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Lisbon is the most colorful city that I’ve ever been in. From the purple jacaranda trees to the colorful buildings decorated with brightly colored paint/tile/street art to the rainbow-like sunsets, there’s a ton of things to stare at, here are even peacocks everywhere.
The vibes from the people in Lisbon are really incredible. People are friendly, speak good English, and are extremely social.
One of my favorite things has been seeing huge groups of people organically congregate around sunset at this spot called Santa Catarina which has an incredible view of the city. Every night people go there to have some drinks, play random instruments, and even sing. It’s a lot of fun to be around.
One of the best parts about moving from place to place is the opportunity that each new month gives you to hit the reset button.
Lisbon is the perfect place to hit the reset button with the awesome gym that we are all going to, the hills (oh, sweet Jesus, the hills…), the surfing lessons, and the lighter food and beverages. BUT most important, for US PHOTOGRAPHERS A PARADISE
The hills with their steep, winding cobblestone streets. The views of the city around every bend. The tiled, slightly deteriorating homes. Even in how it’s slightly run down brings a charm. Compared to much of Europe, Lisbon is still able to keep a “lost in time” feeling. It’s scenic, authentic and has soul.
When most of Europe’s summer season takes a sharp turn for the worse, Lisbon stays sunny and warm. But the temperature isn’t the only thing that feels warm here. Walking around the city with your camera is an enjoyable experience that makes you never want to leave. Even with all those hills.
Most spots are in close distances and the city isn’t very big to begin with, while the winding streets full of character make it an experience the entire time. In one day you can hit up the same spots multiple times to see how they change, but wake up the next day wanting to do it again. It’s extremely walkable and compact, without getting old quickly.
Lisbon has some great squares and spots I’ll be sure to recommend in my upcoming city photographer guide ( ew project I’m working on) , but more than anything, it’s a city built to get lost in with your camera. All of Lisbon’s positives mentioned in this post are made for it.
You can work your way by specific areas if you want, starting in maybe Bairro Alto, exploring your way down to Praça da Figueira, then over to the oceanfront, up through and around Mouraria, and then back down and up whichever area you want to go next. Just make sure to get lost in each one. You’ll soon find your way out while having a great, worry free street photography experience the whole time. I got lost daily and this since 2006, many times in the same areas more than once, and only wanted to do it again the next day.
Compared to western Europe’s other capital cities, Lisbon is small. That can be a very good thing, though, especially for people who enjoy the type of atmosphere it helps bring. It’s a very relaxing and intimate city. It welcomes you without overwhelming you. The people are friendly, the pace is slower, and there’s a feeling of being away from big city troubles. All this in a city that is still big enough to give you everything you could need in an atmosphere filled with history and plenty to see.
One of my favorite parts of exploring Lisbon are all the squares and viewpoints you discover around the city. When emerging from the compact labyrinth of streets and alleys, there’s a good chance you’ll be greeted by one of these viewpoints amidst the seven hills. Called Miradouros, these viewpoints around the city are more like large terrace squares themselves. Many with their own drink and espresso stand. All of the space and beautiful views attract plenty of activity and life too. They’re much more than viewpoints, but also some of the best spots for people watching and of course, street photography.
Portugal can have a lost in time feeling while climbing its steep, narrow hills. Not much is new here. The streets are cobblestone and many of the houses are slightly deteriorating, but in charming way. Old tiles cover buildings, coming in a range of colors, designs, and patterns. It gives the city a distinct and photogenic style. It’s also a very white and bright city where sun reflects in all directions.
This look combined with hills and narrow, winding streets creates an environment that plays well with sunlight. Rays of light come down along the streets in beautiful ways against the textures, while also giving contrast and shadows.
For photographers who like playing with sunlight, shadows and texture, Lisbon and Porto is the place to be!