Monday, 13 November 2017

Why Lisbon should be on your radar for 2018

Lisbon is definitely having a moment.

Read any travel site and you'll see Lisbon climbing up the wanderlust list, and for good reason.

Of course, I wanted to check it out for myself. I'd like to say it was just a bit of travel curiosity, but let me be totally honest - I had some real FOMO. The world and their wife seems to be getting a slice of the Lisbon pie right now, and I wanted in.

So Kat and I did what we do best; convinced our significant others that another European long weekend away was in order (we went to Rome back in 2014) and handed over our credit card details to EasyJet.

I'll do a more detailed post soon - watch this space - but for now I'll start with a simple one. Why Lisbon should be on your radar for 2018.

1. The food scene is good, and getting better
Naturally, this was going to top my list. What with Lisbon having it's moment, the food scene is booming. From quirky coffee shops to Michelin starred dining, Lisbon is getting quite the reputation. Traditionally, Portuguese food is pretty simple, but chefs like José Avillez are changing that. The capital now has six Michelin starred restaurants (Nov 2017), and as such is making headlines in the likes of Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller. On a smaller budget? Restaurants like Páteo do Bairro do Avillez serve delicious small plates that capture the essence of an increasingly dynamic Portugal.

2. A little dollar goes a long way
When I say dollar, I mean Euro, obvs. Despite the exchange rate being pretty shocking at the moment, Lisbon is relatively cheap. Apparently it is one of the cheapest European city breaks, with eating and drinking out being super affordable. For context, the boys bought a litre of beer in a restaurant for €5. Now if that's not a reason to visit, then I don't know what is!

3. It's well located
Not only are flights from the UK to Lisbon pretty cheap, but the airport a mere 5km outside of the centre, making it an inexpensive and fuss-free journey. Getting around is also straight-forward, with public transport and Ubers being accessible and plentiful (and cheap!). Just outside of Lisbon you have a handful of day trips including the out-of-this-world Sintra and beachy Cascais - giving this city break a real twist.

4. There is an interesting history
The effects of the 1755 earthquake are still visible today, when 85% of Lisbon's buildings at the time were destroyed - there is combination of largely late eighteenth century architecture, and the odd surviving (but dilapidated) structure like the incredible Carmo Convent. Other noteworthy sights include the Jerónimos Monastery and the Santa Justa Lift - built before and after the earthquake, respectively.

5. Visually, it's pretty perfect
You know the drill - tiles, tiles and more tiles. I usually favour cities which fulfil the brief of being perfectly imperfect; peeling walls, crumbling corners and full of history. Lisbon is beautiful, but a little more put together than cities like Pula, Granada and Penang. Don't get me wrong - it still has it's share of shabby facades, but the tiles make for an altogether more slick exterior. Get lost down the many winding streets and try and count how many different tile patterns, colours and styles you can spot.

6. The weather is spot-on
Lisbon is, allegedly, Europe's sunniest capital city... or at least one of. Granted, when we visited there was a heat wave - 28°c in October (yes, really!) - but annually Lisbon gets more hours of sunshine than Madrid, Athens and Nice. It's not as hot as cities like Seville, which can be unbearable in the summer, but you can pretty much guarantee some sunshine. Helpfully the tall, tiled buildings mean there is shade a-plenty. We used the warm temperatures as justification for regular beverage stops, and sipping a cool vinho verde in Praça do Comércio was definitely a trip highlight.

7. Pastel de nata are an institution
Warm Portuguese egg tarts for breakfast, lunch and dinner... no judgement! Head to Pastéis de Belém for the real deal - we sat inside and enjoyed them warm with a coffee, rather than queuing ages just to take them away. There are hundreds of tables and some outside seating, too. Be sure to buy a pack of six to take away - thank me later.

What are you waiting for?


1 comment

  1. Stunning photography!! I have never even considered to travel to Lisbon! Looks stunning!!
    a life of a charlotte


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