Read about my Full Experience: Third Stop, Lisbon!
1. Hills, lots of Hills
Before I chose Lisbon as a city that I wanted to visit, I read a couple of posts online about how nice of it a city it is to visit but no one ever mentioned the hills. To put this bluntly, I have never sweated so much on vacation. Most of the hills are steep and if you’re slightly out of shape, you will be breathing heavy. Also, if you’re like me and you rely on Google Maps for directions, it may send you technically on the shortest routes but it will also send you up the steepest hills. After being there for 4 nights and walking around the city alot, I realized that there were multiple and less stressful walking paths than what was suggested.
2. They have a Castle!
Speaking of hills, the Castle (São Jorge Castle) is at the highest point of the city. It’s not a fancy “Royalty used to live here” type of castle but more for strategic usage hundreds of years ago. Being that it’s at the highest point of the city, they could see their enemies attacking and they would set traps throughout the multiple hills. Either way, it’s very cool to see in person and you get the greatest view of the city. You can buy your tickets ahead of time or when you first arrive.
3. Lisbon has a bridge that resembles the Golden Gate Bridge
If you do any tours, they will talk about the history of the bridge (25 de Abril Bridge) but the main facts are that it was built by the same company that built the Golden Gate Bridge but the only difference is that there is not a walking path, it’s only for cars.
4. Lisbon is in a Rebuilding Process
Something that becomes obvious while walking around the city you see and hear constant construction going on. Portugal in general has had some financial issues in recent history so they have turned to tourism to help boost their economy and also outside investment. They offer special visas called “Golden Visas” for people who buy buildings and specifically rebuild them.
5. Lots of Artistic Graffiti
It seems like almost every street has some sort of creative and artistic graffiti. It definitely adds to the charm of the city in my opinion.
6. You can get a tour of the city in a Classic Car
Thanks to Triple.co, I was able to setup a great driving tour with Miguel in his 1973 Datson. Miguel was extremely informative. He took me to significant points of the city to give me historical information and take pictures of the views. At the end you realize you saw a lot in a quick fashion and you get a nice pastry that’s included in the tour. I highly recommend the tour.
7. Bacalhau is a popular food option
I learned that Bacalhau (salted cod fish) is a very popular fish that people in Portugal like to eat but funny enough, it’s not from Portugal. It’s a fish that is primarily fished from Norway.
8. There are tons of walking tours available
I went on multiple walking tours while in Lisbon and I found them to be very helpful and informative. It will put you in the position to meet other travelers while learning more about the city. Typical walking tour meeting locations are at Praça do Comércio and Praça Luís de Camões. One of the tour guides I had, I would highly recommend. You can direct message Mariana on Instagram @wandering.nana
9. Everything is reasonably priced
My whole stay in Lisbon was very cost effective on my travel budget. I was able to get a lot of food for a reasonable price, my hostel (Lisboa Central Hostel) was on the cheaper side in comparison to other hostels I’ve stayed at and you are able to walk just about everywhere, so need for Taxis or Public transportation.
10. Everyone is laid back
My sense from walking around the city and talking to people, it just seems like a very laid back city. No one seems stressed, no one is in a hurry and the city feels like a large village where everyone knows each other. I also remember noticing how there isn’t a huge police presence. From locals to tourists, everyone seemed to be just enjoying themselves and it made for an overall great experience.