Lisbon, A Great Taste of Europe

Easy On Your Travel Budget

We love to travel, and 2020 was supposed to be a big travel year for us. Like the rest of you, that hasn't happened. 

We're still dreaming about travel, reading about new destinations, and making (tentative) plans for the future. We hope all of you are well and staying safe... and that you find some inspiration here for YOUR future travels.

With vaccines arriving, let's hope we can be traveling again in 2021!

Lisbon is an overlooked European capital.

Tourists tend to flock to Paris, Rome, London, but that little country on the edge of Europe? Most people tend to just fly over it, but you shouldn't.

Portugal is not always on major tourist routes, but there is plenty to see there.

If you're looking for a trip to Europe, but you're hoping to stick to a tight travel budget...

You might want to give Lisbon a look.

Portugal has always cost less than other destinations in Europe.

The City Itself Is What To See

So what is there to see in Portugal's capital city?

Well, to start with, the city itself.

It is compact and teems with everyday life. Its pleasures are its street life and setting....

Lisbon was built on seven hills, on the Tagus River where it spills into the Atlantic. It doesn't seem overrun with tourists.

The Portuguese shop in the Chiado and Bairro Alto districts on one of the hillsides above downtown.

They party and listen to fado in the alleys of the Alfama on the opposite hillside. The Bairro Alto also has a vibrant nightlife.

Restauradores Square Lisbon

The Baixa, the downtown district, runs between the two hills from Rossio Square inland to Comericio Square, the large, much loved plaza on the river.

It is the main shopping and banking district that stretches from the riverfront to the Avenida da Liberdade.

There are elegant squares and pedestrianized streets... and lots of cafes and shops.

Lisbon Has History

It bills itself as the City of Explorers.

Prince Henry the Navigator set the course for exploration in the 15th century.

Vasco da Gama sailed from the the city's Belem neighborhood.

Her Glory days were the 15th and 16th centuries when she sent da Gama and other explorers out to "discover the world".

Old Grandeur in Belem, Alfama, Bairro Alto

Much of the city was rebuilt after it was flattened by an earthquake in the 18th century.

The Chiado area suffered a devastating fire in the 1980s, but it has been reborn.

Actually, many areas of the city have been rebuilt through the years after being flattened by earthquakes or burned by fires.

Find pockets of the old grandeur in the Belem district, the Alfama, and the Bairro Alto.

Santa Justa Elevator Lisbon

Santa Justa Elevator

Lisbon is a great city for tourists because of its compact size.

Walk the downtown.

Take the Santa Justa Elevator (also called the Elevator of Carmo or Carmo Lift) up to the Bairro Alto.

This elevator was designed by a student of Eiffel and built in the early 1900s.

The Alfama

Lots of steps to climb in the Alfama

There is no elevator to the Alfama...

Climb back into history through the medieval alleys of the Alfama on the opposite hill.

This is possibly the city's most emblematic quarter.

Get lost winding up narrow streets with laundry hanging over them.

You will get lost, but it's ever so much fun....

Then you'll find stone staircases that open suddenly onto terraces with spectacular views over the red tile rooftops to the Tagus River, and you'll find your way again.

Stop in little local restaurants for a bite to eat.

Azulejos de Lisboa - The famous blue tiles that decorate Lisbon

At night listen to real, not-for-tourists Fado here.

Admire the Azulejos de Lisboa, the blue tiles that decorate nooks and crannies at every turn....

There are strategically placed miradouros (or viewpoints) that offer breathtaking panoramas over the city.

At the top of the hill is the Castle of St. George (the Castelo de Sao Jorge).

All that is really left is the walls, but it has a great view out over the city.

Ride The Trams Around The City

Ride Trams of any color around Lisbon

Ride the colorful old yellow trams around the city...

Or ride trams of any color if the old yellow ones aren't running.

We haven't even had time to mention the museums like the Ancient Art Museum (which is Portugal's National Gallery) or the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum which are two of Lisbon's best.

And since we've only mentioned historic Belem in passing, another page for that.

Let's just say, if you're want a great travel experience but you're counting your pennies...

You could be pleasantly surprised with how far you can stretch your travel budget in Lisbon.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

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The New Year is here...
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