Yes, yes, I know – I’m behind. I promise . . . at some point this year, I’ll get to posting about Mauritius. It’s just so much footage to edit!
Today’s post, however, isn’t about Mauritius – today’s post is about Lisbon. Oh dear, sweet, beautiful Lisbon.
Long story short, I love it. Genuinely love it. Out of all the places that I’ve been (and they’re starting to rack up, I’m excited.) I almost want to say it’s my favourite. Definitely a top 3.
For those of you unaware of where Lisbon is, it’s the capital city of Portugal. Weather is gorgeous, city is stunning and . . . I highly recommend that you go.
Personally, I think Lisbon is absolutely perfect for a weekend break. While there is a lot to do and see, you can easily cover it in one weekend – unless you want to laze around and enjoy the sights for longer. (Which I would absolutely love to do at some point!) Putting the atmosphere of the city into words is so difficult; there are things to do around every corner, but it’s so relaxed.
So here are 10 things that I loved about Lisbon – and why I think that you need to add it to your Travel Bucketlist.
Parties. Parties everywhere!
Now, I’m aware that we went at the end of May, which is the start of summer and in all likelihood party season, but we were there for three nights and every single night there was a different street party. The first night we arrived we saw streamers and decorations in the streets and were disappointed that we missed a party . . .
Only to be smack-bam in the middle of one later on that night!
Admittedly, this is a double-edged sword – after an almost two hour walk home from the Guns’N’Roses concert (yeah, there’s a story there. We had to jump over a flyover. It was great.), people yelling and booming speakers literally underneath our window at 3am wasn’t completely what we were hoping for. For this reason, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend central Lisbon to older people.
If you’re young, excitable and you wouldn’t mind missing sleep, however, the street parties are great fun! Tied in with how cheap everything is and how amazingly friendly everyone is, it’s insanely easy to have a great time. (And the parties are free, so there’s also that.)
This is something I appreciated at the time, but didn’t truly appreciate until I went to Milan. The people in Lisbon were so friendly (complete opposite to our experience in Milan… but that’s a tale for another day); they weren’t intrusively so, but you could happily stop someone and ask for directions.
As well as this, one thing I never take for granted is sales people. Seriously – you might think that it’s their job to be polite and help you, but retail and sales-people are life-savers. You’re in a foreign country trying to buy food? Asking which train ticket you need? What good restaurants and attractions are around? Who exactly do you think is saving your foreign ass?
Exactly. Sales people. Everyone we encountered went above and beyond; they were incredibly helpful and friendly. We ended up having a chat with a waiter in the beach-town nearby (one train; which leads me to another thing that I love about Lisbon – the public transport is great and very easily navigated) and he was telling us all about how he’d met Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain and other singers in his time as a waiter there! (The town is right next to the arena where concerts are held.)
Pace of life
At one point in my life, whether it’s to study or work or whatever else, I want to live in Lisbon.
The pace of life is a stark difference to London, where everything is fast-as-you-can. Even the way people walk the cobblestone streets; in Lisbon, it’s leisurely strolling, in London it’s a brutal race in which you must crush your opposition.
Eating in Lisbon is a social event; meals can take hours and aren’t even the main attraction – the conversation is. It was a really lovely sight to see people engaging with each other and talking for hours over food. Can you imagine taking hours to eat in London? Even talking loudly at the table?
I’m cringing at the mental image.
Admittedly a cheeky one, but everyone speaks English
Absolutely gorgeous place
Lisbon, my dear friends, is beautiful. It simply is. There’s so much beautiful architecture; I wish I were better at photography (and that my phone wasn’t dead the entire time) so I could’ve captured it all.
The buildings were stunning – most of them were painted really pretty, vivid colours or tiled. The tiles and the windows were some of my favourite features too; when I bought my souvenirs (magnets) I made sure to pick ones that had these features.
There’s actually things to do
So much shade to Milan in one post. To be fair, it was a bad experience, probably not a bad place.
In Lisbon, there were a lot of things to do (like break into a castle) – and most of it was within walking distance. We caught a train out of the central area one day, but apart from a beach (that we didn’t actually use) there was nothing we were missing out on.
All the adorable little shops
I mean, if you’re serial spender like me this may not be the best thing for your wallet, but there were so many really interesting different shops to try out. My favourites were this little handmade jewellery store and the duck store.
This is the little jewellery store. (So. Fucking. Cute.) The second store is something I hadn’t heard of, but will definitely be on the lookout for in the future . . . the duck store. In case you’re like me and blissfully ignorant – it’s a store for rubber ducks.
There are branches in lots of main cities in Europe like Amsterdam (yet not London) and basically they sell loads of novelty rubber ducks. One day, I would love to do like a tour around Europe as guided by the rubber duck stores.
Very, very cheap
Let it be said – I’m a Londoner. I’m used to “cool foods” being fucking expensive. On Oxford Street, a small cup of strawberries with a bit of chocolate drizzled on top is £10. In Lisbon, a massive cup of mixed fruit cost me €1.50.
I was in shock the entire time – everything was so cheap! If you’re looking for a place to go and enjoy yourself without needing to worry about money . . . well, you’ve found it.
The levels to everything
One thing that I was not expecting was the fact that the entire city is completely uneven. When we were arriving to our apartment, the taxi had to stop and say “sorry, guys – can’t get up here. You’ll be fine; five minute walk tops” (slightly paraphrased) and we then had to lug suitcases up this incredibly steep hill that I may or may not have awkwardly slipped backwards on a few times. Puma’s have no grip.
I love it. There are winding alleyways and random hills and completely nonsensical dips everywhere and it completely adds to the charm of the city. Also . . . great ass workout.
All of the street food
Scratch that, all the food.
There was so much food . . . everywhere. And it was great. There were tiny little restaurants everywhere, carts of food all over the place (fuck yeah, churros! And thank you greatly lovely churro store woman who gave me 10 for the price of 6) and at night the alleyways came alive with loads of little bars and restaurants. Seriously, you’re never far away from food – and it’s amazing.
The final reason that I think Lisbon has to be on your travel bucketlist is the atmosphere. It’s such a relaxed, but exciting place. You could happily go with friends and have an absolutely amazing time – or go with family and still have an absolutely amazing time.
In case you couldn’t tell . . . I had the absolute time of my life! I loved it and I want to go back as soon as possible. Hopefully, you guys were convinced too! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below; have you been to Lisbon? Would you?
All the love,