According to a survey by ODIGEO eDreams, Lisbon is the most booked destination by Europeans, for 2021, a position which was previously held by London. Lisbon has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years and its not hard to see why.
The hilly, coastal capitol has its own international airport, making it an easy hop from most European cities. It’s one of the warmest capitals in Europe with around 290 days of sunshine per year and a winter low of 11 degrees and it also has some of the best beaches in Europe, less than an hour’s drive away.
Recent decades have seen huge foreign investment in the city and its magnificent architectural heritage has been restored to its former glory. The city is dominated by the magnificent Sao Jorge Castle, a dramatic mixture of Roman and Moorish architecture. Another famous landmark is the Belem Tower, at the mouth of the Tagus, the most well-known example of what is known as Manueline architecture, a synthesis of Moorish and Venetian influence. The city is full of wonderful buildings and a ride on the famous tram 28 will take you on a perfect sightseeing tour of the city for just under 3 euros.
Lisbon is also a great city in which to eat and drink. The Time Out Market Lisboa is home to 24 restaurants, 8 bars, dozens of shops, a cooking school and music venues. In the Food hall you’ll find a further 40 restaurants and vendors selling the best meat, fish and fruit available. Portugal has 240 grape varieties and there are three major wine regions close to Lisbon, so it’s never too difficult to find a great bottle of wine and a pretty little bar looking out over the rooftops.
Lisbon has shopping to rival the best capitals in Europe and a very lively nightlife, whether your taste runs to traditional fado or something more contemporary. If you are interested in more cultural pursuits, the city has a great choice of museums and galleries, both large and small. Above all else, Lisbon is a great city to wander, its windy, hilly streets opening on unexpected vistas and when your feet start to protest there is always somewhere pleasant to rest and watch the world go by.
Given the attractions of Lisbon, in particular, and Portugal, in general, it’s hardly surprising that something like 60,000 Brits have made their home there. Some have been attracted by the ‘golden visa’ scheme which grants residency rights to individuals who purchase property in excess of 500,000 euros, others have been attracted by one of the lowest costs of living in Europe and the availability of extremely affordable rental property.
The progress of the current pandemic will determine Lisbon’s fortunes in 2021, but it seems certain that as the vaccine does its work and life returns to normal, the city will once again become the destination of choice for Europeans desperate for a little sunshine and relaxation.