We took our final trip abroad of the year at the end of October
In my last post I chatted about the three apps I use to make sure I hit all the best spots and get my Instagram looking lust-worthy. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you hop over and check it out – it’s perfect for any type of travel, and for making sure you visit all the places you want to see – Instagram addict or not. But I’ll be real with you, Lisbon needs little help.
What a city.
When I visited Rome back in 2014, I was pretty blown away by the architecture – there were wow moments at every turn, but that was mostly down to sheer size and grandeur. Lisbon was breathtaking in a totally different way. Sure, it’s got tall city buildings and grand statues, but the real beauty is in the smaller details. The Portuguese capital is an Instagram dream with stunning cityscapes and pastel hues at each turn, and even if you’re not into the app, there’s glimpses of humble beauty to catch everywhere you look.
Whether you’re heading to Lisbon soon or not, I’m sure you can appreciate the charm of the city from my snaps and I hope that if it’s on your list of destinations, this post is useful for really appreciating the less obvious beauty the city offers. It really was a struggle to whittle this post down to the photos I’ve included – I could’ve been here for days!
Lisbon is famed for it’s tiled buildings – in an array of pastel colours, they’re completely beautiful. I learnt this style of architecture is called azulejo meaning painted ceramics, and derives from mirroring the Roman mosaics. In 2013 the Portuguese government even brought in a law to forbid the demolition of any tiled-facade buildings, and I can see why. They’re all different and equally beautiful – I’ve never really seen anything like it. Like white and blue stonewashed buildings immediately conjure images of Greek Islands, these facades bring Lisbon immediately to mind. They cover any types of buildings – from everyday homes to official palaces. A real icon of the city!
If there’s one thing Lisbon is good for, it’s a rooftop view. The city sits on ‘seven hills’ as legends has it, and it’s clear to see why the city has an abundance of funicular railways to help people get around. Cobbled streets lined with beautiful buildings, winding up and down, and up again. Walking in Lisbon isn’t for the faint hearted, but getting yourself up to some of the miradouros (Portuguese for viewpoint), is so worth it. You’ll find on occasion you’ll stumble across them, seemingly cropping up out of nowhere, and on others, you’ll spot the sign and commit to the steps to join other tourists in taking that all important panorama. Bars, cafes and restaurants with sweeping rooftop views over the river and 25 de Abril bridge aren’t in short supply!
Trams & Funiculars
Since the 1870s, Lisbon has been famed for its tram network. Becoming electric in 1901, the trams in Lisbon are iconic. Not only are they perfect for the locals to get around, they’re a tourists dream – great to ride and get a feel for the city (although a little cosy!), they’re dreamy to photograph! Most of the trams are yellow in colour, but there are also special green and red carriages. The 28 tram is the tourist hot spot (although be careful, it can be rife with pickpockets) – it takes a beautiful route around the city in the 1930s wood-panelled carriage.
I know we’re not all culture vultures, and although I’m sitting on a History BA, I sometimes struggle to get myself motivated over too much history on a holiday. Philistine, I may be. On this trip however, we definitely mixed things up and got a great balance – and the monastery I was taken to was actually pretty beautiful. The amazing blue sky certainly helped – the vibe was laid back and I couldn’t help but pap away at the amazing creamy stone. This particular place is the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, conveniently where pasteis de nata originate from too – with the famous Pasteis de Belem shop just a two minute walk away. Makes all that culture worth it, you know?
And lastly, if you’re into street photography, Lisbon is a dream. The hilly nature of the city, along with the pastel hues of it’s buildings, gives it some of the most beautiful street-scapes I’ve ever come across. Washing hanging from balconies, street lamps glistening in golden hour, not to mention the aforesaid azulejo patterns – it’s modestly stunning. Take a turn off the more trodden path and find some true urban beauty – you won’t regret it!
I think you’ll agree, it really is a beautiful city!
Are you visiting Lisbon soon?