I vividly remember my first trip to Lisbon. I was 23, wide-eyed and, by then, a little out of love with city breaks. I worried I’d been spoilt for choice - as an émigré to the northern hemisphere, I’d spent two years making the most of long weekends, budget airlines and having Europe on my doorstep. It was naive, of course, yet at the time I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps I’d seen it all.
Lisbon changed everything. I was - within hours of landing - enamoured, invigorated and utterly obsessed. The wedding cake architecture, the clattering trams, the patterns, patina and style. There was life and history; the peculiar weight of all that had been and all that was still possible. It was on this trip that I came to understand the nuances of urban art, the restorative power of perfectly-cooked cod, the emotion of Fado and the significance of swallows. Yet what was most astounding, visiting all those years ago, was just how quiet Lisbon seemed. With each return journey, I’ve noticed that this has started to fade. It is no longer a destination thought of as undiscovered - the glorious secret is out and the tourists have arrived. Which, I suppose, is the fate that befalls anything astounding and adored.
But this boom in popularity does not mean that all is lost. Far from it. Fearful that the seductive and secluded Lisbon of old was disappearing, local creatives and entrepreneurs have done all they can to preserve and bolster their city - and continue to do so. They are founding new communities and spaces, redefining their crafts, embracing nostalgia and - in the case of A Vida Portuguesa - actively preserving Portugal’s past. Silence, solitude and splendour still exist; Lisbon is simply evolving.
The above is an extract from the Lodestars Anthology Portugal Editor’s Letter, a piece of writing we felt served as a fitting introduction to the below photographs - a collection of wanderlust-inspiring gems that we simply couldn’t fit within our printed pages … there never seems to be quite enough space. We’re sharing them here because a) they’re stunning and b) one should always find space, in whatever form they can, for Portugal.
You can order a copy of the Portugal magazine by clicking here.