July 10, 2014
When you come to Lisbon (and you should), where are you going to stay? Sure, you can choose any hotel with any number of stars, but have you thought about trying something different, something that puts you more in touch with the locals? Have you considered renting a house?
Yes, hotels are nice and can be luxurious and there is a time and place for them, but many of them are boring. They lack character and personality and shield you from the outside world, a beautiful outside world full of life, energy and charming locals. Think about it. You’re surrounded by other tourists who are all following the exact same schedule of “go here, see this” or by business people who are too busy with their laptops and mobile phones to strike up a conversation. Hotels probably aren’t the best choice if you want to dive head first into a culture.
Using services like AirBnB, you can choose to stay the way the locals stay. There are thousands of beautiful houses, funky apartments, tree houses and even wagons available for rent all over the world. Want to sleep in a yurt in Mongolia? Yep, they got you covered. How about inside a lighthouse or a castle in Europe? No problem. Did I mention it’s also a great way to save money?
Thomas, a friend for over 20 years, was keen on the idea of meeting up with me for a few days in Lisbon and was on board with the idea of renting a local place, so we chose to stay in Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon. The neighborhood once served the Romans and Visigoths, but the Moors are credited with giving Alfama its trademark web of small streets and name (alhama means springs or bath in Arabic).
I was very pleased with where we stayed. Here’s a video.