I love Lisbon. I love Lisbon so much I wish I was not Portuguese, so that the quotidian and the inescapable routines of daily life would keep me from idolizing it.
Having lived there for three years, though, let me tell you why Lisbon is one of the most fascinating cities on Earth.
1. Luzboa: the light
Two thirds of the days in Lisbon are sunny days. Not just ordinarily sunny days, though: the city is soaked in light that illuminates its numerous hills, kisses its coastline softly and gives the city a true uplift. It's impossible to imagine Lisbon any other way than a happy and smiley, sunny city – and that's greatly because of its light.
2. The Colors, the Views, the Streets the Trams and its vintage touch
Google "Lisbon" and you'll get an impression of what I'm talking about. Also because of the light, but especially due to the different colors of its buildings, the inclined streets and the iconic (although old and not really comfortable) cable cars. Moreover, Lisbon has this old-meets-new in a perfect combination. Being called 'the city of the seven hills', sightseeing places are abundant in the city – both in quantity and quality. When traveling to Lisbon, make sure you take your camera with you. If staying for longer than 5 days, allow yourself one full day to explore Lisbon's sightseeing places – that will be my next blog post.
3. The Contrasts
Lisbon is full of antagonisms. Take its architecture: it ranges from the Moorish-time Alfama neighborhood, with tiny, irregular streets to the Parque das Nações area, a whole bloc constructed for the Expo 98, back to the idyllic area of Belém and its 15th century monuments, going to the Pombalina downtown, composed by a sharp rectangle of streets and squares. Arguably being true to the diversity that Lisbon breathes through, the city encompasses several architectural styles in perfect harmony – as they were supposed to stick together all along.
4. Lisbon's Bohemia
The city's nightlife is arguably like no other. The evenings usually start not before 11 pm and very often go well into the morning with the sun well up in the sky. From Thursdays to Saturdays nights masses of people, youngsters but not only, invade the Bairro Alto neighborhood and its countless number of bars, taking their drinks to the streets and giving the whole area a bloc party feeling until 2/3 am. Another popular areas of the nightlife are Cais do Sodré, particularly Rua Cor de Rosa and its numerous bars, Santos or Alcântara. A wide range of nightclubs covers most of the likes in dance music: Main and Urban Beach focus on a mostly young crowd (you can easily find someone from every age range, though), dancing to house & top 40 music. Lux Frágil relies on darker beats, around techno and deep house grooves, sometimes starring guest DJs as Gui Boratto, Aeroplane, Boys Noise or many others. Both Urban and Lux, but especially Lux, can stay open till 8 am on a decent night. A fully dedicated article on Lisbon's nightlife will follow this one next week.
5. The combination of all this and more
You might be thinking, 'but many cities have this'. And that is probably true. Many cities enjoy a beautiful, generous light. Same things goes for colors and sights. The contrasts are something that every old city cannot avoid and the nightlife of other places might as well be even crazier. That's all probably true. However, no city has such a perfect combination of all these factors: its closeness to the river and the sea, the light and the colors spread throughout the city, the ever-smiling, loud-speaking people, making the city burst with activity, the busy nightlife and its unique charm. This is why you can't help but to fall in love with Lisbon.