Lisbon has been a city I've wanted to visit for a long time and I finally got the chance as part of a stag do for one of my oldest friends. The city has an incredible history, and was at one point the seat of the most powerful empires in the world, but more recently the city has fallen on tougher economic times. Swallowed up my an earthquake in the 18th century, and outcompeted by other nations since the Industrial Revolution, Lisbon has weathered the storm and remains an important European city - the most western capital in Europe. You can read about my trip in more detail here, but here are 5 things I loved about Lisbon.
5. Climbing the stairs in Alfama
Fado, food, and fantastic views, Alfama was a personal highlight of my time in Lisbon. It's the oldest part of the city, and the narrow streets, and steep staircases are a visual treat.
It's one of the less well off areas in Lisbon, and the tightly packed buildings create an almost claustrophobic feel in certain places, but it has character - and a lot of it. My favourite part is the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, a look out point with fantastic views.
4. Watching a football game
Lisbon has two giants of European football, Benfica and Sporting CP. I grew up following football across the continent, and from a young age gravitated toward Sporting's style of play - they were my Portuguese team, so a chance to see them at the beautiful Jose Alvalade stadium was something I really enjoyed.
The Sporting team at the moment are going through a bit of a tough time, and the tense feeling between the football club and the Juventude group of ultras was very clear - only a few months before my visit, the ultras had attacked the team during a training session. That being said it only seemed to add to the atmosphere. And sure, this isn't the Sporting team of old, but they showed flashes of the type of brilliance that's made them famous the world over.
At €25, this was fantastic value for money and is much cheaper than games back home. Sight lines in the stadium are good given that the stadium itself is relatively new but getting to and from the stadium isn't fun on matchday.
3. Seeing the sights from the sea
This was a quick way to see some of the main sites of Lisbon, while at the same time providing a different perspective to the city skyline - plus, I was on a stag do, so it was also a party boat - nice little bonus,
We sailed directly under the 25 de Abril Bridge (a little like the Golden Gate Bridge), saw the Christ the King statue (a smaller version of Christ the Redeemer), and visited one of Lisbon's most famous historical landmarks, the Belem Tower.
Wiping icicles off my face was less fun though, we'd picked the only cold day Lisbon had that week. If only it were a little warmer, this would have been perfect.
2. Riding the trams through narrow streets
I really enjoyed the rattling of trams going along through Lisbon's most famous districts. There's two types of trams: the more historical 'remodelado' style and the more modern 'articulado' style - and the old school trams are a thing of beauty.
At roughly €3, the trams aren't the cheapest form of transport, they're 10 times more expensive than those in Hong Kong - but going up a very steep hill, with buildings looming over you on each side in of these trams is pretty special.
Tram 28 is the most famous, giving a great tour of the city, but watching any of the remodelado trams rushing past, full of colour, is something special.
1. Experiencing the nightlife in Bairro Alto
I spent most of my time in Lisbon's 'old town' - a misnomer as Alfama is actually older. This is the heart beat of the city, famous for its nightlife but filled with incredibly beautiful architecture.
Seeing lines of washing strewn across buildings is the sort of thing that makes brings an area to life, gives it character - it's not just a tourist destination - it's home to thousands of people, and there was plenty of that here.
At night, young people are lounging outside bars in the warm evenings - each bar slightly different to the one before it. It feels like an area where there is always something happening. But even in the day, trams and taxis keep the roads around the edges of the area busy, but the streets in the heart of the area are relatively quiet, giving you plenty of opportunities to take everything in.
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina is a lookout point at the edge of Bairro Alto that provides fantastic panoramic views over the city, helpfully located next to it is a tram stop that can take you up and down the steep hill that connects the old town to the rest of the city.
I'd happily visit Lisbon again. It's difficult to see and do everything on a stag do and I felt like I only scratched the surface of Lisbon. I'd like to spend a bit more time visiting different areas, and perhaps watching a Benfica game next time out. You can read my more detailed notes on Lisbon here, and follow @thetravellingsingh on Instagram for more photo's from the city.
British Sikh, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.