City of desire by Merle Wilkening | 21st March, 2023 | Playground
Lisbon, Portugal’s exciting, cosmopolitan and authentic capital city, has suddenly become a magnet for young people and digital nomads.
Situated on the banks of the Tagus River where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is Portugals largest City, with a population pf 545,000. Its also one of Europes oldest cities. Seeing the local potential for trade, the Phoenicians settled on its shore in 1200 B.C. A good two millennia and a many rules later, Alfonso III moved his royal court to Lisbon.
In 1755, a devastating earthquake and a large fire virtually destroyed the city, killing tens of thousands of people. Yet within a few years, the citizens had rebuilt it. The chessboard of streets in the Baixa district still bears witness to the work carried out at the time.
Bairro Alto, a neighborhood of painters and writers in the upper part of the city, was largely spared. Here, you’ll find restaurants packed tightly together in the narrow streets. A labyrinth of colorful passageways also awaits visitors to the old town of Alfama. Lisbon’s authentic life and slightly morbid charm are some of the characteristics that many people love about the city. When walking through Lisbon, keep your eyes peeled for the typical, ornate azulejo (tiles) that adorn the façades of many of the houses and squares.
Like Rome, Lisbon is built on seven hills and is a city of steps. The historic Santa Justa elevator climbs vertically to connect Baixa with the Chiado and Bairro Alto districts. The famous yellow tram reliably transports both locals and tourists through the steep streets.
Make sure to hop aboard Line 28, as it passes a number of famous sights: the Sé Patriarcal Cathedral, known to the locals simply as Sé, the monastery of São Vicente de Fora and St. George’s Castle. The castle dominates the old town and has viewing platforms between the towers and castle walls. The Jerónimos monastery and Belém Tower are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In the past few years, Lisbon has become the go-to place for digital nomads working in co-working spaces – at least when they’re not looking for the best pastéis de nata in town. Lis- bon heads the most popular spots on Nomad List, a global community platform for digital workers. With good internet, a relatively low cost of living, plenty of sunshine, a good social life and hospitable locals, the city is attracting young people.
Anyone wishing to stay for longer than 90 days can take advantage of the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa that was introduced at the end of 2022 to make it easier and simpler to work remotely in the country for up to a year. In the evenings, international guests and locals gather in the narrow streets for dinner.
The sound of Lisbon is a chorus of voices speaking in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French and German. Restaurants serve traditional local specialties like bacalhau (salted cod), sardines, piri-piri chicken and port wine. If you’re not sure what to eat, you’ll find plenty to sample in the Mercado da Ribeira market hall.
Chef José Avillez at the Belcanto serves twostar cuisine. The only thing needed to round off a warm Lisbon night is a cocktail – at sunset in the Park rooftop bar or by the SUD Lisboa infinity pool on the banks of the Tagus River.