Introduction: I am honestly surprised that Lisbon ended up being my #2 favorite city. As you can see by 5 of my top 6 countries being Asian cities, I have a natural preference for Asia. However, Lisbon was the one European city that made such a great impression on me that I could put it above cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong. If you have never really considered going to Lisbon before, I think you should add it somewhere towards the top of your list. While other cities in Europe may get more attention and love, Lisbon is a hidden gem that you have to visit.
Local Cuisine (how good the cities local cuisine/food was): 10/10
Lisbon had some incredible local seafood. Since it is so close to the ocean, it has super fresh fish, crab, lobster, etc. Lisbon is best known for its cod, I believe, but all of the seafood there was extremely tasty. One of my favorite local restaurants in Lisbon is Pesca, which was my favorite seafood place. They are known for their grilled octopus, but they also have plenty of other options if that is not your thing. Lisbon also has so many good dessert places. The main dessert dish is the pastel de nata, or egg tart. You can almost find one store on every single street, and they are all really good; in the end, it comes down to personal preference (and if you get lucky where it just came out hot of the oven).
Scenery/Beauty (how pretty/cool the sites and nature were to look at): 10/10
Lisbon has to be one of the coolest looking cities in the world, and definitely in Europe. The buildings are very vibrant and colorful, and the city has a lot of character. Walking through the city with great weather (in the 60s-70s) was definitely a great experience. There are also many murals and paintings on buildings that add to the experience. If you go up to the top of the Santa Justa Lift, you can see an incredible panoramic view of the city. Also be sure to go check out the Praca do Comercio, which is a huge gathering place by the sea.
History Monuments (how the city’s historical monuments are): 10/10
Lisbon also has so many historical sites to see. Just to name a few, there is Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and Castelo de S. Jorge. All of these are in excellent shape considering how old they are, and all are still beautiful. Considering Portugal has history dating all the way back to explorers such as Vasco de Gama, there is just so much history in Lisbon. Just a word of advice: you are going to try and visit all of the historical sites in Lisbon, just make sure you do not go on a Monday. Almost all of the main attractions are closed on Monday’s, so you will only be able to see them from the outside.
Tourist Friendly (how accessible and accommodating the city is for tourists (mainly English speakers)): 10/10
Lisbon had some of the nicest people I have ever met. I took an Uber 4-5 times while I was there, and all of them were extremely friendly and talkative. This also applies to almost everyone else that I interacted with while there. The people just seem very relaxed and down-to-earth, and they treat everyone with the respect. Although the main language is Portuguese, most people speak good enough English to communicate. I was super impressed with how the people were, and how accommodating they were to tourists.
Non-Local Food (how good food from other places was): 9/10
Lisbon had some great foods from other cuisines as well. I went to a steakhouse in Lisbon called BYF Steakhouse, which is a casual steakhouse. They had an amazing hamburger, and it was only $10 or so during lunch. They also have high quality steaks from $15-20, and Iberico ham that tastes amazing. Most restaurants in Lisbon are great, but this one was definitely a highlight.
Public Transportation (whether they had trains, subways, buses, etc. and how accessible they were): 8/10
The public transportation is decent, but nothing special. It does have buses, trams, and metro, but it is not as developed as other parts of the world. It is functional, but I would not consider it great. The one good thing about Lisbon is that Uber’s are really cheap there, so you can mostly take those if you need to.
Safety (how safe I feel the city is): 10/10
According to one of my Uber drivers, Lisbon has been named the safest city in the world several times. While I do not know if this is true or not (or who ranked this), I did feel like it was a very safe city.
Price (how expensive it was to visit the city, not including airfare (lower score means more expensive, higher score means good value)): 9/10
Another great thing about Lisbon is the price. For the quality of accommodations, food, and entertainment, many things in Lisbon are a great deal. For whatever reason, the city as a whole just isn’t that expensive to live in or to visit. Maybe as the city gets more and more popular it will start to get more expensive, but for now it is relatively affordable.
Cleanliness (how clean the city was in general): 9/10
Compared to much of Europe, Lisbon is clean. While there are some parts of Lisbon that are starting to get worn down, most of the buildings are still in relatively good condition. Also, the streets are pretty clean and well maintained.
Walkability (how easy it is to walk around the city): 8/10
Lisbon is a walkable city, but you have to be in pretty good shape. There are some hills, as well as some very narrow streets. Also, many of the streets are old and have some cracks in them. This can make it challenging to walk around the city for hours. Still, as long as you pace yourself, just walking around and exploring is a great way to get to know the city.
Conclusion: As reflected in its ranking, Lisbon is my favorite city in Europe. Before I went to Lisbon, I expected to enjoy it; however, I did not expect it to be this high on my list. It exceeded all of my expectations. I really enjoyed the weather, food, people, and scenery of Lisbon. In many ways, it reminded me of an ancient European Hawaii. If you are ever already in Europe to visit one of the major cities (Paris, London, Rome, etc.), you should 100% add a stop in Lisbon to that list.
Total Score (Combined Score of all the categories): 93/100
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