Understated, yet complete with all the bells and whistles of a quintessentially European pilgrimage, Lisbon’s chief draw lies in the flavors of romance that pervades the cityscape – from smiling street musicians on the hills of Alfama to the sweeping seaside promenade –unlike other celebrated European capitals, Lisbon isn’t about the grand gestures. This is a city for celebrating the little things in life.
Speaking of grand gestures, in Lisbon there are quite a few. Soaring gothic churches, grandiose monasteries and quirky museums. But the real magic happens in the network of Lisbon’s ubiquitous backstreets where conversations flourish and the spirit of exploration takes over. Stumble upon a Yellow colored trams crawling by, bustling public baths and tiny little bistros humming with traditional Fado. This is a city to run into things and to discover experiences.
As a historical city that dates back centuries, Lisbon is endowed with remnants of historical tales, that are still narrated in plaques, or lurk quietly in the cathedrals and places like the seafront promenade where Vasco de Gama once returned to a joyful welcome. But at the soul of its culture, Lisbon is a youthful, progressive city.
With stylish restaurants and quirky bars, Bairro Alto is perched on a hilltop with an enviable clientele of the hip and trendy of the city. From the moment the sun sets till when it comes back up again, the streets are filled with music of the night and the crowd that is swaying to it. From jazz and Fado to electronica, clubs in Lisbon are versatile and resourceful, popping in up abandoned buildings and unused spaces.
From parties to fashion, for some fuss-free shopping, stylish Chiado is never too far away. Tucked within the high street brands is an eclectic selection of local boutiques. The district is also gifted with quite a collection of wine-bars, Michelin star restaurants and a sprinkling of low-key cafes, ideal for a classic people-watching experience.
Not far from Lisbon, there’s even more. Sandy beaches, villages, the Pena Palace in dreamlike Sintra.
The world is still coming to terms with what defines a quintessential Lisbon experience. Perhaps because it is so many things. Unlike the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Tower Bridge in London, as mentioned before, the capital city of Lisbon is about the little things – the perfect custard pie, stumbling upon the prettiest tiny plaza, a cup of afternoon bica (espresso) on hilltop café, multicolored sunset on the promenade.