12 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lisbon

# 1. Food glorious food!

Food in Lisbon

Every place I ate left me feeling extremely content, and without any significant damage to my bank balance. In Lisbon it’s very easy to find somewhere that feels like ‘Mamma’s little kitchen’.

Caldo Verde

Tip: Don’t go home without ordering seafood risotto and grilled seabass. Lisbon truly benefits from being by the sea.  For something typically Portugese, try Caldo Verde, commonly made with potatoes, cabbage and onions, it’s simple yet extremely moreish.

 

#2. Take off your clothes

Waterfront in Lisbon

Lisbon has one of the mildest climates in Europe and one of the sunniest too. I went at the end of February and it was a warm respite from the formidable weather in England. If you suffer from the winter blues then Lisbon is only a 2-hour flight away from the UK, and with most budget airlines offering daily flights to Lisbon, you are sure to find yourself a good deal.

Tip: Although a lot sunnier, it can still be chilly during the winter so make sure you’ve packed enough warm clothing just in case.

 

#3. Lisboa loves dogs, and so do I

dogs in lisbon

I saw quite a lot of macho-looking young men striding along with the tiniest little dogs, the kind of teeny-weeny fur balls you would expect to live inside Paris Hilton’s oversized handbag. Is it just me who finds this an amusing combination?

Tip: Head to Campo de Santa Clara on Saturday when it becomes a giant flea market, it’s great  a place for dog-watching!

 

#4. Street art that looks like this:

Street art, graffiti, Lisbon

If you want to see more photos of street art in Lisbon, read my earlier post here.

Street art, graffiti, Lisbon

Tip: Get the Metro to Picoas Station where you’ll find wall murals created by the world’s most prominent street artists.

 

#5. Tiles and colour everywhere

colourful buildings in Lisbon

Leading on from the street art, and you can find one of the first and arguably most distinct uses of colour in the tiles which decorate even small back-alleys. Conversely, you’ll also see buildings with a bare and run down exterior, a contrast which makes the streets appear even more interesting. A lot can be said about these walls!

Brightly painted houses

Tip: For a true ‘tile experience’ head to the Tile Museum, trust me, it’s quirkier than it sounds and also has a cool café.

 

#6. The people

People in Lisbon

People can make or break your feelings towards a place, so I was extremely surprised and happy to learn that the folks here are super friendly and helpful. Every time my friend and I stopped to look at a map it felt like someone sprung from nowhere to offer a helping hand without even asking. There was even an occasion when we asked a train inspector for directions, and after we got off at our stop and left the platform he came running after us to say we were going in the wrong direction! (We actually knew where we were supposed to be going but just got side-tracked by one of the many beautiful buildings. However, we couldn’t believe how considerate his gesture was!).

Tip: Find any excuse to talk to people; you never know what might come of it…

 

#7. The transport is so efficient (and the subways look like a modern art gallery)

tram, Lisbon

Lisbon is quite a sprawling city so hop on the buses, trams and metro. I absolutely love the undergrounds, many of them are filled with tiles (Gare do Oriente is one of them) and some of them look like you’ve walked into an exhibition at a modern art museum (Olaias metro station)

Tip: In spite of my love for Lisbon’s transportation, there is still nothing better than using your feet. Walk. Just walk everywhere.

 

#8. Epic panoramic views

Panoramic view of Lisbon

Lisbon is set on seven hills so you’re spoilt for choice, you’ll always have a postcard-worthy view.

Bird's-eye view of Lisbon

Tip: Exercise your thighs by heading to Miradouro da Senhora do Monte in Alfama, Lisbon’s highest point.

 

#9. Sintra

Quinta Da Regaleira, Sintra

The crème de la crème of any visit to Lisbon is a trip to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lord Byron once said that “the village of Sintra in Estramadura is the most beautiful, perhaps in the world”, that’s high praise for a leading figure of the Romantic Movement.

Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira palace

Sintra is much bigger than I anticipated it to be, so if you’re pressed for time I really suggest you do some research and highlight the places you definitely don’t want to miss. Two of these must-see places are National Palace of Pena and Quinta Da Regaleira, the latter has the most incredible gothic inspired garden, filled with grottos, tunnels and caves. However, the mansion itself does not evoke the same sense of mystery and magic from inside as it does from the outside so I wouldn’t bother going into it, you’ll only find an uninspiring museum. But oh, the garden is something to behold – dark, beautiful, mysterious and unusually creepy. Lastly, if you want to see rooms lavishly decorated head to toe in tiles then I suggest a visit to Palacio Nacional de Sintra.

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Tip: Go to Rossio Station where the trains to Sintra depart and take approx. 45 minutes.

 

#10. The large Squares

Main square Lisbon

London has Trafalgar, Venice has St.Mark’s, and Lisbon has Praça do Comércio. Large squares are usually filled with the city’s most iconic statues and buildings, and Lisbon is no different. If you want to feel like you have arrived in the capital, there is no greater place than Praça do Comércio, with its yellow and white 18-th century arcades and monumental arch, this is certainly the city at its most regal.

Tip: Take some snaps of the equestrian statue before wandering down to the waterfront, it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun and indulge in everyone’s favourite pastime: people watching.

 

#11. Museums, and more museums

Coach Museum, Lisbon

If you’re a frequent visitor to my blog you will know that I enjoy museums, especially art museums and weird ones that pay homage to niche topics, just like the Tile Museum and the Coach Museum in Belem, the region of Lisbon with probably the highest percentage of architectural masterpieces. My favourite museum in Lisbon is also located in Belem, this is Berardo Museum of Modern Art, easily one of the greatest modern art museums in Europe.

Tip: Go to Belem on a Sunday because all the museums are free before 2:30pm.

 

#12. Churches, Chapels and Monasteries

Church, Lisbon

You don’t have to be religious to find these places a thing of beauty.

Mosterio dos Jeronimos, Belem

Tip: Make sure you don’t miss Mosterio dos Jeronimos in Belem, it’s a jewel of a building, showcasing hand-carved sculptures all over the exterior walls with enough detail to make your eyes hurt.


 

 Have you been to Lisbon? What can you add to this to this list?


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A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'12 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lisbon' have 50 comments

  1. May 15, 2014 @ 12:45 pm Lizzie

    Oh my, the food! And the museums! And the street art! I think I already love Lisbon and I haven’t even arrived yet! I’m a massive dog pervert, too, so I’ll definitely be doing some dog-watching whilst there :)

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 7:19 pm admin

      Your inner dog pervert will be truly unleashed in Lisbon! Can’t wait to hear your tales!

      Reply

      • November 11, 2014 @ 2:19 pm Ricardo

        cool i hope you returns to eat in the restaurants and visit Porto , Aveiro , Nazaré, biggest wave of the world like a tsunami only in winter,and Algarve in the south .

        Reply

        • November 11, 2014 @ 10:57 pm admin

          Hi Ricardo! I’m desperate to go to Porto, and everywhere else in Portugal. So in the famous words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘I’ll be back’! 😉

          The food alone is a reason to return, never mind the rest!

          Reply

          • November 21, 2014 @ 10:26 pm RICARDO

            I LIVE IN FRANCE BUT MY VISIT VACATION ARE IN PORTUGAL…TO EAT HOW MUCH I CAN ..IN THE FRESH PASTRY,AND TRUE RESTAURANTS WHO GIVES YOU THE BEST OF KINGS TABLES HOWEVER SEAFOOD IS THE BEST OF THE WORLD AND SECOND IS JAPAN…I LOVE TO VISIT CITY’S THE NORTH TO THE SOUTH AND ALMOST STOP IN BEACH DESTINATION YOU WILL FIND IN WEST COAST OF EUROPE EVERY BEACH ARE UNIQUE AND SEA CAN BE BLUE,GREEN,AND SILVER…AND ALENTEJO HAVE THE BEST PRESERVED COSTLINE OF EUROPE…ITS A PARADISE AND NO BUILDINGS NO POLUTION AND YOU WILL FIND YOUR FAVOURITE BEACH WITH RIVER FINISH THE COURSE IN TO THE SEA SO NATURAL AND SO AMAZING …AND ITS IMPOSIBLE TO FIND A PLACE O RIVER ARE PRESERVED WHEN ARRIVES TO THE SEA AND NO HOUSES NO HOTELS ONLY TOURIST….IM SORRY ABOUT GRAMATICALY ERROR…TANKS Shing Yoong FOR VISIT PORTUGAL AND SHOW TO THE WORLD…GREAT JOB

          • November 21, 2014 @ 10:50 pm RICARDO

            http://youtu.be/JT6KP9_JAgI

            WATCH THIS VIDEO THE ONE LATEST AMAZING

          • November 21, 2014 @ 10:57 pm RICARDO

            THIS IS PORTO

            watch?v=CQzFHdaMvuM

      • November 21, 2014 @ 11:10 pm RICARDO

        MESSAGE PORTUGAL TO CHINA WATCH THIS .

        Reply

        • November 21, 2014 @ 11:17 pm RICARDO

          IN CHINESE TO SHARE IN CHINA…TO VISIT PORTUGAL…TANKS

          Reply

      • November 21, 2014 @ 11:31 pm RICARDO

        MACAU IN CHINA IS LISBON,PORTUGAL DISTRICT… WATCH THIS…

        Reply

      • November 21, 2014 @ 11:49 pm RICARDO

        Reply

      • November 21, 2014 @ 11:52 pm RICARDO

        THIS IS PORTO OLD PORTO…

        Reply

  2. May 15, 2014 @ 10:52 pm Mishfish13

    Oh my! These photos are GORGEOUS. I’ve heard a lot about Lisbon recently so it’s making its way up my priority list!

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 7:20 pm admin

      Lisbon is very kind to the eyes! Hope you get there soon!

      Reply

  3. May 16, 2014 @ 9:45 am Soeren

    Just discovered your 12 reasons to fall in love with Lisbon. Great! Here’s my dozen 😉 http://goo.gl/dY8JDH (text in german)

    Reply

    • May 16, 2014 @ 7:21 pm admin

      “Because … Lisbon makes a tasty ass” haha so true, nice list! 😉

      Reply

  4. May 17, 2014 @ 12:54 pm Alberto Rouiller

    I loved your photos, Shing! Great post!

    Reply

    • May 17, 2014 @ 9:11 pm admin

      Hi Alberto, your comment means a lot coming from someone who lives in Lisbon. I still know there’s so much more to see and I can’t wait to go back in the future. Love your city! :)

      Reply

      • May 17, 2014 @ 10:11 pm Alberto Rouiller

        I’ve included the post in my FB page, Facebook.com/bestinportugal and it was one of the most popular posts! Maybe next time you can also put the spotlight on the city of Porto, which also has its charms! But it wouldn’t be fair just to mention these two cities and not so many others that make part of the compact diversity and beauty of this country. Looking forward to more posts on Portugal! :-)

        Reply

        • May 20, 2014 @ 8:59 am admin

          Thanks for sharing! I completely agree, I certainly need to explore the rest of Portugal, and I’m excited at the prospect of doing so. I think my next stop will be Porto and Guimarães! 😀

          Reply

  5. May 17, 2014 @ 4:31 pm Sean

    Great post! We’re heading to Lisbon in August, and this just added to our excitement! I’m now adding grilled sea bass to our list of must eats (which is already obscenely long) . Love the pics, too.

    Reply

    • May 17, 2014 @ 9:19 pm admin

      Hi Sean, you’ll both love Lisbon – it’s incredibly hard not to! Ooou yes, don’t forget to try the grilled sea bass and seafood risotto – they are sublime! I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on the city!

      Reply

  6. May 25, 2014 @ 2:05 am Heather

    I fell madly in love with Lisbon and this just reminded me why! My husband’s never been and I can’t wait to go back and show him around!

    Reply

    • May 25, 2014 @ 8:21 am admin

      Take the husband Heather! I was surprised by how romantic Lisbon is, it’s such an underrated city. Everyone who visits falls in love with it. I’m itching to go back!

      Reply

  7. May 25, 2014 @ 7:40 am Franca

    I love Lisbon’s architecture and its street art and for these reasons alone I always wanted to visit it. You simply convinced me more :)

    Reply

    • May 25, 2014 @ 8:47 am admin

      Hi Franca, I’ve just visited your blog and I can see you guys LOVE street art so you’ll definitely love Lisbon, but for so many other reasons too! Thanks for stopping by :)

      Reply

  8. September 11, 2014 @ 1:38 pm Pedro Henriques

    Hi, i’m searching for real feedback about lisbon and i found yours, i took the liberty of use your word in my blog, but i have a link to here, is this ok?

    you can find your post here >> http://all-about-lisbon.com/12-reasons-fall-love-lisbon/

    Reply

    • October 31, 2014 @ 11:06 am admin

      Hello Pedro, sorry I missed your comment! Yes that’s fine, thanks for asking! :)

      Reply

  9. October 14, 2014 @ 8:53 pm Wesley Pechler

    Absolutely loved visiting Lisbon in early March – weather was so good indeed compared to our countries freezing our butts off around the North Sea! Luckily I did most of the things listed here, and I would add visiting the Cristo Rei statue across the Rio Tejo in Almada. The views from there over Lisbon and the Ponte 25 de Abril can’t be beat! Missed Sintra though and also still have to visit Porto, so good enough reasons to go back to Portugal :)

    Reply

    • October 31, 2014 @ 11:14 am admin

      Ahhh can’t believe I missed the Cristo Rei statue – thanks for the tip Wesley!! We both must go back. Still so much to see and do there. Sintra is a must!

      Reply

  10. October 30, 2014 @ 2:10 pm Arzu

    Your blog really has very useful information about Lisbon. I can’t wait to go to Lisbon!! I really enjoyed while reading it. Thank you!!

    Reply

    • October 31, 2014 @ 11:15 am admin

      Hi Arzu, I’m happy you find my blog useful. I hope you get to Lisbon soon! 😀

      Reply

  11. November 21, 2014 @ 5:48 pm Ruben Cardoso

    It’s really conforting to see people like you enjoying our city, Shing, and especially write about it. I really appreciated reading your feedback, and hope to welcome you around again. Also, do not forget the rest of our wonderful country, regions like Alentejo, Douro and Algarve are really worth a visit. :)

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 12:20 pm admin

      Hi Ruben, it would be difficult not to love Lisbon, I really feel like it’s a true gem of Europe! It’s made even better by the people, which sometimes you don’t get a chance to ‘feel’ in most capital cities. The people I spoke to were so warm and friendly, and reading comments by people like yourself just confirms it wasn’t a ‘fluke’.

      After I arrived back home my brother booked a trip on my recommendation and he loved it just as much as I did too!

      I definitely won’t forget to visit the rest of your country, it’s a high priority 😀

      Reply

      • November 27, 2014 @ 12:43 pm Ruben Cardoso

        When your return (and I bet you will!), feel free to ask for any information you might need, from places to see, to hotels to stay. I would be happy to help you, and book your accommodation if necessary 😉

        Reply

        • November 27, 2014 @ 7:21 pm admin

          Thank you so much for your kindness Ruben! What is the best way to contact you if I needed any information for a future trip? Email? Social media?

          Reply

          • November 27, 2014 @ 9:11 pm Ruben Cardoso

            You’re very welcome :) whatever fits you better. Either via e-mail (r.barradas.cardoso@gmail.com) or via any social network (Facebook, Linkedin…). I work at an incoming agency in Lisbon, and would be glad to help you 😉

  12. November 21, 2014 @ 8:44 pm Lucia

    Your text was great, and made me very homesick.

    I have to add even more reasons to fall in love with Lisbon, the traditional sweets, there’s so many (like the Pasteis de Belem), the Tagus river so beautiful and so broad, the mourish castle, the Oceanarium (fantastic to go in on a hot summer day), 30 minutes from Cascais and some great beaches, and just around the corner for the surfers you have Guincho….
    the public gardens, the small cobbled streets, the ‘Calcada Portuguesa’ (the mosaic of black and white stone that makes some of our sidewalks), the wonderful and varied cheeses and smoked chouricos that seldomly I find abroad….ah.. I could make a list of 100 more cool things about Lisbon and nearby areas… must return soon..

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 12:38 pm admin

      Thank you so much for adding more reasons to love Lisbon Lucia!

      “….ah.. I could make a list of 100 more cool things about Lisbon and nearby areas…”

      Well that’s a thought! I would LOVE to read your list, and many others would love to read it too. Let me know if you like the idea of posting some of your ‘Lisbon loves’ on here and I would give you a guest profile! Anyway just a thought! :) I hope you visit your home soon…

      Reply

  13. November 21, 2014 @ 8:52 pm lidia

    hola amiga muchas gracias por gustar tanto de mi tierra yo que puedo decir de lisboa sitio donde soy esto en españa desde hace 40 años pero mi lisboa e sus alrededores estan en mi corazon esperando volver muy pronto. apenas decirles que no dejeis de vizitar troia, setubal, sezimbra arabida en la comida hay maravillas enfin gracias a todos pero españa tambien es muy linda .

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 12:41 pm admin

      Hola! I understood the first few words but then I got lost! Hopefully you enjoyed reading this Lidia! I’ll try google translate 😉

      Reply

  14. November 21, 2014 @ 9:18 pm Margarida

    Hi, it was amazing to hear so many nice things about my city, and i must tell you that the rest of the country is pretty much as charming, or even more. The best are the people, so humble and friendly. I just would like to add that if one goes to Lisbon you must see a sunset from a high spot- castle or cristo rei- because its magical and gives Lisbon a special photogenic light. I also must add to try to cross the river to the other side on an orange ferry called Cacilheiro: the view of Lisbon from the river is amazing. The famous sweets/pastries (pasteis de nata or de Belem) and the coffee are also a must! Finally, one must go one evening to Alfama and enter in any local Fado restaurant. Local people sing this typical Lisbon song spontaneously and when you hear this live, you can truly say you saw the Lisbon’s soul. Thank you for enjoying Lisbon.

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 1:02 pm admin

      Hello Margarida, thank you for your kind and insightful comment. Next time I go to Lisbon (sooner rather than later!) I can go back to this post and read all the recommendations left by you and others who hail from Lisbon. Thank you so much for these, they will also be helpful for others who are planning a trip to Lisbon and stumble upon this article.

      Haha speaking of Fado, I did catch some whilst I was in Alfama (I was staying in Alfama), but I’m not sure how I felt about it!! There were so many to choose from I think I ended up feeling a little overwhelmed so if you could offer any recommendations that would be great!

      Thanks again.

      Reply

  15. November 21, 2014 @ 10:47 pm RICARDO

    http://youtu.be/JT6KP9_JAgI

    THIS IS LISBON AND MUCH MORE…

    Reply

  16. November 22, 2014 @ 1:36 am Allison Vieira

    The Elavador de Santa Justa!

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 7:22 pm admin

      I was debating whether I should do up or not! Next time, for sure!

      Reply

  17. November 22, 2014 @ 5:37 am Mike | Earthdrifter

    I love places where people are super friendly.

    Lisboa looks to be yet another seemingly amazing city that I’ve yet to visit. Hope I’ll get there one of these days Shing. VIVA Portugal!

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 7:25 pm admin

      Next time you plan a trip to Europe you have to include Portugal! It’s a bit more pocket friendly comparative to other capitals too, this means one thing – more indulging in food! 😀

      Reply

  18. November 22, 2014 @ 8:30 am Escape Hunter

    Lovely charming warm Lisbon is so diverse I got lost exploring it. And those azulejos… I couldn’t find two buildings with identical tiles!
    I’m still yearning, hankering for pasteis de nata :)

    Reply

    • November 27, 2014 @ 7:29 pm admin

      The azulejos are incredible! They make Lisbon sparkle! 😀

      Reply


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