Words: Georgia Hopkins
Lisbon is one of the hottest cities to visit right now—and for good reason. Filled with magical light, striking architecture, laid-back locals and delicious cuisine, Lisbon makes for the perfect stopover in your next holiday itinerary. Below, some of our favourite ways to maximise a 48-hour stay in Portugal’s capital.
Where to eat and drink
Portugal’s most popular city is dotted with countless eateries and bars to frequent while there. For the best coffee in town, head to Australian founded spot The Mill—where flat whites are served up just as they should be, and go down well with the Aussie-style breakfast dishes on offer. Continue your culinary tour with lunch at the Time Out Market, where local food stalls boast authentic Portuguese delicacies. Sea Me’s ‘prego de atum em bolo do caco de alfarroba’—seared tuna steak sandwiched in between carob bread—goes down well with a ‘vinho verde’ (green wine) from O Bar Da Odete. Should you have room for more, round out the excursion with an ice cream or two from Portugal’s greatest gelado Santini—the coconut, peanut with salted caramel and pineapple flavours are hard to gloss over.
Enjoy an early dinner at traditional tapas eatery Taberna das Flores—but beware of a strict no reservations policy; the restaurant operates on a first come, first serve basis. Then, while the night is still young, take in the sunset at rooftop bar Topo where sweeping views over Alfama and Lisbon’s iconic Castelo de S. Jorge dominate the scene. Alternatively, overlook the river and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge at urban rooftop bar Park that sits atop a multistorey car park in Bairro Alto.
For a dining experience you can relish later on, reserve your seat at Prado—a plant filled space next to The Lisboans hotel that heroes local, seasonal produce with a farm-to-table approach overseen by local chef António Galapito. Before you leave, consume the very best pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tart) in the city—the famed Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém and newcomer Manteigaria rank equal contenders for first place.
Where to shop
In the charming Chiado square, peruse A Vida Portuguesa to stock up on beautiful Portuguese artisanal goods—the Alentejan blankets by Mizette are our favourite recommendation. Then, continue up the road to The Fleeting Room, where a curated selection of local Portuguese labels invites holidayers to relish in Lisbon style—the leather offerings by JAK and Antonio, as well as the jewellery by Inês Telles are worth the splurge.
Brazilian concept store Casa Pau-Brasil in Lisbon’s Príncipe Real neighbourhood should feature on your itinerary too—boasting beautiful Brazilian labels, tropical plants and coffee beans line the walls amidst Brazilian furniture and design. Relish in appreciation of Joaquim José Cortico’s Cortico & Netos afterwards—a 30 years in the making project of collecting and studying industrial Portuguese tiles, with a selection dating back to the 60s.
Where to explore
Opened in October 2017, MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) boasts 7000 square metres of exhibition space above the river with national and international exhibitions regularly on show. Revel in its offerings and then proceed along the river to Belém, where the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown will satiate design-inclined holidayers and architecture enthusiasts alike. Alternatively, make your way to Fundação Gulbenkian, the multifaceted Portuguese institution founded by Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian as a site for the arts, education and sciences. Under the Cover is nearby—home to hundreds of magazines, it also worth the visit if already in the area.
Should you be visiting over the weekend, enjoy the organic farmers market that sets up in the Príncipe Real neighbourhood every Saturday. During the week, peruse Feira da Ladra flea market in Alfama for antiques and vintage pieces—open every Tuesday and Saturday. Keep your eyes peeled for the Obey Giant mural by American street artist Shepard Correia, as well as his collaborations with Portuguese street artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto) on Rua da Senhora da Glória.
Where to stay
A former canning factory in a quiet street in Lisbon’s Baixa district, The Lisboans is a recently converted complex of luxury design apartments. Here, every detail has been thoughtfully considered—light-filled, spacious apartments with unique and interesting designs feature art, antique furniture, azulejos tiles and handmade Alentejan blankets. Opening on site this month, The Lisboans launches its very own farm-to-table restaurant (“Prado”) in the basement of the same building, alongside a boutique grocer. The breakfast bag attached to your door each morning filled with fresh orange juice and local pastries is the icing on The Lisboans’ proverbial cake.
For an equally impressive and memorable experience, Santa Clara 1728 is a strong contender for places to stay in the city. Together with local architect Manuel Aires Mateus, founder João Rodrigues converted an abandoned Alfama building into an incredible 8-room boutique guesthouse. Formerly intended to serve as the family’s home, João instead decided to create a space that could be shared with others. This sense of filial intimacy and hospitality will permeate your stay—every object and every detail unfold a story of their own.
Casa do Barao
A wonderful surprise tucked away in the backstreets of the very chic Chiado neighbourhood, Casa do Barao was the former home of architect Rui Pinto Gonçalves cum 15-room boutique hotel. Boasting a beautiful garden replete with a pool, the on-site staff—Rui, Sara and Roberto—will ensure that your stay reflects the warmth and charm of a traditional casa.
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