My brother wrote a book and it’s exciting!
This summer is going to be so awesome!
I can’t give you any details right now but I’ll tell you all about it in June! Promise!
But first, Pooooortugal!
A few weeks ago, I told you about how we had such a lovely time in the Algarve and all the unique things that we did!
However, we did more than just go to the Algarve.
We also went to Lisbon. And Porto!
But today, I’m going to tell you why Lisbon is the next place that you should visit!
17 REASONS WHY LISBON IS THE NEXT TOP EUROPEAN PLACE TO BE!
Lisbon, also known locally as Lisboa, is the capital of Portugal. It lies on the north bank of the Tagus Estuary, on the European Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city in continental Europe! It’s also slap-bang in the centre of Portugal, and is approximately 300 km from the Algarve in the south, and 400 km from the northern border with Spain!
Lisbon offers a wide variety of options to the visitor, including beaches, countryside, mountains, and areas of historical interest, only a few kilometres away from the city centre, and boy did we take advantage!
This wasn’t my first time to visit Lisbon. In fact, my first and previous visit was back in 2007. The very same year that I went to Vietnam!
However, The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” had never been before, so I wanted to ensure that they saw everything that needed to be seen, and that they had a good time!
WHY GO TO LISBON?
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
- It’s a waterfront port city: You know how much I like river destinations and Lisbon is no exception.
- The port of Lisbon is romantic: You can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the river-side, you can take as many selfies as you like on the monumental terminals, or you can simply have a meal or a glass of something bubbly, while basking in the early evening sun!
- Lisbon is known as the white city due to its unique light: The city is filled with monumental statues that are glaringly built with bright white stone!
- It’s a city of lively character: The suburb of Bairro Alto is one of the most characteristic quarters of the city, crammed with traditional restaurants, packed alongside cosy bookshops, hipster design shops, and diverse little cafes, where cups of steaming hot tea cost 80 cents and you can see right through into the living room!
- Lisbon is authentic: I always felt as if I was in somebody’s backyard, as on practically every corner and side-street, strings of washing would be strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!
- Lisbon is young: A stroll down the Quarter known as Chiado would throw up an area of art, theatre, and young musicians. In fact, one of our favourite things was to find an upper hill platform and chill-out on the steps. The Music Producer wasn’t comfortable “chilling” with the 20-something student crowd, “chilling” with cheap bottles of beer, or “chilling” with young drug-dealers who kept trying to sell him some illegal substance, until they saw me and ran speedily away! So we went to a very smart family friendly roof-top bar called Madame Petisca, and spent almost €70.00 on tapas and fried potatoes / sweet potato crisps, that came in a metal jug-like bucket, an excellent roof-top view, and glasses of wine and cocktails instead. I know!
- Lisbon is small: The city is quite small with a population of slightly over 600,000 inhabitants and perfectly walkable, as long as you watch out for the trams and mind your head lol!
- The nightlife: Lisbon has a great nightlife. In pretty much every corner, there’s a bar or neighbourhood dedicated to having some sort of party.
- Unique music: You can’t go to Portugal without experiencing the haunting mournful tunes and lyrics, of melancholic feeling and loss, known as Fado. And if you drink a glass or two of delicious portuguese wine, you can relax a little, and even sing along!
- Friendly people: Most people speak English and were very helpful and open to visitors and tourists.
- Quirky museums: I love places that have quirky museums and Lisbon has them in spades such as – the National Tile Museum, the Puppet Museum, the Water Museum, or the National Coach Museum of the 17th – 19th centuries!
- History: Lisbon is an old city full of history and stories.
- Lisbon has not one, but two (2) World Heritage Sites: The Jerónimos Monastery also known as the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Torre de Belém otherwise known as the Belém Tower or the Tower of St Vincent, both built in the 16th century!
- It’s off the beaten path: Funnily enough, Portugal, not to talk of Lisbon, is still relatively unknown! I saw plenty of Americans there, lots of Germans, but very few Brits, and most of them were in the Algarve! In comparison to Madrid (the capital of Spain), the prices are lower and the quality is better!
- Portuguese food: OMG! Marvellous. We found a farmers market that was so good. We went back twice! More about that in a couple of weeks!
- Close enough for day trips: Lisbon is so on point that you can take a day trip to the lovely “Garden of the Eartly Paradise” otherwise known as Sintra, the spectacular landscape of Costa Azul, or the glamorous Portuguese Riveria, otherwise known as, Estoril and Cascais!
- Because dessert: The best place in the world to try out the pastéis de nata, otherwise known as Portuguese custard tarts, is in Lisbon. Nom! Nom!
TAKE ME THERE?
Getting from the Algarve to Lisbon was easy-peasy.
The bus-coach was cheaper for the three (3) of us and took almost the same time, so we decided to take the coach-bus instead! Oh, and even though I can no longer remember the exact details, the company was called EVA and the cost was something like €15.00 for adults and €10.00 for children, so a no-brainer as far as we were concerned.
The coach was comfortable and had WiFi which sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. It also had a toilet on board and you could eat your snacks (as long as you wer discreet) unlike in Germany and Eastern Europe, where beer is sold on the coach-bus for everyone (over 16) to partake in!
The journey from the Algarve to Lisbon was roughly 3.5 hours.
IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?
Not in my opinion!
Well, a little, but only because Lisbon is tiny. It was a little after Easter and of course, Lisbon is a university town and a working city. By 20:00, the place was booming and the trams were packed!
WHAT IS LISBON LIKE?
We were only there for three (3) days but Lisbon definitely made an impact on me back in 2007, and it made an impression on me once again!
I DON’T SPEAK PORTUGUESE
Unlike Madrid, English is widely spoken however, if you speak Spanish or German, you won’t be out-of-place. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with learning a few basic words of Portuguese as a measure of respect!
AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?
Not at all. Portugal isn’t Germany, and even though we saw an awful number of abandoned or derelict buildings, Lisbon is certainly a high-income advanced economy, with a very high standard of living.
You’re definitely not going to be living in a cave!
I’M ON A BUDGET, BUT I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY AS I DON’T WANT TO ROUGH IT! WHAT SHOULD I DO?
We stayed at a rather lovely boutique hostel located a few minutes walk from many historic and tourist attractions, right in the heart of Lisbon’s Bohemia nightlife!
Located in the Bairro Alto Quarter, the hostel is just two (2) minutes walk away from all the action in the Chiado Quarter, and a few minutes from tiny bars, restaurants in one direction, and about a ten (10) minute walk from fancier bars and up-market restaurants, in the other direction!
Which ever way you go, you’re not far from the delights of a thriving nightlife!
I first saw mention of this hostel as part of the Luxury Hostels of Europe project on the website of one of our top world-known bloggers – Kash of the Budget Traveller – who is a great guy and a mate of mine, and also some inspiration from the blog of another top blogger – Agness of eTramping – a sweet girl and another good friend of mine.
So I just had to check it out for myself!
StayInn Lisbon Hostel wasn’t your ordinary hostel.
It was akin to a fancy hotel!
We were lucky to be on a part-sponsorship with the StayInn Lisbon Hostel and as a result, they very kindly gave us a heavily discounted suite, and a double room!
Thank you so much!
The hostel is on the first floor and as you enter, there’s someone to help you with your bags, a warm welcome smile waiting for you, and a very wide, clean, colourful, artistic space!
StayInn Lisbon Hostel features a modern décor, bright airy rooms, parquet floors, comfy squashy bean-bags, colourful soft sofas, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a common lounge and living room area with patch-work cushions, a mini-library, and a large flat-screen TV!
This boutique hostel was designed to embrace the sophisticated charm and historical delight of Lisbon and has a cosy space of just nine (9) rooms – two suites with private bathrooms, two double rooms, two twin rooms, one eight (8)-person mixed dorm, one six (6)-person mixed dorm, one six (6)-person female dorm, and a feng shui botanical smoking area.
My husband and I were in one of the suites with a huge private en-suite bathroom, whilst “The Tall Young Gentleman” was a very happy Larry, as he had a double room all to himself!
As “The Tall Young Gentleman” has become older and almost as tall as his father, it has come to our realisation, that in order for all of us to get a good nights sleep and reduce teenage drama, separate bedrooms are necessary.
And that was what we got!
It was marvellous to have the luxury of separate bedrooms especially when you’re travelling, you’ve got a tween who’s “on holiday,” and knick-knack is just thrown everywhere!
It was lovely just to have the space LOL!
Whenever we go on a family holiday, I like to mix things up a little in order to experience a wide variety of accommodation possibilities, to meet the locals, and to stretch our budget in a more comfortable way.
In Madrid, I decided to book a triple room Spanish-style hostal! In Seville, we stayed with friends in a lovely traditional Spanish suburban villa. complete with pool! In the Algarve, we booked a really nice studio-villa apartment in the coastal town of Lagos. This time around, it was time for a little more comfort.
Our stay at StayInn Lisbon Hostel was an absolute pleasure.
When you book a room on-line, you can never be entirely sure what you’re going to get, and can only hold your breath, and cross your fingers.
I didn’t know what to expect in Lisbon and was delighted at what we received.
Our suite consisted of a hallway, and a large private bathroom. Our bedroom had a double bed, one (1) rather nice fancy armchair, a writing-table / make-up table with mirror and stool, a large enclosed wardrobe, a huge open window, lots of wall adapters and a relaxing window-sill that you could imagine yourself sprawling on, whilst drinking a glass of wine..!
The second (2nd) bedroom had a large double bed, a bed-side table, a huge mirror, a large wardrobe, and very spacious, open windows. “The Tall Young Gentleman” was delighted moreover, he even had an electric card-key which only he had access to!
Our private bathroom was very clean and had two separate shower cubicles, a separate WC cubicle, two Mr & Mrs sinks (which I loved), a hairdryer, a huge mirror, and was fitted out with hair and body wash items, and plenty of fluffy towels.
The hostel also had two chill-out areas, a dining room, a fully-equipped kitchen which guests were free to use, free WiFi, and a more than generous free buffet breakfast!
For breakfast, you could help yourself to a large basket of bread, rolls of butter, a platter of ham and cheese, as well as a variety of cereal, fruit, slices of home-made cake, juice, and as much tea and coffee as you wanted!
All this from €60 – €80.00 per night in the suite, from €45.00 in the double room, and from €16 – €21.00 in the dorms.
WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?
Lisbon is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bus, train, funicular or tram. The best parts are the historical trams that looked as if they couldn’t get up the steep hills, but did.
Each and every time!
Ditch the heels and expensive leather brogues, and take comfortable walking shoes.
There be steep and cobbled stones!
I have a fondness for Lisbon.
It’s quaint. It’s appealing. It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.
If you’re looking for the next best European city of 2016 that’s safe, lively, and ready to be discovered. You’ve found it!
WOULD I COME AGAIN?
Go visit Lisbon!
This article is part-sponsored by the lovely boutique StayInn Lisbon Hostel, but all opinions and the fascinating historical trams that we huddled over, are my very own!
Next week, I’ll be focusing on Porto!
From June 2nd – June 3rd, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.
From June 28th – July 2nd, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.
Save the Date!
May & June are going to be fantastic!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re insane!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to Lisbon? Do you think Lisbon is the next top European place to be?
See you in Berlin.