1. The views
Lisbon is a very hilly city. This means you’re going to have very sore legs by the end of the day, but there are also some positive upshots. Like swoon-worthy views, for instance!
2. The winding streets
There are several factors that combine to make Lisbon’s streets some of my favourite to wander around in Europe. There are the narrow, cobblestoned, labyrinthine walkways: enemy of the traveller with a specific destination; friend of the free spirit open to getting completely thrown off track.
Then there are the buildings themselves, blocks of wild patterns and contrasting colours. Many of the facades are decorated with tiles - Azulejo in Portuguese - which are based on patterns of Hispanic-Moorish techniques.
Finally, there is the street art. Always a sucker for street art, I feel that Lisbon’s is right up there with the funkiest in Europe.
3. The weather
Average high temperatures in Lisbon range between 15 and 28 degrees throughout the year. Although rainfall can get heavy in November and December (around 127 mm), this is basically a pleasant climate all year round.
What’s not to love?
4. Alternative forms of transport
I mentioned earlier that Lisbon is a remarkably hilly city. Luckily, however, there are several options for travelling in style.
Trams have been operating in Lisbon since 1873. Nowadays, the trams are deliciously kitsch and effortlessly vintage, and of the city’s most recognisable icons. (Incase you are wondering, some of the rolling stock is Siemens, which must explain why the network is still running so well ;)
Those in favour of a more private modus operandi could opt to take a tuk-tuk. Lisbon is swarming with these colourful Asian-inspired mini-vehicles, all claiming to be a form of “eco travel”. I’m not so convinced about that, but this is a really fun and zippy way to blaze a trail across the steep terrain.
5. The prices
If I were to put together a list of the best-value cities in Europe (and one day I just might) then Lisbon would surely come in near the top. Sure, it sucks that Portugal suffered so badly from Europe’s financial crisis, but let’s face it - one man’s recession is another man’s cheap hotel room.
While in Lisbon I stayed in a four-star hotel for 80€ a night. I bought a bottle of water for 0.30€. I paid 10€ for a taxi to the airport. These statistics speak for themselves…
6. Hot Portuguese people
Is it just me, or are Portuguese people total babes? Sure, not everyone looks like Cristiano Ronaldo or Sara Sampaio, but the coffee coloured skin! The effortlessly cool coiffure! The lilting and disproportionately exotic sounding accents…! I’m all emojis with love hearts for eyes.
7. The food, the wine!
If there is one thing tastier than hot portuguese people, it is the local food and wine. Oh the Portuguese tarts (for the best - or at least the most famous - in town, get thee to Pasteis de Belem)! Oh the Port! Oh the Vinho Verde (green wine - you simply gotta try it)!
Not only is the food and wine good, the restaurants are amazing. Last time I was in Lisbon, Carolyn and I went to a place called Pharmacia, which I still claim served the best meal I ever had in Europe. And at less than 30€ each for a bottle of wine and four courses, it was undoubtedly the best value (the smoking hot waiter was also a welcome bonus).