Archive for November, 2010

Lisbon Lights Up For Christmas

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Lisbon’s Christmas lights were switched on this weekend. Budget cuts cancelled the annual gigantic Christmas tree but the streets downtown and in major commercial areas are now lit up and decorated with the spirit of the holiday season.
The biggest attraction is Rossio Square, where an ice skating rink and a merry-go-round have been placed. Perhaps this funfair atmosphere was not the best choice for the city’s most historical square, but it did attract hundreds of people this weekend, and will continue to do so until January 9th.

Lisbon Christmas

Lisbon Christmas

Lisbon Christmas

Lisbon Christmas

Lisbon Christmas

Lisbon Christmas

5 Free Things to Do in Lisbon This December

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

MUDE - Design Museum, Lisbon

A New Look at the Design and Fashion Museum Collection
Lisbon’s Design and Fashion Museum is always free, and this month (until January 30th) you may see part of the collection rearranged by Tenente, one of Portugal’s top fashion designers. He selected about 30 outfits by some of the world’s top designers, from Christian Lacroix to Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and Jean Paul Gaultier among others, and presents some of his own creations as well.

Architecture Triennial Exhibition in the Berardo Museum
The Berardo Museum of Modern Art is one of Lisbon’s major cultural attractions, and it’s taking part in the city’s architecture triennial. This exhibition (which is free just like the rest of the museum) discusses the world’s housing conditions based on the specific needs of each region of the globe, and how architecture is defined by local solutions.

The Golden Age of Portuguese Art
The Ancient Art Museum is presenting an exhibition about the “golden age” of Portuguese art (the artists and works created between 1450 and 1550). The stars of the 160 pieces on display are the famous “St. Vincent Panels” which are always a highlight of the museum, but here they’re “dissected” and explained through infrared images.
Most of the other works are part of the museum’s collection, but many were also brought from the Évora Museum, while others are Portuguese works now found in museums in Italy, France, Belgium and Poland.
This exhibition is free if you go on a Sunday until 2PM.

The International Urban Culture Festival
The Lisbon International Urban Culture Festival is taking place around the city until December 11, and one place you should not miss is Palácio Verride, a pink palatial building by the Santa Catarina viewpoint where dozens of Portuguese and foreign artists present their work. The program includes performances, workshops and themed exhibitions, all related to urban culture and contemporary art.

Christmas Concerts
Lisbon’s annual Christmas concerts in several of the city’s churches are back. Among the locations is Memoria Church, for a concert at 4PM on Saturday the 11th, Graça Church on the following day at the same time, Estrela Basilica on the 17th at 9:30PM, and chamber music in São Domingos Church on Sunday the 19th at 4PM.

A Lisbon Photo Tour from CNN

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Lisbon tour from CNN

The NATO and United States-European Union summits just took place in Lisbon, bringing most of the European leaders and President of the United States Barack Obama to the city. With all the eyes of the political world turned to the Portuguese capital, CNN presented a photo gallery which shows many of the city’s main attractions and provides brief information about each one of them. was a source for this report which you may see here: Discovering Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s 2010-2011 Concert Season

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Lisbon concerts

Lisbon’s major concert season is the summer when the big music festivals take place. But from now until then there are already some famous names lined up for concerts in the city.
Until the end of the year some of those names include Deftones, Lady Gaga, and 30 Seconds to Mars, while for 2011 the scheduled acts include Katy Perry, The National and Bon Jovi.
GoLisbon has updated its Lisbon concerts guide, and it will continue to do so whenever new events are scheduled.
On that page you’ll also find links to complete concert information, including how to get your tickets.

Good-Bye to Lisbon’s “Mr. Hello”

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Senhor do Adeus

A couple of years ago, in a post about unusual or strange things in Lisbon (“Weird Lisbon“), we told you about a gentleman who had become a local celebrity by simply waving hello on the street, at night, in the center of the city. He originally did it in Saldanha Square uptown, but in recent years he was mostly seen in his neighborhood, Restelo, by the Belém district. Although known as “Mr. Good-Bye,” he said he prefered to be called “Mr. Hello.”
His real name was Mr. João Serra, and today we’re sad to report that he passed away yesterday at the age of 80. In print and television interviews he recognized that what he did was unusual and that he understood if everyone thought he was crazy. However, that doesn’t seem to be the opinion of the thousands of people who waved back at him over the years, many of whom will today be standing in his honor at 10PM on his spot in Saldanha Square, doing what he did for years — saying hello and hearing the cars honk back and cheer in return.
Mr. Serra was born into a wealthy family, never really worked, but was a well-traveled and cultured man. He went to the movies every week and there was even a blog created with his insights. His reason for standing in the middle of the city was to “connect with people,” something that arose from solitude at home, and the need to bring “life” to a city deserted at night ever since “television took people away from the theaters and the streets.”
Despite his celebrity status, Mr. Serra said his actions were not for exhibitionism, and that was the reason why he refused so many invitations to appear on television. His actions, he said, were purely “therapeutical.” It wasn’t clear if he meant that for himself or for the people of Lisbon, as for a couple of seconds those who saw him would at least crack a smile.
Mr. Serra preferred “hello” to “good-bye,” so in this case we’ll only say “Cheers!” to him and the hours he dedicated to brightening Lisbon’s nights.

“Grapes & Bites” – The Newest Wine Bar in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Grapes & Bites, Lisbon

Most of the bars in Bairro Alto are known for their cheap beer and caipirinhas, but the newest openings seem to all be devoted to wine. The latest one is called “Grapes & Bites,” and despite the English name it only serves Portuguese wines and “petiscos” (snacks).
There are close to 200 choices, many from the bottles on display, others presented on the wine list. They can be served by the glass or bottle.
There are also cocktails, but all made with national wines. To accompany the drinks there are cold cuts, Portuguese cheeses, bread and jams.
It took over the space of a former streetwear boutique, now decorated with big wine barrels standing as tables under the arched interior.
It surprisingly opens every day, even on Sundays, from 2PM to 2AM.
It’s located in the neighborhood’s trendiest shopping street, Rua do Norte, number 81.

“Hotel da Estrela” – A New Hotel in One of Lisbon’s Most Charming Neighborhoods

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Hotel da Estrela

Located in one of Lisbon’s most charming and tranquil neighborhoods (that is surprisingly without any hotels), Hotel da Estrela has just opened. It has 13 rooms, six suites and three meeting rooms, as well as a bar and a restaurant. It’s a very unique hotel because it’s part of a tourism school, although it’s run by professionals offering 4-star service (it’s also part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World brand).
The interior is by one of Portugal’s most renowned designers, Miguel Câncio Martins, who’s worked on several high-profile hotels, bars and restaurants around the world.
Guests will see Estrela park and the dome of Estrela Basilica down the street from the hotel, and the famous tram 28 passes right by.
You can get complete hotel information and booking details here: Hotel da Estrela
For all other hotel choices in Lisbon, see our Lisbon hotels guide.

A New and Unusual Museum in Lisbon

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Museu Pavilhão de Segurança, Lisbon

The Pavilhão de Segurança (“Security Pavilion”) Museum is one of Lisbon’s least-known and most unusual attractions.
Found in a hospital’s 19th century panopticon (a circular prison where prisoners are observed at all times), it’s a recently renovated space to show the art created by mentally-ill patients.
The building is of architectural interest, as it is the only panopticon in the world with an open-air courtyard. It is surrounded by 26 cells and in addition to the 3500 sketches, paintings and sculptures (called “art of the insane,” or “raw art” or “outsider art” in the art world) there are displays of furnishings that made up this hospital-prison. Many of them are interesting examples of industrial design of the 1920s and 30s, and there is also some rather disturbing medical equipment.
The museum is free to visit, and it’s open on Mondays, when most others in the city are closed. The opening times on that day are 2PM-6PM, as it is on Saturdays. The third opening day is Wednesdays, from 11:30AM-1PM. On all other weekdays, visits are by appointment only, and you may also ask for a guided tour.
Address: Rua Dr. Almeida Amaral, 1
Phone: 210006098

Museu Miguel Bombarda, Lisbon