10 Things to Do in Lisbon This Spring

Museu Berardo

SEE PICASSOS AND WARHOLS WHILE THEY’RE STILL FREE
The Berardo Museum of modern and contemporary art has always been free since it opened 10 years ago, but the free ride is over this May 1st, when the museum will start charging a €5 admission. Until then, you can see temporary exhibitions together with the permanent collection that includes works by Picasso and Warhol for free.

Global City, Lisbon

SEE THE FIRST DEPICTION OF THE FIRST GLOBAL CITY
It’s not free, but the exhibition you can’t miss is “The Global City – Lisbon in the Renaissance” at the Ancient Art Museum. It lasts until April 9th, and revolves around a painting of the main shopping street in 16th-century Lisbon, showing the Portuguese capital as the first global city, offering goods from all over the world.

GO TO THE EXHIBITION OF THE YEAR
The other major exhibition in town is one dedicated to one of Portugal’s most important painters, Almada Negreiros. It’s being shown at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum until June 5th, and is already one of the museum’s most-visited exhibitions.

MAAT, Lisbon

FINALLY SEE THE NEW MAAT
If you were in Lisbon last fall, you may have already been to the new MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). It was inaugurated last October, but only a couple of the rooms were open and with very little to see inside. It is currently closed, as it gets ready to finally inaugurate the entire building on March 22nd. The building itself is an attraction, already one of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks.

Cais do Sodré

RELAX AT THE NEW PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY WATERFRONT
After a visit to these current exhibitions, head to the waterfront and relax at the new Cais do Sodré. That riverfront district was under (re)construction over the last year, but it is now accessible to all, with more pedestrian space, new places to sit by the river, and new spots to eat and drink.

ENJOY THE FISH AT THE CITY’S BIGGEST GASTRONOMIC FESTIVAL
Lisbon’s biggest gastronomic festival takes place in the spring, and this year it’s happening from March 30th to April 9th, at a new location. The “Peixe em Lisboa – Lisbon Fish and Flavours” festival is obviously dedicated to fish, and the new location is the Carlos Lopes Pavilion, a century-old building in Edward VII Park, that was once a sports pavilion, and that was completely renovated earlier this year.

GO TO THE ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL
Spring is also the start of the film festival season, and the first one is dedicated to animation. This is the 16th edition of the festival, and you may see which films are in competition here: www.monstrafestival.com

GO TO THE INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
The second film festival is all about independent features. The IndieLisboa – International Independent Film Festival takes place on May 3rd to the 14th, at four different venues, but mostly at the São Jorge Theater, right in the heart of the city, on Avenida da Liberdade. Check the festival’s website for more: www.indielisboa.com

Hotel 1908 Lisboa

SLEEP ON BRAND NEW BEDS
Several new hotels have opened in Lisbon over the last few months, but the newest are the Hotel 1908 Lisboa and the Star Inn Lisbon Airport. The first one is the result of a renovation of a beautiful building from 1908, and the second one is right at the airport.

RIB, Lisbon

RATE THE NEW RESTAURANTS
You can be among the first to rate the hottest new restaurants in town. One of them, the Infame, opened on the ground floor of the Hotel 1908 Lisboa, and serves an international menu inspired by its multiethnic neighborhood. Another is “Tapisco,” a casual Spanish tapas and Portuguese petiscos restaurant by local celebrity chef Henrique Sá Pessoa (Rua D. Pedro V, 81). Also from a well-known chef is “Absurdo,” a spot for faster meals on the waterfront serving only “absurd,” meaning unusual, sandwiches (Avenida Ribeira das Naus, 16). For a fancier place, head to “RIB – Beef & Wine” on the beautiful ground floor of Pousada de Lisboa.

10 New Reasons to Visit Lisbon in 2017

Botanical Garden, Lisbon

A NEW BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Botanical Garden in the Príncipe Real district, much neglected over the last several years, closed in 2016 but should reopen in the spring of 2017. In addition to cleaned-up green spaces, it will have a new café with outdoor seating and a small amphitheater.

Estação Sul e Sueste

A CONVERTED STATION
A ferry station from 1931, largely abandoned in the last few years, will finally be renovated and open as a leisure and tourist attraction. It will have restaurants with outdoor seating and be the starting point of sightseeing cruises. The 7-million-euro renovation should be completed by the end of 2017.

MuDe, Lisbon

A NEW AND BIGGER DESIGN AND FASHION MUSEUM
Also scheduled for late 2017 (sometime in the fall) is the reopening of the Design and Fashion Museum (MuDe). It will actually be a brand new museum, as it will expand beyond its two floors to an entire building covering an entire block. It will have more space for the entire international design and fashion collection, plus a new design store and a rooftop bar and restaurant.

Convento da Graça

THE OPENING OF A BAROQUE CONVENT FOR THE FIRST TIME
It’s said to be one of the biggest renovations of a historical building in the last few years. It’s the Graça Convent, next to a landmark church opening to one of the city’s favorite viewpoints, that was never open to the public throughout the centuries. It will be free and open for visits in the spring. In addition to the baroque architecture in several tiled rooms, you’ll be able to enjoy an interior garden.

Campo das Cebolas

A NEW LANDSCAPED SQUARE
The new cruise terminal will finally be completed, and so will a new landscaped square across the road. The new “Campo das Cebolas” has had a few delays due to archaeological finds, but should be completed by the summer. You’ll then be able to picnic under pine trees, looking out to the cathedral and the historic Casa dos Bicos.

Jewish Museum, Lisbon

THE NEW JEWISH MUSEUM
Not far from the cathedral will also be the new Jewish Museum. It will be at the center of one of the city’s Jewish quarters (it used to have two), and will tell the story of the Jewish community in Lisbon throughout the centuries. The controversial new building (due to its modern façade in a historic little square), should be completed by the end of the year.

Pavilhão Carlos Lopes

THE NEW “PAVILHÃO CARLOS LOPES”
A beautifully tiled building in Edward VII Park, “Pavilhão Carlos Lopes,” originally used for sports events, is currently being cleaned up and will reopen in the spring for all sorts of activities. One of them is the city’s biggest gastronomic event, the “Peixe em Lisboa” festival, already scheduled for March 30th to April 9th.

Berardo Art Deco and Art Nouveau Museum

A NEW ART DECO AND ART NOUVEAU MUSEUM
There is the Berardo Museum of modern and contemporary art since 2007, and in 2017 there will also be the Berardo Museum of art deco and art nouveau. Collector Joe Berardo found a tile-covered building below 25 de Abril Bridge to house his collection of international art deco and art nouveau pieces, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics and crystals dating back to the early 1900s from different international artists, and shall open it in the first half of the year.

25 de Abril Bridge observation deck

THE 25 DE ABRIL BRIDGE OBSERVATION DECK
Not far from the new Berardo museum will be a new exhibition space telling the story of the city’s landmark bridge. You’ll be able to take an elevator to the top of Lisbon’s “Golden Gate,” enjoy the views from the observation deck, and then learn everything about this fascinating construction that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

MAAT

THE MAAT
It was officially unveiled last October, but the new building of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), will only be fully operational in March of 2017. All of its exhibition rooms will finally be open and have temporary exhibitions to show, but it will no longer be free. However, you don’t need to pay anything to access its rooftop, which offers a view over the river and the bridge.

10 New Reasons to Be in Lisbon This Fall

Autumn is one of the best times to visit Lisbon. The weather is still pleasant, the biggest tourist crowds are gone, and the sunsets are more beautiful. And in 2016 there are several new and exciting reasons to be in the city at this time of the year. Here are ten of them:

MAAT
THE NEW MUSEUM OF ART, ARCHITECTURE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) has already opened in the former Electricity Museum, in a former power plant. But the main building — an iconic piece of modern architecture on the waterfront — is only opening its doors on October 5th. On that date you’ll also be able to see three new major exhibitions, together with a series of events, celebrating this new cultural attraction.

Ancient Art Museum
THE NEW HOME OF PORTUGUESE ART
For another dose of art and culture, head to the Ancient Art Museum. It just reopened its entire 3rd floor after years of renovation, now taken over by Portuguese painting and sculpture. Many of the pieces have never been shown before, including new acquisitions. Its famous “Panels of St. Vincent” can also now be literally seen in a new light.

Maritime Museum
THE NEW “DISCOVERIES HALL”
Another museum with a new exhibition space is the Maritime Museum, which this summer unveiled its new “Discoveries Hall,” which now better shows and explains how Portugal explored the seas and reached so many lands.

Bairro do Avillez
“BAIRRO DO AVILLEZ”
Lisbon’s most famous (and Michelin-starred) chef already had half a dozen restaurants, so he decided that his next project wouldn’t be just another dining spot, it would be an entire neighborhood. He’s just taken over a huge space and divided it into different areas, from a “tavern” at the entrance, to a “grocery store,” to a traditional “Lisbon patio.” The interior mixes contemporary and traditional design, and depending on where you can get a table, you’ll be served traditional petiscos (tapas) or finer dining, strong on fish and seafood.
Address: Rua Nova da Trindade, 18
Phone: 21 583 0290

Pestana CR7 Lisboa
PESTANA CR7 HOTEL
World-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has gotten into the hotel business, and the first ones to open were in his home country. The very first one was in his home city of Funchal, and the second in Lisbon. Pestana CR7 Lisboa Hotel is not just for those who book a room, as the “CR7 Corner” bar downstairs is open to everyone, offering drinks and meals, as TV screens show sports and fashion events.

Memmo Príncipe Real
A NEW 5-STAR DESIGN HOTEL
A new 5-star design hotel opens in Lisbon’s trendiest neighborhood this fall, overlooking the city. The completely modern building with a terrace and swimming pool will also have a restaurant with views open to all, serving “lusophone cuisine,” meaning food from Portuguese-speaking countries. You may book it now: Memmo Príncipe Real

Money Museum
THE FREE “MONEY MUSEUM”
Good news for those who travel on a budget — there’s a major new attraction in town that’s completely free: the Money Museum. Accessed through a former church, it allows you to touch a 12kg gold bar in a vault that used to belong to the Bank of Portugal, and presents the history of money in the world, in a surprisingly engaging display of coins and banknotes.

Amoreiras 360
A NEW OBSERVATION DECK
Lisbon’s first major shopping mall opened in 1985 in controversial postmodern glass towers, but only in 2016 did one of those towers open its terrace as an observation deck. Accessed through the mall, it offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

Topo Chiado
A NEW ROOFTOP TERRACE
A huge terrace below the Gothic ruins of Carmo Church, right by one of the entrances to the landmark Santa Justa Elevator, finally became a public space in 2015, and this summer it became a bar open throughout the afternoon until late at night. Named “Topo Chiado,” it offers cocktails and tapas to the sound of chillout music, looking out the the castle and the elevator.

Rio Maravilha
…AND ANOTHER ROOFTOP TERRACE
Another terrace offering cocktails, but also some more creative and elaborate meals, is “Rio Maravilha,” facing the Monument to Christ and 25 de Abril Bridge. It’s at the top of one of the buildings of the trendy Lx Factory complex, and is currently one of the city’s hottest spots.

10 New Attractions in Lisbon

2016 promises to bring several new attractions to Lisbon, from a major world-class art museum to renovated public spaces on the waterfront. But over the last year, from late 2014 to late 2015, there have also been several new openings that you won’t yet find in your guidebooks. Below are ten of them, which are either brand new or renewed or expanded sites in the city:

THE ROMAN “CASA DOS BICOS”

Casa dos Bicos

The curious Casa do Bicos, from the 1600s, had been hiding Roman remains for two millennia, but they’ve finally been uncovered and put on display. They’re now part of an exhibition on the ground level of the building, which serves as the headquarters of the José Saramago Foundation, or something of a museum dedicated to the Portuguese author who won the Nobel Prize. The archaeological space is part of the Lisbon Museum, and may be visited from Monday to Saturday. It’s free, but if you also want to visit the José Saramago exhibition upstairs, there’s an admission charge.

THE ROMAN THEATER MUSEUM

Roman Theater

Speaking of Roman sites, the most significant one is the former Roman Theater. It was only unearthed in the 1960s and there was a museum explaining it a few years ago, but it closed for a major renovation. It finally reopened this summer, much bigger and better, and you may now walk over the archaeological site of the former theater, then enter a building where it comes to life through pieces found on the site.

CONVENTO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA

Convento de São Pedro de Alcântara

This convent founded in 1670 had never been open to the public, despite its location facing one of the city’s most popular lookout terraces. Now that there are no more nuns living in it, it’s now a free attraction you may want to include in your itinerary when you visit the terrace. You’ll find an interior dating mostly from the late 1700s, which includes rich gilding, paintings by Portuguese and French artists, beautiful blue-and-white tile panels depicting the life of St. Peter of Alcantara, and lots of marble in the former funerary chapel.

TERRAÇOS DO CARMO

Terraços do Carmo

These terraces behind the ruins of Carmo Church were always closed, as they were part of the local police barracks. But they’re finally been turned into a public leisure space, offering a great view of the castle and Santa Justa Elevator. It has a cafe on the upper level, where you may sit and enjoy a drink or meal.

JARDIM DA CERCA DA GRAÇA

Jardim da Cerca da Graça

Also open for the first time ever is the park beneath Graça Church. Although it’s existed for centuries, it was used exclusively by the residents of the convent next to the church, and only now has it been turned into a public park. There’s a small children’s playground, a kiosk with terrace serving light meals, and lots of space for a picnic or to simply enjoy a view of the castle and of the old Mouraria neighborhood.

ST. ANTHONY MUSEUM

Museu de Santo António

The site where St. Anthony was born is now a church built in the 1700s. A small museum was created next to it a few years ago, but over the last year it has expanded and reopened completely new. There are new pieces and documents relating to the life and legacy of the saint, who ended up in Italy and died there. Despite usually thought of as an Italian saint, here you’ll understand why he’s such an iconic Lisbon figure. Admission is just €1.50.

MIRADOURO DO RECOLHIMENTO

Miradouro do Recolhimento

Yet another previously-inaccessible spot has been opened for locals and visitors to enjoy the view. This small terrace hidden on a street not far from the castle opens from morning to early in the evening as a tranquil spot to sit and relax, as you watch the trams go by below you. To find it you’ll have to turn on Rua do Recolhimento before you reach the castle’s ticket office, then turn on Beco do Recolhimento.

MUSEU DO ALJUBE

Museu do Aljube

A former ecclesiastical prison that was turned into an archbishops palace in the 1500s, became a prison once again in the early 20th century, to hold (and torture) political prisoners. Many of Portugal’s influential politicians and intellectuals were sent there at some point, until the revolution in 1974 that overthrew the right-wing regime. This year it was turned into a museum dedicated to the struggle for freedom and democracy. The permanent exhibition is spread over three floors, and includes documents about censorship, the fight for independence of the colonies, as well as archaeological remains explaining the origins of the building. You’ll find it on Rua de Augusto Rosa, 42, in Alfama.

THE NATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM

Chiado Museum

Previously simply known as “Museu do Chiado”, this national museum dedicated to Portuguese contemporary art is now the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado. In 2015 it expanded to a second building around the corner from the first one, and in addition to the previous permanent collection, it now also displays works from major Portuguese artists from 1960 to 1990.

THE NEW COACHES MUSEUM

Carriages Museum

After much controversy, the new Coaches Museum finally opened this summer, on the 110th anniversary of its original inauguration. The massive building is just across the street from the old one, and may now display many more carriages and related pieces. The most magnificent examples are still the ones used in an embassy to France’s Louis XIV and to Pope Clement XI.

8 Things to Do in Lisbon in August

The eighth month of the year always attracts the biggest number of visitors to Lisbon. While many spend their days at the beach, there is a lot to do if you want to enjoy the city and its attractions. And if you enjoy art and culture you’re in luck, as there are some interesting exhibitions to allow you to escape the heat and take a break from the sun. Best of all, some of them are free, and if you still want to work on your tan, you may do so at a couple of new outdoor spots:

Berardo Museum

“THE COLLECTOR’S EYE”
It’s one of the city’s best exhibitions this year, and best of all it’s free. Collector Joe Berardo has selected his favorites works from his world-class collection of modern art, some of which had never been on display. There’s a total of 35 works by artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Marc Chagall, which can be seen together with the permanent display of works by Andy Warhol and Picasso among others. See more about the museum: Berardo Museum

CHRISTIAN LECROIX AT THE DESIGN AND FASHION MUSEUM
Another free exhibition is found at MuDe, the design and fashion museum. In addition to the permanent collection, it’s currently showing (until August 30th) sixteen haute couture pieces by the famous French designer, created between 1989 and 2000. Three of them had never been publicly shown before, and there are descriptions about each piece written by the designer, allowing you to understand his creative process.

“THE LIGHT OF LISBON”
2015 is the International Year of Light, and since Lisbon is known as one of the world’s most luminous cities, there’s an exhibition about its mythical light. It’s organized by the Lisbon Museum, and is being shown in the western turret of Comercio Square. It offers a scientific explanation for the city’s reflecting light and shows how it has inspired artists over time.

THE NEW NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Chiado (often simply referred to as the Chiado Museum) has finally expanded in July and has a new wing with plenty of space to show some of the best contemporary Portuguese art. The current exhibition shows works by the major Portuguese artists from 1960 to 1990.

Royal carriages museum

THE NEW COACHES MUSEUM
A controversial new building has opened to be able to display more vehicles than the previous 110-year-old Coaches Museum. The controversy comes not just for the multimillion-euro cost of the construction but also for the modern architecture now housing such a classic fairy tale collection. Go judge for yourself and see why this museum is one of Lisbon’s most visited attractions.

Terraços do Carmo

A NEW TERRACE
It still doesn’t have the planned cafe, but the terrace next to Carmo Church by the Santa Justa Elevator has already opened for the first time. It’s now a calm spot for you to relax and enjoy a view of the castle and of the elevator.

Jardim da Cerca da Graça

A NEW PARK
Also open for the first time is the park down the hill from Graça Church and its famous viewpoint. It’s been there for centuries, but was not open to the public. It’s now a public park faced by the castle, with a children’s playground, a cafe and lots of space to spread your towel and have a pic nic.

MULTIMEDIA SHOW
A multimedia show based on the legend of Lisbon’s foundation by Ulysses is being projected onto Comercio Square every night from August 7th to the 16th, at 9:30PM, 10:30PM and 11:30PM. It will feature 3D effects and DJ music, and the show lasts 15 minutes.