Notices

Edinburgh or Lisbon in August

Reply

Nov 19th, 2013, 10:18 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 168
Edinburgh or Lisbon in August

Hello all,
So I would like to go to Europe in August and these two cities are very high on my list.
So it's either I go to Edinburgh or Lisbon in August. Edinburgh has the advantage of having the book fair and a literary festival, which are things that interest me a lot. But I hear that in August Edinburgh is very crowded, is August not the best time then for a visit?

On the other hand, I have been wanting to go to Lisbon for a few years now. It's seems like the perfect chill destination (combining culture with great food and architecture) before gearing up for kids' going back to school and all that chaos.
My husband and I are in our thirties and enjoy great food, beach and a bit of culture (hubby is not into museums though).

Any advice?

thanks so much
Esperanza77 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:32 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,647
Edinburgh is MOBBED for the festival. If you go other dates in August (I don't know festival dates off hand) I would definitely do it since it is one of my favorite cities. And I love the weather.

To me Lisbon is meh - and in summer would be too hot.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:52 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,301
So why is this tagged Spain for?
To be honest you have to choose what you want the cities are like chalk and cheese. When are you going in August and for how long?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 11:26 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,053
Edinburgh's Book Festival coincides with its other August festivals (which, plausibly, claim to add up to the biggest single festival on earth, apart from some Indian Melas).

But it accounts for an almost negligible proportion of visitors and events during the festival period, which is all August (www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk ). Unless you've got a really strong reason for attending - which at the 2014 Book Festival will mean an obsession with the mind-numbing tedium of the Scottish "independence" non-debate - you'd be a million times better off avoiding Edinburgh.

Britain is awash with literary festivals these days: Hay combines a literary festival with millions of second hand books (something that absolutely isn't Edinburgh's forte): Oxford 's got almost as good a collection of authors presenting and signing their stuff, but real bookshops on many street corners (again: not Edinburgh's forte), and just about every village - and even the better rock festivals - now rivals Edinburgh for literary content (at Edinburgh, you can only listen to the authors pontificating. At Wilderness - the poshest summer festival anywhere ever - you can dance with them, swim with them, rub shoulders with them in the queue for the pulled pork sandwiches or in the popup versions of the major London restaurants and get pissed with them in the vodka tent or the real ale bars.)

Edinburgh's drama and fringe comedy August offerings are incomparable, and in 2014 likely to relegate "independence" to an excuse for some good one liners - but that has the unfortunate side-effect of making Edinburgh uninhabitable throughout August for anyone not happy to watch one-man comedies in telephone kiosks at 3 am.

And as another has pointed out: Lisbon's not at its best in August either.

Edinburgh's handsome enough to be worth visiting any of the other 11 months.
flanneruk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 11:47 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,548
I would go to Edinburgh every August if I could. Drama, music, comedy, dance. Every nook and cranny filled with culture in an amazing variety. The Festival Fringe catalogue is the size of a phone book.

I was there this August for the second time and while we had an apartment close to the book festival we did not end up going to any of the talks there.

Yes, the city is booked up, so you have to arrange accommodations ahead of time. But the atmosphere of the city is lively, stimulating, and fun.

My trip report describes the experience. The part about Edinburgh comes after the ten days of touring throughout Scotland, so scroll down:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...o-scotland.cfm

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Lisbon. Great food and ambience. It can be really hot, while Edinburgh will be much cooler. No wrong answers here.
Nikki is online now  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 11:57 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,190
Are you interested in museums? Lisbon has some interesting museums not found elsewhere such as the Decorative Arts, Tile, and Gulbenkian plus the beautiful monastery (which I would consider to be a type of museum) and the coach museum next to it. You can leave your husband in a cafe and explore the museums on your own. Otherwise, with the extreme heat, I would not go to Lisbon in August. What would you do in Lisbon; what is the attraction? The architecture is not great. The food is good but I would not say that it's great.

I would choose Edinburgh over Lisbon. If you find the Royal Mile too crowded you can go elsewhere in the city and avoid crowds. Plus the scenery outside Edinburgh is wonderful.
adrienne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 11:59 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 168
Thank nytraveller and flanneruk. I may have a chance to go to Edinburgh solo in October so I guess I'll skip August if it's that crowded.
Esperanza77 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:10 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 168
Thanks everyone for the insight. hmm, now I am conflicted. So Edinburgh gets more votes than Lisbon it seems. It's just a matter of when.

It also seems that Lisbon is much cheaper in terms of accommodation. I guess I have some more research to do.

Any great restaurants in Edinburgh?
Esperanza77 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:14 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,053
Nikki:

"I would go to Edinburgh every August if I could". I can understand why. Indeed, were I not so fortunate in my choice of where to live, I might even take the same view.

But you "had an apartment close to the book festival" but "did not end up going to any of the talks there."

Esperanza has shown no interest in drama, music or comedy.
flanneruk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:15 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 958
Check out average temperatures in Lisbon in August. We were there last August, and I thought the weather was perfect. But I like the heat.

What's hot to one person is pleasant to another - up to a limit of course!

With kids, you could stay in Cascais and have the beach right there, and take the train into Lisbon for day trips (and Sintra in the other direction).
christycruz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 2013, 01:22 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,282
You can certainly chill at Portobello beach, Edinburgh - and not just during August
sofarsogood is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 20th, 2013, 03:47 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 74
"Food is Lisbon is not great" - lol, funny

There are excellent restaurants in and around Lisbon.

Besides, near Lisbon you have 45km coastline of beaches, west and south sides.
Lisbon_Eagle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 21st, 2013, 01:33 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 51
While it's true that we tend to get some days with very high temperatures in Lisbon in August, it's a dry heat.

As they say, it's not the heat, it's the humidity
BomDiaLisbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 21st, 2013, 08:06 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 27
Considering the weather throughout the rest of the year, summer is the best time to visit Edinburgh. Yes, it's crowded in August, but so is the rest of Europe.
As for Lisbon, it's hot, but scorching hot days are rare, since it's cooled off by the Atlantic, especially at night. If it does become too hot, there are the cooler hills of Sintra ( http://www.golisbon.com/portugal/cities/sintra.html ), a must-do day trip at any time of the year. For beaches, there are Cascais and Estoril on the same train line.
Cascais - http://www.golisbon.com/portugal/cities/cascais.html
Estoril - http://www.golisbon.com/portugal/cities/estoril.html

As for food in Lisbon, you should know that there are those who love it and those who hate it. Locals naturally think it's some of the best in the world, but what visitors mostly love about it are the reasonable prices and sizable portions served at the more traditional restaurants. The best things about it are the good wines, the cheeses, fresh seafood, and the bread, but salads usually consist of just lettuce and tomato and little else, there are very few veggies on the side, and fish comes charcoal-grilled with head and all. Some tourists find it greasy and not visually appealing, while others appreciate the freshness. Also be warned that the popular cod is quite salty and the pastries very high on sugar. Also, everything you're presented with at the table is charged, so if you eat any of the starters (cheeses, olives, bread, etc.), you pay for them.
The most helpful guide to Lisbon restaurants, divided by cuisine and category is here: http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-restaurants/

The main event in August is a free outdoor jazz festival and the best places to chill in the sun is along the waterfront. Head to the Parque das Nacoes district: http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon/parque-das-nacoes.html
Downtown with its new waterfront promenade is also quite nice for sunbathing and relaxing with drinks: http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon/ribeira-das-naus.html
ulysses79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 21st, 2013, 10:38 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,647
IMHO food is Lisbon is OK - but not great. Way too uch olive oil in everything and not a lot that's special. On the other hand - no one is going to Scotland for the food either (that would be Belgium).

We were in Lisbon 2.5 days and saw everything we wanted and were happy to leave. IMHO it is semi third world due to hordes of immigrants and the fact that so many buildings are cement (not something I'm used to in the US - and always seems depressing).
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 21st, 2013, 10:46 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Considering the weather throughout the rest of the year, summer is the best time to visit Edinburgh.

The problem is that "summer" changes each year - in 2012 it was sometime in April, 2013 in August, 2011 it went AWOL and didn't show up at all.
alanRow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 21st, 2013, 10:51 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 51
As I proudly count myself among the "hordes of immigrants" in Lisbon, I'm going to take the liberty of speaking on behalf of my brethren and say that we, too, were overjoyed after 2.5 days, when a certain xenophobic, architecturally-egocentric "traveler" left our beautiful city.
BomDiaLisbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 22nd, 2013, 01:44 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 27
Interesting how someone from New York would see another city as "semi third world" due to "hordes of immigrants". Then New York must be a full-blown third world city. Or the fact that buildings are made of cement. What are the buildings in New York made out of? Wood?
To people around the world, semi-third world may be the images from the United States every time there's a tornado or a hurricane, with all the wooden houses razed to the ground looking like it just passed by sheds in Africa. Can't they build with better resistant materials like cement in those natural disaster-prone areas? Or the images from Detroit or even the Bronx or Queens...

But the old historic center in Lisbon, which is where essentially all of the tourist attractions are, does in fact have a rundown appearance since unlike other European capitals which were destroyed and then rebuilt after WWII, neutral Lisbon hasn't had any major renovation since the late 1700s. It's also Europe's second-oldest capital, so it's naturally old, and since the 70s most of the population has sadly left to the suburbs and the city center is only now slowly regaining population. But the city has a soul that most other cities could only dream of, and there are scenic views everywhere you turn on its hills, making it one of the world's most beautiful cities.

But of course travel opinions and experiences are subjective, and to some, a destination where they could easily spend several days is a city more like Las Vegas or Dubai. And you do need a good dose of culture to understand and fall for a city like Lisbon. I once had people from New Jersey tell me they didn't like Venice because it smelled. Yes, from New Jersey.
ulysses79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 22nd, 2013, 04:39 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,219
We spent 5 days in Lisbon and loved it! Yes it is run down, yes it is covered in graffiti, and yes it is a bit gritty but that's what have it it's atmosphere. We hope to return someday!
jamikins is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 22nd, 2013, 06:24 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,142
IMO, when a city has a great festival, it is the best time go. none more so than Edinburgh.

Now...if only you could go experience the great festivals in Europe but go to them when no one else does...
bardo1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:38 PM.