We can't explain exactly why some cities suddenly start trending as hip must-visit destinations. We can, however, let you know with 100% certainty that Lisbon is worth all of the hype it seems to have been picking up lately. It's a relatively affordable European city by the coast, and this welcoming town has both historic and modern delights.
In just one weekend, you can hop from the beach to a lively urban city centre. Though you'll probably want to stay longer so that by day you can explore the hilly streets, and by night you can drink outside in one of the many back avenues popular amongst locals and tourists alike. That is, after chowing down on fresh seafood for every meal.
With so much to see in Lisbon, you could spend all day researching where to go. We've put together a comprehensive rundown that's a total vacation mood board. Ahead, what to do if you find yourself in Lisbon.
To Eat & Drink:
Feeling hungry? End the night at Time Out Market. It sounds like a tourist trap, because tourists love this open multi-stall food market, but trust us — it's worth the visit for some of the best bites in Lisbon.
For something more traditional, don't forget to dine at Restaurant Gambrinus. Here, tasty traditional Portuguese food can be found.
One of the best views in the city can be found atop Rio Mouro Rooftop Bar, a locally-loved restaurant. Don't miss the octopus or the cocktail rimmed with pop rocks.
And if that view has you feeling thirsty, stop by Ginjinha — a renowned stand in the city centre famous for its so-cheap shots of the capital's famed cherry liquor. Did we can mention you can drink them there on the spot?
Finish off a day at the cavernous and inviting Fado Cafe Luso — the metropolis's original spot for Fado (Portugal's own soulful folk music).
Or, if you're looking for a little break, unwind at kitschy late-night spot, Pavillon Chinese — spoiler: it's the perfect place for your inner pool shark.
If you're less adventurous, "a party on the top of a parking garage" might not sound like a good time — but trust us when we say that Park is the ideal sunset spot to go for a post-work drink. We recommend staying to dance 'til morning.
By night, the Estrella Streets come alive with revellers drinking right in the middle of the pathway. It's perfect for bachelor or bachelorette parties, or just a cheap nightcap.
And if you're not ready to go to bed, bid farewell to Lisbon at LX Factory — an ultra-trendy collection of shipping container bars, restaurants, and shops that have an artistic vibe.
To See & Do:
Keep an eye out for Lisbon's favourite pop-up shopping space, Fashion Deli. Situated in one of Lisbon's hippest fashion hoods, the Deli also serves up one mean sangria.
Start your day off at Maat — the newly finished museum of art, architecture, and technology that's as impressive on the outside as it is on the inside.
Afterwards, zip across the River Tagus on a quick commuter boat, or opt for an affordable sunset cruise. It's truly breathtaking.
A short train ride outside of the city, you'll find the city of Sintra, full of fairytale castles and parks. Pena Palace is a must-see, a colourful castle that's full of photo ops and one seriously breathtaking view.
Once you've explored Pena Palace, pop over to an ancient, lush green garden at Quinta da Regaleira where you can ascend through an inverted tower meant to symbolize Dante's rings of hell.