According to a recent study by the travel analytics firm, ForwardKeys and the World Travel & Tourism Council, Lisbon has shot to the top of the most booked European destinations for the first half of June 2020. London, which last year was Europe’s most visited European city, has now dropped to tenth place, almost certainly as a result of the U.K. government’s two-week mandatory quarantine policy, which was in place until recently.
Why is Lisbon such a popular destination?
Lisbon’s popularity has been on the rise for a number of years, with foreign investors buying property in the city to the extent that it is now Europe’s hottest property market. This massive investment in property has also driven a spectacular refurbishment of the city’s historic center and the restoration of much of its glorious architectural heritage. Travelers from around the globe have discovered the multiple charms of this seven-hilled city by the sea. Visitors to the capital can enjoy its historic cultural heritage alongside some of the most sophisticated shopping experiences to be found outside of Paris. The city also has outstanding restaurants where you can enjoy local cuisine or a musical evening of traditional fado. Even riding the trams up the narrow- cobbled streets is an experience to be treasured. Lisbon also has excellent transport links and serves as a perfect base from which to explore the local countryside, much as the World Heritage Site of Sintra, or the glorious beaches of the Algarve.
Is now a good time to visit Lisbon?
In these times of Covid-19, any travel carries with it a degree of risk, and since the situation is constantly changing, you should always consult the latest available information before embarking on a journey. Portugal has been widely praised for the speed and efficiency with which it responded to the Covid crisis and fatality rates have been much lower than most European countries. Travelers to mainland Portugal will not be required to undergo a period of quarantine, though their contact details will be taken. In Lisbon, masks must be worn in shops and on public transport, and guidance on social distancing will be in place in restaurants, theaters and museums. Despite the popularity of Lisbon as a destination, overall ticket sales for international travel to the EU have dropped by 84.4% during the first half of June, compared with the same time last year, meaning that there will be fewer visitors to the city than in previous years. For those lucky enough to visit the city this year, this will mean an opportunity to enjoy its attractions free from crowds. The drop in visitor numbers has also had the effect of forcing down the cost of rental accommodation across the wide range of apartments and villas available in the city, making the cost of spending time in the city, significantly cheaper than in previous years. So, if you are desperate for a change of scene, and who isn’t, maybe this is the year when you should take your city-break in Lisbon.