be missed.
10. Your Home Base
Lisbon serves as an excellent home base for nomads to go to and from while exploring other regions. Its convenient location, affordability, and easy access makes it a quick train, boat, or plane ride away from countless other destinations all over Western Europe. Even better, Lisbon’s unique locations allows you to visit more exotic locations like Morocco and the Canary Islands.
The 2016 Global Peace Index cited Portugal as the 5th safest country in the world; crime rates are generally very low in Lisbon, and the Portuguese people are known for their warmth, hospitality, and friendliness. Whether day or night, on the streets or on public transport, in a club or sightseeing, a traveler will feel safe in Lisbon.
12. Summer Activities
One thing you’ll never be in Lisbon is bored. Outdoor activities are popular and inexpensive, and can range from as active to as calm as you desire. Horseback riding, wine tasting, sailing, kite surfing, and deep sea fishing are fun activities to take up while in Lisbon. Dancing is also huge — there are tons of dance classes offered in the city, and practices may take place in city squares, bars, or any venue that will allow it. In addition, Lisbon’s wildlife is said to rival Madrid’s: discos, nightclubs, Fado houses, and bars are located all throughout the city. They cater to different audiences and interests, so there is something for everyone every night.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of NOMADX with his base in Lisbon, Portugal. Dave is a US pioneer in the digital marketing, advertising, and ad tech industries as a serial digital entrepreneur over the past 20+ years with multiple exits in the early formative stages of the search engine marketing, social media, and ad tech industries.