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Lisbon, Portugal: Fabulous Nightlife, Rich in Culture and a Great Value

After experiencing Lisbon I believe that Portugal is one of the most underrated countries in Europe.  I spent a few nights in Lisbon two summers ago with my friend Lexy and we were impressed by both the beautiful city and history as well as the amazing nightlife.  We had no idea what to expect or even see, but thankfully our good friend Marc led us in the right direction and we had an unforgettable time.  Lisbon is actually one of the best values in all of Europe, the cheapest capital in Western Europe, and we definitely did not blow our budget.  It also reminds me a lot of San Francisco due to the the hills and the 26 de Abril Bridge, but I have to say the Portuguese culture makes Lisbon much more desirable.  The locals are super friendly and helpful, but we didn’t come across many that spoke fluent English after all!  Just be polite and throw in “Obrigado” and they will take good care of you! :)

A typicall steep hill in Lisbon

A typical steep street in Lisbon

Where to Stay

When we landed in Lisbon we had no hotel and were shocked by how different the Portuguese language really is.  We were lucky enough to come across a nice guy at the information desk in the airport who set us up with a great hotel.  The airport is quite close to town so we took a inexpensive taxi to our hotel, which was in the heart of the old city.  We ended up staying in the Rossio Square at the Hotel Metropole and couldn’t have been in a better location.  It was night when we arrived and as we checked out our view we were happy to see a gorgeous square and a huge castle off in the distance.  This location is great because it is walking distance to all the public transportation and close to many of the must see sights.

The view from our window with R Square and the Castle of San Jorge in the background

The view from our room of Rossio Square and the Castle of Sáo Jorge in the background

Getting Around

One of my favorite things about Lisbon was how easy it was to get around.  The city is very walkable but it is built on 7 legendary hills so be prepared to climb some steep streets.  For sites that aren’t quite walking distance they have a great public transportation system.  Their metro is the cleanest one I have ever experienced, and a 24 hour pass can be purchased for about €5.  Also their bus and tram system was very helpful when going to visit the Castelo de Sáo Jorge, which is on top of a huge hill.

Navigating my way in a typical square in Lisbon

Trying to navigate my way while in a typical square in Lisbon

What to Do

Lisbon is a large city and has a lot of sites to appease all types of travelers.  The Castle of Sáo Jorge is located on top of the highest hill in Lisbon and is a must see due to the gorgeous views and history dating back to the medieval times.  Also make sure to take the tram across the 25 de Abril Bridge to the historical neighborhood of Bélem.  While here tour the Bélem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and eat custard tarts at Pastéis de Bélem.  If you’re in Lisbon in the summer try and make it to the beach in Carcavelos, which is famous for it’s surfing and production of wine.  Also be sure to enjoy some of the famous local Portuguese cuisine and wine at one of the many charming restaurants in the cities numerous squares or down by the water.

The view from the Castle of Sáo Jorge

The view from the Castle of Sáo Jorge

Lisbon By Night

Lisbon has a wide range of nightlife options and is beginning to get a reputation as one of the best clubbing cities in Europe.  To experience an authentic Lisbon night with the locals head to the Bairro Alto quarter, which is an old neighborhood of winding streets filled with tons of small bars and restaurants.  There is a great live music scene in this area and you are able to have alcohol in the streets, so grab a beer and check it out.  Alcântara Docks, which is also known as Docas, is a great area by the water that has numerous restaurants and bars/clubs for many different types of crowds.  Lexy and I spent most of our nights out in the Docas area and had so much fun and met a great variety of people.  There are so many options in such a small area  you are bound to find a place you’ll enjoy regarding the music, crowd, and atmosphere.  Some of our favorite clubs in this area were Buddah Bar, Lux, and Dock’s, but check this list for more favorites.

Lexy and I enjoying ourselves at Buddah Bar

Lexy and I enjoying ourselves at Buddah Bar

The Docas Bar area at night

The Docas Bar area at night

I hope that you all found this blog useful and I ignited a little spark inside of you to check out Lisbon.  I can’t wait to head back to Portugal and explore more of what this amazing country has to offer.  Check out more pics on my Flickr account and please contact me with any questions, comments, or tips you may have about Lisbon, Portugal! :) Save Travels

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