Posts About 'Baixa/Downtown'

Lisbon for Drinkers: The Spots for Different Kinds of Drinks

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

One of Lisbon’s most popular activities is bar-hopping through Bairro Alto or standing outside the bars of Cais do Sodré. As one of the top wine-producing countries in the world, Portugal also attracts tourists looking to discover its wines, so when in Lisbon, where to go for the local (and some international) drinks? Here are some suggestions:

BEER

Museu da Cerveja, Lisbon

MUSEU DA CERVEJA
Comercio Square
It’s one of the several restaurants in Comércio Square, and it’s also a museum. Up the stairs by the entrance is a small space presenting the history of beer, from its production to consumption. The ground level is spacious and attractive, but most people look for the tables outside for a refreshing beer in the sun.

SERVAJARIA
Restauradores Square, 64
With tables outside looking out to Restauradores Square, this beer house also specializes in steaks and traditional Portuguese foods that usually accompany the beer. There are international and Portuguese labels.

CHAMPAGNE

Champanharia do Cais, Lisbon

CHAMPANHARIA DO CAIS
Rua Nova do Carvalho
The new trend in town is champagne bars. A popular one is found on one of the most popular nightlife streets, serving champagne cocktails together with snacks.

CHAMPANHERIA DO LARGO
Largo da Anunciada, 20
This is reputedly the best champagne bar in Lisbon, located in a quiet corner by the Lavra funicular and Avenida da Liberdade. Along with the champagne and other sparkling wines, it also serves meals throughout the day, inside or outside.

GIN
LISBONITA GIN BAR
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 18
Sharing the space of a restaurant serving Iberia food (“Taberna Moderna”), this bar by the famous Casa dos Bicos was the first to focus exclusively on gin. There are almost 70 varieties, mixed with different and exotic ingredients, from fruits to flowers.

VESTIGIUS WINE & GIN
Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa, Armazém A, 17
It’s one of the city’s best and most attractive wine bars, but this former warehouse on the waterfront is now also a gin bar. Together with a huge list of all kinds of wines, there is now also gin to be enjoyed late into the night.

GINGINHA
GINGINHA DO CARMO
Calçada do Carmo, 37
Hidden in a corner by Rossio Station, this is one of several tiny spots in the city serving the cherry liqueur known as “ginginha.” Locals and tourists pass by day and night for a shot of this sweet and strong drink, sometimes served in a small chocolate cup.

PORT
SOLAR DO VINHO DO PORTO
Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara, 45
For many people, Portuguese wine is synonymous with Port. Of course Portugal is a major wine-producing country with all kinds of wines, but Port remains its most famous. Although it’s a product from the city of Porto, you may sample the different types in Lisbon, at this mansion from the 1700s facing one of the city’s most beautiful terraces, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

PONCHA

Sabores da Madeira, Lisbon

SABORES DA MADEIRA
Rua do Outro, 279
After Port, Portugal’s second most-internationally-known wine is probably that of Madeira. But that Portuguese island also offers another alcoholic specialty, the “poncha.” It’s a mix of brandy, lemon and honey, and in Lisbon you may try it at this spot downtown offering all that is special from Madeira to eat and drink.

HOT WINE
OS TROBADORES
Rua de São Julião, 27
If you’re in Lisbon on a colder day, why not have a glass of hot wine? It’s served at this bar recreating medieval Lisbon, offering drinks and snacks such as Portuguese sausages and cheeses on candle-lit wooden tables.

LOCAL WINES
ARTIS
Rua do Diário de Notícias, 95
For different types of Portuguese wines, from red to “green,” head to this very popular bar in Bairro Alto. In business since the 1980s, its tables get filled up quickly, so show up early at night, for glasses or bottles of the national labels.

Bebedouro bar, Lisbon

BEBEDOURO
Rua de São Nicolau, 24
Here it’s all about the wines from Portugal’s Douro Valley, the world’s first demarcated wine region. The interior is small but attractive, and there are also tables outside. Cheeses, sausages and bruschettas accompany the drinks.

WINE BAR DO CASTELO
Rua Bartolomeu Gusmão, 13
This is a favorite of tourists, since it’s found by the castle. The staff invites you to relax, recommending dozens of choices of Portuguese reds and whites served by the glass.

Street Food in Lisbon

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Enjoy street food and outdoor dining, or simply want quick inexpensive meals in Lisbon? Go here:

Martim Moniz, Lisbon
MARTIM MONIZ SQUARE

MARTIM MONIZ
Martim Moniz Square is the heart of the city’s most multi-ethnic neighborhood, home to immigrants from China, Bangladesh, Goa, and Mozambique. The square is overlooked by the castle, and offers a number of food stalls offering varied cuisines. They change from time to time, but currently there’s one for vegetarians, another for hamburgers, another for pizza, another for sushi, and another for hot dogs and cocktails. When the sun is shining, it’s a nice spot to relax with a drink or meal, surrounded by a multicultural ambience and the old trams passing by.

Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon
AVENIDA DA LIBERDADE

AVENIDA DA LIBERDADE
Lisbon’s luxury shopping avenue is lined with a number of kiosks serving food and refreshments. They’re open throughout the day, and some only close late at night. Look for the one that best appeals to your taste buds: there’s one for pizza, another for hot dogs, another for salads and wraps, another for pastries.

Tram cafe, Lisbon
BANANA CAFÉ TRAM

THE TRAM CAFÉ
In the Belém district, across the street from the monastery, is an old tram now converted into a café. At the tables around it you may enjoy a drink or a variety of light meals, such as salads and other healthy choices.

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon
RIBEIRA DAS NAUS

RIBEIRA DAS NAUS AND MUNICIPAL SQUARE
Watch the trams go by as you sit by the kiosk of Municipal Square. It serves drinks and light meals, perfect for before or after a stroll along the waterfront nearby. One of the most popular waterfront promenades is Ribeira das Naus, to the west of Comercio Square, and that’s where you’ll find another kiosk, quite busy in the afternoon as the sun goes down.

Praça do Município, Lisbon
MUNICIPAL SQUARE

THE LUNCH TRUCKS
New in town are the lunch trucks that are parked around the city from March to October. From Monday to Friday, from 10AM to 8PM, they may be found in the Cais do Sodré neighborhood, in the Amoreiras district or Saldanha Square uptown. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 8PM to 2AM they’re also at the top of Edward VII Park overlooking the city. On Sundays, there’s one from 10AM to 7PM at the Monsanto forest park. Different types of foods will alternate between each location, so you may find the one serving burgers, or the one with hot dogs, another with traditional Portuguese food, another with sushi, and yet another for the healthier meals offered at the Municipal Square kiosk mentioned above.

10 Things to Do in Lisbon Before the End of 2013

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Christmas in Lisbon

THE PRADO IN LISBON
Spain’s biggest national museum, the Prado, is lending a few of its masterpieces to Portugal’s biggest national museum, the Ancient Art Museum. It’s part of a program of exchange of works between the two museums, and from Madrid to Lisbon will be brought around 60 paintings from masters like Rubens and Brueghel. The exhibition opens on December 3rd.

THE ROUTE OF THE TILE AT THE GULBENKIAN MUSEUM
From now until January 26th you can see “The Splendor of Cities: The Route of the Tile” at the Gulbenkian Museum. The collector that gave Lisbon’s most acclaimed museum its name was an admirer of tiled art, and this exhibition is a wonderful complement to a visit to the city’s Tile Museum. It remembers how tile is a feature of cities throughout the Mediterranean and beyond to central Asia, and on display are works from Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Persia and India.

FELIPE OLIVEIRA BAPTISTA AT THE DESIGN AND FASHION MUSEUM
He grew up in Lisbon and studied in London, but it was in Paris that Felipe Oliveira Baptista became a successful fashion designer. Lisbon’s Design and Fashion Museum now presents a retrospective exhibition of ten years of his creations, until February 16th. As always at this museum, admission is free.

THE DESIGN BIENNIAL
Lisbon’s design biennial is here, and until December 22nd you may see design-related exhibitions at several venues in the city. Complete info: www.experimentadesign.pt

THE ARCHITECTURE TRIENNIAL
It only happens every three years, but 2013 is a year of the architecture triennial. There are architecture-related exhibitions, debates, and special events until December 15th. More info: www.trienaldelisboa.com

500 YEARS OF THE PORTUGUESE IN CHINA
The Medeiros e Almeida Museum is Lisbon’s most surprising museum and still one of its most overlooked. Now and until December 31st, you may celebrate 500 years of the arrival of the Portuguese in China with the exhibition “Chins and Guo Yan Ta Xi.” It’s a collection of Chinese works of art, including textiles, porcelain, and furniture, spread around the works permanently displayed in the museum.

PLANET OCEAN AT THE OCEANARIUM
The Good Planet Foundation has set up a temporary exhibition (until January 6th) at Lisbon’s famous Oceanarium, presenting unique perspectives of the world’s oceans through aerial and underwater images. They’re accompanied by descriptions alerting to the threats that the oceans face today.

LISBON, WWII’S SAFE HAVEN
Until December 15th, one of the turrets of Comercio Square hosts an exhibition that takes you back to Lisbon during WWII. The images and objects on display show how the Portuguese capital was the European safe haven at the time, and how everyone from the lower to the upper classes of Europe used it to escape the war. The final destination was to be the Unites States, but as they waited for their documents, Lisbon became a strangely peaceful and free city.

THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
From November 29th to January 6th, Edward VII Park will be a “Christmas Village” where families can meet Santa Claus and real reindeer. Always with a view of Lisbon as a backdrop.

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS
As the Christmas season approaches there is a series of concerts in Lisbon’s churches. Every weekend evening until December 1st there are concerts in São Roque Church, and after that, throughout December, there are more in other churches downtown. For free.

5 New Spots to Taste Portugal in Lisbon

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Sabores da Madeira

SABORES DA MADEIRA
Rua do Outro, 279
Now you don’t necessarily have to fly to the island of Madeira to taste the regional specialties of that subtropical Portuguese territory. At this space in downtown Lisbon you can enjoy the traditional drinks such as poncha (made of lemon, honey and brandy) and end a light meal with a glass of Madeira wine. The meals may include wheat soup or simply a slice of the traditional cakes of the island.

Bebedouro

BEBEDOURO
Rua de São Nicolau, 24
This is a trip to northern Portugal. It’s a café/wine bar open downtown throughout the day, presenting wines and food from the Douro region. The interior is small but attractive, but there are several tables placed outside on what is a pedestrian-only street. To accompany the wines there are sausages and cheeses, canned fish bruschettas and other “petiscos” (tapas).

Pizzaria do Bairro

PIZZARIA DO BAIRRO
Rua da Cintura do Porto de Lisboa, Armazém A, 18
It’s a pizzeria but it’s more Portuguese than Italian. All the toppings are inspired by Portuguese tastes, using local cheeses and hams, and there’s even the choice of cod. It’s found on a former warehouse from the 1800s by the entrance to the Cais do Sodré ferry terminal, and there’s no space to sit inside. Instead, this is a place to grab a slice (or an entire pie) to enjoy on the waterfront.

Loja das Conservas

LOJA DAS CONSERVAS
Rua do Arsenal, 130
What you find here is to be enjoyed at home or elsewhere. It’s not a cafe or restaurant, it’s a shop selling just one type of product — canned fish. Now recognized as a healthy and high-quality gourmet product, the canned fish from Portugal comes in a large variety and in attractive packagings that also make great gifts. Naturally, it’s attracted a large number of tourists, which is why displays on the walls explain the history of each brand in English and Portuguese.

Patio do Bairro

PÁTIO DO BAIRRO
Rua da Atalaia, 35
For many years this was a popular Mediterranean restaurant called “Império dos Sentidos” but is now concentrating only on Portuguese food. The interior is filled with drawings illustrating typical old Lisbon courtyards and alleys, very much like those you find outside the restaurant, in the Bairro Alto neighborhood.

What’s New to Experience in Lisbon this Fall

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

If you prefer to avoid summer’s crowds and high temperatures when you travel but still wish sunny and pleasant weather, you may want to visit Lisbon this fall. There are brand new spots and events to experience at that time, in addition to all of the city’s regular attractions. Here are the highlights of what’s happening in Lisbon after the summer.

Triumphal Arch, Lisbon

THE NEW TRIUMPHAL ARCH ROOFTOP TERRACE
The triumphal arch that links the pedestrian shopping street Rua Augusta to the large Comercio Square will open its rooftop terrace for tourist visits by late August. An elevator is currently being installed inside the monument, and once operational, it will offer visitors the opportunity to see all of downtown Lisbon from above, including the square and an up-close view of the sculptures that top the arch.

Graça Park, Lisbon

A NEW PARK WITH A VIEW
It will be the biggest park in the old town but it’s not size that makes this a major new attraction — it’s the view. A large green area next to the popular Graça viewpoint which had always been closed to visitors is currently being cleaned up and will open as a public park in September. It will have 178 different species of plants, a large central lawn and children’s playgrounds. Plus the view of almost the entire city.

A NEW MOORISH SHOPPING COMPLEX
A Moorish-style mansion from the 1800s in the Principe Real neighborhood has been converted into a new shopping complex. Said to be a “modern souk,” it was inspired by the architecture of the building, but instead of a traditional bazaar it focuses on contemporary lifestyle products. It will offer fashion, design and art, as well as a restaurant starting in September.

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon

THE NEW WATERFRONT PARK AND PROMENADE
A new waterfront promenade opened last March and has become the “beach” of central Lisbon this summer. The large area behind it, which used to be closed as private property of the buildings around it, will become a new park by October. This is the site of the shipbuilding and docking during the Age of Discovery which is why it’s called “Ribeira das Naus” (Ships’ Riverfront). Although it will be crossed by a two-way road, it will be mostly a tree-filled pedestrianized area, and will incorporate the historic dock that had been buried over the last couple of centuries.

THE DESIGN BIENNIAL
2013 is a year of the city’s design biennial and it will occupy different spaces of the neighborhoods of Chiado and Belém. It will have four major design-related exhibitions, starting on November 7th and lasting until late December. You may consult all the activities here: www.experimentadesign.pt

THE ARCHITECTURE TRIENNALE
The architecture triennale coincides with the design biennial this year, so the end of 2013 will be big on the arts. Taking place from September 12th to December 15th, it will present architecture exhibitions, debates and special events throughout the city. More info here: www.trienaldelisboa.com

THE BEST OF MODERNIST ART
Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was one of Portugal’s top artists of all time, and the Modern Art Center is presenting a special exhibition with all of his works in the museum’s collection together with others of his contemporaries (from around 1910 to 1920) until January.

The New Outdoor Dining in Lisbon

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Comercio Square, Lisbon

Several new eateries were simultaneously inaugurated this weekend in Lisbon. They’re concentrated in two of the city’s biggest squares downtown and offer a variety of foods and drinks. The major ones are cafés and restaurants in Comercio Square, on the east wing previously closed to the public and now with terraces where everyone can sit and relax looking out to the river.
The first one is “Museu da Cerveja” (literally translated to “Beer Museum”), a steak house that’s really mostly dedicated to beer. It serves it on the terrace and on the lower level of the interior, while upstairs is a museum showing the history and production of the drink.
Next door is “Populi,” open throughout the day from breakfast to midnight snack. It also has tables outside and offers an international menu accompanied by a huge list of Portuguese wines.
Then there’s “Can the Can,” perhaps the most interesting of all, focusing on Lisbon’s famous canned fish. Tin cans decorate most of the interior (they also make up most of a chandelier hanging from the ceiling), and you can try a variety of them at the table in a meal of “petiscos” (tapas).
In the same square is a kiosk serving another local tradition, ginginha. That’s a cherry liqueur served in hole-in-the-wall bars in old Lisbon, and now offered here at a more tourist-friendly spot.
Not far from Comercio Square is the square of Martim Moniz, the heart of the city’s small “Chinatown” or “Little India.” Reflecting the neighborhood’s multi-ethnic community, it is filled with kiosks serving food from around the world, with one dedicated to the flavors of Bangladesh, another to Africa, another to China, etc. There is also one with vegetarian and macrobiotic foods. Overlooking this square which is a terminal of tram 28 is the city’s crowning castle.

Martim Moniz, Lisbon

Your Daily Bread in Lisbon

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The current business trend in Lisbon seems to be bakeries. Not ordinary bakeries but French-inspired or traditionally-Portuguese-inspired bakeries. Here are the five newest ones, especially perfect if you’re staying at an apartment and want to have bread for breakfast when you wake up:

La Boulangerie, Lisbon
LA BOULANGERIE

TARTINE
Perfectly located around the corner from the famous Brasileira café, this is a bakery by the entrance and a café upstairs. You can grab the bread to go or stay at a table enjoying a light meal (we recommend the pancakes) at any time of the day.

LA BOULANGERIE
The most attractive bakery-café downtown (Rua da Madalena, 57) opened recently and is already known for the quality of its French-style bread. The consensus is that the service could be a little friendlier and more welcoming, and that has also been our experience, but hopefully the attractive space and the quality of the products will make up for it in the long run.

A PADARIA PORTUGUESA
Not far from La Boulangerie downtown (on Rua do Ouro, 175) is this new branch of Portuguese bakeries adapted to modern times. It has an attractive contemporary interior but serves the bread and pastries the Portuguese have been traditionally making for decades.

ERIC KAYSER
Found across the street from the Amoreiras shopping mall, this is Lisbon’s branch of the now-international French bakery. It has a rather spacious interior but also a few tables outside for you to enjoy a baguette in the sun.

POISON D’AMOUR
This is not a bakery but a pastry shop. And we warn you that if you’re counting calories, this is not a place for you. Incredibly mouth-watering pastries will tempt you into getting more sugar than you should, but once in a while it’s actually a healthy stress-reliever to give in to temptation. So after a visit to the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint, continue up the hill to this French patisserie and relax with a tea and something sweet. And you may take some croissants with you as well.

Portugal’s Other World Heritage Sites

Monday, March 26th, 2012

They’re not officially on UNESCO’s list, but these sites of extraordinary cultural significance could very well end up there one day, joining the 14 others in Portugal (like Sintra and Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower).

Mafra

MAFRA PALACE
It’s one of the world’s biggest palaces and it has some singular features such as a total of six organs that are unique in the world and the world’s largest collection of church bells in addition to one of Europe’s finest libraries. One of Nobel Prize author José Saramago’s most translated novels is about the building’s unbelievable construction (published in English as “Baltasar and Blimunda”).

Baixa

DOWNTOWN LISBON
The only reason Lisbon’s downtown isn’t yet a World Heritage Site is because many of its buildings have reached an advanced state of decay and have been stripped of many of their original features. Before it can present its candidacy to UNESCO it will have to restore everything back to its original state, but even without the official recognition Lisbon’s downtown is already a remarkable place. You couldn’t tell by simply looking at it, but this is Europe’s first urban planning project, using large-scale pre-fabricated earthquake-proof techniques that included modern sanitation. This type of grid of broad streets was later replicated in other European cities such as Paris and Barcelona.

Sagres, Portugal

SAGRES
Prince Henry the Navigator’s inspirational coastline is just as mystical and mysterious today. It’s Europe’s southwesternmost tip and was therefore believed to be the end of the world in ancient times. Prince Henry however, wondered what laid beyond the horizon and started a project of “discoveries” that paved the way for Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Christopher Columbus and all the other famous explorers. An enormous compass believed to have been used to study navigation is still seen on the ground in Sagres today.

Vila Viçosa, Portugal

VILA VIÇOSA
This town is made almost exclusively of marble. Like most others in the serene Alentejo province, it’s a rather sleepy place today but it was once a royal town with a palace belonging to the royal family of the Bragança dynasty. The palace is naturally also made of marble, as are benches and pavements, as this region is rich in this “white gold.”

Marvão, Portugal

MARVÃO
This near-Heaven village is a fortified medieval place described by the New York Times as “a fairytale mirage.” It’s one of the world’s highest settlements, standing close to 3,000 feet up high on a mountain, all inside a wall and protected by a castle. It’s almost unbelievable how anyone chose to settle here, but you’d have to have a 13th-century mentality to understand it.

Universidade, Coimbra

COIMBRA UNIVERSITY
It’s one of the world’s oldest universities and it’s quite a special one, with unique traditions associated with it over time. It includes one of the world’s most remarkable baroque libraries and is the most likely candidate to end up on UNESCO’s list in the near future.

Buçaco Palace Hotel

BUÇACO FOREST
It was one of the first forests in Europe to reunite plants from all over the world. It’s also the site of one of the continent’s first palace hotels, surrounded by a magical atmosphere.

Arrabida Park

ARRÁBIDA NATURAL PARK
This isn’t just another beautiful natural park. It’s one of the best places for geologists to learn about three key phases of the earth’s evolution and its tectonic plates, as well as a curious landscape of Mediterranean flora that’s actually on the Atlantic, developed around 180 million years ago when it was under water. The diversity and singularity of the park in terms of vegetation distribution gives it a natural heritage unmatched anywhere in the world.

The New Bar On Top of Lisbon

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Rooftop Bar
There’s a new rooftop bar in town. This time it’s found on the top floor (the 9th) of the Mundial Hotel, offering panoramic views of the city. You can see the river and the castle which is beautifully floodlit at night, and you may also enjoy the late-afternoon sun. It opens everyday at 6:30PM (weather permitting) and welcomes hotel guests and non-guests until midnight. It serves cocktails and occasionally also presents live jazz performances.

Rooftop Bar

Lisbon’s 10 Most-Visited Attractions

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Based on official reports and semi-official numbers, these are Lisbon’s 10-most visited attractions. Some are understandably so, others less worthy of a visit than a few sites missing from the list.

Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

1. JERONIMOS MONASTERY
This World Heritage Site is Lisbon’s most important monument and naturally receives the most visitors. The church is free and is extraordinarily ornate, but the real attraction are the cloisters.

2. OCEANARIUM
Attracting over one million visitors every year, this is one of the world’s largest aquariums and it just got bigger with a new extension this year, guaranteeing even more people through its doors for temporary exhibitions.

3. CASTLE OF ST. GEORGE
Locals and tourists (close to a million of them) flock to this ancient hilltop monument every year. It’s seen from almost anywhere in the city, so it constantly invites you to its ramparts.

4. BERARDO MUSEUM
Apparently everyone thinks “It’s free, so why not go inside?” The reward is one of Europe’s most important modern art collections and it’s now visited more than other famous European museums such as Bilbao’s Guggenheim.

5. TOWER OF BELEM
Leaving Lisbon without seeing Belém Tower is like going to Paris and not seeing Eiffel’s. The city icon is on the riverfront almost by the Atlantic, but it’s a pilgrimage everyone must make.

6. DISCOVERIES MONUMENT
This one is almost inevitable: It’s found halfway between the Tower of Belém and the monastery and is featured on almost every postcard and guidebook of the city. The colossal images of Portugal’s famous explorers also make it a must-stop for photos.

7. SANTA JUSTA ELEVATOR
The ride only lasts a few seconds, but the real attraction are the views at the top of this towering elevator with an Eiffel Tower-like structure.

8. CARRIAGES MUSEUM
This is Portugal’s most-visited national museum and the reason is that everyone is told that it has the world’s largest and best collection of royal carriages. It’s like entering a Cinderella world that attracts visitors of all ages, making it a perfect family attraction.

9. ANCIENT ART MUSEUM
The number of visitors has risen every year and that is due to a few important temporary exhibitions that have led many to discover its noteworthy permanent collection, in large part related to Portugal’s Age of Discovery.

10. CATHEDRAL
Everyone who visits Lisbon will at least pass by on their way to the castle on tram 28. Many end up going inside, and although it’s far from being one of Lisbon’s most beautiful churches, it is its oldest and it is the cathedral.

Discoveries Monument, Lisbon