You’ll find much to explore in this thriving hub of local and international art, architecture and design talent, as well as great food and shopping options.
For the very best in traditional Lisbon food, a visit to the?upmarket?Solar dos Presuntos, just off Avenida da Liberdade, is a must. Nestled in the same locale is Cinema S?o Jorge, where you can tuck into pizza while enjoying a lovely?view from the balcony on the first floor.
On the move? The various kiosks dotted about the city have you covered. Found in parks, at viewing points (miradouros) and squares, they serve coffee, drinks, snacks and sandwiches. Quiosque Clara Clara?in Alfama’s Campo de Santa Clara comes highly recommended for the best homemade lemonade in town.?Caf? do Monte in Gra?a, meanwhile, is a great all-rounder; good for lunch, coffee, drinks and cocktails. You can keep things lively by heading to Rua Nova do Carvalho, a bustling spot with bars aplenty and a great music’venue in the MusicBox.
Treats at?Pasteis de Bel’m
Often’referred to as “the heart of Lisbon”, the downtown district of Baixa is home to many delights including Gelados Santini, arguably the finest ice cream parlour?in the entire city. Close by on one of the main squares is?Confeitaria Nacional, great for all manner of pastries, coffee and killer hot chocolate. You really shouldn’t leave without hitting Bel’m and indulging in some?custard tarts (pasteis de nata) from Pasteis de Bel’m. Seriously, it’s mandatory. If heading further afield, different custard-based treats known as?travessairos can be enjoyed?in Sintra, with the very finest found?in Casa Piriquita.
Architecture aficionados can lose themselves in a world of contemporary design with the exhibitions and events of the?Lisbon Architecture Triennale, which continues up until December 11. Although this particular occasion only happens every three years, all around the city you’ll find innovative work?by ?lvaro Siza Vieira, Eduardo Souto de Moura and Aires Mateus, while?MAAT?(Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) recently opened a new wing that celebrates contemporary art and architecture from Portugal and beyond.
‘Lines of Time’ at the?Funda??o Calouste Gulbenkian
Elsewhere, visit?Museu do Chiado in the centre of the city for modernist exhibitions, while the Funda??o Calouste Gulbenkian?boasts?an impressive collection of 20th century art. Downtown, on one of Lisbon’s busiest shopping streets, Rua Augusta, MUDE, the city’s Museum of Design and Fashion, occupies?a former bank.?For a flavour of the contemporary, visit LX Factory to see art, design and dance studios, the city’s best range of magazines in MAG Kiosk?(housed inside a shipping container)?and Livraria Ler Devagar, a beautiful labyrinthine bookshop.
Some argue that?Portugal hasn’t developed a design reputation to rival the big players in Europe, but it has cultivated a small, active scene. Located on the top floor of Benetton on Rua Garrett?(across the street from art deco Caf? A Brasilia), Fabrica Features is a depiction of excellent contemporary work by Portuguese and international designers. Elsewhere,?Re-Searcher on Rua da Concei??o serves up a feast of graphic and illustrative work.
A Vida Portuguesa
For classic Portuguese products of all shapes and sizes (think tinned sardines, children’s wooden toys and old-school decorative ceramics), visit A Vida Portuguesa on Rua Anchieta, and to get your fix of one of Portugal’s most prized native materials – durable and eco-friendly cork – visit CORK & CO?on Rua das Salgadeiras for everything from homewares to hats.
Ultimately, a trip to Lisbon is best spent wandering through its beautiful streets and enjoying a coffee and past?is de nata – custard tarts to die for. The Portuguese are known for taking life at a slower pace and when you visit Lisbon you’ll know why: this is not a city to rush through, rather a place to relax and soak up slowly, preferably with a glass of vinho verde.
Words: Aideen McCole