5 Things to Cool You Off in Lisbon this Summer

Although this summer has been a little cooler and less sunny than usual, remember that you may find summer weather in Lisbon until early October. In between sightseeing, you’ll want to take a few breaks to cool off, and these are five things you could do in different parts of town:

Cocktail bike, Lisbon

SIP A COCKTAIL AT RIBEIRA DAS NAUS
A bike serving cocktails has been recently added to the attractions of Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon’s unofficial “urban beach.” You may sip a mojito, a mint lemonade or gin as you sunbathe on the lawn or on the water’s edge.

Graça, Lisbon

HAVE A BEER IN GRAÇA
As you may know, there are several hilltop terraces in Lisbon with beautiful views. One of them is in the Graça district (reached by tram 28), and there’s a kiosk café on the site. Enjoy a cool beer as you look out to the castle and the city below you.

Ribeira market, Lisbon

HEAD INSIDE THE RIBEIRA MARKET
It’s currently Lisbon’s trendiest dining destination. The new food court of the Ribeira Market serves all kinds of food and drinks throughout the day. So whether you wish to escape the heat at lunch time, or want a refreshing drink or meal in the evening, this is the place to go.

Santini, Lisbon

ENJOY AN ICE CREAM AT SANTINI
As you shop around the elegant streets of Chiado, you may want to enjoy what many locals say is their city’s best ice cream. You be the judge, as you choose among a list of different flavors. You’ll find them at number 9 of Rua do Carmo.

Lisbon cruise

GO ON A CRUISE
See Lisbon’s monuments go by on a cruise. Take a few photos and relax as you go from historic to modern Lisbon, but remember that it’s always a little cool on the boat, even on the hottest days. Check out all the information about the city’s sightseeing cruises here: LISBON CRUISES

7 Terraces on Lisbon’s 7 Hills

At the top of monuments or at the top of hills, Lisbon is known as a photogenic city forcing you to stop to take photos or to simply admire the views. The city’s legendary seven hills are all topped by gardens or terraces meant for exactly that, and although there are many viewpoints that you’ll want to check out, these are the seven where you’ll get seven different perspectives of the city, perfect during spring and summer.

Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon

PARQUE EDUARDO VII
Edward VII Park ascends a hill from downtown to uptown, and at the top you’ll find a terrace where tourists stop to take photos of the historic center framed by two hills. To the left is the hill topped by the castle, and to the right is Bairro Alto.

Miradouro do Torel, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DO TOREL
Most guidebooks forget this terrace which is a small garden on a hill above Avenida da Liberdade, reached with the help of the Lavra funicular or after a steep climb. So most people you’ll find here are locals, usually reading a book or enjoying a light meal at the café on the lower level. From here you get to see 20th-century Lisbon, as well as most of downtown all the way to the triumphal arch.

Miradouro da Graça, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DA GRAÇA
The local favorite for its kiosk café open until late, this shaded terrace across from a church rebuilt in the late 1700s offers a view often painted by artists. You’ll photograph the castle right in front of you, with the bridge seen behind the hill.

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DA SENHORA DO MONTE
Not far from Graça is this terrace at the city’s highest point. It offers a huge panoramic view that goes from Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood to the east, to the modern neighborhoods to the west and north. It’s usually the calmest terrace of all, with very few tourists and only a few young couples.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DAS PORTAS DO SOL
This is a postcard terrace, with views of white buildings, church towers and domes descending the hill towards the water. It’s a mix of old Mediterranean village, Portuguese fishing town and Santorini-like descent in the middle of the city, and there are cafés inviting you to sit for a while.

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA
Many choose this as their favorite, and it’s easily the most romantic. Found at the doorstep of Bairro Alto’s grid of streets, it has an upper and lower level, with fountains and a landscaped garden. From here you can see the castle up on the hill across from you, and the towers of the cathedral. There are two kiosk cafés where you can have a drink as you admire it all.

Miradouro de Santa Catarina, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DE SANTA CATARINA
It doesn’t have the prettiest view (it looks out to the port of Lisbon), but this is a favorite at sunset. It attracts all kinds of people, young and older, local and tourist, bohemians and yuppies, to simply sit and chat among friends, or have a drink at the cafés.

5 Spots for a Break by the Castle

After climbing the hill to the castle and walking around its ramparts, you’ll surely need a break. Luckily, there are several spots to sit for a drink or meal in the neighborhood, and we’ve selected five that you’ll want to place on your itinerary:

Nata Lisboa

NATA LISBOA
Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 5-11
You don’t have to wait until you go to the Belém neighborhood to enjoy Lisbon’s famous custard tarts. They’re available throughout the city at most cafés and pastry shops, and recently a chain specializing in that pastry was born. There are currently a trio of branches in the city, and one of them is right by the castle gate. With tables facing the castle entrance, here you can have one or several tarts or simply enjoy a refreshing drink.

28 Café, Lisbon

28 CAFÉ
Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 45-47A
Down the same street as Nata Lisboa is another authentic Lisbon experience — having a drink or meal inside an old tram. At least that’s what the interior of this cafe which recreates that of the city’s emblematic trams wants you to feel. But instead of taking you up and down the city’s hills it transports you back in time, with old black and white photos of the city and its trams on the walls.

Wine Bar do Castelo, Lisbon

WINE BAR DO CASTELO
Rua Bartolomeu Gusmão, 13
Down the hill, around the corner from the gateway to the castle is this wine bar that’s become a tourist magnet with dozens of Portuguese wines by the glass. They’re accompanied by cheeses and charcuterie, perfect for a break at the end of your sightseeing.

Claras em Castelo Restaurant, Lisbon

CLARAS EM CASTELO
Rua Bartolomeu Gusmão, 31
A few doors up from the wine bar is this tiny restaurant which specializes in traditional Portuguese food. There are only a few seats inside, but there are a couple more placed outside when the sun is shining. It’s quite a romantic little place where you can also simply stay for a glass of wine.

Chapitô à Mesa Restaurant, Lisbon

CHAPITÔ À MESA
Costa do Castelo, 7
For a more complete gastronomic experience with Lisbon at your feet there’s this restaurant further down the hill. It belongs to a circus school but the food is serious business. It now even has one of the city’s most creative young chefs in the kitchen. There’s a more formal dining room with postcard views of Lisbon where a more refined (and expensive) menu is served, and a more informal terrace outside for lighter meals.

New Places to See in Lisbon Before You Die

1000 Places to See Before You DieThe best-selling book “1000 Places to See Before You Die” by author Patricia Schultz inspired countless other copycat “…before you…” publications but it is still the original ultimate “traveler’s life list.” It was first published in 2003 and has recently been updated. A major update is for Portugal and especially Lisbon (“one of Europe’s most alluring capitals”), which now has three “must see” museums. The first book only listed the Gulbenkian but it now highlights “great museums of three collectors.” Those are the Gulbenkian, the Berardo Museum (opened in 2007) and MuDe (design and fashion museum opened in 2009). All three showcase “awe-inspiring gifts” from different collectors (Calouste Gulbenkian, Joe Berardo and Francisco Capelo) who “enriched the city with magnificent museums.”

Another Lisbon addition is Alfama, the “ancient neighborhood where history and Fado live,” and back on the list are Sintra (“the summer resort of palaces and castles”) and Obidos, “the town that belonged to the queens of Portugal.” Other places to see in Portugal “before you die” are the “hilltop castles” in the “ancient border towns” of Estremoz and Marvão, the “open-air museum of Portuguese architecture” that is the city of Evora, the “pleasure palace” of the Buçaco forest, and Madeira, “the pearl of the Atlantic.” New on the list is Porto and the Douro Valley, where “there’s magic in the air.”

After Portugal, you have other 991 places left to see around the world, and many of them are Portuguese-built, from “one of the world’s greatest enclaves of Baroque architecture” that is Brazil’s Ouro Preto to long-forgotten constructions like Ghana’s Elmina Castle.
Perhaps in a future edition the author will also discover Portugal’s Azores, the Coa Valley or the promontory of Sagres, all with a must-feel/must-see mystical atmosphere.

The 10 Grandest Baroque Attractions in Lisbon

The word “Baroque” derives from the Portuguese word “barroco.” Portugal is renowned for this architectural style and although Lisbon is characterized by its architectural diversity, it’s essentially a baroque city. That’s because most of it was rebuilt following the earthquake of 1755 and now many of its grandest monuments are filled with baroque splendor. The magnificence of many of the city’s interiors is also the result of the discovery of gold in Brazil, giving Lisbon a profusion of golden decorations. Here we present the 10 baroque attractions you should not miss.

Sao Roque Church, Lisbon

SÃO ROQUE CHURCH
Home to what is said to be “the world’s most expensive chapel,” this deceptively simple church outside has one of the city’s (and Europe’s) richest baroque interiors.

Estrela Basilica, Lisbon

ESTRELA BASILICA
This domed basilica is one of the city’s most monumental churches, covered with marble inside. It includes an impressive baroque nativity scene.

Menino de Deus Church, Lisbon

MENINO DE DEUS CHURCH
It’s usually closed, so this church hides one of the city’s most remarkable baroque interiors that mostly survived the 1755 earthquake.

Madre de Deus Church, Lisbon

MADRE DE DEUS CHURCH
The church of the convent that’s now home to the Tile Museum is truly magnificent. Covered in gold from floor to ceiling, it also has some outstanding tile panels and paintings.

Paulistas Church, Lisbon

SANTA CATARINA CHURCH
Also known as Paulistas Church, this is one of Lisbon’s most impressive yet least-known churches, covered with baroque and rococo decorations.

Pena Church, Lisbon

PENA CHURCH
Yet another church with an ordinary façade but with an extraordinary interior, covered in gilt.

Sao Miguel Church, Lisbon

SÃO MIGUEL CHURCH
One of the city’s many secrets is this church in the middle of Alfama’s maze of streets. It only opens for mass, revealing a rich baroque interior.

National Pantheon, Lisbon

NATIONAL PANTHEON
The resting place of many of Portugal’s leading figures is a domed monument that took centuries to complete.

Martyrs Basilica, Lisbon

MARTIRES BASILICA
In addition to a beautiful ceiling painting, the interior of this basilica surprises for the well-preserved baroque details that fill the entire space.

Encarnacao Church, Lisbon

ENCARNAÇÃO CHURCH
Found in the center of Chiado, this church has one of the city’s most elegant interiors, mixing the baroque and the neoclassical styles.