Five Reasons Why Lisbon Is On My List of Top Ten European Cities

by Teresa Roberts
NABBW’s Living Abroad Associate

If you are like me and find yourself drawn to southern European countries and cultures, consider Portugal.

While I have not spent an enormous amount of time there yet, I have had the pleasure of enjoying the beautiful capital city of Lisbon.

What does Lisbon have to offer? Plenty.

Here are five things about Lisbon that appealed to me almost immediately and helped to place Portugal on my list of top European countries to visit, long or short-term.

1. Walking

I enjoy walking and exploring new environments. Many European cities, especially the old part of the these cities, are designed to make walking a real treat. I adore winding around through the narrow streets, stumbling across outdoor cafes and tiny local bakeries or book stores.

Lisbon is a rather steep city, however, and walking does involve a little climbing, but I guarantee that after a few weeks there, you will feel so much better. No more scheduled trips to the gym in order to work off any extra pounds that you may have recently packed on.

2. Taxis Abound[[[1]]]

This may sound trite, but frankly, I don\’t rent cars as a general rule when living or traveling abroad. Public transportation is not just a bonus for me but an absolute prerequisite. Not only are there an abundance of taxis queued up, ready to get you wherever you want to go, but they are relatively cheap.

So if you have spent a day of exploration by foot and are feeling a little weary, hailing a taxi is as easy as one, two three.

3. Plazas and Kiosks

Many European countries have long ago incorporated the concept of the plaza into the cityscape. Happily, Lisbon has an abundance of these gorgeous public areas where families can socialize or loners can sip a cup of coffee while reading the paper.

Often, the plaza is adorned with fountains that create relaxing water music as a background to the city sounds. I loved the kiosks that seemed to pop up everywhere as I moved from one plaza to another. They serve cups of amazing Portuguese coffee, pastries, and sometimes even light lunches.

4. Vistas

Teresa_view from miradorBecause Lisbon is built on the hillside, there is an abundance of panoramic views from various plazas and walkways. It is, in fact, one of the things that make Lisbon an absolutely amazing city.

Nothing beats an all-encompassing view of a blue sky and the Tejo River over the rooftops of an ancient city.

5. Pastries

Anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate the pastries that are easily purchased almost anywhere in the city. Between the abundance of small family-owned bakeries and the friendly kiosks, it can quickly become a daily habit. Teresa_portugese custard tart

Don\’t worry, you will walk it off, so feel free to indulge yourself a bit. Life is too short.

(We really like the Pasteis de Nata, a divine, little custard tart, but feel free to sample whatever captures your fancy.)

I could continue counting the ways that Lisbon pleases me. Suffice it to say, that Lisbon is one of the cheapest European capital cities and clearly meets my standards for a lovely blend of outstanding natural beauty as well as man made excellence.  


Teresa Roberts

Teresa Roberts retired early from a career in education to travel the world as an international house sitter. Along the way, she accidentally became an author/blogger/freelance writer, adding digital nomad to her evolving job description. Although insisting that she is still retired, Teresa writes a weekly blog on her website Creative Paths to Freedom, exploring the topics of creative living, travel adventures and life without debt. Her essay, How to Travel Without Being a Tourist, appears in the book 65 Things to Do When You Retire – Travel, released in February 2013. Teresa\’s published books include Finding the Gypsy in Me – Tales of an International House Sitter and Creative Paths to Freedom – How to Live Your Dream Life ASAP. She could be the poster girl for finding adventure at any age and on any income. Sharing her story as a guest speaker is also very rewarding. Feel free to contact Teresa at

(Photo credits: All images supplied by the author, Teresa Roberts, with the exception of the pastry photo. It is courtesy of John J. Pacheco as published on