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Lisboa vs. Lisbon — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on November 3, 2023
Lisboa is the Portuguese name for the capital city of Portugal, while Lisbon is the English translation of the same city.
Lisboa vs. Lisbon — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Lisboa and Lisbon


Key Differences

Lisboa is what locals call their capital city in Portugal, steeped in rich history and culture. Lisbon, its English counterpart, evokes images of historic trams and maritime discoveries for the English-speaking world.
Lisboa represents the city's local charm and identity, reflecting its language and people. Lisbon, however, is the anglicized version, used internationally in travel literature and diplomatic exchanges.
When speaking Portuguese, one would use Lisboa to refer to the vibrant city known for Fado music. In English contexts, such as tourism or international business, Lisbon is commonly used.
In educational materials in Portugal, students learn about their capital as Lisboa. Conversely, English language maps and textbooks refer to it as Lisbon, illustrating the linguistic adaptation.
The linguistic differences between Lisboa and Lisbon highlight the nuances of translation and cultural identity, emphasizing that a city can have various international personas while maintaining its local essence.

Comparison Chart




In Portugal and Portuguese texts
In English-speaking countries



Cultural Context

Native identity of the city
International understanding


Direct from Portuguese origins
Anglicized from Portuguese

Compare with Definitions


The city known for its seven hills.
Lisboa é frequentemente comparada com San Francisco.


A city with a rich maritime history.
The maritime museum in Lisbon highlights the Age of Discoveries.


The Portuguese name for Portugal's capital.
Em Lisboa, pode-se visitar o histórico bairro de Belém.


The capital city hosting Web Summit.
Lisbon has become a tech hub since hosting the Web Summit.


Host city of Expo '98.
Lisboa renovou-se para a Expo '98.


Where Belem Tower is located.
Lisbon's Belem Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Home of the famous tram 28.
O eléctrico 28 de Lisboa oferece uma viagem pitoresca pela cidade.


The English name for the capital of Portugal.
Lisbon is famous for its historic towers and custard tarts.


Location of the historic Alfama district.
Alfama é o bairro mais antigo de Lisboa.


Known for its vibrant nightlife.
Lisbon's Bairro Alto comes alive at night with numerous bars.


Capital and largest city and economic and cultural center of Portugal; a major port in western Portugal on Tagus River where it broadens and empties into the Atlantic


Lisbon (; Portuguese: Lisboa; [liʒˈboɐ] (listen)) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 508,368 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.0 million people, being the 10th-most populous urban area in the European Union.


A sweet, light-colored species of wine, produced in the province of Estremadura, and so called as being shipped from Lisbon, in Portugal.


Capital and largest city and economic and cultural center of Portugal; a major port in western Portugal on Tagus River where it broadens and empties into the Atlantic

Common Curiosities

Are Lisboa and Lisbon the same place?

Yes, they refer to the same city but in different languages.

When should I use Lisboa instead of Lisbon?

Use Lisboa when speaking Portuguese or within Portugal.

What is Lisbon?

Lisbon is the English name for the capital city of Portugal.

What is Lisboa?

Lisboa is the Portuguese name for the capital city of Portugal.

Is Lisbon a direct translation of Lisboa?

It's the anglicized version, not a direct translation.

Do maps in Portugal use Lisboa or Lisbon?

Maps in Portugal use Lisboa.

Is the pronunciation of Lisboa different from Lisbon?

Yes, each name is pronounced according to its language's phonetics.

Why do Lisboa and Lisbon have different names?

It’s due to the translation from Portuguese to English.

How do locals refer to their capital city?

Locals refer to it as Lisboa.

Can Lisboa and Lisbon be used interchangeably?

In a bilingual context, they may be, but typically they're language-specific.

Do Portuguese-speaking countries other than Portugal use Lisboa?

Yes, they use Lisboa when speaking Portuguese.

In international affairs, which term is predominantly used?

Lisbon is more commonly used in international contexts.

Are there different attractions in Lisboa and Lisbon?

No, the attractions are the same, only referred to differently in each language.

Does the city's culture change whether you say Lisboa or Lisbon?

The culture remains the same; only the language reference changes.

Does the tourism industry in Portugal use Lisboa or Lisbon?

It uses both, depending on the target audience of the marketing materials.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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