Archive for June, 2010

The “Soulful Streets” of Lisbon, “Europe’s Most Intriguing Capital” on Lonely Planet Magazine

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Lonely Planet MagazineThe July 2010 issue of Lonely Planet magazine dedicates eleven of its pages to Lisbon in an article titled “Rediscover Lisbon.”

In its introduction it states that the city “is quietly becoming Europe’s most intriguing capital” and in the following pages it explores its most famous cafés, its new “top-class eating establishments,” and highlights the new Design and Fashion Museum together with an overview of the attractions seen on a ride on tram 28.

The entire article is illustrated with several colorful photographs of the city’s streets, landmarks, and close-ups of the most mouth-watering pastries, drinks, and dishes.

In the end, it provides one tip on what to see, where to sleep, where to eat, and where to drink for each budget: inexpensive, mid-range, and luxury.

The magazine is on newsstands around the world right now, so it may be something you want to pick up at the airport on your way to Lisbon this month.

Lonely Planet Magazine - Lisbon

Lonely Planet Magazine - Lisbon

Lisbon’s 3 New (And Affordable) Hotels

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Lisbon has had three new hotels opening in the last couple of months, all of them located in the center of the city and at reasonable prices. One of them is even a new concept, a “low cost” hotel that’s somewhere between a standard hotel and a hostel:

INSPIRA SANTA MARTA HOTEL

Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, Lisbon

The just-opened Inspira Santa Marta is a stylish hotel just a short walk from Avenida da Liberdade in central Lisbon. Although it’s opened with only the superior rooms available, all the others will open by next month, also when the spa and gym become ready to receive guests.
Each room was designed following Feng Shui concepts and have a contemporary look.  You get free wireless internet service, but (unusually for Lisbon) no breakfast (that’s 7.50 per person). There is also a lounge and a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine.
Complete details and booking: INSPIRA SANTA MARTA HOTEL

EVIDÊNCIA LIGHT SANTA CATARINA HOTEL

Evidencia Santa Catarina Hotel, Lisbon

The low-cost airline concept has been applied to accommodation at this new hotel. That means how much you pay depends on what you want to get. Located at the doorstep of the popular Bairro Alto district next to the Santa Catarina viewpoint, Evidência Light Santa Catarina is like a transition between a standard hotel and a hostel, offering 13 double rooms with private bathroom, 3 triple rooms with private bathroom, and a dorm with 14 beds and separate bathrooms (one for each gender). That last room accommodates individuals or groups and it works just like a hostel.
Each room has a colorful design, and you get a bed, linen, and a towel, but not breakfast. Not serving a free breakfast allows it to be “low cost” accommodation, and you only get a new towel and linen every 3 days (you pay if you’d like extras before that). If you feel like an early morning or midnight snack, there are some available 24 hours a day on a vending machine.
There is also a lounge area with free wireless internet, a bar, a wonderful courtyard to catch some sun, and a “mini library.”
Complete details and booking: EVIDÊNCIA LIGHT SANTA CATARINA HOTEL

CS VINTAGE LISBOA HOTEL

CS Vintage Hotel

This new 56-room hotel just opened not far from Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s main, central avenue. It also offers a restaurant and two bars, and soon it will include a spa with different treatment rooms, gym, and indoor heated pool. Wireless internet and a breakfast buffet is included in the price.
This is 5-star accommodation but prices for a double room are as low as 100 euros. Each room is elegantly decorated with a certain classic/vintage look.
Complete details and booking: CS VINTAGE LISBOA HOTEL

Making Your Lisbon Shopping List? Put Cork In It

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Cork & Co., Lisbon

Portugal’s biggest export is not wine or shoes, it’s cork. This is the world’s biggest cork-producing country, supplying around 70% of it. That all-natural material comes mostly from the Alentejo region, and can be molded into a variety of products. A new shop in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto shows that this fully recyclable material is quickly becoming one of Portugal’s trademarks, especially in the design world. New York’s MoMA recently presented some of the best of Portuguese design, and many of the selected pieces were made with cork. You can now see many of those examples at the new “Cork & Co.” shop, offering fashion accessories and furniture all made with that very Portuguese material. These are all products with unique and exceptional characteristics, and entirely made in Portugal. On a trip to Lisbon this is a place to include in your itinerary if you’re looking for local creativity, high-quality eco-friendly products, and distinctive design.

The address is number 10 of Rua das Salgadeiras, just around the corner from Camões Square. This being Bairro Alto, it opens late and stays open at night — 2PM-10PM Monday to Wednesday, and 2PM to 11PM Thursday to Saturday. The phone number is (+351) 216 090 231

Cork & Co., Lisbon

Cork & Co., Lisbon

“Orpheu Caffé” – A New and Contemporary Space Inspired by Classic Lisbon Ambience

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Orpheu Caffé

Opened since June 1st for breakfast, brunch, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner, Orpheu Caffé seems to hope to be a modern version of a classic Lisbon café. The name is the same as that of a magazine published by poet Fernando Pessoa in the early 20th century, and the décor mixes the classic and the contemporary.
In the wallpapered interior are wooden furnishings around which you’ll be served a menu of light meals at any time of the day. There are freshly squeezed juices, toasted sandwiches, and a long list for a weekend brunch (at 15 euros). That brunch is a good option before going to the organic market right outside in the just-renovated Principe Real garden on Saturday mornings.
Later this summer the backyard will turn into an outdoor seating area, perfect for an inexpensive lunch or dinner in the summer.
Open on Friday and Saturday nights until 2AM, you can also drop by for a glass of wine in alternative to the bars in Bairro Alto, as the attractive space invites a stay among friends.

Café Orpheu, Lisbon

Café Orpheu, Lisbon

Address: Praça do Príncipe Real, 5A
Opening times: Monday to Thursday 10AM to Midnight; Fridays 10AM to 2AM, Saturdays 9AM to 2AM, Sundays 9AM to 8PM.
Website: http://www.orpheucaffe.com

Lisbon’s Other Famous Pastry Goes Global: The World’s Best Chocolate Cake Now Also in New York

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Best Chocolate Cake in the World in Lisbon and New York

Yesterday we told you about what can be considered Lisbon’s version of New York’s Magnolia cupcake shop. Today we can tell you that one of Lisbon’s most famous pastries (other than the custard tarts) is also crossing the Atlantic and arriving in New York.
As previously reported here, a café in Lisbon has what it calls the world’s best chocolate cake. Apparently others agree and new shops were open in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Starting tomorrow a new one will be found in New York’s SoHo/Nolita neighborhood, giving Manhattan an opportunity to judge the “world’s best” claim. Later in the year more Americans will be able to do the same in Washington DC.
The American shops will not have the Portuguese name (“O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo”), but they’ll naturally be baptized with the English translation, “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World” and offer the same crispy chocolate layers with creamy chocolate filling from a recipe that will remain secret.

New York address: 55A Spring St . (between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts)
Lisbon address: Rua Coelho da Rocha, 99

Lisbon’s Latest “Tease” – A New Café and Cupcake Shop in Bairro Alto

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Tease cupcakes, Lisbon

The world’s first cupcake bakery was born in Los Angeles, but soon others spread across the United States. The most famous of all is Magnolia in New York, thanks to the “Sex and the City” series. The current trend of cupcake shops around the world is also thanks to that TV show, and it has reached Lisbon. Despite this being a city with its own long tradition of pastries (including, of course, its famous custard tarts), cupcakes are being proven to be a success here as well. Although there are now a couple of places where you can find them in the city, the best one is “Tease“, a new café in Bairro Alto.
That neighborhood of restaurants and bars that only open at night (leaving the daytime for trendy boutiques down Rua do Norte) is therefore now also a destination for a drink, tea, and a sugar rush throughout the day. You can’t go for a cupcake breakfast as it only opens at noon, but you can have that specialty for dinner dessert, with doors remaining open until 11PM.
Every time you go you’ll find different cupcakes, in different colors, flavors, and designs at €2.40 each. They all look very tempting, and the space is quite inviting for a stay although you can grab a few to go. The interior is decorated with big comfy chairs, perfect for indulgence in one more guilty pleasure in the city.

Address: Rua do Norte, 31-33
Website: http://www.tease.pt

Tease cupcakes, Lisbon

Lisbon’s New Terrace Bar: “Clube Ferroviário”

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Clube Ferroviario, Lisboa

Lisbon has a new terrace that is aiming to become one of the city’s hottest bars. It’s found by Santa Apolonia station (and Lisbon’s favorite club, Lux), and promises an eclectic calendar of events. It has two rooms for concerts and DJs, two bars and a terrace which can also be used for live music together with views of the river.
It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, but unlike many other bars in the city, it’s not just open at night. It’s also a place to go before dinner in the afternoon, serving tapas, light meals, and drinks looking out to the Tagus.
Sundays will be a little different, devoted to theme parties and offering a brunch served by Magnolia, one of the city’s favorite contemporary cafés. On that day you can catch guest DJs, concerts, or film screenings.
Check out its Facebook page for more details.

Discover Hidden Lisbon in a Photowalk this Month

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Mae D'Agua Amoreiras, Lisbon

On the 24th of this month you can join a group of “photowalkers” who will be going through the “secret” underground tunnels of Lisbon’s extraordinary reservoirs, and end in one of the city’s most beautiful viewpoints. These tunnels and reservoirs are curated by the city’s award-winning Water Museum, and the starting point for their exploration will be the Amoreiras Garden at 2PM.
The first stop will be the Mãe D’Água reservoir (pictured above) which is now a space used for temporary exhibitions. That is followed by a short walk to the just-renovated Principe Real garden which has another stunning reservoir underneath it. To end the tour the destination is the beautiful São Pedro de Alcântara terrace for the most picture-perfect views of Lisbon.
If you don’t want your tour to end there, you have the option of continuing with other photowalkers to a restaurant in the neighborhood (Bairro Alto).
To join this walk, see its website here: Worldwide Photowalk

10 Lisbon Outdoor Sightseeing Activities for the Summer

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

It’s now June which means that from now until October, Lisbon will be sunny about 90% of the time. When visiting the city at this time, touring museums feels less appealing and you’ll likely be drawn to the great outdoors. Lisbon is perfect for that, with a marvelous setting: It has a river that many mistaken for the ocean, hills creating an amphitheater-like landscape best admired from the top of its castle, and terraces scattered around offering panoramic vistas. In between you’ll discover charming gardens, monuments offering views, and the approaching breeze of the Atlantic. Here are 10 ideas for what to do in the open air this summer in Lisbon:

Principe Real, Lisbon

1. RELAX IN PRINCIPE REAL’S GARDENS
The Principe Real neighborhood is one of Lisbon’s most charming residential areas, and its main square has just reopened last week after months of renovation. That square is actually a garden and you can sit under a gigantic “umbrella tree,” try one of the city’s traditional drinks at a kiosk café, and admire the architectural details of the colorful buildings of the surroundings. Go down the hill and you reach Praça das Flores, perhaps Lisbon’s most romantic corner. It’s never mentioned in guidebooks, but this small, shaded square has a couple of the city’s most inviting cafés with outdoor tables, including the new “Novamesa Snack Bar,” an extention of the recent Nova Mesa restaurant. Back up the hill is the enchanting Botanical Garden.

Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon

2. STROLL DOWN THE BOULEVARD
Avenida da Liberdade is Lisbon’s mile-long “Champs Elysées,” a boulevard know for its luxury shops, theaters, and cafés. A new Prada store is opening this week in one of its most beautiful buildings, and you can do some window-shopping as you go down the avenue admiring the city’s trademark mosaic pavements and stop to take a look at the many scattered statues, all the way to the city’s biggest park. Edward VII Park goes up a hill and once you reach the top you’re rewarded with a postcard-view of the city.

Praca do Comercio, Lisbon

3. STAND IN THE RENOVATED RIVERFRONT COMÉRCIO SQUARE
As GoLisbon reported, Lisbon’s biggest and most monumental square has just been renovated. The planned cafés will only be open in September or October, but you can sit by the river, at Cais das Colunas, a quayside area with two large columns marking the entrance to the city from the Tagus. From here you can admire the square and its triumphal arch, and sit as you watch the ferries cross the river, and see the landmark 25 de Abril Bridge and the Monument to Christ in the distance.

Panteao Nacional, Lisboa

4. CATCH SOME SUN FROM THE ROOFTOPS OF ALFAMA’S MAIN MONUMENTS
The National Pantheon and St. Vincent’s Monastery are both located in Alfama just steps from each other, and besides both being painted in shining white, they both offer rooftop terraces for city views. You can stop to check your guidebook or simply stay admiring the city as you work on your tan.

Portas do Sol, Lisbon

5. GO MIRADOURO-HOPPING IN ALFAMA
Alfama is Lisbon’s most picturesque neighborhood and it’s always best enjoyed outdoors. It forces even the laziest walkers to go up and down its cobbled streets, and the reward are its terrace viewpoints. Three of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city are located within walking distance from each other, and they allow you to do some sightseeing as you enjoy your sunny summer days. Start in Miradouro de Santa Luzia, go up to Miradouro das Portas do Sol (stop for a drink at its fantastic terrace café), and continue up the hill to Miradouro da Graça where you won’t be able to put your camera down.

Belém, Lisbon

6. STAND BY THE LAUNCH PAD OF THE DISCOVERIES
Florida’s Cape Canaveral is the launch pad for the exploration of space today, but five centuries ago the launch pad for the exploration of planet Earth was Lisbon’s Belém district. That’s where you’ll find the city’s three biggest landmarks, the Discoveries Monument, the Belém Tower, and Jerónimos Monastery. Starting at the monastery, walk west along the waterfront to admire the architecture and stone work of the other two monuments, and picture Vasco da Gama departing on his way to discovering the maritime route to the East or Pedro Alvares Cabral on his way to discoverig South America.

Parque das Nações, Lisbon

7. GO BACK TO THE FUTURE IN PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES
Lisbon’s waterfront is not just about the voyages of the past. At the former site of 1998’s World Fair you now find a modern residential and business district with futuristic architecture. You may see all of it from a bird’s-eye perspective on a cable car ride, or walking along the riverfront from one of the world’s biggest aquariums all the way to a Dubai-like tower, Torre Vasco da Gama. In between you’ll see lawns and gardens inviting you for a picnic.

8. CRUISE DOWN THE TAGUS
With so many walks by the river you’ll probably end up wishing you were in it. You may do that by taking a sightseeing cruise which departs every afternoon from the center of the city and goes all the way to Belém and Parque das Nações. Be sure to take your camera, especially when you pass under 25 de Abril Bridge and see Vasco da Gama Bridge at the end of the journey. Get complete cruise details here: Tagus River Cruise

9. GO ON A PHOTOGRAPHY WALKING TOUR
By now you probably already know that Lisbon is one of Europe’s most picturesque cities which is why it’s so loved by photographers. Even if you have very little talent and don’t aspire to become one, you’ll enjoy a walking tour where photographing the city is the theme. Your attention will be guided to all the details that make Lisbon so special, from the tiled façaded to the cobbled mosaics, to the surprising views along the way.
Complete tour details here: Lisbon Photography Walking Tour

Estoril

10. TAKE THE CASCAIS-ESTORIL BOARDWALK
Lisbon may have a Mediterranean look and feel, but this is actually a very Atlantic city. Its river opens to the ocean from the Belém district to the seaside towns of Cascais and Estoril. Known as “the Portuguese Riviera,” these are two chic resorts which are connected by a beachfront boardwalk. You’ll find pretty villas, marinas, small coves, and Europe’s largest casino but on a sunny day nothing will make you leave the boardwalk with occasional stops for a drink at a beachfront café or some sunbathing on the sand.