Base Candidate #2: Lisbon

This is the second week in which I look at a potential base for my operations by the end of 2013.  As you know, picking a spot to “live” for a travel journalist depends on a lot of different factors.  I’m not looking at where the schools are good, where the standard of living is strong, or even where there is a good health care system.  For me, I’m concerned with a number of completely different factors.  For an idea of what I mean, check out last week’s entry from Barcelona.

This week, I’m going to look at Lisbon, Portugal, a city I’m very fond of and a place I had been considering a place to set up shop even before I set my own eyes on it.  I’ll be looking at it in the same set of criteria as I did Barcelona.



Lisbon is great value.  You can get a really nice apartment in a centrally located part of the city for a really good price.  Moreover, food, entertainment, transport, and drinking is all a good value.  I think in terms of bang for your buck, Lisbon might be the most affordable of the cities in Western Europe.  This is a big draw for me.  Score A-

Central Location

Lisbon has a great location as long as you’re willing to jump on a plane.  The airport here has cheap flights just about anywhere in Europe as well as Africa.  However, I would like to be able to get around via train and the mountains in the east of Portugal mean that it’s at least a two day train journey to get to the center of Europe.  I think I need an even more central location. Score B-



Spot on.  Not only are there beaches right in Lisbon, but to both the north and south there are really beautiful beach towns and good surf.  Moreover, it’s not all too cold on the beaches in the south even in the heart of winter.  Top marks.  A

New Places

This is Lisbon’s biggest failing.  I’ve been to nearly everywhere in the direct region of Lisbon, and Portugal itself is quite a small country that could be explored entirely quite quickly.  I can’t help but realize that I’d need to travel a fairly long distance to get anywhere new, and that’s not helping Lisbon’s case.  Score: D



Those who know me, and truly understand me, know how important a readily available bacon supply is to me.  I fought for about 6 months through northwestern Africa without bacon and came to the realization that I never want to live without it again.  As far as Lisbon is concerned, it gets decent scores.  It’s not as great a bacon destination as Barcelona, but there is ham and bacon available in almost every meal if need be.  Score: B+

Final Opinion

The more I go through this process the more I realize that I am probably best off in Eastern Europe.  In the east, I’d be a short distance from dozens of countries that I haven’t yet been to.  Moreover, the price and centrality would be perfect for me.  Thus, I think I’m going to pass on Lisbon as well.  Next week, I’ll be looking at Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Score: B

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. I love Lisbon – it’s a vibrant and exciting city with heaps to see. What I don’t like about it so much is the brazenness with which certain citizens walk right up to you in the middle of the street and try to sell you drugs! It’s crazy! Also my girlfriend had her purse stolen in Lisbon. Those negative aside – and they’re pretty extreme negative experiences – I’d love to go back there some day.

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    • Haha, very true Si. It doesn’t matter if there are police around either. Anytime anyone comes near me I just look at them and say “I DON’T WANT DRUGS!” haha ohhhh Lisbon.

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  2. Hello everybody , my name is Hugo and I am an official guide in Lisbon Portugal , the tips are all great .

    I invite all of you to came to Portugal , now we are in October and its almost 68º fahrenheit , and shining .

    Don’t forget that on the Sunday morning , most of the museums are free !!!

    Thank´s and hope to see you in Lisbon.

    Hugo Gonçalves

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