This was our second time in Lisbon. In fact, we were in Lisbon this exact same time last year celebrating Rafe’s 40th birthday.
We didn’t plan it this way. In fact, we initially thought about skipping Lisbon but I’m glad we decided to go again.
Last year, with just a few days, we stayed in a hotel. This time, we had a full week so we went for a more authentic experience and rented an apartment in Mouraria (the ancient Moorish quarter). The neighborhood hits that balance between quiet and lively, where you feel like you’re really in the mix of things but it’s also not too dense or chaotic. For a Goldilocks traveler like me, I loved it.
From our balcony, you could see São Jorge Castle and beyond. You could also neighbors leaning from their balconies, having long conversations with each other across the street or from one floor to the next.
You can tell just walking around that tourism has really exploded here, even compared to last year. For good reason. Lisbon is a joyful and colorful city (and one of the sunniest in all of Europe).
Yet thank goodness, it still retains tons of charm and is cool without trying too hard.
One night we went around the corner to an outdoor wine bar and they served us some great wine for just a few bucks a glass. While we were hanging out, a spontaneous duet broke out between a Fado singer (Fado is the national folk music) who happened to be walking down the street, and a lady leaning out of her second-story window. It was all very dramatic and beautiful, and the whole scene almost seemed staged. But it wasn’t! That’s just Lisbon.
And our host went above and beyond. When my dad and Susan ended up having to stay with us the first night, she was so welcoming. She even took the two of them around town all afternoon to run some errands!
Two years in a row, Lisbon remains the jam.