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Barcelona vs. Lisbon: Which City Is Right for You?

If you’re considering a vacation in Europe, or perhaps a place to base yourself for a while, you may be trying to decide between Barcelona and Lisbon. Both cities have a lot to offer tourists, but they are very different. Which city is right for you? This blog post will compare Barcelona and Lisbon and help you decide which is the best fit for your travel needs!

Barcelona vs. Lisbon

Barcelona is much bigger than Lisbon and has 3 times more inhabitants. It is a major European city with 1.6 million inhabitants, while Lisbon is a small city with 500,000 inhabitants. Both cities are similar in size, with Barcelona occupying an area of 101 km² and Lisbon an area of 100 km².

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia (Spain), while Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. Both cities are located on the coast but in opposite directions (Barcelona to the east on the Mediterranean coast and Lisbon to the west on the Atlantic coast).


The official language in Portugal is Portuguese, but English is widely spoken in the major cities of Lisbon and Porto. Most people speak Spanish and Catalan in Barcelona, but English is also widely understood.


The currency in Portugal is the euro, and Spain’s is the euro. Both countries are members of the European Union and use the same currency.


The culture of Spain and Portugal is very similar and very different from each other. Both countries are Latin cultures, with similar languages and food. The people are warm and friendly but can be reserved until they get to know you better.

Both countries have a long history of art, architecture, and literature. Both have experienced great wealth and power periods, followed by periods of decline.

Catalans and Portuguese tend to love their country and city more than anything else – it’s an important part of their identity. They will always support their teams in sporting events like the World Cup or the European Championship.

When you think of Spain and Portugal, it’s easy to group them as one big European country. But the two countries have very different cultures and traditions, especially regarding food.

The music is also different. Catalans have their Catalan music (e.g., Catalan rumba) during the Portuguese play fado.


Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and mild winters. Lisbon is on the Atlantic Ocean, so the weather is milder than in Barcelona. Currently (November), the temperature in Lisbon is 16.7 degrees Celsius (62 Fahrenheit), and the average annual temperature in Barcelona is 17 degrees Celsius (63 F).

In summer, the sea in Barcelona is much warmer, while the sea in Lisbon is as cold as in England and colder than the New York City sea temperature in the summertime!


Barcelona and Lisbon are two of the most popular destinations in Europe. They are also cities with many similarities, but there are also some major differences between these two great European cities.

The most obvious difference is their location; Barcelona is on the Mediterranean coast, and Lisbon is on the Atlantic coast. It’s not uncommon for visitors to choose one city or the other because they prefer the warm weather to the cool, or vice versa. Both cities are also home to different people from all over the world!

Both Cities Are Popular With Tourists and Travelers

Barcelona and Lisbon are two of the most popular cities in Europe. They are both very beautiful, have a rich history, and offer many things to see and do. Both cities have excellent weather, great food, and beautiful beaches.

Barcelona is known for its art scene, with many museums such as the Picasso Museum, Park Guell (UNESCO world heritage site), and Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The city also has great nightlife to offer, with a variety of restaurants and bars. The city is easy to explore on foot and has a metro system covering most interest areas.

Lisbon has a similar feel to Barcelona, with some amazing street art you can find in the streets. Lisbon may not have as many nightlife or restaurant options, but more than enough to enjoy the city as much as Barcelona!

Digital Nomads Are Also Attracted to Both Cities

Barcelona or Lisbon is one of the most common questions digital nomads ask when deciding where to go next.

Both cities are popular destinations for digital nomads because they have excellent public transportation systems that make it easy to get around the city without buying a car or renting an apartment or house in the most expensive areas. Also, the wifi in both cities is fast and reliable, so you can easily work from anywhere.

Both cities are attractive for digital nomads because it’s easy to connect with digital nomads and expats. In Barcelona, there are coworking spaces right in Plaza Catalunya near Las Ramblas, so you can easily meet up with other digital nomads for coffee or lunch during the day if you want. There are also coworking spaces in Lisbon, spreading all over the city.

Getting Around

Public transportation in Barcelona and Lisbon is both excellent.

The two cities have multiple metro systems and offer convenient trams, buses, and train connections. It is easy to get around in both cities.

The metro in Barcelona has a total of 12 lines with 165 stations, while the metro in Lisbon has 4 lines with 56 stations.

Trams are more common in Lisbon than in Barcelona, as the city used to be characterized by narrow streets and steep hills that made using busses impossible in some places.

Both cities have an extensive bus network with many lines covering most areas of the city center and the outskirts.


Regarding booking a hotel or Airbnb, there are plenty of options in both cities. Both have competitive hotel and Airbnb prices in almost every price range.

Hotels in Europe often run special offers – starting at just €50 per night for two people! If you are looking for something even cheaper, hostels are the place to go, where rooms can be had for as little as under €20 per night – though with some trade-offs like shared bathrooms and fewer amenities.


While the cities are about even when it comes to food, Barcelona has some advantages.

Some of the best restaurants in Spain are located in Barcelona. Lisbon also has a growing number of good restaurants, but not as many Michelin stars and top restaurants as Barcelona.

Barcelona has a long and rich history of food. It is a city that takes its gastronomy seriously and is home to some of the best chefs in the world. Catalan cuisine is famous for its use of simple ingredients such as olive oil, fresh fish and seafood, vegetables and fruits, and a wide variety of Serrano and Iberico hams and local cheeses. These ingredients can be abundant at any local market, such as La Boqueria in Ciutat Vella or La Fira de Sant Antoni in Eixample.

Lisbon is also a popular destination for foodies, and it’s perhaps easier to find authentic food than in Barcelona, since tourism has not been around that long. The city has grown and changed rapidly over the last few decades. Many restaurants are serving the city’s famous bacalhau (salt cod)

Lisbon is known for its pastries and sweets. If you have ever wondered where the best custard tarts come from, look no further than Lisbon. Try them at Pastelaria Suíça or Pasteis de Belem.

Try the famous Portuguese ice cream cake (Pastel de Nata) if you want something less traditional but still delicious. These custard tarts are prepared with eggs and sugar and then baked in a pastry shell. They are usually served warm with cinnamon powder or with vanilla ice cream.


When it comes to nightlife, Barcelona and Lisbon are two cities that are hard to beat

Barcelona is a city that never sleeps, and it’s not just because of its 24-hour mass transit system. Barcelona has a reputation for being one of the most exciting cities in Europe when it comes to nightlife.

Numerous clubs, bars, and restaurants in the Catalan capital attract both locals and tourists.

Barcelona has one of the best nightlife in Europe – especially if you want someone to dance with. If you want to take it a little easier, head to one of the many bars along Las Ramblas Street or Plaza Catalunya. Otherwise, head straight to Las Ramblas Street and pick one of the local bars.

The nightlife in Lisbon is famous for its fado music, a Portuguese folk style that originated in Lisbon in the 1820s. The music can be heard throughout the city, especially in Bairro Alto, the neighborhood most associated with fado.

Lisbon is also a vibrant city, and the nightlife is no exception. If you want to party all night long, you will find any club or bar you want, be it a dance club or a pub.


The best thing about both cities is that they are so close together that you can easily visit both! You could spend a week in Barcelona and another week in Lisbon if you want to.

There are many great beaches in Barcelona. You can go swimming at Barceloneta beach or swim with sharks at La Barceloneta aquarium (yes, really!). There are also many restaurants on the beach where you can eat and drink while watching the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea.

One of Lisbon’s most popular attractions is Belém Beach, located near the famous Tower of Belem on the Tagus River. Belém beach is surrounded by cafes and restaurants where you can eat grilled sardines for lunch or dinner after a long day by the sea!


You will find plenty of shopping opportunities in both Barcelona and Lisbon. Barcelona, however, has more options since it is a larger city. Even though Madrid has more stores, Barcelona has more style.

The city’s main shopping district is El Triangle d’Or (the Golden Triangle) – a triangle formed by Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya and Avinguda Diagonal – which has many high-end boutiques and department stores such as El Corte Inglés and FNAC.

If you are looking for something unique, authentic, or artistic, head to Borne. This historic neighborhood was once an industrial center and is now home to an eclectic mix of artisans, designers, and antique dealers in its atmospheric streets. You’ll also find some great little boutiques on Carrer del Comte d’Urgell and Carrer del Bisbe Sivilla, west of Plaça de Catalunya – two pedestrian-only shopping streets with charming stores selling everything from fashion and decorative items to books and music.

Cost of Living

Some websites tell you that Barcelona is 5% more expensive than Lisbon, others talk about 18% and it goes up to 28%! But one thing is for sure: Barcelona is more expensive than Lisbon.

The best place to find exact costs is on Numbeo, where you can find current prices for almost everything: Food, transportation, rent, cabs, and much more.


Security in Barcelona and Lisbon is generally very good, as both cities are popular tourist destinations. Crime rates are low compared to other major European cities, and most visitors will feel safe in both cities.

The main problem for tourists is pickpockets, which are known to target popular tourist spots, mainly because they attract large crowds.

Pickpockets exist in all major cities around the world, and although they usually target tourists, pickpocketing can happen anywhere and at any time.

From personal experience, I can say that I have traveled around the world and been to all kinds of places. When I lived in Barcelona, I was robbed three times in one year, in Paris once, but in Lisbon, I was never robbed as a tourist. Still, I would advise you to be careful in both cities!

The Best Place to Travel

Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe. It is a city that has everything to offer. A great location on the Mediterranean Sea, with beautiful beaches and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

The city itself is divided into different areas: the Gothic Quarter, Eixample, Ciutat Vella, El Born-La Ribera and Gracia.

Start at La Rambla, a long boulevard from Placa de Catalunya to Placa de Sant Jaume. This street is full of bars and restaurants, so you can have a drink while overlooking the city.

The Gothic Quarter, Palau Reial Major (Grand Royal Palace in Barcelona), and Museu Nacional are also worth visiting.

Barcelona is known for its modernist architecture and wide streets with great buildings like Casa Batlló or Casa Mila by Antoni Gaudi himself.

Close to Barcelona, there is also Montserrat Monastery, a stunning location you can access via direct train for a day trip.

Lisbon is famous for its historical sites such as the Lisbon Cathedral, Belem Tower, São Jorge Castle – and the Santa Justa Elevator (built by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard), and Jerónimos Monastery.

Best Place to Live

Lisbon has become a popular destination for young people who want to start their businesses. Many startups here offer coworking spaces, shared offices, and other resources to help entrepreneurs get their idea off the ground without having to worry about office space first.

If you’re an entrepreneur, Lisbon could be one of the best places to start your business because it has everything you need: affordable office space, talented developers and designers, good internet connections, and great tax benefits.

Barcelona is known for being an inspiring city with its beautiful architecture and culture. The city has also become a center for startups and creative industries. The city has a young population, which makes it ideal for students looking for a place to live.

How to Get There

If you are in San Francisco or New York City, you should easily find a flight to Lisbon Airport (Humberto Delgado Airport) or Barcelona Airport (El Prat Airport). If you are flying from somewhere else in the United States and your flight is too long or expensive, try London (United Kingdom). From there, you can get a cheap flight to Barcelona from Easyjet or Ryanair (usually a direct flight from the United Kingdom). And if you go through Edreams or Skyscanner, you might even find Barcelona flights with a hotel discount.

If you’re traveling between Barcelona and Lisbon, you can book a cheap flight of about 2 hours. You can also buy train tickets, but it is a very long trip (more than 20 hours!), and there is no direct train between the two cities.