The 5 Great Reasons to Visit Lisbon This Summer

Cascais, Portugal

You’d think that summer would be high tourism season for the city of Lisbon. But it’s not. Most locals go on vacation in August (many heading south to Algarve), and foreign tourists actually prefer to stay based by the beaches of Cascais and Estoril or in the refreshing hills of Sintra. In the summer Lisbon is much less of a city break destination and more of a gateway to beach-and-sun holidays.

Everything from international pop to jazz to rock will be playing somewhere in the open air in Lisbon throughout the summer. It starts later this month with Rock in Rio-Lisboa which will host Metallica, Evanescence, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, The Offspring, Lenny Kravitz, Maroon 5, Joss Stone, and Bruce Springsteen among many others. Then comes the annual Out Jazz which offers free jazz concerts throughout the summer every Friday and Sunday afternoon in different parks and gardens. In July, closer to the Atlantic beaches comes Optimus Alive, recently listed in “The Guardian” and “The Times” as one of Europe’s top festivals this year (some of the bands will include Radiohead and The Cure).

Throughout the month of June you’ll be able to participate in the annual “Festas de Lisboa,” a major street festival with lots of eating and drinking around every corner of the city’s historic neighborhoods. It’s as if Lisbon becomes one big village, with major feasts on the 12th and 13th, including a parade down Avenida da Liberdade with each of the city’s neighborhoods competing for best song and costume.

Where else in Europe can you spend the summer with plenty of sun, great urban attractions of a capital city mixed with resort vibe at the beach without spending a fortune and without traveling huge distances? Only in Lisbon. In the Portuguese capital you have mild weather, you can start your day at the beach in Cascais within minutes from the center, escape the heat to the fairytale palaces of Sintra, and end the day at a Michelin-starred or cheap-but-wonderful restaurant in Lisbon’s old center. Accommodation is also the cheapest of anywhere in Western Europe, allowing you to stay at a stylish central apartment for as little as 20 euros per night per person, or at a 5-star hotel often for less than 100 euros. You do the math and find out for yourself why Lisbon is the place to go this summer.

It seems that Lisbon’s biggest square, the riverfront Praça do Comercio has undergone renovation works every year throughout the last decade. From a new pavement to cleaning up the sewage system, there was always something preventing everyone from fully enjoying this grand and monumental space. It will finally be completely cleaned up by July (or so they say) and will offer several new cafés and a couple of shops on the east wing, joining the ones already found to the west. And because summer in Lisbon lasts until October, the end of the season will see the opening of a new major museum on this square, the Lisboa Story Center telling the story of the city’s post-1755-earthquake rebuilding.

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