There’s something special about living in a capital city, a certain energy, a certain buzz, a sense of being at the centre of things. They may only be a few hundred kilometres apart but it’s always a happy surprise to experience how different they are: Rome is nothing like Paris and Paris is nothing like London. Of course, city life is not for everyone, it can be hectic and exhausting but it’s certainly something to experience at some point in your life. If you’re feeling like it’s high time that you experienced life in one of the great cities of the world then Lisbon is a capital that should have your serious consideration. Currently one of Europe’s top destinations, this seven-hilled city by the sea is guaranteed not to disappoint and here are just a few of the reasons why.
Lisbon is the second oldest city in Europe, only Athens is older, and its history is written in the wonderful variety of magnificent buildings, which date from the Roman times to the vibrant new constructions of the present day. Once the heart of a great empire, Lisbon has a wealth of architectural heritage, so that the lover of history need do no more than wander its winding cobbled streets and grand boulevards to get a sense of the city’s past.
The city’s reinvigorated international standing has been recognised in recent years with a string of awards. Lisbon regularly features in the top three rankings for best places to live in Europe, best cities for digital nomads, best places to retire and best cities for innovation. Perhaps, most importantly, Lisbon has also been awarded the accolade ‘most welcoming city in the world’ and let’s not forget that the nearby beaches of the Algarve have also been voted the best beaches in Europe.
Portugal’s cost of living is one of the cheapest in Europe. It is, for example, more than a third cheaper than the U.K. As one would expect, as a capital city, Lisbon is the most expensive area of the country, but even so, Portugal’s capital city has some of the cheapest capital city rental accommodation of anywhere in Europe.
Food and wine
The combination of outstanding local produce and world class expertise means that Lisbon has restaurants to rival any of the great cities of Europe, but you don’t have to go to a Michelin starred restaurant to eat good food because you’ll find it everywhere. The seafood is as fresh as you’ll find and when it’s paired with a Vinho Verde Portuguese wine, at a streetside table where you can glimpse the river Tagus, it’ll be the best you’ve ever eaten.
Traditions and culture
The history of Lisbon is not just reflected in its buildings and museums but is a living part of life in the city. You never have to wait long before there’s another festival and the contemporary arts scene is as exciting as it is original. Of course, no stay in the city would be complete without experiencing a traditional Fado performance, folk music considered by UNESCO to be ‘An Intangible Heritage of Humanity.’