This is the City of the Seven Hills overlooking the Tagus River.
Lisbon will surprise you with its magnificent light and its inexplicable power of attraction. In recent years, the city has undergone major transformations, getting a closer relationship with the river, rehabilitating old buildings, squares and churches and injecting new life into old neighbourhoods such as Cais do Sodré, Intendente or Príncipe Real. There are plenty of reasons for Lisbon to be in the spotlight. And it has already got your attention, right?
HOW TO GET THERE
Lisbon is only 15 minutes away by train. The panoramic train line runs along the coast and the Tagus river bank, crosses Belém, passes under the 25 April Bridge and ends just in front of the bustling activity of the renewed Mercado da Ribeira.
Walks on different themes (history, gastronomy, photography), visits to monuments and museums, cruises on the Tagus river, dinner at fado houses, tuk tuks rental.
NOT TO BE MISSED
Once inhabited by Moors and Jews and, later, a fishermen’s neighbourhood, Alfama is a must when visiting Lisbon. When you get lost in its alleys and back streets, you feel like you are in a small village. A charming and lively neighbourhood where buildings mix with views of the river while you walk along streets lined with craft shops, restaurants and fado houses.
St George’s Castle.
To climb up to the castle and enjoy a 360 degrees view is a must for any visitor to Lisbon. This medieval castle, that survived many attacks, was the residence of several Portuguese kings. It occupies parts of the Mouraria, Castelo e Alfama neighbourhoods.
The Lisbon See, whose real name is Church of Santa Maria Maior, is believed to have been built (in the twelfth century) on top of a mosque. It is the seat of the Patriarchate of Lisbon. A mix of different architectural styles, it was classified as a National Monument in 1910.
Every Tuesday and Thursday the Campo de Santa Clara gathers sellers and buyers of antiques, second-hand goods and collectibles as well as clothing and handcraft… a bustling activity from early in the morning (around 6 a.m.) to late afternoon.
Tramway Line 28.
Trams are a true symbol of Lisbon, and this tramway line runs through the main historical neighbourhoods of the city. Starting in Campo de Ourique, the trams will take you in a little more than an hour through Estrela, Lapa, Santos, São Bento, Bica, Chiado, Bairro Alto, Baixa, Castelo, Graça, Intendente and Martim Moniz. If you buy a day ticket you can enter and exit the trams at any time and at any point.
The name of this picturesque neighbourhood dates back to the time when Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese king, took Lisbon from the Moors and confined them to this area of the city. Today, it is a true melting pot of cultures. Here you can find Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and African communities, among others.
This is a neighbourhood strongly marked by the Age of the Maritime Discoveries. Here you will find the ex-libris of the city, the Tower of Belém, as well as the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries and several museums of great interest such as the National Coach Museum, the Navy Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and the Belém Cultural Centre. Don’t forget to try the famous custard tartlets (Pastéis de Belém) in the pastry house with the same name that holds the original recipe.
Cais do Sodré.
This neighbourhood has always had a strong link with the river. An old fishermen’s and sailors’ neighbourhood, it has become one of the bohemian areas of the city with a bustling nightlife that attracts both locals and tourists to its streets lined with bars, nightclubs and restaurants. With more than 30 restaurants, the Mercado da Ribeira is an exciting complement to these streets bustling with life.
For a long time, Santos was an industrial neighbourhood also with some old convents, mansions and houses. Today it is a mix of houses, hotels, hostels, bars and restaurants and is also known by its many design shops. The picturesque streets of Madragoa with their tiles and flowerbeds remind you of Bairro Alto even if with less tourists. Nearby you can visit the National Museum of Ancient Art which terrace commands a wonderful view.
Just under the 25 Abril Bridge, there is this former industrial complex which buildings were converted into offices, shops, coffee houses, bars, restaurants, art galleries, libraries, creative workshops, etc. Every Sunday, it is full with brunch lovers and with buyers and sellers that gather for the weekly market. Definitely, an alternative place to visit.
Restaurants and bars
Sea Me – Chiado
A restaurant specialising in fish and seafood with fishmonger. Fresh flavours that combine with the modern and refreshing decor of this space.
Rua do Loreto 21
KafféHaus – Chiado
This coffee house is owned by Austrians and its brunch is one of the most famous in the city. At lunchtime tourists and people who work nearby pour into the coffee house and its pleasant terrace.
Rua Anchieta 3
Largo – Chiado
This international restaurant is located close to the São Carlos Opera and its Chef is the charismatic Miguel Castro e Silva. With a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere, it features three large aquariums with jellyfish in the dining room.
Rua Serpa Pinto
Cantinho do Avillez – Chiado
In this small space with a relaxed atmosphere and decorated with antique tiles, the famous Chef José Avillez proposes a simpler cuisine even if with a touch of sophistication. Here, you can take a seat at the counter and enjoy typical Portuguese snack food at more affordable prices.
Rua Duques de Bragança 7
Mini Bar – Chiado
This “gastro pub” is located in the São Luiz Theatre and offers a snack menu combining Portuguese and international flavours. It is a sophisticated space with a décor inspired by the world of theatre.
Rua António Maria Cardoso, 58
100 Maneiras – Chiado
A restaurant with beautiful art deco features where Chef Ljubomir Stanisic offers a menu combining Portuguese and international flavours.
Rua do Teixeira, 35, Bairro Alto
Taberna das Flores – Chiado
With a vintage look that evokes the Lisbon of old, this tavern, with a small grocery store inside, offers a set menu for lunch and a menu of delicacies for dinner. It is open in the afternoon for those who enjoy a drink and a snack before sunset.
Rua das Flores 103, 1
Cervejaria Trindade – Chiado
Established in 1836, this historic brewery (formerly the refectory of a convent) offers typical Portuguese dishes, although its most famous dish is the steak. It is a beautiful space, with 19th century tiles on the walls. On Fridays and Saturdays it is open until 1 a.m.
Rua Nova da Trindade 20 C, 2715-311 Lisboa
Belcanto – Chiado
Close to the São Carlos Opera, this restaurant with a classic and refined decor belongs to the award-winning Chef José Avillez and offers traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Largo de São Carlos, 10
Tasca da Esquina – Campo D’ourique
Chief Vitor Sobral has this restaurant in the neighbourhood of Campo de Ourique offering simple and genuine Portuguese food that has won him a large clientele. This is a simple and unpretentious space and the menu offers varied delicacies at affordable prices.
Rua Domingos Sequeira, Campo de Ourique
IBO – Cais do Sodré
Next to the Cais do Sodré ferry station, this restaurant occupies a former salt warehouse with large windows overlooking the river. The menu is inspired by Portuguese and Mozambican cuisine.
Station – Cais do Sodré
This is a restaurant, bar and club right next to the Tagus River. The restaurant, with an industrial decor, offers a menu inspired by the Asian cuisine. After dinner, you can go to the club and dance at the sound of local DJs.
Cais do Gás, Armazém A, Porta 7
Casa de Pasto – Cais do Sodré
This restaurant on the first floor of a building in Rua de São Paulo is inspired by the Lisbon of the 18th and 19th centuries. The menu offers grilled fish and meat and other dishes cooked in a charcoal oven. Rua de São Paulo 20
Café Tati – Cais do Sodré
Behind the Mercado da Ribeira you will find this vintage inspired warm lit coffee house and restaurant with light meals sometimes accompanied by live music. On weekends, try the brunch.
Rua da Ribeira Nova, 36
Mercado da Ribeira – Cais do Sodré
Located in Avenida 24 de Julho, this is the biggest market in the city, offering fresh fish and vegetables every day. Now, it is under the management of the Time Out magazine and includes more than 30 food stalls opening between 10:00 and 00:00 (from Sunday to Wednesday) and between 10:00 and 02:00 (from Thursday to Saturday).
Lateral Bistro – Cais do Sodré
This is a casual Mediterranean-inspired restaurant offering from snacks to burgers and salads. The focaccia has already won a large clientele. The snacks perfectly combine with the wines list. Av. Barbosa Du Bocage 107A
Taberna Moderna – Alfama
A restaurant that recreates the atmosphere of old taverns, specialising in Portuguese and Spanish snacks and with a gin bar inside: the Lisbonita Gin Bar. It is next to Casa dos Bicos, in the limit between Baixa and Alfama.
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 18ª
Bica do Sapato – Alfama
A place to see and to be seen (one of the owners is the American actor John Malkovich). It is situated in Santa Apolónia, in a former warehouse facing the river, and offers contemporary Portuguese cuisine and sushi.
Avenida Infante Dom Henrique Armazém B, Cais da Pedra, Santa Apolónia,
La Creperie da Ribeira – Santos
Probably the best place in the city to taste savoury and sweet crepes from breakfast to dinner time. The menu offers many suggestions of crepes as well as salads. A welcoming decor and a socializing atmosphere.
Rua da Moeda
In this famous brewery you will find aquariums where you can choose the seafood you want to eat so as to be sure of its freshness. The Prego (bread stuffed with beef) is one of the specialities of this house that remains open until late in the evening.
Av. da Liberdade 155
Located in the building of the National Association of Pharmacies, next to Miradouro de Santa Catarina, this restaurant recreates the atmosphere of an old pharmacy. The menu offers only snacks. You may also prefer the bar service on the terrace.
Rua Marechal Saldanha nº 2.
Solar dos presuntos – Restauradores
It is said that it has the best paella in the city. But this restaurant also boasts the quality of its meat and fish served in a room decorated with photos of the celebrities that have visited it.
Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, 150, Avenida da Liberdade, Lisboa
If you’re willing to share a table with someone else, you can enjoy a menu of snacks at reasonable prices. The place is decorated with pots and pans and pages of old books.
Rua da Esperança, nº 100
Enjoy a genuine Italian cuisine in servings for two in a relaxed atmosphere. The house is decorated with photos and antiques and fits perfectly in its neighbourhood, the Madragoa.
Rua das Madres, 52
Pasteis de Belém
All visitors to Lisbon should try the famous Pastel de Belém (custard tartlet) in the oldest pantry house in the city. The original recipe was created in the nearby Jerónimos Monastery. Take a look at the inside of this pantry house and wonder at its ancient tiles.
Rua de Belém, 84
Amargem – Belém
Glass panelled walls and a minimalist design. Here you can enjoy a light meal and a magnificent view to the Tagus. In sunny days, it feels good to spend some time in the terrace chatting, reading a book or just resting.
Doca do Bom Sucesso.
Next to the Ancient Art Museum, this glassed panelled space offers light snacks and cocktails as well as brunch (at the weekend) served inside or on the terrace with a panoramic view to Santos and Alcântara.
Jardim 9 de Abril, Santos
Located on the top of a car park, this cosy bar with a garden-like atmosphere and an inspiring view of the city, the river and the towers of the Santa Catarina Church offers light meals and is open from 13:00 until dawn.
Calçada do Combro, 58
This is a bar with a program of interesting events. It is even more pleasant in the summer as you can relax on the terrace while listening to the music of DJs or guest bands. Every Sunday, it offers brunch.
Rua de Santa Apolónia, 59
Lux frágil – Alfama
Lux is the most famous bar and nightclub in the city. It opened in 1998 with John Malkovich as one of its partners. It has several areas with different atmospheres and it regularly invites international artists for concerts in the basement. Not always easy to get in to.
Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Armazém A
Music Box – Cais do Sodré
Live music and DJs made this space in Cais do Sodré one of the most eclectic and popular in the Lisbon nightlife.
It offers a broad program of concerts and events, including jazz, rock and house music, to a diversified audience.
Rua Nova do Carvalho, 54
Urban Beach – Alcântara
Urban Beach recreates the atmosphere of a beach. It opens at 20:00 offering meals in its two restaurants (sushi and grill). From midnight on it becomes a lively nightclub with national and international DJs.
Cais da Viscondessa, Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa