The original title of this post was meant to be “The best city in the world: Lisbon”, but as I realized someone could have different opinions I changed it. I have a hard time thinking how someone that has been to Lisbon could seriously think that any other city is better, but I am trying to be open and understanding to these crazy people.
I waited a bit (read: 5 years) to write about my favorite place because I have mixed feelings about it, and some questions, for example, in an unordered list:
- why I am not living in Lisbon
- why did I leave Lisbon in the first place
- why don’t I move back to Lisbon
- why don’t I spend most of my time in Lisbon
- why I like Lisbon so much
On this last point, someone told me I love the city because I have good memories of it. Of course, I do have good memories (I lived there in 2011-2012) but I don’t think this can explain everything. It’s more the beauty of the city. The vibes. The river.
Some things about Lisbon
I am not an expert on Lisbon anymore.
I was it, in the past, but in the years I wasn’t there the city has changed dramatically.
We have visited very recently and I kept busting Panos’ balls all the time by saying “oh this wasn’t like that before”, “oh gentrification”, and “why do they have brunch places everywhere now?”
So yeah, the city really has changed. Prices went up. Rents in the center are as high as in Barcelona. Digital nomad shit. But my love for Lisbon has not changed.
Some of my favourite traits:
- Lisbon is all steep downhills and uphills. This is a real struggle when you are in hangover but it’s a blessing when it comes to miradouros (viewpoints). There are loads of miradouros wherever you go. Perfect to chill and soak in the magnificent views in the ever-present sun
- The architecture of the city is stunning. I have heard several times from visitors “I did not expect Lisbon to be THIS pretty”.
- There is so much light. Must be a mix of the cobblestone, the buildings, and the sun, but I cannot live without sunglasses in Lisbon
- Lisbon has a river, that progressively goes into the ocean and you can follow all of it by walking at its riverside. You need to see it to understand how cool is it 🙂
- You have a mix of cultures thanks to 2nd and 3rd generation Portuguese that are originally from Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique and Brazil (but also non ex-Portuguese countries) or immigrants from anywhere, which are making the city an amazing melting pot. Lisbon does not feel like Europe nor Africa, it’s like the perfect mix of an exotic something in the middle
- This is a very personal one, but my favorite language is the Portuguese language – I reckon this may play a part in my affection for the city
I will not go and start describing the monuments, the pastel de nata and all those things. You can find them much better described in Lonely Planet or any other blog really.
This is a subjective post to renew my wows of love for Lisbon, the same love that made my likeminded friends get a tattoo that says “Se alguma vez nasci nasci em Lisboa“, the one that does not make you go visit your family when you live there because you just cannot leave the city, the one that makes you happy just because you know Lisbon exists.
I lived in Lisbon for 1.5 years, and I lived in Barcelona for 9 years, and I don’t know where I will live next, but I will always say that… nothing compares.