Welcome, fellow explorers, to the radiant city of Lisbon!
In this inaugural post of the Lisbon series, we embark on a visual journey through the heart of Portugal's capital, delving into the essence of its architecture, the dance of light that caresses its cobblestone streets, the allure of hidden corners waiting to be discovered, and the transformative power of wandering.
Lisbon, a city adorned with a tapestry of architectural wonders, tells a story that transcends centuries. From the Moorish influence in the Alfama district to the grandeur of the Belem Tower, each building narrates a chapter in the rich history of this charming city.
For nearly six of the past years, Lisbon has been more than a destination; it has been my home base. This city holds the key to countless amazing memories, each one etched into the vibrant fabric of its streets.
In the six years I spent back and forth, in and out of the city, I've witnessed its transformation under the heavy footsteps of tourist masses. Many places closed, while new ones opened, marking the constant ebb and flow of change and temporarity. Nothing in Lisbon is forever; it's a city in constant evolution, often without uttering a word.
Lisbon embraces the passage of time, accommodating the blend of multiple languages and cultures. It grants everyone the freedom to mold it, but in return, it invites each visitor to accept the invitation with respect and responsibility. Lisbon is a city that should not be taken for granted; it demands an understanding of its dynamic nature and an appreciation for the role each person plays in its ongoing narrative.
From my first home in Graça to the vibrant streets of Alameda, the historic charm of Alfama, the peaceful embrace of Campo de Ourique, the elegant allure of Estrela, and the lively spirit of Alcântara, each bairro tells a story.
Living in Graça, when I first arrived in 2017, I immediately felt the heartbeat of Lisbon, surrounded by its hills and panoramic views.
A few months later, Alameda welcomed me with its wide avenues and bustling energy, becoming the vibrant backdrop to my daily life.
In Alfama, with its narrow alleys and haunting Fado melodies, I embarked on a journey through the city's rich past. The regular buzz of the neighborhood gradually transformed into a comforting silence, where everyday life took on a slow yet chaotic rhythm. The vicinity to the river and the feeling of history lingering in the air created a unique ambiance. As I navigated the labyrinthine alleys, each step felt like a dance with the echoes of Lisbon's stories. The Fado melodies, soulful and poignant, added a layer of emotion to the already enchanting surroundings. Alfama is not just a neighborhood but a portal to the soul of Lisbon, where time seemed to pause, allowing the past and present to coexist in perfect harmony.
A year later, I found myself in Campo de Ourique, a neighborhood with a residential and upper-class feel. It became a serene haven, a place to slow down and savor life's moments. Campo de Ourique feels like a little town of its own, where everybody knows each other. From gathering at the local Jardim Da Parada to save the secular trees endangered by the next Metro station to shopping at the local market and enjoying meals at the various restaurants, it's a community-driven experience.
Over the past few years, some of my favorite spots have closed down. The elderly owners have moved back to the 'Aldeias' of their youth, and unfortunately, no one in the family took over the business. As you explore the neighborhood, I encourage you to walk into local shops and strike up a conversation. Everyone will be happy to share a story with you. I promise you'll hardly regret it, these stories are truly marvelous and authentically Portuguese.
Estrela, situated just on the other side of the biggest garden in town, is graced with fountains, flowers, and the lively Sunday Market. It added a touch of sophistication to my Lisbon experience. Taking a break with a coffee at one of the little 'quiosques' inside Jardim da Estrela is always a delightful choice.
And finally, Alcântara, my last and longest home. I moved there just two weeks before the lockdown. Fortunately, the main road was closed for some construction works at the bottom, and for at least a year, the entire Rua Maria Pia was closed to traffic, becoming a long and lively square where people were hanging out and kids were riding their bikes and playing ball. Those months spent up and down that street changed my Lisbon experience forever. We started getting to know the neighbors, stopping for short chats initially, and ended up becoming really connected to our community. Alcântara is the most exciting place to be, where modernity meets tradition. Super Portuguese and mostly inhabited by the elderly and families, it's a dynamic neighborhood that echoes the city's ever-evolving spirit.
In Lisbon, you don't just move through space; you traverse time. Each bairro is a chapter in the city's grand narrative, a unique community with its history and way of life.
The magic of Lisbon lies not just in its architecture but in the way it plays with light. As the sun begins its descent, the city undergoes a transformation, casting a warm golden glow upon its facades. The interplay of light and shadow creates a captivating spectacle, turning every corner into a picturesque scene.
Lisbon's true charm lies in its ability to keep secrets. Venture off the beaten path, and you'll find yourself in the embrace of hidden corners, each with its own story to tell. Whether it's a tucked-away cafe with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or a vibrant street mural waiting to be admired, these corners add layers to the city's narrative.
Lisbon is a city that beckons to be touched. From the weathered stones of ancient buildings to the smooth surfaces of vibrant murals, every nook and cranny boasts a unique texture. Run your fingers along the cobblestone streets of Alfama, feel the coolness of the tiles in historic squares, and trace the rough edges of centuries-old structures - each texture tells a silent tale.
In a city as steeped in beauty as Lisbon, the best way to experience its soul is on foot, leave behind the rush of modern life, slip into comfortable shoes, and wander around the city. Feel the heartbeat of the city beneath your feet as you traverse narrow alleys, climb historic staircases, and amble through sun-kissed plazas.
And for those who prefer to explore beyond the reach of their feet, Lisbon offers another delightful mode of transportation - the scooter. Zip through the city's hills and valleys, feeling the wind tousle your hair as you uncover its many layers.
As we conclude this visual odyssey through Lisbon, I invite you to join us on future escapades through this remarkable city. In the upcoming posts, we'll uncover more hidden gems, bask in the glow of Lisbon's unique light, and celebrate the artistry woven into its streets. So, fellow wanderers, lace up your shoes, open your eyes to the beauty around you, and let's continue exploring the soul of Lisbon together.
Best apps to explore Lisbon and find your way around: GoogleMaps, YES THAT SIMPLE!
My favorite transport options when I realize I'm too far and too late: Bolt, Uber
Stay tuned for the next chapter in our Lisbon series!
All photos in this post are selected from my Stocksy Collection available at this Link