Portugal has become a not-so-well hidden gem in the traveling landscape in the past few years. From the sights, the food, the people, and all the amazing cultural offering the country presents, this coastal sunny paradise has turned into a mainstream destination for every type of tourist.
This rise in popularity can be greatly attributed to the capital: Lisbon.
If you want to find out what makes this European capital so different and so likable, keep reading and discover what all the fuss is about.
What to see
One thing every local will tell you about their city is the light. The light in Lisbon feels different. The way it hits the river and the white marble historical buildings will uplift your mood in a blink. When you take into account that it’s one of the European capitals with the most sunny days, you have all the necessary ingredients for a great stay.
Taking walks to take advantage of the great weather the city has to offer is one of the best ways to spend your time in Lisbon. The hills, the old city center, and the river make for spectacular views at every corner, and for that reason, your best bet is to chase views, instead of sights.
By all means, the monuments are a sight to see and are worth a visit, but to truly immerse yourself in this old capital you should roam the hills and discover every inch it has to offer. The ‘miradouros’, or viewpoints, are aplenty, so choose one to enjoy a sunset looking over the city.
What to eat
One of the things that makes Lisbon such an attractive location is the food. Portuguese cuisine should be one of the highlights of any trip to this small but diverse country.
There are so many things to taste you might feel like you won’t be able to try them all. From pastries, including the famous Portuguese custard tart, to the typical seafood and fresh fish (make sure you try sardines in the summer!), but also the traditional meat dishes if you’re looking for a more filling dish. To complement a great meal, don’t miss out on a Portuguese wine, which is, by itself, an highlight.
To tie that all up: the price. That is one of the things tourists love about Lisbon, and Portugal for that matter. In Lisbon, you can be served a full meal and feel like you’re not paying nearly enough for what you were fed and for the friendly service.
What to do
Aside from the sights and the food, Lisbon has a bit of everything. With just a 20-minute train ride from the city center, step onto a white sandy beach that rivals some of the best in Europe.
Don’t like the beach? Rent a car and drive up to Sintra. Just 30 minutes away from the city you’ll find the historical Pena Palace. Take a day trip there and find yourself in a small picturesque town surrounded by gloomy woods that will leave you feeling like you’re in a movie.
Want to try the nightlife? Lisbon has one of the best night scenes in Europe. Nightclubs that will stay open until sunrise, rooftop bars that provide amazing views of the city, and of course Bairro Alto, the small neighborhood that comes alive after dark with endless bars and clubs.
Without leaving the greater Lisbon area, you can find the biggest waves in the world, farms that produce some of the best fruit in the country, and smaller charming towns with great people and food.
Lisbon is just one of the many gems the Tagus Valley has to offer. If you want to explore the territory any further, get a guide and you’ll be amazed at what the region has to offer.