Last Updated on 06/03/2021
Between the incredible views, wonderful food, friendly locals and affordability, Lisbon has become one of the hottest destinations in Europe. There are endless reasons to visit this city, but these are my top reasons why Lisbon should be your next vacation spot.
1. Stunning Views
I love a good view point or a miradouro in Portuguese. Since Lisbon is situated among several hills, there are numerous lookout points for views of the sea, burnt orange rooftops and that bridge that had me feeling like I was back in San Francisco.
Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol was my favorite look out point. Plus, there’s a small little bar stand to get a drink and enjoy the view.
Miradouro Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara are also not be missed spots for stunning views in Lisbon.
2. The Food
From tapas to the Time Out Market, everything I ate in Lisbon was incredible (with the exception of “Exploding Olives” from Bairro do Avillez).
I admit, we ate at the Time Out Market more than once during our trip. The best of Lisbon is all right there. I love this warehouse, open seating, market style way of dining. There are so many good choices!
Bairro do Avillez has a lovely ambience and tasty sangria, but I’d strongly advise against getting the “Exploding Olives.” I was expecting spicy olives, but instead suffered a terrible culinary experience. This sounds dramatic, I know, but it should be noted here that I have an unreasonable fear of sunny side up eggs or any sort of runny egg situation.
“Exploding Olives” from Bairro do Avillez was like eating a raw egg yoke and having the thin film break to flood briny olive oil in your mouth. I don’t understand why these are so popular. You might be thinking it would be adventurous to try something new… don’t do it. Everything else we ordered was delicious and Bairro do Avillez had the best white sangria I had in Lisbon…and thus, it is still on my list of restaurants you should visit in Lisbon.
3. Pastéis de Belém
I know this should really be a subsection of #2 but these little custard tarts are such a staple of Lisbon, I thought they deserved their own reason. Get them at practically every bakery in town, Manteigaria for high quality and the original at Pastéis de Belém.
4. Wine Bars and Sangria
Back to the sangria… You can’t get enough sangria in Lisbon!
Near Vestigius, I felt like I was back in San Francisco walking along the water with views of the bridge in the distance. We stopped at some of the stands along the way selling sangria and tapas. I loved sampling different types to taste each place’s version.
It’s no secret Park Bar is the spot for tasty cocktails, trendy atmosphere and amazing views.
5. Exploring Belém
Belém is easily accessible from central Lisbon by tram. This area is home to the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery and the original Pastéis de Belém.
Personally, paying €6 euro to actually go into the Belém Tower would fall under the “not worth it” category for me. The view from the top would be notable if you were in a city that lacked views otherwise, but the interior itself is just “meh” (sorry). Admire it from the outside for free.
6. Tile Envy
Beautiful tiles are everywhere! Lisbon has some of the most unique and stunning facades. From inside the metro stations to apartment buildings, azulejos are a unique feature to Portugal and one of the many reasons people flock to Lisbon. Azulejos can be geometric or tell a detailed story like a mural.
7. Culture and Fado
Part of the late night scene is also Fado, the traditional Portuguese style of music that represents longing and nostalgia. You can book a show or go to a bar specializing in Fado. There’s even a museum dedicated to Fado, Museu do Fado.
If Fado doesn’t peak your interests, there are plenty of other notable museums and monasteries to get in your culture fix.
Chiado Museum for contemporary Portuguese art. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga for ancient art.
Jerónimos Monestary in Belém. Castelo de S. Jorge in Alfama.
8. Boutiques and Trendy Shops
It seems like charming shops are on every corner in Lisbon. The LX Factory district is a series of industrial buildings made into hipster restaurants, street art and trendy shops.
Our kind Airbnb host left us chocolates from Chocolataria Equador and of course we had to go back for more. Stop by for a souvenir (that may or may not last very long).
9. Amazing Day Trips
Go to Sintra for your choice of amazing castles. You couldn’t possibly see all the castles in Sintra in one day alone. We opted for the Palace of Pena.
Visit Cascais for a beach day.
Both are easily accessible by train. We actually ended up taking the train to Sintra and an Uber back. That’s right, there’s Uber in Lisbon! Since the return times didn’t really line up with our schedule, we decided to pay a little more for our own private ride that saved time.
10. The Trams
Although most of Lisbon is very walkable, the famous tram 28 adds extra charm to urban transportation and is an icon of the city. Between the trams and the Golden Gate look-alike bridge, I can see why they call Lisbon the San Francisco of Europe.
11. Friendly Locals
Lisbon has the nicest people eager to show off their city. Everyone from our Uber driver to our Airbnb host was wonderful. The friendly people in Lisbon really complete the whole atmosphere.
Not only do you get all these wonderful things in Lisbon, you get it all at a lower price relative to the rest of Europe. Can you imagine a trendy rooftop bar in London or Rome with cocktails for €7? If you know of one, please let me know!
Airbnbs are an absolute steal in Lisbon. Even the most high-rated, well-decorated apartments sleep two for about $70 a night (depending on the season). I chose this Airbnb for its view and central location.
I’d recommend Lisbon to anyone looking for fabulous views, amazing food and a memorable trip in an affordable European city.
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