Are you fired up for lively, lovable and laid-back Lisbon?

Feel the vivacious vibe of Portugal’s capital…

If you’re arriving in Lisbon from South Portugal by coach like us, you will probably be riding the cable-stayed 17 km long Vasco Da Gama bridge straddling the Tagus River. While you make a mental note of the fact that you’re on the longest bridge in Europe, are you unconsciously cooking up an image of Portugal’s capital? Don’t do it…let it reveal itself in all its glory!

One of Europe’s most under-hyped destinations will exceed your expectations by far. Bonus: what you see is what you get. Lisbon is an open book. Whether you stay a day or a week, you’ll go back with the same first impression. Large public squares, hidden back-alleys or Alfama’s delightful maze, the city’s inimitable character manifests itself unrestrained everywhere. You will stumble upon it through dark crevices of buildings and you will stare at on sunny patios open to the blue skies. One word says it all. Unpretentious.

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Lisbon is lively

An uninhibited and expressive persona reflects in the cheerful colors of her elegant residential buildings. Sky’s the limit with dusky pink, sunflower yellow, sage green, blush peach, aqua blue, apricot orange. French windows and delicate iron-grille balconies to complete the look. An inexplicable harmony, despite the seemingly adhoc mix-match. Which facade is your favorite?

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More color inspiration? Unleash yourself in the mosaic of the city with an Azulejo (glazed tiles) hunt. Walls, floors and steps, street signs, house numbers, and store names are adorned with an unimaginable array of intricate patterns and symbols celebrating life, nature, religion and history, in 2-D and 3-D. Don’t forget to take home a souvenir of this 15th century import of the Moors, now a sophisticated art form and an iconic part of Lisbon’s culture.

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The walls may be gorgeous, but don’t forget to look down for one more Lisbon treasure…its stunning stone carpets (Calcada). Squares, sidewalks and miradouros (viewpoints) are embellished with beautiful patchwork of limestone (white) and basalt (black). Trace out marine motifs like caravels, compass, shells, fish, ocean waves and ships apart from flowers, stars and other Moorish geometric patters. Starting with the São Jorge Castle and the Rossio Square in the early 19th-century, Calcada spread to other parts of the country and even to Portuguese colonies like Brazil, Macau, Malacca, Malaysia and India. Sadly, its now a dying art form since it is very laborious, rare and expensive, and the surface gets slippery when it rains. No deterrent for the local ladies in stilettos. Just saying…

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Lisbon is lovable 

You see it in the bonhomie of people on the streets. Stopping on the sidewalk to exchange friendly pleasantries. Greeting you with a cheerful smile as you pass by. Calling out to advertise their roasted chestnuts or umbrellas. Conversing unabashedly in loud voices. Joyously cheering for a solo street performer. Making place for you to squeeze into the crowded Tram 28. Giving you a warm, genuine compliment. Feel like a local already?

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Lisbon is laid-back

Relaxed, casual and informal, irrespective of oodles of grandeur. Extraordinary examples of Manueline architecture. Ornate monuments glorifying historical discoverers. A massive 11-century hilltop Moorish castle with commanding views over the city. Huge public squares with elaborate statues and fountains. Majestic arcaded corridors that go on and on. And unbelievably ostentatious gold-laden cathedrals that would make you wear shades.

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The city is glamorous, but in a gritty kind of way. Resplendent, but with hints of rustic. Graceful and grimy at the same time…if you know what I mean. The grand buildings exude an element of magnum opus. Lisbon lacks the sleekness and sophistication, polish and élan so characteristic of a European city like Berlin, Paris, Geneva or Amsterdam. A handful of abandoned, crumbling buildings, a few cracked glass windows, a tattered curtain or two, chipped paint, exposed brickwork. Okay, okay, its not immaculate, but that’s its unique brand of charm. Imperfectly perfect!

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96 thoughts on “Are you fired up for lively, lovable and laid-back Lisbon?

  1. We have to agree with your views here Lisbon has that old world charm, entrancing and beckoning. We chose to stay in the old districts in a low ceiling flat crammed between the others which actually made for an authentic experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was in Lisbon a few years back, but these photos make me realise just how much I missed! It is so beautiful and full of character – even if it is a bit gritty:) It is one of those rare cities you can relax in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Portugal is already on my list (hopefully as a winter destination that isn’t too cold – I try to go against the seasons…) but this post makes Lisbon sounds especially lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m reading a lot about Portugal these days! Lot of bloggers seem to be heading in that direction. I haven’t been there. Hope to make it there sometime in future! Love the bright colors. The yellow reminds me much of Pondicherry!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Portugal is one of those cities that everyone should see. We’ve spent a lot of time down in the south but loved Lisbon also. I also love the stonework and tilework and it’s such a shame that it’s a dying art but I totally understand why. As for slipping, when we were in a small town in Portugal having dinner one night, a friend of ours slipped outside on the tiles in the rain and broke her arm !

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  6. I loved Lisbon when I visited with some friends. I loved Portugese cities in general! We also did Porto which was awesome. I’d love to go back one day soon for more Natas!

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  7. This has even once place I have yet to go and deeply regret not stopping here during my Euro Trip!! However, I keep seeing a lot of my friends head here so looks like I’ll be going sooner than later. The mosaics are amazing! Definitely a melting pot of history and vibrance!

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  8. A pretty quaint place. It is good that it does not follow the footsteps of Paris and Berlin. it is good to have a different kind of vibe to stay unique in Europe where almost all cities are known for their grandeur.

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  9. Yes! I visited Lisbon, Portugal a few years ago and I loved it. I completely agree that it is very underrated and it will exceed your expectations… it certainly did mine! I love your picture slideshows; what a great way to showcase as much of this beautiful city as you can!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is amazing. I really want to get to Portugal this year and visit the country. Love your gallery of pictures…making me want to visit so bad. Can’t wait!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lisbon is one of those cities where I’ve only ever heard good things – it’s apparently up and coming as a hub for digital nomads too because of the ease of living and laid back atmosphere, while still having all that Europe is famous for, architecture, history, culture & food. I would love to visit 🙂

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  12. Lisbon is on my list for long time now! I love those colors in that city! I think I need to finally book my flight and go now 🙂 Great photos!

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  13. With its architecture and magnificent colors Lisbon is like a living watercolor dream. It’s unique old charm is like summoning everyone to come and check me out. Having a laid back style of living gives it more charm to its visitors.

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  14. Your pictures have already fascinated me to visit Lisbon. The artwork is beautiful and the sad part is it is dying. Those colorful houses look so beautiful and I actually can’t decide which one is my favorite. Thanks for sharing this awesome colorful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your article brings back memories of my Lisbon visit. I loved a lot about this city, especially listening to fado in a local restaurant. I felt your love for Lisbon in your post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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