Archive for July, 2012

5 Alternatives to the Beach in Lisbon

Friday, July 27th, 2012

If you’re looking to catch some sun in Lisbon but prefer to stay in the center of the city instead of heading to the coast, here are a few spots to get your Lisbon tan:

Cais das Colunas

The wharf that the monumental Comercio Square opens into once welcomed travelers to the city when they arrived by boat. Now it’s a magnet for everyone to rest as they go around the city admiring its scenic beauty. Some tourists even get their feet wet, others take photos with 25 de Abril Bridge as the backdrop, and others end up spending a couple of hours just sitting enjoying the serenity of Lisbon’s refreshing Atlantic location.

Docas de Santo Amaro

These tourist-friendly docks offer more than postcard views and several places to eat. They’re also the place to relax on the waterfront, watching the cruise ships go by, admiring the boats and doing some sun worshipping.

Jardins de Belem, Lisbon

Lisbon’s most visited neighborhood is known for its monuments, but Belém is also a place to relax between sightseeing on the lawns between all the landmarks. Whether closer to Belem Tower or already by the shadow of 25 de Abril Bridge, you’ll see tourists and locals laying in the sun and being cooled off by the ocean breeze.

Portas do Sol

Not only is it one of Lisbon’s most beautiful viewpoints with one of its most inviting terrace cafes, it’s also a great spot to stand in the sun. Instead of the Atlantic you have the river Tagus in front of you, but with the loungy music of the café playing in the background you can imagine yourself relaxing at a summer resort.

Tapada das Necessidades

Once the private picnic park of Portugal’s kings, this green oasis is now hidden in the center of the city and largely deserted despite being open to all. It’s found behind a gate next to a palace that is now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and when the sun is shining you’ll often see couples or small groups of people in their beachwear working on their tans. There are many other parks in the city where you can do that but this is where you’ll feel like you’re in your own private garden.

Lisbon is a Top 10 Favorite City According to Tourist Survey

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Lisbon The latest survey conducted to tourists in Lisbon concludes that the Portuguese capital is a favorite destination. Close to 80% place it within the top 10 places to visit, and 91% say they wish to return. The city exceeded the expectations of those surveyed and the overall satisfaction rate is close to 90%.
The favorite aspects of the city were the weather and hospitality, as well as a “value for money” unrivaled in Europe. Security is another strong attribute (although at GoLisbon we remind you to be alert for pickpockets as in any major European city, and watch your wallet when riding the trams and metro).
A curious finding is that Americans and Brazilians were the ones who most enjoyed their stay (it was mostly Europeans in previous years), followed by the Italians, Germans, British and Irish.
Another conclusion was that 80% of tourists found Lisbon to be culturally unique and romantic, multicultural and tolerant. More than 70% of them also said they felt it was a peaceful and relaxing destination but also a lively place. Other adjectives included “modern,” “creative” and “trendy.” Many also said it was “well preserved”, most likely referring to its historic atmosphere and not to the state of the buildings in the oldest districts… In fact, history seems to be what is most associated with the city (96% say so), with 95% saying it should be appreciated outdoors and 92% finding that it offers a variety of experiences.
What makes Lisbon stand out from other cities according to those who visited is its “authenticity,” especially its relation to the river, sea and beach.

10 Refreshing Things to Do in Lisbon This Summer

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

If you’ll be in Lisbon this summer (that means until October) and are looking to cool off and relax, here is what you should do:

Find yourself walking in the heat in the middle of the city and wish to dive into the ocean or pool? Head to the NH Liberdade Hotel right on Avenida da Liberdade and you’ll have a rooftop pool available to cool off. It charges 20 euros and in addition to the pleasure of the refreshing waters you have a wonderful city view. You may also order a salad or sandwich for a light poolside meal.

Nata Lisboa

Although the originals still made using a secret recipe are found in Belém, Lisbon’s famous custard tarts can be sampled at any café or pastry shop in the city. And there’s a brand new one specializing in just that — the custard tarts. It’s found on a wonderful backyard of a gallery and bookshop in the Principe Real district, it’s called “Nata Lisboa” and in addition to the tarts it serves refreshing drinks as you sit in the sun or shade on the grass.

You can have a picnic at any of the city’s parks and gardens, but you’ll have to pack the food yourself. So if you want to lay on the grass for a full worry-free meal, head to Cantina da Estrela, a restaurant not far from Estrela Basilica (on Rua Saraiva de Carvalho, 35). Every day (except Sundays and Mondays) it’s offering picnic lunches for 17.50 per person, which includes a basket filled with foods that are easy to eat with your hands but not exactly the typical finger food. Only the drinks are not included in the price.

Although Lux is Lisbon’s coolest club at any time of the year, it’s even better in the summer because of its terrace. This year it’s offering something new and special, the “Luxini” cocktail. It uses ice cream of the beloved local Santini brand and makes interesting blends of flavors with Grey Goose vodka. Choose your favorites at 10 euros each and enjoy them on the moonlit terrace as others crowd the dancefloor below.

Sea Turtles, Lisbon

The big sea creatures have been living in Lisbon’s Oceanarium since 1998, but only recently have the fascinating sea turtles arrived, in a new annexed building. Not only is this a memorable learning experience it’s also cooling and relaxing as you escape into the underwater world.

Silk is Lisbon’s most exclusive club and you’ll understand why if you can actually make it inside. It has one of the most fantastic city views, and this summer it’s opening at 6PM and offering light meals in addition to the usual drinks. But if you can’t it make there, you’ll make it elsewhere, at the more recent Rooftop Bar of the Mundial Hotel. Relax as you watch the afternoon glow turn into night over Lisbon.

Lisbon’s favorite lemonade is found at the tiny hole-in-the-wall “Liquid” but you’ll want to go for something extra special this summer. Grab a refreshing all-natural drink of exotic fruits and other healthy ingredients and take it with you as you walk up through the trendy shops of Chiado.

One of Lisbon’s most underrated, often-forgotten attractions is Edward VII Park right in the center of the city. You’ll be surprised by how peaceful and uncrowded it is, even in the summer, and will be captivated by the wonderful greenhouse which will invite you to stay longer than you anticipated, cooling off in this little-known oasis.

If the greenhouse is a little-known oasis, the botanical garden is a secret forest. You’ll never guess from the entrance gate how big it is, and this summer it’s presenting new pavements and cleaned-up tracks, although it retains its charmingly wild somewhat-neglected feel. Best of all is its small butterfly greenhouse, the only one in Europe open to the public where you can step into a habitat of the colorful insects growing and spreading their wings around.

The Fragoleto ice cream shop downtown (on number 61 of Rua da Prata) is offering special flavors this summer, using traditions and ingredients from around the world. There’s a dozen of them, ranging from Morroccan tea to American lemon cheesecake to Italian cappuccino. But since you’re in Portugal, why not go for the Portuguese rice pudding (“Arroz Doce”) flavor? But hurry because they’re only available in July.