They say the best things in life are the ones that come in small packages, and being 16 times smaller than the province of Quebec, Portugal definitely fits the description. But despite its relatively small size, Portugal has played a large and very influential role in shaping the world’s history as we know it (hello, Brazil!).
And though there are plenty of reasons why the country as a whole is a magnificent place to visit, FlightHub believes that the crowning jewel of this country is its capital city of Lisbon. FlightHub reviews our top five reasons why this summer’s European adventure would be incomplete without a visit to Lisboa!
Not your typical tourist trap
One of the most endearing features of Lisbon is its unassuming nature. Despite its status as a major European city, it still manages to maintain its local charm. Though tourism plays a large role in Lisbon’s economy, as a traveller you feel instantly at ease in this city, where Portuguese is still predominantly spoken as a unilingual language. Lisbon isn’t inundated or overwhelmed with kitschy tourist traps; rather, as a visitor you’re greeted warmly by locals who are dedicated in making sure you see the best of the city.
A city built on hills, Lisbon went through many different occupations in its history: from the Romans and the Visigoths to the Arab occupation. And accordingly, the city reflects its heritage through its diverse architectural style. Prominent (and permanent) fixtures such as castles and fortresses are indicative of this history.
In modern-day Lisbon, the most impressive pieces of architecture are those converted after the fall of Moorish rule in Portugal. Notably, the mosques that once dominated the city were turned into churches with the rise of a Christian monarchy in the 12th century. Eventually, the Manueline style that dominated much of the 14th century became a staple of Lisbon’s unique style and architecture. Should you have the opportunity, FlightHub encourages visitors to visit the Jerónimos Monastery and study the nave, which was constructed in this style.
It goes without saying that Portuguese food is some of the best (and tastiest) in the world! With Lisbon’s proximity to the Atlantic, finding the freshest culinary delights isn’t hard. Cod is a staple in the Portuguese diet, so expect wonderful seafood dishes.
It’s actually quite astounding how many ways cod is prepared and served in Portugal; in fact, bacalhau (salted cod) can be prepared in over 365 different ways. And though cod may not be your favorite, FlightHub encourages you to keep an open mind! Other seafood like octopus, sea bass, squid and sardines all make appearance in the different dishes you may be served.
Pork also plays a large role in the the country’s cuisine, especially in Lisbon. These meat dishes are more often than not served in “hot pot” fashion. Needless to say, you won’t ever go hungry while visiting the city.
No one knows how to relax quite like Europe’s Mediterranean folks, and Lisbon is no exception. The city sits adjacent to the ocean, and there are plenty of beaches to frequent, depending on your taste. The Praia do Carcalvelos is by far Lisbon’s most popular beach, and with good reason: its stunning coastline and relaxed feel make it popular with locals and tourists alike.
Are you looking for a great place to surf? Then grab a wetsuit and brave the Atlantic waves with delight. Praia de Carcavelos is a renowned surf spot for surfers of all levels — scope out the scene for lessons or surf schools.
It’s easy to get around
Public transit is easy and accessible throughout the entire city, making it ideal for tourists to get around without a hassle. However, FlightHub does encourage you to plan your trips and outings around a schedule that doesn’t coincide with regular working hours: the transit system is still heavily used by locals commuting to and from work. Though a tourist destination, Lisbon is still a thriving city for its local residents, so keep this in mind when planning your itinerary.
Those are five top reasons to visit Lisbon if you’re travelling to Europe this summer, courtesy of FlightHub. While it’s not at the top of most travellers’ lists when it comes to European capitals, Lisbon has a way of charming those who pay a visit. And that lack of expectations can be a good thing — hey, sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.
This is a sponsored post