Lisbon is one of my favorite European capitals. After all, the Portuguese capital has so many assets and it’s the perfect place for a sunny getaway in Europe. I had the chance to go there four times and I discover each time new beautiful places. So I give you my six good reasons to go to Lisbon and I hope you will hurry to book your plane ticket !
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Top 6 reasons to visit Lisbon
Pleasant Mediterranean climate
Since Lisbon is one of the most southern city in Europe, you can imagine that the climate is much sunnier and warmer than in the north. During the coldest months in Lisbon, from December to March, the average temperature is 16°C. Nothing comparable, then, to the winter in the UK, France or Germany. This is my number 1 reason to visit Lisbon! It is so much more pleasant to visit a city and its monuments under the sun. And then, the beaches are only 20 minutes from Lisbon. So if you can not decide between staying at the beach or a city break, Lisbon is for you!
Just for you, here are my top 5 most beautiful beaches near Lisbon :
- Carcavelos : this is the closest beach to Lisbon and is easily accessible by train (20 minutes). It is therefore often stormed during sunny weekends.
- Tamazir Beach : also located about twenty kilometers from Lisbon and easily reachable by train, Tamazir beach is located in Estoril and does not lack charm with its castle facing the sea.
- Caparica Beach : located south of Lisbon, Carapica beach is a good excuse to cross the iconic 25th of April Bridge. Besides, it’s not really a beach, but a 25-kilometer long coast where you can find 19 different beaches.
- Adraga Beach : this beach is located in the Natural Park Sintra-Cascais and it is surely one of the most beautiful beach of this top 5. Perfect to relax after visiting the Palace of Pena.
- São Julião Beach :also located in the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais, São Julião is beautiful with its high cliffs. You will find it 50 kilometers from Lisbon.
The cost of life is really appreciable
I do not know about you, but it always makes me sick to spend a lot of money on things that are cheaper at home. That’s why Lisbon has been validated by my wallet and myself. Surely, it is a big tourist city, so more expensive than other places in Portugal, but still. If you avoid big tourist areas such as Baixa or Chiado, you can take a dish in the restaurant between 5 and 10€ (it seems to me that fish and meat are a bit more expensive, but personally I do not eat it). A beer will cost you less than 2€ and you can even find mojitos for 3€ (paradise)!
It is not in Lisbon that you will lose weight! Lisbon is known worldwide for its specialties ! I can not say anything about fish or meat (ok,my boyfriend feasted, so I guess it’s good), but I really enjoyed some specialties. If you like cheese, you are in the right place : it is common to enjoy a cheese with bread and olives as a starter. Azeitão cheese is the speciality of Lisbon. The famous Pastel de Nata, small cream pies, are also a must-try in Lisbon. Finally, I can not find words to describe my passion for Vinho Verde (green wine). It is a slightly sparkling Portuguese wine that can be white, red or rosé, the green color refers to its youth.
Top 5 des specialties to taste in Lisbon :
- Green Wine
- Pasteis from Belem
- Azeitão cheese
- Bacalhau a bras (non-vegetarian)
- Dourada Grelhada (non-vegetarian)
Festive and caliente astmosphere
Lisbon is a destination known for its nightlife, after all, the more you go down in the south of Europe, the more caliente is the atmosphere. After the sunset (to admire at Miradoura da Graça), the streets of Lisbon fill up progressively and the music gets louder and louder. I recommend you mainly the district of Bairro Alto to enjoy the nights of Lisbon. This is a historic district of the capital where you get lost quickly in the many streets, but filled with really cheap bars and restaurants. In Portugal, the bars begin to fill around 23 p.m. For more trendy evenings, you should go to Avenida 24 de Juhlo. Finally, for a more offbeat side, the Docas de Lisboa, on the bank of the river, are old warehouses renovated into restaurants, bars and clubs.
Incredible historical monuments
It is difficult to know when the Lisbon’s history began, but it was mentioned in the legend of Ulysses. For centuries and centuries, Lisbon has been a decisive maritime crossroads and a land of explorers, like Vasco de Gama or Cabral. In short, you will understand that in Lisbon, there are incredible historic monuments and you can make a jump in almost all times of the past.
Here are my 5 favorite historic places to visit in Lisbon :
- Belém : it is must during a visit to Lisbon. Belèm is located about 20 minutes from the center and is full of monuments to see. You will find the famous Tower of Belèm, the monument of the Discoveries, the Jeronimos Monastery and many museums. This is also where Pasteis de Nata’s famous pastry shop is (be ready to queue). To eat, I recommend Pao Pao Queijo Queijo and its delicious sandwich for 3€.
- Alfama : the authentic neighborhood of Alfama has been just my favorite in Lisbon. It is the only one that withstood the earthquake of 1755 and is composed of many buildings and small houses with colorful facades where locals hang their laundry. A must for instagramers !
- Bairro Alto : in the same spirit as Alfama, Bairro Alto is the old neighborhood of Lisbon that has a face the day and another totally different at night. Obviously, I recommend taking the famous tram 28 to get there, it makes the experience even more magical.
- Praça do Comercio : the history of Lisbon has always revolved around this place : religious processions, executions, festivals or concerts. As it was destroyed during the earthquake of 1755, it was totally rebuilt to symbolize the new Lisbon. A must see during your discovery of the capital.
- Baixo : right next to Bairro Alto is the historic district of Baixo, the center of Lisbon. It is home to one of the most famous monuments of the capital. You can find the Elevador de Santa Justa, an elevator built in 1900 and 45 meters high.
Blue Paradise : the famous Azulejos
As you may have noticed on my blog and on my Instagram, I have something for the color blue and so I found the perfect city for me (well, I have not yet gone to Chefchaouen). Azulejos are sets of blue or white earthenware tiles found in many parts of the capital and even throughout the country.
Here are the top 5 most beautiful Azulejos of Lisbon :
- Monastery of Saint Vincent
- National Museum of Azulejos
- District of Alfama
- Palace of the Marquis de Fronteira
- Calçada do Correio Velho
What I do not like in Lisbon
- Difficulty to communicate : ok, as a French person, I don’t have that much the right to speak about this topic. But, as it is quite difficult to find negative aspects in Lisbon, I decided to talk about it. Not everyone speaks English in Portugal. Moreover, you will surely have more chance to make you understand by speaking French. But with a few signs of the hands, we always end up understanding each other.
- Tourist traps : it is pretty obvious that in a tourist city, there are tourist traps. I pass you the speech on the pickpockets, I think that we passed this level. No, where you have to pay attention in Lisbon are the restaurants. Always look at the reviews online before crossing the door of a restaurant, it will avoid you unpleasant surprises. And know that all the tapas that we put on your table (olives, bread, butter, cheese …) will be charged only if you consume them. These are not small gifts from the restaurant.
And you, have you ever been to Lisbon? What is your favorite place in the Portuguese capital ? Tell me in the comments below.