A unique vacation destination...

Best Christmas lights in Europe...

Antique tram...

About Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, with a population in the city of about half million people. It retains much of its history and charm from centuries ago, and it serves as a reminiscent of one of the greatest maritime history in the world. Its rustic charm, warm people, historical neighborhoods, and reasonable prices are making it the destination of choice. Nearby are two highly recommended places to visit: Sintra, a romantic historical town up in a mountain with summer palaces, and Cascais – Estoril, world class coastal towns.

Mediterranean Weather

Situated on the westernmost coast of continental Europe, with Spain on its east and the Atlantic Ocean on its west, Portugal's location puts it perfectly in the Mediterranean climate zone.  Lisbon, the capital, gets an average of 330 sunny days per year.  August can get very warm, with a few days in the 90s.  November temperatures in the city can remain high enough for northern Europeans to sunbathe on its beautiful coasts. Even during December, when some of the most enchanting holiday lights in Europe illuminate Lisbon like a jewel, daytime highs are often near 60F/15C.

One of the Most Charming Old Cities in Europe

A very old city, Lisbon was controlled by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, and much of its old-world charm has been retained: many older buildings are still adorned with azulejos (tiles), and pavements are covered in mosaic.  North American visitors may be reminded of San Francisco, California, with the trams trundling through the 7 hills located in the city, and the 25 de Abril Bridge, constructed by the same company as the Golden Gate Bridge.  The roads can be windy, snaking up and down the hills, with antique street cars and funiculars (and modern  buses) transporting the locals as well as tourists.  Situated on one of Lisbon's highest hills, giving it a 360  degree view, is the Castle of Sao Jorge (Castelo de Sao Jorge), which was built by the Moors in 795 AD.  In the 12th century, Christian crusaders and local fighters took over Lisbon, and the castle became the official palace of the kings of Portugal. 

Approachable People

The Portuguese are warm people.  At first, they may seem reserved. (Unlike Americans, Europeans do not greet strangers). Once they are asked for help though, they are more than willing to open up.  Also, unlike their closest neighbors in Spain, the Portuguese love to practice their English, even though it may be quite limited.  (In the movie theaters, Hollywood movies are subtitled, but not dubbed, into the local language, thereby immersing the Portuguese in spoken English.)

Western Europe at Bargain Prices

Prices in Portugal tend to be lower than the rest of Western Europe.  A metro ride might cost 4 pounds (US$6) in London, or 2 to 3 euros (US$3-4) in other European capitals, but only 1 euro in Lisbon.  The same applies to food: away from the most tourist-filled areas, great food can be had at bargain prices. For example, a meal at a churrascaria can be had for only 9 euros in Lisbon, compared to $40 in the United States.

Photos