5 Things to Do in Lisbon Before the End of 2015

November 25th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Videomapping Terreiro do Paço

It’s becoming an annual tradition — the multimedia Christmas show projected onto the triumphal arch in Comercio Square. Twelve projectors will present a 15-minute family-friendly show from December 11th to the 20th, at 7PM, 8PM and 9PM. As this is a public square, it’s a free event for all.


Photo: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

An extraordinary collection of works by Goya, El Greco and other great Spanish painters is now on display at the Ancient Art Museum until April 3rd, 2016. It’s a total of 60 paintings from the 15th to the 20th century, and tickets are 7 euros. This is also a great opportunity to check out the museum’s permanent collection of Portuguese treasures, which is free with the Lisboa Card.

Lusitania Romana

Lusitania was the name of the Roman province in Western Iberia that is mostly modern Portugal, and Lisbon’s National Archaeology Museum is presenting the art and culture of that time. It’s showing around 200 pieces from several museums in Portugal and Spain, including mosaics and sculptures. The exhibition lasts until June.

Henrique Sá Pessoa

Check out two new restaurants from two of the city’s top chefs. The first one is Alma, from chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, which previously existed in the Santos district, but has now moved to Chiado (Rua Anchieta, 15 ). Only the name remains from the previous restaurant, although the chef’s innovation is still there. The menus and the decor have changed, now serving contemporary Portuguese cuisine with some Asian influences. The second restaurant, also of fine dining, is Loco, found facing the back of the Estrela Basilica (Rua dos Navegantes 53B). This is where chef Alexandre Silva expects to surprise you with his most creative dishes.

Obidos Vila Natal

It happens every year — the medieval village of Obidos is turning into the “Christmas Village”. Just one hour north of Lisbon, it’s presenting several holiday-themed family activities around its castle and narrow streets, from December 4th to January 3rd.

10 New Attractions in Lisbon

November 4th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

2016 promises to bring several new attractions to Lisbon, from a major world-class art museum to renovated public spaces on the waterfront. But over the last year, from late 2014 to late 2015, there have also been several new openings that you won’t yet find in your guidebooks. Below are ten of them, which are either brand new or renewed or expanded sites in the city:


Casa dos Bicos

The curious Casa do Bicos, from the 1600s, had been hiding Roman remains for two millennia, but they’ve finally been uncovered and put on display. They’re now part of an exhibition on the ground level of the building, which serves as the headquarters of the José Saramago Foundation, or something of a museum dedicated to the Portuguese author who won the Nobel Prize. The archaeological space is part of the Lisbon Museum, and may be visited from Monday to Saturday. It’s free, but if you also want to visit the José Saramago exhibition upstairs, there’s an admission charge.


Roman Theater

Speaking of Roman sites, the most significant one is the former Roman Theater. It was only unearthed in the 1960s and there was a museum explaining it a few years ago, but it closed for a major renovation. It finally reopened this summer, much bigger and better, and you may now walk over the archaeological site of the former theater, then enter a building where it comes to life through pieces found on the site.


Convento de São Pedro de Alcântara

This convent founded in 1670 had never been open to the public, despite its location facing one of the city’s most popular lookout terraces. Now that there are no more nuns living in it, it’s now a free attraction you may want to include in your itinerary when you visit the terrace. You’ll find an interior dating mostly from the late 1700s, which includes rich gilding, paintings by Portuguese and French artists, beautiful blue-and-white tile panels depicting the life of St. Peter of Alcantara, and lots of marble in the former funerary chapel.


Terraços do Carmo

These terraces behind the ruins of Carmo Church were always closed, as they were part of the local police barracks. But they’re finally been turned into a public leisure space, offering a great view of the castle and Santa Justa Elevator. It has a cafe on the upper level, where you may sit and enjoy a drink or meal.


Jardim da Cerca da Graça

Also open for the first time ever is the park beneath Graça Church. Although it’s existed for centuries, it was used exclusively by the residents of the convent next to the church, and only now has it been turned into a public park. There’s a small children’s playground, a kiosk with terrace serving light meals, and lots of space for a picnic or to simply enjoy a view of the castle and of the old Mouraria neighborhood.


Museu de Santo António

The site where St. Anthony was born is now a church built in the 1700s. A small museum was created next to it a few years ago, but over the last year it has expanded and reopened completely new. There are new pieces and documents relating to the life and legacy of the saint, who ended up in Italy and died there. Despite usually thought of as an Italian saint, here you’ll understand why he’s such an iconic Lisbon figure. Admission is just €1.50.


Miradouro do Recolhimento

Yet another previously-inaccessible spot has been opened for locals and visitors to enjoy the view. This small terrace hidden on a street not far from the castle opens from morning to early in the evening as a tranquil spot to sit and relax, as you watch the trams go by below you. To find it you’ll have to turn on Rua do Recolhimento before you reach the castle’s ticket office, then turn on Beco do Recolhimento.


Museu do Aljube

A former ecclesiastical prison that was turned into an archbishops palace in the 1500s, became a prison once again in the early 20th century, to hold (and torture) political prisoners. Many of Portugal’s influential politicians and intellectuals were sent there at some point, until the revolution in 1974 that overthrew the right-wing regime. This year it was turned into a museum dedicated to the struggle for freedom and democracy. The permanent exhibition is spread over three floors, and includes documents about censorship, the fight for independence of the colonies, as well as archaeological remains explaining the origins of the building. You’ll find it on Rua de Augusto Rosa, 42, in Alfama.


Chiado Museum

Previously simply known as “Museu do Chiado”, this national museum dedicated to Portuguese contemporary art is now the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado. In 2015 it expanded to a second building around the corner from the first one, and in addition to the previous permanent collection, it now also displays works from major Portuguese artists from 1960 to 1990.


Carriages Museum

After much controversy, the new Coaches Museum finally opened this summer, on the 110th anniversary of its original inauguration. The massive building is just across the street from the old one, and may now display many more carriages and related pieces. The most magnificent examples are still the ones used in an embassy to France’s Louis XIV and to Pope Clement XI.

10 New Places to Stay in Lisbon

October 11th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Pousada de Lisboa, Lisbon
Part of Portugal’s historic hotels chain, this magnificent hotel is right in Lisbon’s grandest square. It has a beautiful restaurant, elegant rooms, an indoor pool and a fitness center.
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Terrace Suites, Lisbon
Just up the street from the city’s main boulevard, this guesthouse comes with a wonderful sun terrace on the roof. If offers free wifi and there’s a shared kitchen where guests can prepare meals.
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Behotelisboa, Lisbon
This independently-owned hotel is the result of a complete renovation of a building from the 1700s, just around the corner from the city’s main pedestrian street. All rooms have a simple, modern style and offer free wifi.
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Hotel Santiago de Alfama, Lisbon
This 5-star boutique hotel is just down the street from the castle and is in a 15th-century building. It only has 19 rooms, each with its own special decor. There’s also a restaurant, a cafe, and a “beauty bar.”
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Hotel Convento do Salvador, Lisbon
This former convent is now a modern hotel, but in the city’s oldest and most charming neighborhood. The famous tram 28 stops right at its doorstep, and many of the city’s historic attractions are within walking distance.
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The 7 Hotel, Lisbon
Located in the heart of downtown, this hotel places guests between the city’s main squares and with easy access to all public transportation. Some rooms have a kitchenette and all have wifi service.
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The 8 Downtown Suites, Lisbon
These suites in an 18th-century building are found downtown, and right across the street from an elevator that takes you up the hill to the castle. All of them have a minimalist modern design, and there’s a good restaurant downstairs.
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Jupiter Lisboa Hotel, Lisbon
This hotel is on one of the city’s main avenues, not very far from the airport, but in the city center. The subway takes you to the old town, but on sunny days guests may be tempted to stay by the pool on the terrace instead.
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Lux Lisboa Park Hotel, Lisbon
Found by the city’s main central park, this hotel has spacious rooms with plenty of natural light. There’s free wifi throughout the building.
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Flores Guest House, Lisbon
This guesthouse with comfortable, attractive rooms, is in one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. It’s on a quiet street but by many of the most popular restaurants, shops and cafes.
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9 Things to Do in Lisbon in September

August 25th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

The ninth month of the year is still warm enough for plenty of outdoor activities, and that’s why there’s an outdoors festival throughout almost the entire month. It’s also the beginning of the film festival season, with two international film festivals in town. See the special events and activities that you may experience in Lisbon this September:

Roman Theater, Lisbon

The Roman Theater Museum closed a couple of years ago for a major renovation, and will reopen some time in September. The few archaeological remains of the theater that survive have been cleaned up, and the new small museum will attempt to bring it back to life, through findings from the excavations and through multimedia displays.

During the first six days of the month you may still catch one of the biggest art exhibitions of the year in Lisbon. It’s in the Ancient Art Museum and shows more than 130 works (including paintings, sculptures and decorative arts), mostly by one of the very rare female artists from the 17th century, Josefa de Óbidos. They came from several Portuguese and international collections, and admission is 7 euros. If you want to see the museum’s permanent collection, you may do so for free if you get the Lisboa Card.

The sixth annual event dedicated to fashion and shopping will bring the usual crowds to the streets of Chiado, Príncipe Real, Baixa and down Avenida da Liberdade. Expect major discounts and special events both inside and outside the shops in the evening, until 11PM on September 10th.

September is the start of the film festival season, and the first one is dedicated to horror movies. This is the 9th edition of the MOTELx international horror film festival, and it will last from the 8th to the 13th of the month at the São Jorge Theater.

The other film festival this month is one of the oldest in Lisbon and one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. Queer Lisboa is dedicated exclusively to screening gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender films, or a genre simply referred to as “queer cinema”. The festival lasts for just over a week, from September 18th to the 26th, in São Jorge Theater on Avenida da Liberdade.

This outdoor festival lasting until September 20th turns different public spaces in the center of the city into stages for shows ranging from musical performances to movie screenings. A major show is happening on the last day, with the orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation offering a free concert in Municipal Square at 7PM. Another free show is a Fado concert on the 4th and 11th of the month in front of São Carlos Theater at 9:30PM. In between, don’t be surprised to come across other events and performances at different spaces around the city.

View from the Monument to Christ, Cristo Rei, Lisbon

A new tour takes you across Lisbon’s landmark 25 de Abril Bridge on an open-top bus and stops at the Monument to Christ where you have the city at your feet. Take a moment to admire the views and snap a few photos before heading to the top of the pedestal to stand by the statue looking over the bridge and the city. More tour information here: Bridge and Christ the King Tour from Lisbon

Also new is the chance to skip the line at the Jeronimos Monastery. The crowds won’t be as big as in August, but September is still a major tourist month, and you may want to save some time and your legs, and avoid standing in line. This after a guided walking tour of the neighborhood and of its most famous monuments. More info here: Skip the Line and Belem Walking Tour

Be among the first to try new restaurants serving everything from award-winning pizza to fresh Portuguese fish. Not far from the last stop of the popular tram 28 in Campo de Ourique/Prazeres is celebrity chef Vitor Sobral’s newest restaurant “Peixaria da Esquina”, specializing in fish and seafood. In the center of the city, in Chiado, is the new Mercantina, the only one in town certified by the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana”, meaning the city of Naples thinks this is one of the places in the world where “real Neapolitan pizzas” are served. Right next to the cathedral, with tables outside, is the new “Ao Pé da Sé”, a café-restaurant serving carpaccios, piadinas, tartare, sandwiches and salads throughout the day — perfect after sightseeing in the neighborhood.

8 Things to Do in Lisbon in August

July 31st, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

The eighth month of the year always attracts the biggest number of visitors to Lisbon. While many spend their days at the beach, there is a lot to do if you want to enjoy the city and its attractions. And if you enjoy art and culture you’re in luck, as there are some interesting exhibitions to allow you to escape the heat and take a break from the sun. Best of all, some of them are free, and if you still want to work on your tan, you may do so at a couple of new outdoor spots:

Berardo Museum

It’s one of the city’s best exhibitions this year, and best of all it’s free. Collector Joe Berardo has selected his favorites works from his world-class collection of modern art, some of which had never been on display. There’s a total of 35 works by artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Marc Chagall, which can be seen together with the permanent display of works by Andy Warhol and Picasso among others. See more about the museum: Berardo Museum

Another free exhibition is found at MuDe, the design and fashion museum. In addition to the permanent collection, it’s currently showing (until August 30th) sixteen haute couture pieces by the famous French designer, created between 1989 and 2000. Three of them had never been publicly shown before, and there are descriptions about each piece written by the designer, allowing you to understand his creative process.

2015 is the International Year of Light, and since Lisbon is known as one of the world’s most luminous cities, there’s an exhibition about its mythical light. It’s organized by the Lisbon Museum, and is being shown in the western turret of Comercio Square. It offers a scientific explanation for the city’s reflecting light and shows how it has inspired artists over time.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Chiado (often simply referred to as the Chiado Museum) has finally expanded in July and has a new wing with plenty of space to show some of the best contemporary Portuguese art. The current exhibition shows works by the major Portuguese artists from 1960 to 1990.

Royal carriages museum

A controversial new building has opened to be able to display more vehicles than the previous 110-year-old Coaches Museum. The controversy comes not just for the multimillion-euro cost of the construction but also for the modern architecture now housing such a classic fairy tale collection. Go judge for yourself and see why this museum is one of Lisbon’s most visited attractions.

Terraços do Carmo

It still doesn’t have the planned cafe, but the terrace next to Carmo Church by the Santa Justa Elevator has already opened for the first time. It’s now a calm spot for you to relax and enjoy a view of the castle and of the elevator.

Jardim da Cerca da Graça

Also open for the first time is the park down the hill from Graça Church and its famous viewpoint. It’s been there for centuries, but was not open to the public. It’s now a public park faced by the castle, with a children’s playground, a cafe and lots of space to spread your towel and have a pic nic.

A multimedia show based on the legend of Lisbon’s foundation by Ulysses is being projected onto Comercio Square every night from August 7th to the 16th, at 9:30PM, 10:30PM and 11:30PM. It will feature 3D effects and DJ music, and the show lasts 15 minutes.

10 Great Summer Hotels in Lisbon

May 12th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

You could stay at the beachfront hotels of Cascais, but in order to be closer to all that Lisbon has to offer, it’s a better idea to look for accommodation in the center of the city. So where can you stay to enjoy the Portuguese capital’s urban pleasures and still get a tan? Consider these ten hotels:

Altis Belém Hotel, Lisbon

Here you’re literally between two of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks — the Belem Tower and the Discoveries Monument. You’re also right on the water’s edge, with two restaurants (one of them distinguished with a Michelin star) and a bar with outdoor seating, plus a wonderful spa and rooftop pool.
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Lapa Palace Hotel, Lisbon

This 5-star hotel is located in one of the city’s calmest and most upscale neighborhoods. The rooms offer city views, and it has one of the largest and most pleasant hotel gardens in town. And then there’s the pool for a swim after a day of sightseeing.
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Pestana Palace Hotel, Lisbon

The choice of international celebrities such as Madonna and Prince, this hotel up on a hill halfway between downtown and monumental Belém is itself a monument. And in addition to the beautiful building, it has a wonderful garden and pool for you to enjoy a day in the sun away from it all.
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Memmo Alfama Hotel, Lisbon

This design hotel has the most beautiful view of the old town, and a huge terrace where you may catch some sun during the day and sip a cocktail on the warm nights. It’s found within walking distance of downtown and charming old Alfama, meaning you never have to go very far in the heat to find a place to visit or to eat and drink.
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Torel Palace Hotel, Lisbon

This recent hotel remains a well-kept secret. It’s a mansion from the 1800s up on a hill from Avenida da Liberdade, with a beautiful interior and wonderful terrace which offers city views and a pool.
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Tivoli Jardim Hotel, Lisbon

If you’re looking for some isolation but still want to be in the center of everything, consider this hotel. It’s right by the central Avenida da Liberdade, but with a garden in the back with a circular pool where you may stay working on your tan.
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VIP Grand Hotel, Lisbon

It’s mostly a business hotel in a business district, but its pool attracts all kinds of tourists in the summer. The spa and gym are other bonuses, and the must-see Gulbenkian Museum (with its very pleasant gardens) is nearby.
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HF Fenix Music Hotel, Lisbon

This new hotel is found right at the top of the city’s main boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade, and at the top of the building is a very inviting pool. Here you may enjoy a swim or a drink looking over the city towards the castle.
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Mercure Lisboa Hotel, Lisbon

Lisbon’s hotel of the French chain is found uptown, close to the Gulbenkian Museum. The tourist center is just a short Metro ride away, but you may see one of the city’s greatest historic landmarks from your room — the old aqueduct. That monument can also be admired from the pool on any warm sunny day.
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Sunset Destination Hostel, Lisbon

If you’re on a budget and prefer a hostel, consider this one. Not only does it share the building of the train station that takes you to the beaches of Cascais, it also has a resort atmosphere on its pool terrace. Catch some sun as you watch the ships go by during the day, then head to the multitude of bars in the neighborhood at night.
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10 New Hotels in Lisbon

April 25th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Valverde Hotel, Lisbon

This luxury boutique hotel is right on the city’s main central boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade. It only has 25 rooms, so it’s perfect for those looking for a more intimate atmosphere. It features an elegant decor, and a patio with a small pool.
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Porto Bay Liberdade, Lisbon

This luxurious hotel says it’s an “urban resort” right in the center of the city, around the corner from Avenida da Liberdade. It has an indoor pool, outdoor lounge with jacuzzi on the rooftop, a spa, gym, and a refined restaurant.
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H10 Duque de Loulé, Lisbon

A beautifully restored building has been turned into this beautifully decorated hotel. It’s inspired by classic Portuguese traditions such as the blue and white tilework, but added contemporary touches. It offers a library bar and a meeting room, making it a good choice whether you’re in town for business or leisure.
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Evolution Hotel, Lisbon

Located uptown, facing a busy square, this hotel offers you a completely independent experience. It uses the latest technology to allow you to self check-in, select your room, and adapt the lighting and temperature to your taste using your smartphone. Everything from the gym to the indoor pool is available 24/7.
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My Story Hotel - Rossio, Lisbon

With rooms opening out to Rossio Square, staying here is being right in the heart of the city. It has a modern minimalist decor, and a restaurant inspired by a historic cafe that existed on the site until the 1970s.
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HF Fenix Music Hotel, Lisbon

Facing Edward VII Park, this hotel draws inspiration from music, and the rooms have different color patterns. On the rooftop is a swimming pool and lounge bar.
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BessaHotel Liberdade, Lisbon

Behind a classic tile-covered façade on Avenida da Liberdade is this modern 4-star hotel. There’s a swimming pool, meeting rooms, sauna and gym, as well as a stylish restaurant.
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Brown's Central Hotel, Lisbon

A building from the 1700s has been completely renovated and turned into this modern-design hotel. Some rooms have a kitchenette and all have marble bathrooms.
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Hotel Lis Baixa, Lisbon

The building is originally from the 1800s, and it maintained the old staircase and limestone arches, but everything else is completely new. It’s found downtown but on a quiet street, and has a restaurant serving traditional Portuguese cuisine.
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The Late Birds Guesthouse, Lisbon

This hotel targets gay male travelers, with a location in Bairro Alto, within walking distance of many gay bars. It has a small outdoor swimming pool, sun deck and lounge bar, and every room has a computer and free wi-fi.
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Survey Says: Tourists Love Lisbon

February 26th, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon had a record year in tourism in 2014, and it seems that almost everyone left satisfied and wanting more. When visitors were asked how much they liked the city on a scale of 1 to 10, the average score was a 9.28, and 99.3% said they wish to return. Over half of those surveyed (62%) said Lisbon exceeded their expectations, and around the same number (60.8%) said they rank the Portuguese capital among their top 5 favorite destinations.

Lisbon was the European capital with the highest growth in hotel stays, and in 2015 there will be close to two dozen hotel openings. But this doesn’t mean that it will become more expensive and overrun with tourists like most other European cities. It remains an undiscovered (overlooked) destination for most tourists from outside Europe, and prices are still well below those of most other Western European capitals, especially when it comes to hotels and apartments.

There are many reasons why Lisbon is suddenly becoming a favorite in Europe, and one of them seems to be word of mouth, which reminds many of one of the most authentic European capitals. Lisbon is now more attractive than ever, especially after its renovated waterfront, new museum openings and a rejuvenated food scene. Tourists sharing all the scenic views they captured on camera in Lisbon on social media, and trip reports on blogs and websites have convinced many to visit the city and see for themselves.

If you haven’t been to Lisbon or it’s been some time since you were last in town, it’s time to discover a whole new destination. So start planning your sightseeing now!

The Most Romantic 24 Hours in Lisbon

January 21st, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Lisbon sunrise


Wake up before sunrise, and head to Portas do Sol (literally “The Sun Gate”). This terrace in the Alfama district is where you may sit and watch the sun rising, and admire the early morning glow over the city’s most postcard-perfect view. It’s a good idea to stay at one of the hotels nearby, and if you choose Palácio Belmonte, you may even have the Portas do Sol view from your room. Other choices are Memmo Alfama, Solar dos Mouros and Solar do Castelo. After the sun has risen, go for a stroll around the neighboring maze of picturesque streets until 9AM, the castle’s opening time.
Castle view, Lisbon


Get a bird’s-eye view over the city from its oldest monument. Feel like the king and queen of the castle as you walk around the ramparts in the company of peacocks. You’ll want to spend some time here, but there’s still plenty to see, so hop on an official tram tour, which goes around the old city.
You may then look for a place for lunch that best appeals to you, although you probably should head back up by the castle for a meal with a view over the city, at Chapitô à Mesa.

Chapitô à Mesa


Coaches Museum, Lisbon


You may want to wait a few minutes for dessert. Try the city’s famous custard tarts on the opposite side of town, the Belém district. Lisbon’s most famous and iconic landmarks are all found there on the waterfront, where the Tagus river becomes the Atlantic. This was from where explorers like Vasco da Gama departed for their voyages around the world during the Age of Discovery, and now you may see the magnificent architecture from that time. Start with the cloisters of the Jeronimos Monastery, take a photo by the Discoveries Monument, and relax by the beautiful Belém Tower. Be sure to also see the Cinderella-like carriages of the Coaches Museum, and if you’ve still got the energy, head up the hill to the royal palace of Ajuda, known for its romantic collection of decorative art.

Belem Tower, Lisbon

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon


Head back to the center of town, but stay by the waterfront. Head to the top of the triumphal arch for the beautiful view, and late in the afternoon there’s no better spot to be than Ribeira das Naus, the promenade next to Comercio Square. This is where many choose to stay for the sunset, either at the Cais das Colunas wharf, or sitting on the steps of the promenade.
Lisbon sunset


Moon over Lisbon

After the sun disappears in the horizon, but before nightfall, head up to Bairro Alto for the city’s most romantic viewpoint, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. It’s the perfect backdrop for a selfie of the two of you, and you may sit for a while, as the moon shines above the castle.

Comercio Square, Lisbon




Continue heading up the hill and you’re now in the romantic district of Principe Real. Get yourselves a gift at the monumental Embaixada shopping gallery, and sit relaxing under the gigantic umbrella-like cedar tree at the garden across from it. It’s now dinner time, so choose one of the many restaurants in the popular nightlife district Bairro Alto nearby. Consider As Salgadeiras, a former bakery (the stone vaulted ceiling and old brick oven have been maintained) that serves excellent Portuguese cuisine, or try Lisboa à Noite. It’s a former stable for horses that has kept the ring chains and beautiful tile panels from the 1700s, serving some classic Portuguese dishes. A third option is Pap’Açorda, a chandeliered restaurant known for both its contemporary and traditional Portuguese cuisine, and yet another choice is The Insólito, found on a rooftop looking out to the castle.
The Insolito


It’s now time to head back to your hotel, but you may also choose an apartment instead.
But why should you only have 24 romantic hours in Lisbon? Make this a 48-hour experience, and head to Sintra on the following day. This fairy tale town less than 40 minutes from the capital city was Europe’s first center of Romantic architecture, and is now a World Heritage Site. Of the many palaces and castles in town, the one you can’t miss is Pena Palace, but we also recommend the Regaleira Palace and the Moorish Castle, and Monserrate Palace. You can easily spend an entire day hopping around palaces and castles, and you may then relax in the oldest hotel in the Iberian Peninsula, Lawrence’s Hotel, or have the royal experience at Seteais Palace Hotel.

Pena Palace


10 Reasons to Visit Lisbon in 2015

January 2nd, 2015 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Belem Tower, Lisbon

Lisbon’s most iconic monument is celebrating its 500th anniversary throughout the year, with a special event at the end of June. On the same month, the annual parade down Avenida da Liberdade on the night of the 12th will have the World Heritage tower as its theme and inspiration.

Ribeira Market

Lisbon’s central market added a food court on the ground level last May, which quickly made it one of the city’s most popular spots. In 2015, it will add new attractions upstairs, including a restaurant, auditorium and gallery, making it more than a dining destination.

2014 ended with Lisbon having a 2-Michelin-star restaurant for the first time. It was awarded to Belcanto, which had previously already been distinguished with one, and in 2015 there will be more acclaimed chefs opening new restaurants in the city. Henrique Sá Pessoa, known locally for his TV cooking show, closed his restaurant “Alma” in 2014, but will reopen it in a more central location, in Chiado, in the new year. And local celebrity chef Olivier will open a high-end restaurant and members’ club by Avenida da Liberdade, while in the same neighborhood there will be a new hotel with a restaurant managed by a Michelin star chef from Madeira. There will be more information about all of these places and more, throughout the year.

Roman Theater, Lisbon

It’s one of Lisbon’s oldest constructions, but was only unearthed in the 1960s. It’s the city’s Roman theater, which is now only seen in part, as an archaeological site. But a small museum with a few pieces found on the site was created in 2001 next to the excavations, only to close in 2013 for renovations. Now in May of 2015 it will reopen and will better explain life in Lisbon during Roman times, while also trying to bring the ancient monument to life.

The 12th edition of the round-the-world ocean race chose Lisbon as a transatlantic stopover, bringing the sailing competition to the city from May 23rd to the 27th. During these dates, you can expect to see the Lisbon waterfront with even more activity.

Super Bock Super Rock

It’s one of Lisbon’s biggest annual music festivals, but it had left the city for the beach in the last several years. In 2015 it’s back in Lisbon, in Parque das Nações, on July 16th, 17th and 18th. Right now only Florence and the Machine have been confirmed, but other bands will be announced soon.

2015 is a year of Lisbon’s design biennial which is essentially also a contemporary culture festival taking place in several venues around the city. It’s only happening late in the year, in November and December, so there is no information about it at the moment, but you may now mark your calendar.

Ribeira das Naus

With the Atlantic just a few minutes from the city center, Lisbon doesn’t really need an “urban beach.” But after the Ribeira das Naus waterfront promenade by Comercio Square became a “beach” last year, there was an idea to turn another waterfront area into a central “beach.” That project seems to be coming true, and the location is in the Belém district, not far from the Discoveries Monument. There will be beach chairs and an actual beach environment but no sand, only a lawn — and no swimming. But plenty of sunbathing.

Will 2015 be finally the year when the new Coaches Museum opens its doors? The building has been ready for a couple of years, but the inauguration has been delayed several times. It’s now said that it’s scheduled for the summer, but locals have to see it to believe it. And tourists will also see more of Lisbon’s magnificent old carriages that also have to be seen to be believed. These fairy tale vehicles that once transported royalty and nobility can currently still be admired in the old museum, but when the new one opens, there will be more to see and more to learn about them, and about the times when they used to roam the streets of Lisbon and elsewhere in Europe.

Portugal’s network of historic hotels will finally open one in the capital, in one of the arcaded buildings of Comercio Square. Scheduled for some time in the summer, the Pousada de Lisboa will blend the historic and the contemporary, plus an unbeatable waterfront location. Another excellent location is that of the upcoming Hotel Santiago de Alfama, just steps from the castle and around the corner from a couple of the city’s most beautiful viewpoints. And yet another special place where you may be the very first guest is Porto Bay Liberdade, opening soon by the city’s luxury shopping boulevard, featuring a refined restaurant and rooftop lounge.

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