In bouncing back from one of the country’s worst recessions, tourism has been a pivotal factor in Lisbon and Portugal as a whole. Travelers have been coming in increasing numbers in 2013 and those numbers are set to be surpassed so far in 2014. We will explore here what makes this up until now quiet corner of Europe so attractive?
The affordability: Portugal and Lisbon has a good range of hotels, malls, restaurants, cafes and attractions on par with a London, Paris or Rome, but at a fraction of the cost. Tip: Check out the multi-level Hard Rock Café or one of the many boutique hotels like the Fontecruz Lisboa, an Autograph Collection property.
Historicity: The Portuguese capital is also well preserved. Having been out of the way for much of the WWII chaos means that castles, churches, squares, parks and museums are wonderfully preserved. The Portuguese have a splendid history of art, architecture and style which can be best explored in the Jeronimus Museum which features a monastery, Maritime Museum and the world’s largest collection of royal coaches. Castelo de Sao Jorge is a prominent outlook over the entire city of Lisbon in a wonderfully preserved fortress.
Growing Connectivity: In every way Lisbon is reaching out to bring the world in. TAP Airlines has increasingly competitive fares with out European and Transcontinental Airlines which makes Lisbon a good final destination or stopover on a long haul flight. Service is good and the experience is convenient. Historically being a nation of seafaring explorers, it should come as no surprise that cruises and ports are gearing up to receive more passengers than ever before. In early May 2014 Three major Cunard “Queen” cruise ships (including Queen Mary 2) made an historic stop in Lisbon, demonstrating the growing appeal of the destination. A new passenger terminal in the port is expected in 2016.
Easy Logistics: Lisbon is certainly a major capital, but it is very pedestrian friendly. It doesn’t have the overbearing wide avenues of a Paris or London, but many unique neighborhoods with small streets, alleyways, stairs, trams and trolleys. Recent additions to the metro have made it easier and more affordable than ever to transit from the airport to the downtown via one subway line. Even foreign drivers should not be too intimidated by the local traffic.
Lisbon has recently been awarded the leading city break destination in Europe and it is easy to see why. The climate is beautiful, the Atlantic is not too far off, the nature is serene and the city life is charming, trending and on the rise. It is a capital in which many people feel at home both in cost and atmosphere.