City centre or the suburbs? Close to the beach or near the mountains? Modern or traditional? Living in Lisbon reflects the city’s dual personality in more ways than one.
Portugal’s national capital, Lisbon, boasts one of the longest histories, warmest climates and bustling nightlife of any major European city alongside its dramatic location sprawled along seven hills overlooking the river Tagus and the country’s west coast. Famed for its year-round sunshine and beauty, Lisbon’s grand architecture dazzles and its old-world charm mingles with chic streets, galleries, lively nightlife and a centre which gives way to sandy beaches just minutes away. It is also one of the most affordable capitals in Europe, perfect for a captivating city break or short haul escape.
If you are looking for the classical side of Lisbon, you can find a wide range of beautifully restored buildings in historic areas with all the conveniences that life in the 21st century can provide – and with dazzling views of both the city and the river as a bonus!
If you are passionate about modern architecture you need look no further than Parque das Nações, on the banks of the Tagus River, which offers a mix of modern design, contemporary accommodation, ample open spaces and excellent transport facilities to the city centre. Wherever you opt to live in Lisbon, you are never far away from great food (modern restaurants happily ‘coexist’ with the local tascas), while options for entertainment and nightlife abound.
If you are not a city person, the Lisbon region offers a range of choices for those who prefer to live outside the capital. UNESCO-protected Sintra and beach heaven Cascais, to the north, and seaside Sesimbra and green Arrábida, to the south, are all linked to Lisbon with fast motorway links and are excellent choices for anyone who appreciates life a little closer to nature. Only 20 minutes from the city centre and you can find golden sandy beaches and sheltered bays – but just as easily you can head up on the mountains or visit the region’s superb National Parks. There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer, with water sports, golf, hiking and horse-riding among the most popular. Your pound stretches much further.
Lisbon is one of those rarities, a city where you can spend a little but do a lot. According to the Post Office’s annual City Costs Barometre surveys, it consistently ranks among the most affordable cities in the Eurozone: dining out is inexpensive, transport is reasonably priced and many districts offer free entry to cultural attractions. A cup of cappuccino costs less than £1 (average price: €1.25) and you will rarely pay more than €7/£5 for a cinema ticket. Even living in the city centre is very affordable, with prices for a one-bedroom apartment well below €600 (less than £450) per month. The weather: Never too hot, never too cold…
Lisboetas are blessed to be living in one of the sunniest cities in Europe with a pleasant climate all year round. Portugal’s capital is located in the Mediterranean climate zone, which translates to mild winters (the average day temperature is between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius) and long, warm, dry summers that rarely exceed the 28 degrees Celsius (and almost zero chances of rain).
Even in the heart of winter, Lisbon gets five to six hours of sunshine daily – that is nearly three times more of ‘sun’ than what the northern half of Europe receives.
I’m certainly not telling people to ‘up sticks’ and move to sunny Lisbon, but the reasons offered above are compelling and perhaps a visit to Portugal in the next 12 months might provide some excellent ‘food for thought’.
More information on Lisbon