With its dozens of destinations, it’s sometimes hard to decide where you want to go next in Europe. So, we made an unusual decision in November 2018 to spend a whole week in Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal. One might legitimately ask whether this was the right time to go there as Europe is already in the midsts of the winter season.
It turned out to be one of the more positive decisions we took for our road trip and vacations to spend.
Lisbon’s magnificent scenery speaks for itself
The hills. The flairs. The trams. The weather. The magnificent Castelo de S. Jorge, Lisbon’s castle at the hilltop overlooking the whole city. The people. The cute cafés. Lisbon might not be one of the bigger metropolitan areas like Paris, London, or Berlin.
Lisbon has become a hub for business, conventions and events, start-ups, and tourists from overseas precisely because of its unique flair, but also affordable cost of living compared to other places like London.
When we decided to spend our week in an Airbnb apartment in the centre of Lisbon, our host told us one rule to remember: You either have strong and heavy rain or the sun is shining down on your skin. After spending a week in the city, we are just happy to confirm that rule. And we were quite surprised by the fact that this was during the weather season, with temperatures from 13 to 21 degrees Celsius on average!
Of course, if spending your days at the beach is a primary activity, you ought to consider going there during the summer (with the equivalent amount of crowds and higher prices). If not: Consider going during the off-peak season and support the locals with your stay!
Explore the city by feet
Since we were based in the middle of the city, it was fairly easy for us to explore Lisbon and all of its facets and aspects by walking (or, wandering) around. Although it might seem small, you can discover many things and details. Go and spend some time in one of Lisbon’s parks, cafés, or restaurants. Relax at Alfama and enjoy the sun shining on your skin while street artists are performing for you. Walk up the hill and spend your evenings with your friends in one of Lisbon’s terraces with a panamoraic view of the city while the sun goes down.
Enjoy stunning beaches and viewpoints in Sintra
Take the chance and explore what’s not in the city but fairly close to it. Sintra is a well-known region approx. 30mins away from Lisbon and offers travellers a various of activities to be explored:
- The Pena National Palace and Park is a romantic castle built by German architect Wilhelm Eschwege for the royals and has a gigantic park area that can be explored, offers a panoramic view of the region as well as more in the inside.
- The Quinta da Regaleira used to be a private property built and owned by Antonio Augusto Monteiro and was opened to the public in the early 2000s by the portugese government. It’s ever since elevated as a UNESCO site heritage. It’s most famous for its tunnels that represent Dante’s Inferno. It’s a place full of symbolism and is best discovered by local guides.
- Cabo da Roca is best-known to be the most western point of continental Europe and is worth its time to enjoy sunsets, sceneries to be photographed.
- Beaches in the Sintra region are best to be explored during the summer season: Check out beaches like Sao Juliao, Magoito Beach, and Adrage Beach to end your day trip in Sintra. For whatever beach you will decide, don’t miss the opportunity to surf, or at least learn to surf in one of the many surfing schools that exist.
From all of those activities, it’s best to book a local guide who can provide you in-depth explanations about the history, cultural significance, and the local people. Why don’t you check out Airbnb Experiences for that matter?
Who copied from whom?
What we found so astonishing during our one-week-trip to Lisbon was the fact that the city has too many similarities from San Francisco. Funny enough that some American travellers we met and spend time with told us that Lisbon almost “feels like home. Just much cheaper than on the other side.” So the legitimate question is: Who copied from who?