Now that Portugal is slowly coming out of the quarantine, thanks to the country’s organised and swift response to the coronavirus epidemic, Lisbon is stirring back to life again. Portugal has some of the lowest rates all over Europe, and we’re also thankful to the amount of cooperation with the residents here. Resilience has been strong in this city, and the support of its health workers to carry through these challenging times.
The public places and streets are now accessible. Small businesses have now opened doors, with a few measures in place. Local travel is now allowed. And here in Cheese & Wine, we are positively hopeful that we can resume back to our normality very soon, as we will welcome guests to our properties again.
Furthermore, let’s talk about our beloved Lisbon, and why this city has really inspired us all throughout these years. Aside from a beacon of hope and a testament to recovery, this city is admired and adored by many, from both residents and travellers alike. That when you ask people about their favourite cities, Lisbon pops up in the conversation, more likely than you think. Why, you might ask? We’ll give you 10 out of the many reasons why we think Lisbon should be your next travel destination.
First, watch our #sharelisbon video, spread the love and help Lisbon recover!
Read the full list below:
1. It’s the coolest European city right now.
Lisbon won last year’s World Travel Awards as Europe’s Best City Break Destination. But it’s more than just a super-Instagrammable city, but it’s also a thriving hub for digital entrepreneurs, online businesses and creative nomads, giving the city this incredible buzz. There’s been a start-up boom, with the local government creating incentives to invite tech and manufacturing businesses. The popular Web Summit is now committed to host its annual event in Lisbon for the next 10 years. And there’s been a rise of trendy shops, cool cafés, coworking spaces, rooftop bars, turning once-dilapidated spaces into lively, vibrant social venues.
2. It balances historical charm and modernity.
Lisbon balances the old and new, the vintage and the modern. For history lovers, Lisbon makes for a fascinating trip, as it’s the second oldest capital city in Europe, next to Athens. That said, you can get lost in its untouched hilltop neighbourhoods of Alfama, Castelo and Cathedral districts, with labyrinthine streets, fortified ramparts, castles and walls that have been preserved for centuries. There are colourful houses and beautiful tiles everywhere. And yet, when you look elsewhere, Lisbon also offers modern infrastructure, in design, in transport, a trendy lifestyle (see LxFactory). We also reflect this on our boutique hotel and apartments, balancing Lisbon’s charming details with a feel for modernity.
3. It’s the European Green Capital of 2020.
Another award on the Lisbon mantle is the European Green Capital of 2020, as given by the European Commission. It’s another reason to love Lisbon, as the city moves towards a better, more sustainable future. There’s been recently a great movement to clean up the city air and promote more green spaces, and Lisbon has done exactly that. With the local Municipal Hall focusing on bringing more electric cars on the streets, safe bike lanes, opening new ventures for electric mobility scooters and bikes for greener commuting and lifestyle, the city has mounted new projects for a greener urban living.
4. Stunning beaches are easy to reach.
We’re proud to tell you this, we’re super grateful that Lisbon is located on the Iberian-Atlantic coast. This means fine-sand beaches are just a short ride away from the city. Once you’re in the main terminal in Cais do Sodré, the railway trains will take you along the shimmering Oeiras, Estoril & Cascais coast, with plenty of popular and lesser known beaches. Either you’re into lounging on the beach, or more fun activities such as sailing, kayaking, paddling, surfing, beaches such as Carcavelos, Cascais and Guincho all await for you. Furthermore, across the bridge, is the 30km pristine beaches of Costa da Caparica, which takes you a 20-minute Uber ride away!
5. Delicious food + great wine = the best lifestyle!
It’s no secret – we love eating and drinking here. The Portuguese culture is so associated with food that every celebration means an opportunity to celebrate life with eating, drinking and being merry. There’s a great variety of restaurants in Lisbon, offering delightful dishes of seafood, grilled or stewed meat, pickled vegetables and rustic concoctions. Expect bacalhau, or codfish, mouth-watering sausages and cheeses, paired with excellent wines from Lisboa or Alentejo or Douro regions. Lisbon certainly knows how to live well.
6. The city has a warm, friendly atmosphere
Lisbon is so welcoming, and that’s due to the wonderful atmosphere of friendliness of its locals and residents. More than likely, you’ll have a friendly, smiling face ready to help you, whether it’s for directions and local information. Aside from the native Portuguese tongue, English is also widely spoken so it’s very easy to go around the city. And if you show a little effort in learning a few Portuguese words, Lisboetas become even friendlier and more appreciative. Moreover, if you really want to capture how welcoming and accommodating locals are, come during the festival months, especially during the feast of the city’s patron saint, Santo Antonio. You’ll be mesmerised with life here with everyone on the streets, eating, drinking, singing and dancing, and having the best time.
7. The weather is legendary, and the light is uniquely Lisbon.
Not only is Lisbon one of the oldest cities, but it’s also one of the sunniest. In fact, it’s the third sunniest city in Europe, next to Valetta in Malta, and Marseille in France. Lisbon enjoys approximately 2,799 hours of sunshine per year. That’s at least 300 days of sunshine guaranteed all year round. And when you ask both locals and regular visitors about what they find special about Lisbon, often they have this answer in common – the light. It’s the first thing you’ll notice as soon as you land on the city, that dazzling bright light that reflects across the pastel-hued walls, the white limestone pavements, the colourful tiles, the shimmering blue Tagus river, which further reflects light inland.
8. The hills offer magnificent views.
The fact that Lisbon is surrounded by hills gives the city a distinctly panoramic vision. While it’s easy to jump onto a tram, or hop on a Uber, to get to those hills, we always recommend to our guests to enjoy the pleasures of walking up and down the city’s hill. This way, you get to really experience the beautiful neighbourhoods, explore the hidden spots, and then when you reach the summits, the few places we call miradouros, you’ll be ecstatically rewarded with some of the greatest views you’ll ever see in the European continent.
9. It’s an affordable, safe and family-friendly city
Compared to other capitals in Europe, Lisbon is favoured as a more affordable option. Sure, rents are significantly higher compared to five years ago, but current prices are still lower than its European neighbours. Transport is so reasonable. Eating out is still sensible. It’s no surprise the city has been a magnet for digital nomads, tech entrepreneurs, Erasmus students, and visitors! And the true test of how affordable Lisbon is? Go to local markets, the little restaurants we call tascas and cafes called pastelarias, and you’ll find this city to be rather cost-effective. It’s also super safe, with a very low crime rate, and it’s already famous for being family and child-friendly. It’s also ideal for solo travellers, female travellers, and is a great destination for LGBTQIA, with a welcoming, tolerant and progressive society.
10. The airport is within the city, and it’s so easy to navigate around.
This is one of the most important aspects that visitors consider when visiting the city – how accessible the city centre is from the airport. Thankfully, Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport, with its 2 terminals, is located within the city’s fringe and therefore within convenient reach. You can literally arrive in the city centre in less than 20 minutes from the airport. Technology is advancing fast in this city, and with the rise of digital apps, it’s never been much easier to move around just at the touch of a button. When other cities banned Uber and such transport apps, Lisbon embraced it and truly transformed the way we move here. There are also e-bikes and scooters in place, for ease of transport. Not to mention, an efficient Metro system as well as a network of buses, trams, funiculars and elevators, to really help you get around the city so effortlessly.
Watch our Lisbon Resilience & Hope video: