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Why Lisbon, Portugal Should be Your Next Spring Break Destination

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

This spring break I traveled to both Milan, Italy and Lisbon, Portugal with my cousin. Both cities were beautiful and breathtaking, but I was particularly surprised by all the treasures hidden in Lisbon. We stayed at a hostel in a neighborhood called Barrio Alto which is near downtown Lisbon. The hostel was built for adventurous people with a bar, a pool table and more maps on the walls than I could count. Even the staff members were young and excited to talk about the bright city. They had a million recommendations on where to eat and what to do. “I grew up in Lisbon, and I still find something new here everyday,” one woman at the front desk told us. The city itself matches the energy of the spring-breaker demographic with vibrant nightlife and beautiful scenery. Everywhere we went, we bumped into other college students who were also there for spring break. We made friends from Marquette University, the University of Virginia and even from schools in Denmark, London and Italy. 

Most of our friends were made on a well-known street in the city that is a must-stop spot if you visit. Only a few minutes walk from our hostel was the infamous “Pink Street” and it was, quite literally, a street painted pink. The road was lined with bars and clubs where you could get your drink to go and stand in the street mingling with everyone else enjoying the route’s magic. The street is filled with laughter, singing, dancing and sometimes crying until three or four in the morning. The energy on Pink Street was unmatched in the best way possible. 

Pink Street isn’t the only unique row of small businesses in Lisbon; there is also the LX Factory. One of the lovely cab drivers we talked to on our trip told us to make sure we go to the LX Factory for dinner one night, so we decided to check it out. The LX Factory is an old factory that was used while building the big red Vasco da Gama Bridge (built by the same architect that designed the Bay Bridge in California) to store materials and machinery for construction. Once the bridge was built, the factory building was turned into a shopping mall with boutiques and restaurants. The second floor has beautiful vintage clothing stores and cool surf shops while the ground floor is a row of colorful restaurants with a variety of local foods and outdoor dining spaces. The Factory was definitely a highlight of the trip and is especially easy with a big group of people because there is something for everyone there. 

My favorite activity overall was a baking class we took with a local where we learned how to make the famous Portuguese Pastel de Nata pastry. We also took a river cruise on a sailboat at sunset. Both of these activities were relatively cheap and easy to find online through travel websites. There were some other sights we saw such as the Castelo de S. Jorge located in a beautiful neighborhood called Alfama that has a number of cute shops and aesthetic cafes. We also walked the boardwalk where we drank Pina Coladas out of hollowed pineapples and stared in awe at the Arco da Rua Augusta, an amazing stone arch that is the Portuguese cousin of the Washington Square Arch in New York City. Right behind this archway is an elevator that will lift you into the air and onto a raised platform with the best view of the city. The coastal towns of Sintra and Caiscais are only 45 minutes out of the city and are home to a multitude of castles and sightseeing destinations. We unfortunately did not have the time to stop in either place, but those two spots are on the top of my list for the next time I visit the country. 

Lisbon, Portugal may be an unconventional spring break destination, but it was absolutely worth the visit. The city is bright and exciting; the people are young and outgoing; the food is unreal, and the experience is one you will remember forever. 

Jane Richards

Northeastern '25

Hey!! My name is Jane, I am currently a Junior at Northeastern University studying Health Science on the Pre-Nursing Track. I am super interested in women’s health and substance use disorder Nursing. Aside from medicine, I enjoy reading, writing ,horse-back riding, and rock climbing.