A place that doesn’t compromise its simple authentic pleasures while managing to embrace what’s new in the global village.
A mural by Rossio Square states that Lisbon is “the city of tolerance.”.
3| IT’S ONE BIG ART GALLERY
Lisbon is filled with imaginatively-adorned streets, from artistic (and not-so-artistic) graffiti, to dazzling tile panels on walls, to art nouveau store signs, to its characteristic cobblestone design pavements.
4| THE WORLD’S BEST PASTRIES
The Paris and Vienna cafés have all the fame, but Lisbon has all the flavor. It claims the best chocolate cake in the world and its custard tarts are world-famous and imitated (The Guardian declared it one of the 50 best foods in the world).
5| THE MUSEUMS ARE UNDISCOVERED TREASURES
From the world-class Gulbenkian collection, to the magnificent one-of-a-kind Tile Museum, to the fantasy vehicles of the Carriages Museum, to the East-meets-West works of art in the Ancient Art Museum and Orient Museum, to the contemporary creativity of the Berardo Collection.
6| THE TAGUS
It’s a river that’s usually mistaken for the sea, a body of water that reflects a blinding light back onto the multicolored buildings of the city.
7| IT’S BOHEMIAN YET TRENDY
Somehow Lisbon holds on to its unconventional styles while also being up-to-date on the latest global trends.
8| ARCHITECTURAL DIVERSITY
Colorful streets are lined with tile panels, wrought-iron designs, and two original architectural styles, the Pombaline and the Manueline.
9| IT’S ONE OF THE WORLD’S SAFEST CAPITALS
The European Safety Observatory says that Lisbon is Europe’s safest capital.
10| IT’S TIMELESS
Turn-of-the-century trams, Belle Epoque cafés, old-fashioned shops selling retro products, 18th-century tiles everywhere, medieval-villages-within-the-city: the past and the present coexist in Lisbon. Lisbon is wonderfully vintage.
11| IT’S HAUNTED BY GHOSTS OF POETS
Like other great historical cities, Lisbon has inspired artists and writers, and its soulful atmosphere feels haunted by writers such as Fernando Pessoa, Eça de Queiroz or Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago. Their presence is especially felt and relived every day in the streets of Chiado, as if their footsteps still echo in cafés like A Brasileira or at bookshops like Bertrand, the oldest in the world.
12| IT HASN’T SOLD ITS SOUL
The decaying neighborhoods of the historical center may be in desperate need of a face-lift, but there’s something refreshing about ancient neighborhoods that haven’t been turned into touristy amusement parks. They remain raw and authentic in Lisbon.
13| THE DIVERSE AMBIENCES
It’s a medieval timewarp in Alfama, futuristic in Parque das Nações, romantic in Chiado, imperial in Belém, bohemian in Bairro Alto, cosmopolitan in Avenida da Liberdade…
14| THE BEST CLIMATE IN THE WORLD
It’s known as Europe’s sunniest capital, but the city’s enviable climate is not just 300 days of sunshine throughout the year. It’s also mild temperatures, never below zero in winter, and nights cooled off by the Atlantic in the hotter summer months.
15| THE BEACHES
With golden dunes, hills, or mountains as backdrops, you may surf, windsurf, sail, or even play golf by the sea at world-class courses. Lisbon is unique for having both river and sea, and offers Europe’s largest unbroken expanse of sand at the 30km-long Costa da Caparica.
16| THE FADO AND ALL THAT JAZZ
There are only a few cities in the world with their own sound (Buenos Aires has tango, Rio has samba, New Orleans has jazz), and Lisbon is one of those places with a unique soundtrack — Fado.
17| THE NEIGHBORHOOD SPIRIT
These are still places where everyone greets each other in the morning, where traditional shops and family-run taverns still survive, while also coexisting with bold fashion boutiques under laundry hanging from balconies where old ladies stand next to their cats chatting with next-door neighbors.
18| IT’S OFTEN NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
It’s one of the world’s most unpredictable cities with unexpected sights: Deceiving façades hide wonderful surprises inside (such as São Roque Church), and countless unexplored corners frame postcard-perfect views. It’s a city that spikes curiosity and demands contemplation.
19| IT’S A ROMANTIC FAIRYTALE
The stories of the great explorers of the Age of Discovery, the exotic influences of the world’s first global empire, battles, disasters and triumphs in what is Europe’s second-oldest capital (after Athens), and the fantasy palaces of magical Sintra…
20| THE COFFEE IS BETTER AND THE TEA IS ONE-OF-A-KIND
A tiny cup of strong, black coffee in Lisbon is called a “bica,” and if you’re a caffeine addict, you won’t find better coffee anywhere else. If you prefer tea, try the only tea produced in Europe, the Gorreana green tea from Portugal’s Azores.
21| THE SEAFOOD
Some say Portugal has the best fish in the world. With its large coastline and long history at sea, that could in fact be true.
22| YEAR-ROUND FESTIVALS
From major summer music festivals attracting the biggest international acts, to international film festivals devoted to all genres (independent features, documentaries, thrillers, animation…), there is always something going on.
23| IT’S ONE BIG GYM
Lisbon may be built on several steep hills, but it’s wonderful to walk around in. Many medieval alleys are too narrow for cars, so you’re forced to use your feet all the time, which is good news for those with no time to exercise.
24| IT’S AFFORDABLE
As Western Europe’s least expensive capital, Lisbon is often described as the continent’s “best value for money” destination.
25| IT’S SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL
You’ll confirm that by standing on stunning hilltop terraces known as “miradouros” (viewpoints) which reveal one of the world’s most scenic cityscapes.