10 Reasons You Must Visit Lisbon Alone
Solo travel is daunting, especially for women. Europe remains the safest continent on which this kind of experience can take place, bar one or two regions best not explored.
Lisbon was one of the highlights of my own solo journey through Portugal. Everything about meandering that historic city alone felt right, but if you need some additional convincing, I’ll give you ten good reasons why:
1. You’ll Be Grateful to Tackle the Lisbon Hills at Your Own Pace
Lisbon is the city of seven hills. At first it’s charming and picturesque, and then it slowly comes a bit of a hack, especially when you’re traveling with anyone whose ever so much as sprained an ankle before.
Travelers joke that Lisbon’s hills will show you who your true friends are; who will wait for you while you take a break every five meters up the inclines.
Traveling alone means you’ll never have to be on either end of this experience. Pace yourself, push yourself, hang back with yourself… you got this.
2. It’s Easier to Learn Portuguese Alone
This was brought to light for me by another solo traveler who I encountered one evening in Bairro Alto.
She said she had visited Lisbon previously with friends, but attempting the language took a backseat as one becomes self-conscious about practicing the Portuguese accent properly.
It’s a difficult one to get right, and it takes practice and patience with yourself. It helps not having others around the laugh or distract you.
3. Social Spaces in Lisbon are Tiny — Solo is Best!
A seemingly irrelevant point but to people, like me, who get anxious in crowds this one rings true!
The older neighborhoods in Lisbon were built up in such a way that the architecture could handle the hillside inclines. This makes most of the spaces on ground level incredibly small.
Going out in The Alfama or Bairro Alto will put you into tiny, packed out bars and restaurants. Save space, travel alone.
4. Be On Your Own Schedule in Lisbon
This is my favorite motivation for traveling anywhere alone. Being able to wake up at your chosen hour, eat at your chosen meal times, visit your chosen sites — all without worrying if the rest of your group feel accommodated to.
It’s also wonderful to change plans last minute and have no one there to complain. A selfish trip, if you will, but you deserve it!
5. The Portuguese are Extremely Hospitable
The Portuguese people in general are the type to welcome you, a complete stranger, into their home for a spontaneous three course meal in the middle of the day. They will reroute their entire walking path just to properly point you in your own desired direction.
They’re phenomenal. And exploring Lisbon alone always puts you in a far more likely potion to be included in some spontaneous festivities with the locals. Be open to everything that comes your way.
6. It’s One of Europe’s Safest Cities for Solo Travel
Portugal ranks 3rd on the Global Peace Index, and Lisbon as a city makes the top 20 for safest cities in Europe for solo travel.
People take care of one another here, even if just by keeping a silent, watchful eye on the unknown child playing in the street, or the wandering woman who has taken a wrong turn.
Traveling alone is stressful enough without needing to worry about keeping an eye over your shoulder at all times. You won’t have to do this in Lisbon.
7. Make Your Day Trips Spontaneous!
Both of these require the right weather, and right amount of energy to enjoy properly. Traveling alone, you’ll be able to wake up on the day and determine for yourself whether it’s Sintra Valley day or not.
Deciding to join free guided walking tours in the city are also great spontaneous activities that can be arranged just a few days in advance! These are great excursions for solo travelers.
8. Tinder in Lisbon is a World of its Own
If you’re staying in the city center and find yourself browsing Tinder, you’re in for a wild ride.
Since everything is within walking distance one can go from texting through the app to sitting across from one another in a bar in Bairro Alto within minutes. New acquaintances move quickly here!
9. You’ll Get Things for Free in Lisbon (Or At Very Least, A Discount)
The Portuguese people are always ready to chat. If you’re dining alone, shopping alone, or (especially) drinking alone, it’s a matter of time before an inquisitive local comes to investigate.
Barmen, shop owners, bakers and servers are likely to gift you things if you’re energetic exchange feels significant to them. I received a good few pastel de natas free of charge purely from some harmless interactions.
10. Visit Lisbon Alone Because You Deserve It!
A lot of the reasons why one should visit Lisbon alone can come across as quite selfish.
Being on your own schedule, not having to lose time on hills, getting gifted here and there; these are all very selfish reasons to opt for a solo trip as opposed to enjoying one with friends.
The truth is there is nothing wrong with wanting, and enjoying, a selfish, solo travel experience. To please yourself, do the things you like, go the places you want to go, at all times of the day? It will likely be years before you get another such opportunity.
You deserve it all. You deserve Lisbon.