If you are not into street art, don’t bother going as far as Lagos, in the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. The town is very touristy, restaurants aren’t inspiring and, besides a few charming houses in the city centre, the town is made up of ugly concrete buildings and huge hotels.
But if you are into street art, Lagos is the place to go! Especially if, after a graffiti hunt, you fancy a rest at one of the many beautiful beaches not so far from the city centre.
Now I can confess that I was initially a bit concerned about Portuguese cuisine. Truth is I’m not that into fish, especially codfish, and I thought this would sentenced me to starvation. Portuguese cuisine isn’t Mediterranean at all; I couldn’t find all those fresh, seasonal vegetables that are always present on Mediterranean tables in summer. Instead, Portuguese dishes come with either potatoes or salad and the menu is relatively restricted to an Atlantic sustenance, hence the ubiquitous fish (Portugal has Europe’s highest fish consumption per capita, and it is ranked among the top four countries worldwide for this indicator). I did love Portuguese food, though… especially the wide variety of cheeses, made from sheep’s, goats’ or cows’ milk.
And a special mention goes to Portuguese wines: I drank several, all at a very reasonable prices.
It goes without saying that I picked Lisbon as my summer destination for its street art scene. Lisbon City Council has pioneered an active role for public art in its drive for urban renewal, so it’s no wonder that the Portuguese capital is more colorful and artsy than other European towns. As usual, graffiti hunting allowed me to discover some of the most creative outskirts in Lisbon and get to know the town beyond its touristy city center, confirming that ‘street art tourism’ might be the best way to explore a destination, or at least it works for me.
The Lisbon Water Museum shows the history of the public water supply of the city. Held by Lisbon’s water company EPAL, the water museum consists of four spaces scattered throughout the city, four buildings built between the 18th and the 19th century that are part of the historical heritage of the city and -therefore- inscribed into the UNESCO’s world heritage list. But, unlike any other UNESCO site, they aren’t crowded with tourists!