Go Lisbon has told you where to find Lisbon in London, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. Now we let you know about the Portuguese presence in another major world city — Amsterdam. When you visit the Dutch capital’s most important museum, the Rijksmuseum, you not only see some of the best Old Masters but also get a history lesson on the role of the Dutch in world trade after the Age of Discovery. As written on one of the walls in the museum, and explained next to many of the pieces on display, the Dutch took over much of the Asian and American trade started by the Portuguese, leading to their capital becoming one of the richest cities in the world. Later, as a result of the Iberian persecution of Jews, many Sephardic (Portuguese and Spanish) Jews fled to Amsterdam, and that’s how the city’s most important synagogue was born. Today the Portuguese Synagogue has a beautifully restored interior and is open to visitors.
After that, if you’re still in the mood for something Portuguese-related, dine at Portugalia, a Portuguese restaurant in the center of the city. Those nostalgic for Lisbon and its music have had the chance to hear Fado on some special nights, while any time they show up there is always a wide range of Portuguese specialties available on the menu, from the “Seafood Festival” dish to the good-old cod in cream, “bacalhau com natas” which is always a favorite.
UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED. CLUB “VOYEUR” HAS TAKEN OVER ITS SPACE.
When Lisbon’s casino opened in 2006 it offered one of the city’s best restaurants. That was “Pragma” which was able to get Fausto Airoldi, the acclaimed chef of the renowned “Bica do Sapato” restaurant. It served some of the city’s most innovative food at prices suitable for high gamblers, so perhaps because of the global economic crisis, that restaurant closed last year, only to be renovated and reopened with a new name and concept. It’s still the same chef cooking creative contemporary cuisine, but the prices have gone down. It’s all presented in a loungy space with low tables, sofas, and comfy chairs, where the idea is to invite conversation and lounging as you eat through the night. The menu lists almost three dozen mini-dishes, tapas-like portions to be shared at the table. They range in price between 3.50 and 7.50 euros and each plate has two pieces, so how much you spend depends on how much you eat. You may order until 2AM which means that you may try your luck at the slot machines or gaming tables, perhaps catch a live show, and return to try another dish. The name “Suite” is to evoke the idea of “room service,” where you can order anything at any time, a concept much more suitable to the environment of a casino.
It’s been over 30 degrees celsius (around 90F) here in Lisbon in the last few days, and with July and August approaching many travelers are already looking to head to the shores of Algarve. We suggest you consider heading in the opposite direction and explore the north of Portugal instead this year. It will be less crowded, it will be cheaper, and there are plenty of attractions to discover, including beaches for sunbathing. After a stop in Porto, continue north and you’ll soon be in the Minho region. The greenest of all Portuguese provinces is home to some of the country’s most elegant and best-preserved cities, and one of them is Viana do Castelo. That city has just opened a brand new hotel, a contemporary, slightly futuristic space that’s already been mentioned in Wallpaper magazine. That is the Axis Viana Hotel (which you may book through GoLisbon), the city’s best accommodation for both business and leisure travelers. It’s also a SPA hotel, and has quickly become a city landmark. You can walk to the beautiful historical center in just a few minutes and the beach is not too far away, although you can always stay at the pool in the outdoor terrace. The price is also incredibly reasonable, and for those staying some extra time in the area can also stay at the pousada nearby which offers wonderful views.
Lisbon’s most popular festival takes place every June on the 13th of the month. That’s Saint Anthony’s Day (the saint was born in Lisbon), and this year was no exception, with thousands of people filling the streets and alleys of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. But although that is over, the partying continues throughout Lisbon in the upcoming weeks. Until the end of the month you can still catch the Fado Festival which includes concerts in Saint George’s Castle, ending with a show by the current Fado queen Mariza on the 27th. That’s also the day of Lisbon’s Gay Pride parties which this year start at 4PM in the Belem district by Belem Tower. Several DJs will provide the soundtrack to the city’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that led to the annual gay pride festivals around the world, and Lisbon will also be remembering one of its biggest gay icons, a popular singer from the 1980s, Antonio VariaÃ§Ãµes, who died 25 years ago.
Special events continue days later with jazz performances in the city’s three famous funiculars (Bica, Gloria, and Santa Justa) every night at 11PM from July 1st to the 12th.
And until the 15th you may check out Combo Lisboa, a special event organized by the recently-opened Design and Fashion Museum where 13 shops downtown present Portuguese design pieces while also being turned into stages for theater performances.
Finally, on the 15th and 16th of July, the Berardo Museum marks its second anniversary with a non-stop 24-hour celebration with various dance performances, live DJs, and a special bar service. And best of all, it’s free!
Lisbon’s Parque das NaÃ§Ãµes district will soon have another daring piece of architecture. That’s the IMOCOM building, an environmentally-friendlyÂ project for a real estate company that will have its headquarters in one of the seven floors. The rest of the space will hold other offices, while the ground floor will be for street-level shops. In total this construction will cost 40 million euros and will include a multimedia faÃ§ade on which those passing by will see audiovisual information.
The design is by Nuno Mateus and JosÃ© Mateus, two Portuguese architects of ARX Portugal Arquitectos, and will be standing next to the Vasco da Gama mall behind the twin SÃ£o Gabriel and SÃ£o Rafael towers as pictured above.
See more projects for Lisbon in the future.