Lisbon has everything to rank as a top LGBT destination worldwide. For years, visitors have come to Lisbon without expectations and returned home, overwhelmed by the city and how gay friendly it is. There is a vibrant nightlife which offers an array of options for each LGBT visitor. During the day, Lisbon offers outstanding features in terms of it's natural, urban and human setting. Built on seven hills and overlooking the large Tagus river estuary, every corner of Lisbon offers interesting architectural and historical points of view. Being a relatively small city for an European Capital, you'll see how quick you can feel at home. Portuguese people are know for their laid-back attitude and authentic friendliness.
Lisbon functions as a centre of attraction for the 3 million inhabitants of its region. The modern Portuguese generations have made Lisbon a city where you can find an almost infinite choice for shopping options (including the largest shopping mall in Iberia), restaurants of every kind, modern dance-clubs and the largest offer in cultural events in Portugal. Having said that, Lisbon is still inhabited by a large community who ensures cultural traditions live on. You can still find many places to listen to Fado - the music style that historically defines Lisbon, full of sorrow and "saudades" and recognized by UNESCO. You can also still see many small old stores, churches and parks where the elderly meet and socialize.
Lisbon is a meeting-point for Brazil, Africa, Asia and Europe
On top of that, Lisbon attracts many immigrants and visitors from the Portuguese-speaking world, including Brazil and several countries in Africa. Thus, Lisbon has become a melting pot where many Brazilians, Angolans and Cape-Verdians mix with with those who have inhabited Lisbon for generations. In no other European city, you will be able to meet so many brazilians. They brought rodízio restaurants, the caipirinha drink, capoeira and their joy of life. African influence has made Lisbon the world capital for Kuduro- which literally means "hard ass" - a music style where tribal influences meet modern electronic/house and hip-hop trends.
Lisbon is also the perfect spot to experience Portuguese gastronomy and wines. The offer in terms of Restaurants is immense and if you choose carefully you will be able to find extremely affordable options for eating out.
Civil Rights and LGBT Scene in Portugal and Lisbon
Portugal has always had an history of tolerance and respect for individual freedom. In 2010, Portugal became the 8th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Having been a sea-faring World power, Portugal has not been a stranger for male-only bonding for the past 500 years. Although never publicly spoken about, there is evidence of some historical "homosexuality tolerance". Some authors have defended that many Portuguese historical figures were gay men.
The LGBT scene has grown massively in the past years. Currently, the gay-scene in Lisbon includes the major central districts of the city: Chiado, Bairro Alto and Principe Real. During the day, you'll find countless boys and girls shopping and enjoying the cafes of these historical areas. During the night, Bairro Alto and Principe Real become the must-go spots for the large Lisbon LGBT community.
On top of these outstanding Lisbon features, the region where the city lies includes several attractions for the LGBT traveller. To the South of the Tagus river, you can find Lisbon Gay Beach - Praia 19. This kilometers-long beach is located within a Protected Natural Reserve and is officially a naturist beach, where nudism is widespread. Praia 19 has become Lisbon's Gay Beach, attracting thousands of gay men who flock to it during the Spring and Summer months. The temperate and balmy climate of Lisbon allows beach-lovers to check Praia 19 during Fall and Winter to walk, jogg, surf, enjoy a coffee or even cruise. Further afield, other outstanding beaches can be found making Lisbon truly a must-go destination for the LGBT traveler.
Want to find out more about LGBT Lisbon? Please check our Gay Lisbon Guide section.