The seven hills of Rome form the geographical heart of Italy’s capital city. Famous across the world, each hill almost forms a landmark in and of itself, dotted around the beautiful sun-kissed city of Rome and welcoming thousands of hikers every year. Did you know, however, that Lisbon is made up of seven hills too? The Portuguese capital is surrounded by seven glorious hilltops, each one swooping around Lisbon like waves, offering various unique viewpoints for tourists and locals alike.
While Rome’s seven hills might be more famous, both cities have a love and respect for their hills and the history that is sewn underneath them. They are a staple of their cities and a perfect viewpoint to sit back and overlook the rich architecture. So which hill should you be sitting on, Lisbon or Rome? If this is a question you are asking yourself, then don’t fret. Below, we have broken down the differences of each city, giving you a direct comparison guide to help you work out your destination before you slip on your hiking boots.
The Scenery Of Rome And Lisbon
The first thing you notice when looking at Rome is that it’s landlocked, which means there is not much need to pack any swimming trunks. Lisbon, however, is just beside the coast. It is on the edge of the country, sitting in an alcove created by the Tagus River, which eventually leads into the Atlantic.
So, with Lisbon, you’re in for a different experience. The Lisbon coast is a beautiful stretch of golden beaches, cliffs, and seaside towns, whereas Rome is a hub of city architecture, art, and culture.
The Lisbon coast is made up of different little special spots, such as the remote bays of Praia dos Galapinhos in Parque Natural Arrabida, long golden stretches of Praia da Conceicao, and the swathes of crystal waters of Sintra.
If you’re a fan of outdoor sports, you can enjoy the many natural parks in the city, including the Serra de Sintra hiking trails, which take you along a craggy mountain range to Cabo de Roca. You can also take up surfing and windsurfing on the Lisbon coast, since the southern swell of land causes large gusts to give you good speed on the water.
Rome is beautiful for a different reason. Made up of cobblestoned streets, unique roads and bustling spaces, this city skips between beautiful architecture and historical ruins, meaning you never know what you will see with every corner you turn. If you’re looking for a dose of nature, Rome still has a variety of beautiful gardens for you to explore. These include the Villa Borghese, a beautiful green space which holds the Galleria Borghese Museum and a number of statues, lakes, and fountains in the very center of Rome.
The two cities offer very different experiences, then. However, whilst the makeup of these cities is different, they both offer a culture which is rich with architecture, historical relevance and plenty of fun activities for a vacation getaway.
The Accommodation Of Rome And Lisbon
As mentioned, both Lisbon and Rome are tightly packed cities and both are used to their fair share of tourists. This means there are a lot of options for places to stay in either one.
There are many perfect neighborhoods to stay in Lisbon, so the trick is to do your research and work out which one works best with how you want to experience the city. Being a coastal town, it is privy to a lot of rented apartments and small villas. You can wake up in your own rented unit to watch the sea lapping on the beach, and for food you can take a short venture outside to try some freshly caught fish.
Rome also has over 1,500 hotels to choose from, most of which are three stars or more. A lot of them resemble little townhouse apartments from the outside and are kitted out with hotel amenities like bars, spas and lounges. Some of them even have gorgeous, blue rooftop pools, so feel free to throw those swimming trunks back into the suitcase.
The Culture Of Lisbon
Lisbon is a great place to roam freely and witness many mind-blowing attractions. There are plenty of historic and cultural elements to see, but there are also plenty of exciting activities that are happening in real time in front of you. Take a wander across the food markets, where fresh fish, oysters and crab are constantly on display. If seafood isn’t your cup of tea, however, then there is also the Feira de Ladra market, which has a plethora of bargains on secondhand books, vintage handkerchiefs and much more.
If you are an art lover, then you can also indulge your inner Da Vinci by viewing the National Museum of Contemporary Art, where over 150 years of Portuguese art is on display. Likewise, there is plenty of artistic beauty in Lisbon’s architecture. The Santa Justa Lift, for instance, was built in 1902, and it is a beautifully detailed marvel that can transport visitors 45m up a neo-gothic style tower.
Though technically not in Lisbon, a quick ferry ride can also take you to the Sanctuary of Christ the King. Originally created to show Portugal’s gratitude for avoiding destruction during WWII, the depiction of Jesus Christ stands atop a 25m tower which overlooks the city, giving Lisbon its very own version of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer.
The Culture Of Rome
If you love statues and religious imagery, however, then you can’t really get any better than Rome. Even if you are not religious in any way, you will want to see Vatican City for the painted Sistine Chapel, which is just the beginning of the art held inside.
Famous statues that reside in Rome start with the likes of La Pieta, in which Mary held Jesus after the crucifixion, or the Trevi Fountain, which depicts Triton riding his shell chariot alongside other icons of Greek mythology. But this is just the beginning. Throughout Rome there are so many things to do and places to explore, with a variety of other fountains, archways, and towers depicting Roman culture, icons of biblical history, as well as Greek and Roman mythology. It’s fascinating to see where the basis of western culture comes from and how beautifully it is depicted across the city.
Apart from this, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Rome’s culture apart from the churches and the ancient stone features. The streets are filled with bustling markets and designer stores. Wander down an alleyway and find a café with the best coffee you’ve ever tasted or enjoy one of the many street markets that sell everything from deli meat to handmade jewelry.
Rome and Lisbon might have the seven hills in common, but their cultural identity is very different. Rome offers a city full of art and shopping, whereas Lisbon offers a seaside town and beachside activities. Both, however, will offer you a cultured visit which will never be forgotten. Use this guide to weigh up what you like about each, and then make your decision from there. Whatever you choose, you are sure to get a vacation of a lifetime.