Lisbon has everything you could want in a European city: history, delicious food, vibrant culture, and cobblestone streets to get lost on. What takes it over the top is the friendliness of the people and the city's sheer beauty. I love Paris and Rome, but there's something about Lisbon that pulls you in and makes you never want to leave. It's hard to put a finger on all of the reasons that Lisbon is one of my favorite European cities, but below you will find a few!

It’s gorgeous.

Lisbon is truly one of the prettiest cities in the world. The city is built on the hills perched above the Tagus River. You’ll find amazing hilltop views from miradouros (lookout points) scattered across the city and overlooking the beautiful river below. If you wander the streets you’ll see gorgeous tiled buildings and cobblestone streets. Visit in the spring and the city is brightened by purple blooms. The city is sure to lure you in through it’s good looks alone. 

 View from a Miradouro

View from a Miradouro

Why Lisbon is One of My Favorite European Cities
Why Lisbon is One of My Favorite European Cities

There is plenty to do & sites to see.

My husband and I spent three days in the Lisbon area and it was only enough to taste what the city offers. You can stroll through the famous Alfama district, hop on a historic tram ride, view the city from the top of the San Justia Lift, visit St. George’s Castle, go to one of the city’s many museums, head over to Belem to see the famous Belem Tower or Jeronimos Monastery, or enjoy a Fado show – the list is endless!

Why Lisbon is One of My Favorite European Cities
Why Lisbon is One of My Favorite European Cities
Why Lisbon is One of My Favorite European Cities

You can take awesome day trips.

If you exhaust Lisbon’s main attractions and are looking to explore more, there are many exciting day trips you can take from your home base. The magical city of Sintra is only an hour train ride from Lisbon. You can stroll through the town’s magical forests and hike to its wondrous castles. From Sintra, you can take a bus to visit the western most point in Europe, Cabo de Roca. If you want to experience one of Portugal’s stunning beach towns, you can also take an hour train ride from Lisbon to the seaside resort town of Cascais. This charming village is the perfect place to soak in the sun and eat a fresh fish dinner. 

 Pena Palace in Sintra

Pena Palace in Sintra

 Moorish Castle in Sintra

Moorish Castle in Sintra

 Cascais

Cascais

The food is top-notch. 

It’s impossible to eat poorly in Lisbon. From cheese pastries at breakfast to Michelin Star dinners, Lisbon’s culinary scene always left me wanting more. And if you’re looking for a unique dining atmosphere, Lisbon’s got it. Take a ferry across the river and eat on a pier jutting into the water while watching the sun set over Lisbon. Or if music is your scene, head out to one of the many restaurants with live Fado music playing throughout your meal. 

 Dinner across the river at  Ponto Final

Dinner across the river at Ponto Final

It’s very walkable.

On my first day in Lisbon, I walked over 13 miles. While you’ll need to take a tram or bus to get to some sites such as Belem, most of the city’s attractions are easily walkable from the city center. When the weather is nice, there is nothing better than taking in a European city by getting lost on the cobblestone streets. Be mindful of the hills in Lisbon – you will work up a sweat if it’s warm out! If walking that much in a day is not your cup of tea, there is also a extensive network of public transportation throughout the city.

 Streets of Alfama

Streets of Alfama

The final great feature of Lisbon is that it's one of the easiest and cheapest cities to get to from the United States. From Boston, you can take a direct flight that's only about six hours. And if you want to break up the flight, you can stop in the Portuguese Azores Islands on your way over or back. So why not add the gorgeous city of Lisbon to your bucket list? 

-Caroline