Archive for December, 2010

Changes in Lisbon’s Public Transportation in 2011

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Lisbon Metro

The prices of bus or tram tickets in Lisbon have always been the same, but that will change in the new year.
Buses will have an increase of five cents (to €1.50), while riding one of the city’s famous trams will now cost you €2.50.
The landmark funiculars (Santa Justa, Glória, Bica, and Lavra) will cost 3 euros, but those tickets will allow you to go on two rides (even if you just ride once, it will still be €3 euros).
This is yet another reason to acquire the Lisboa Card during a visit to the city, since you’ll be able to ride all public transportation (with the exception of the airport bus) for free.
Lisbon’s metro will also increase the price of its tickets to 90 cents, but it is also free with the Lisboa Card.
Better news was the recent announcement by Carris (the local bus company) that several of its buses will offer free Wi-Fi internet service. Right now it’s only available in buses number 36 and 745, but it will expand to other routes.
To use this service, simply select “CARRIS-TMN” on your computer or smartphone.
However, most tourists never ride the city’s buses, as the metro and the trams take you to all of the city’s attractions.

2010 in Review: A Great Year For Lisbon

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Lisbon

The Best Food Year Ever
The year 2010 will stand out in Lisbon for the quality of the city’s new restaurants and promising new chefs. The year started with the New York Times highlighting those chefs, and a number of notable restaurants opened throughout the months that followed.
The first one was Largo, with its beautiful interior and refined cuisine, and later came a trio that already rank among the best in the city: Assinatura, Pedro e o Lobo, and Bistro 100 Maneiras.
Also making news was the opening of two restaurants related to the local fashion world, Opaq and Unique which surprised by paying as much attention to the quality of the menu as they did to the décor and ambience.
Another trendy new restaurant opened later in the year, D’Oliva, which arrived from Porto.
Lisbon’s rise as a gastronomic destination also led to a major article focusing on the city’s best restaurants in Bell’Europa magazine.

The Discovery of Americans
Although the travel industry around the world is complaining of a not-so-positive year, Lisbon can’t really do that because it had at least one emerging market: Americans. The city reportedly received 12.6% more travelers from the United States, perhaps helped by its recent exposure in American media: First it was its selection as the backdrop for the new J. Crew catalogue, and days later as a featured destination in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Later came an exhibition of Portuguese design at the MoMA in New York, and over the summer, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” found romance in the city.
Throughout the year Portugal was also featured in several articles in the New York Times’ travel sections, from its “Great Plains”, to the wine country in the north, to advice on spending Christmas in Lisbon, in an article with the collaboration of GoLisbon.com.
Finally, a slice of Lisbon (literraly) is now also available every day in New York, via the best chocolate cake in the world.

More Tourist Satisfaction
2010 also confirmed that Lisbon is a rewarding place to visit. A tourist survey showed strong tourist satisfaction, and the city won “Best Destination” at the European Consumers Choice Awards — and for the second consecutive year, Europe’s Leading City Break Destination at the World Travel Awards.

Cheers with a Glass of Wine
Lisbon has many reasons to celebrate 2010 and to look forward to an even more positive 2011 (despite all the pessimistic reports of economic crisis on the news), and for that it may celebrate with a glass of wine. This year the bars that opened in the city seemed to all focus on local wines, from the renovated Artis to the recent Grapes & Bites, and new restaurants serving traditional Portuguese food accompanied by wine by the glass such as Taberna Tosca.

5 New Shops in Lisbon For Your Gifts

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Whether it’s a Christmas present or a souvenir at any time of the year, here are five recently-opened shops in Lisbon where you’ll always find something special for yourself or someone else:

Voa, Lisboa

VOA
Address:Rua Nova do Almada, 96 (Chiado)
It’s new and it’s one of Chiado’s most beautiful shops. It offers products for the home (from the bedroom to the living room), as well as flowers and gourmet products, almost all made in Portugal. It’s all found on two floors, with a small café area upstairs for a warm cup of tea.

TOM TOM SHOP II
Address: Rua do Norte, 20-22 (Bairro Alto)
For years, Tom Tom Shop has been where everyone knows they’ll find the most fun and original gifts in the city. Now, in addition to the first (bigger) shop on Rua de O Século (number 4A), there is a second (smaller) one also in Bairro Alto, on Rua do Norte. There you’ll find the same humorous gifts and household items in a wide range of prices.

CAPITÃO LISBOA
Address: Rua de São Nicolau, 43 (Baixa)
Similar to Tom Tom Shop, this recently-opened shop downtown is all about fun gifts. Some more useful than others, but all irresistible if you like funny and pop-culture-related objects.

Ultra

ULTRA
Address: Calçada do Correio Velho, 7 (Alfama)
This concep store/bar is found by St. Anthony Church and the cathedral. It opens at noon until the evening, presenting design items, jewelry, fashions and accessories at prices said to range from just 5 to 200 euros. The goal of the owners was to offer a selection of products that’s hard to find anywhere else, as well as provide a space to return often, not only to check out what’s new but also to have a drink and a snack.

MUU/LOJA DO CHIADO
Address: Rua da Misericórdia, 100 (Chiado)
Former shop Muu is now also known as “Loja do Chiado.” In addition to the exclusive, specialty cowhide handbags and accessories made in Portugal that have always been available here, there are now two other Portuguese brands — Catarina Martins footwear and TM Collection fashions.

5 Choices for New Year’s Eve 2010-2011 in Lisbon

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Vasco da Gama Tower Fireworks
New Year's Eve in Lisbon The Vasco da Gama Tower is currently closed and about to be turned into a hotel, but it will once again be one of the major New Year’s Eve attractions in the city. Sponsored by a local beer company, there will be a major fireworks show at midnight, rising up from the tower and reflecting on the river. It only lasts for about a couple of minutes, but before and after that there will be a celebratory atmosphere in the bars and restaurants nearby. That includes those of Casino Lisboa which will offer free shows.

Comercio Square Celebrations
The riverfront Comercio Square was renovated this year and since two of its sides were closed to traffic, it offers more pedestrian space. That space will be filled on the night of December 31st with concerts by Portuguese bands and with the lights of the fireworks at midnight.

At the Beach
Most Lisbon bars and clubs will naturally have special New Year’s Eve parties, but one that sounds extra special is at K Urban Beach. It’s one of the city’s hottest night time addresses, with a beachy atmosphere by the river. Its “Sakana” bar-restaurant will have a special sushi menu and you may already make your reservation by phone: 96 131 2721

Overlooking the Atlantic
K’s urban beach has sand and it’s by the water, but if you prefer a real, natural beach, you may choose to spend your New Year’s in Cascais. The Hotel Cascais Miragem which this year was distinguished with a Best Luxury Spa Hotel award, will have an open bar and a refined dinner service for a more sophisticated welcome to 2011. Sip a cocktail overlooking the Atlantic and relax — all you have to do is follow the semi-formal dress code of black attire.

Overlooking the City
Lisbon’s Sheraton is one of the city’s tallest buildings and its top-floor bar and restaurant will be among the best places to be on New Year’s. If you want to start with dinner, it includes a cocktail, a six-course menu, wine and champagne, open bar, the sounds of a DJ and views over Lisbon for 295 euros. A less expensive alternative is just 95 euros and doesn’t include dinner, but allows you to stay at the bar drinking all night, enjoying the DJ music and the city views.

The Luxury of Porto

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Porto

The Financial Times’ monthly magazine “How to Spend It” always features a city in its “The Long Luxurious Weekend” column. Lisbon was highlighted in the February 2009 issue (as reported here: “Lisbon for a Long Luxurious Weekend“), and the December 2010 issue has chosen Porto.
The reason for the trip was the new luxury “wine hotel” The Yeatman, but the author found that the city is “increasingly home to design-savvy hotels” like the recent Hotel Teatro and the Palácio do Freixo Pousada.
In addition to the new sophisticated accommodation, the city also offers “original restaurants, world-class concert halls and chic boutiques.”
Porto is “now echoing with vibrant culture,” and among the featured attractions in the article are the Rem Koolhass-designed Casa da Musica and the Serralves Museum.
The city is also described as a “first-class walking city,” and a visit to the riverside Foz is recommended for its “signature boutiques” and “buzzing” restaurants.

A Visit to the Christmas Village

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The most spectacular Christmas-related activities in the Lisbon region are not in the capital but in the medieval village of Obidos. Known for its festivals throughout the year, the village is also home to the big “Christmas village” festival every December.
This year it happens from the 10th to January 2nd, and in addition to the annual ice skating rink and house of Santa Claus, the 2010 edition also features an ice bar and a “chocolate lounge” (Obidos is also the stage of an international chocolate festival in early spring).
The photos below show last year’s “Christmas Village” and the official website has more information: http://www.obidosvilanatal.pt/

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

Obidos Vila Natal

One of Porto’s Trendiest Restaurants Now Also in Lisbon

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

D'Oliva
The first D’Oliva

First it opened in the suburb of Matosinhos where it became one of the trendiest places to eat in the Porto district. Then came a second space in downtown Porto itself, and now there’s a third home in Lisbon. That’s restaurant D’Oliva which first drew attention for the tasteful renovation of its interior and then conquered the local population through its tasty Italian-Mediterranean cuisine.
In Lisbon it’s found just steps from the city’s main central avenue (Avenida da Liberdade), and the concept is the same: refinement in the décor and good food, but with an informal atmosphere.
Pastas, risottos, salads, meat and fish dishes make up the menu, some more elaborate than others. The chef is a native Italian who for a decade worked in the Lapa Palace restaurant.
At lunch time there’s the choice of a buffet or the regular à la carte service. Before dinner time, at 7PM, it follows another Italian tradition and serves “aperitivi,” meaning drinks accompanied by snacky food such as bruschettas.

Address: Rua Barata Salgueiro, 37
Closed on Sundays
Phone: 21 352 8292