Tucked away in the most western corner of Europe, Lisbon can often be overshadowed by its popular neighbours: Madrid, Paris and Rome. But now Europe’s best-kept secret is quickly moving to the top of travel bucket lists. This is being made easier by the increased number of Qatar Airways flights flying into the Portuguese capital.
With it’s a stunning coastline, blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most affordable and laid-back holiday destinations. Here are five reasons why Lisbon is becoming increasingly popular with travellers:
Oozing history, art and culture
Lisbon’s culture and heritage dates back centuries, with local explorer Vasco da Gama under Prince Henry the Navigator at the forefront of the Discovery Age. Traces of this past can still be seen all over the city where you’ll also find the oldest operating book store in the world and the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT).
A striking mix of Baroque, Moorish, Roman and neoclassical building styles, Lisbon is littered with towering cathedrals, royal palaces, historic monuments and gothic monasteries. The decorative ceramic tiles that adorn many facades and ornately tiled pavements are a unique Portuguese feature that adds another dimension to this city’s vibrant landscape.
Music to your ears
Wander the cobblestone streets and stumble on an all-night street party or head to the trendy bars and clubs of downtown Bairro Alto to discover Lisbon’s eclectic and exciting music scene. Traditional folk music called Fado, known for its mournful and melancholic sounds, is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List and can be found in bars across the city.
A foodie’s paradise
Having introduced chilli to India and tea to England, Portugal is a foodie’s delight! Offering everything from Michelin starred fine-dining to family-run kitchens serving fresh and cheap seafood, Lisbon’s most popular dishes include Bacalhau (salty codfish) and Sardinhas Assadas (grilled sardines). It’s also the birthplace of the world-famous pastel-de-nata (custard filled tarts)!
Beaches with backdrops
Stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, and just 30 minutes from Lisbon are some of Portugal’s finest beaches, surrounded by spectacular jagged cliffs and hidden coves. The medieval castle at Tamariz provides one of the most unique beach backdrops, while closer to Lisbon you can try surfing at Costa di Caparica.
For more holiday inspiration, go qatarairways.com.