In truth, there are so many good reasons to go to Lisbon. Because the flights are short, because the food is cheap, because the sun is shining...
1. Because no city has prettier streets and buildings
With beautiful colored houses.
Often decorated with a tile façade.
Have you ever seen a neighborhood so lovely?
2. Because Lisbon has a remarkable history
Lisbon has been through more than most European capitals—from early settlement to invasion by the Moors to the age of exploration. One of the strongest earthquakes in the world leveled the city in the 18th century. This ruined convent, now an archaeological museum, stands as evidence.
3. Because it's a great place to go shopping
Cheaper than most places in Western Europe, you can find all sorts of artwork, crafts, and clothing around Lisbon. Check out the flea market in the Alfama neighborhood every Saturday morning, surrounded by delightful (and affordable!) cafés.
4. Because of the traditional Portuguese food!
I cannot say enough good things about Portuguese tapas. So many different meats and cheeses! And for the record, I was traveling with a vegan, and there was plenty of food for her as well.
The famous Pasteis de Belem, a custard tart recipe kept secret, guarded by the one café in the Belem neighborhood where the pastries have been made since 1837. Similar pastries, called Pasteis de Nata, can be found elsewhere in the city.
Sometimes you may walk into a restaurant and not recognize a single thing on the menu, and end up with...giant fish eggs? They were delicious, truly.
The bakeries are full of pastries, too many to ask what the filling is. This could be chicken...or cheese...or bacalhau (traditional salt cod)...or custard...the only certainty is that it will be good!
5. And because of the less Portuguese food...
Lisbon does everything well, including eggplant bruschetta, and always has excellent wine (can you tell I missed wine while in Morocco?)
And oh my the chocolate...another food that I don't get too much of in Morocco!
6. Because of the beautiful musical traditions
Lisbon is home to fado music, as depicted in this mural, a tradition of lyrical ballads accompanied by 12-string guitar. Originally sung by prostitutes and the widows of sailors in the 1800s, you can now hear fadistas singing at night in cafés all around the Alfama neighborhood.
7. Because Lisbon takes street art very seriously
All over the city, around every corner, you can find beautiful works of art.
Abstract or representative, the art gives each street and neighborhood its character.
8. Because the city is a stone's throw away from Sintra
Home to brightly colored castles...
And mysterious stone wells you can climb down.
9. And because Sintra is also set in so much beautiful nature
The Pena palace is set in a gorgeous national park.
Filled with statues placed there by kings and queens of the past.
And these cities and towns sit right on the edge of the world—the westernmost point of continental Europe.
This is where the Portuguese of the Age of Exploration looked out and imagined the continent on the far side of the waters.
10. Because Lisbon's iconic trams will take you up and down the steep hills of the city
Through the hilly Alfama and Bairro Alto neighborhoods on the old 28 Line.
11. Because you want to sit in a café in Graça, looking out across the city skyline
The red roofs and blue sky during the day...
And the lights (and another glass of wine) as night falls on Lisbon.
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<p>My name is Sarah, and I'm from New England but I study psychology (and math, and religion, and everything else) at Vassar College in the Hudson Valley. When I'm not doing schoolwork, you can find me singing in a choir, at ballet class, or binge watching TV shows with my friends.</p>