Why Lisbon Is One of the Coolest Cities in Europe?
This is the Portuguese capital’s moment — so what are you waiting for?
Underestimate Western Europe’s oldest capital at your peril. A port at the centre of what was once a vast and wealthy maritime empire will always be a cosmopolitan place to hang out. Lisbon does distinct districts beautifully, with the formality of the central Praça do Comércio (created after the earthquake of 1755) flanked by the winding lanes of the Alfama, the city’s centre under the Arabic occupation of Iberia, and the once-seedy and now achingly cool dockyard area of Cais do Sodré.
The city has rediscovered its mojo in a major way: where bacalao (salt cod) was once the culinary high (ie, not very high at all), young chefs are reimagining Portuguese petiscos (tapas); meanwhile, elegant town houses are being converted into chic hotels, and the nightlife is as good as any self-respecting seafront city should expect.
Tom Barber is a founder of originaltravel.co.uk
EATING & SLEEPING
While the Bairro Alto Hotel in the district of the same name remains a winner, we also love the new Hotel Valverde, located on the city’s most bling boulevard, and with rooms by the same designers as the Bairro Alto. After the inevitable big night out, retire to the Pateo garden, complete with pool, five o’clock tea and cocktail bar, or settle in for a movie in the small cinema. The restaurant serves a range of excellent modernPortuguese fare.