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.

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

Two Michelin-Star Chefs Opening New Restaurants in Lisbon

Café Lisboa, Lisbon

There are currently two local chefs in Lisbon with gastronomy’s highest honor – the coveted Michelin star. Coincidentally, they’re both opening new casual restaurants in the city, complementing their well-established fine dining spaces.
José Cordeiro’s Michelin star in Lisbon was received at the Feitoria restaurant on the waterfront district of Belém, and he is now also on the waterfront, but on Comercio Square. The new “Chefe Cordeiro” restaurant has a terrace open throughout the day on the square for those who simply wish to have a drink or light meal on one of the city’s most monumental settings. The more complete meals can be enjoyed inside, in a space from the 1700s filled with contemporary furnishings. From the open kitchen comes dishes said to be “a tribute to Lisbon,” meaning traditional foods, but reinterpreted by the chef’s talent.
The other Michelin star is José Avillez, who in addition to the famous Belcanto restaurant has two others in the city. The new one, the fourth, is a café, found in the gilded interior of the city’s opera house, São Carlos Theater. Open throughout the day, every day, it has a terrace on the square, allowing you to stop for a drink and light meals to the sound of the old trams passing by. In such an emblematic Lisbon setting, the name of the place is appropriately “Café Lisboa.”

10 Things to Do in Lisbon in the Summer of 2013

Joana Vasconcelos at Ajuda Palace, Lisbon

SEE CONTEMPORARY ART IN A ROYAL PALACE
The most visited exhibition of the Palace of Versailles comes to Lisbon. The Ajuda Palace will show the works by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos that were seen in France (including the famous shoes made of pans) and will add a few new pieces. You can see them from March 23rd to August 25th.

Lisbon waterfront

SUNBATHE ON THE NEW WATERFRONT
After several delays, Lisbon’s renovated waterfront next to Comercio Square is promised to be ready by the summer. Known as “Ribeira das Naus” (“Ships Riverfront”), this was where Lisbon’s explorers had their ships made. It will now be a public space to relax, to sit in the sun and enjoy the scenery.

JOIN A STREET PARTY
The main event is on the night of June 12 and on June 13th, but the “Festas de Lisboa” (“Lisbon Feasts”) really happen throughout the summer. You’ll find several outdoor events throughout the city from June to September, from free jazz concerts to street performances, especially downtown and in the squares of Chiado.

ROCK AND ROLL ON THE BEACH
Lisbon’s summers are always big on music festivals and 2013 will be no exception. While this year there is no Rock in Rio-Lisboa, there will be the Optimus Alive festival with names like Green Day, Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, and Editors, and the Super Bock Super Rock festival with Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, among others. Best of all is that these festivals take place by the coast, allowing you to get some beach days in between. Among other concerts happening in the city this summer are those of Bon Jovi and Alicia Keys.

DISCOVER NEW ART
One of Lisbon’s best-but-overlooked museums is the Chiado Museum, the national museum of contemporary art. It’s a great place to discover the art of Portugal’s best contemporary artists and it just unveiled its new permanent collection. You’ll see works from between 1850 to 1975 and the names to look for are Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Almada Negreiros and Paula Rego.

Myriad Hotel, Lisbon

BE ONE OF THE FIRST GUESTS
2013 has so far been huge on new hotel openings. This is the result of Lisbon being one of the rising stars of European travel and because it’s no longer just a seasonal low-cost destination, there are increasingly more upscale (yet still affordable) hotels. Recently-opened or about to be (and all centrally-located), there are new boutique and design hotels you’ll want to be among the first to experience. Check out the new Lisboa Carmo Hotel, Mercy Hotel, Myriad Hotel, Teatro Hotel, Beautique Hotel Figueira, Epic Sana Hotel and Memmo Alfama. Alternatively, you may choose one of the many new or renovated centrally-located apartments.

SAMPLE THE LATEST RESTAURANTS
Lisbon is currently going through a gastronomic revolution that will keep on growing. The New York Times called it the city’s “Culinary Golden Age,” with creative young chefs investing in new restaurant projects since 2010. This year is no different, with new star-chef restaurants opening in the center of the city. The new Honra by Olivier serves traditional Portuguese cuisine with a personal twist on Figueira Square, Michelin-star chef Jose Avillez is adding a pizzeria to Chiado which gives him a trio of restaurants in the neighborhood, and other spots are reinventing themselves with new menus like the beautiful Tacho à Mesa by Faz Gostos.

SEE A RENEWED ROYAL SQUARE
Comercio Square is one of Europe’s largest public squares, and the second biggest royal square after St. Petersburg’s Palace Square. The statue of king José I placed at the center in 1779 is currently being restored and will be unveiled like new in August. Also being cleaned up is the same square is the triumphal arch which should be completed by then as well.
In the meantime you may always enjoy the terraces of the new cafes and restaurants placed under the arches of the eastern and western wings.

Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon

SPLURGE ON NEW LUXURY SHOPS
Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade has become a true luxury shopping destination, reinforced by new shops of international brands like Miu Miu and Officine Panerai, and a renewed Emporio Armani. Joining them this summer is a major new Cartier store and the less-luxurious-but-very-popular Guess.

Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra

GO BACK 1300 YEARS
Also given a new life is the 1300-year-old Moorish Castle in Sintra. Thanks to ticket sales from a growing number of tourists to the region, this ancient landmark has now added new facilities to accommodate visitors and restored parts of the monument in the process. While the fairytale Pena Palace nearby gets all the attention, the Moorish Castle should also be part of your itinerary in 2013 and beyond.

What’s New in Lisbon’s Restaurant Scene

The end of the summer brought a few changes to some of Lisbon’s best-known restaurants, from new concepts and chefs to new addresses:

Meson Andaluz, Lisbon

MESON ANDALUZ
Travessa do Alecrim, 4 – Chiado
Tel: 214 600 659
For many years this was arguably Cascais’ favorite Spanish restaurant. It’s now moved to the center of the capital, down the hill from Chiado. The interior dates back to the 1700s with brick stone arches but you’ll likely prefer to sit outside on the terrace. Although the wine list includes Spanish and Portuguese wines, the food is all traditionally Spanish or what it advertises as “the best tapas in Lisbon.”

CHAPITÔ À MESA
Costa do Castelo, 7
Tel: 218 867 334
It’s one of the city’s most popular restaurants, always full of locals and tourists who are drawn to the spectacular views of Lisbon. It helps that it’s also just a short walk from the castle but the quality of the food has also kept it as a top choice in the city. Now it has a new chef (one of the most acclaimed after years at a few fine dining restaurants) and promises a more refined cuisine. That doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive, as this restaurant always had higher-than-average prices but more creative selections on the menu.

Estorias na Casa da Comida, Lisbon

ESTÓRIAS NA CASA DA COMIDA
Travessa das Amoreiras, 1
Tel: 213 860 889
It was the first restaurant in Portugal to get a Michelin star and after 35 years in service, it recently closed for a major renovation. Its three different dining areas (including a courtyard) now feature an elegant combination of classic furnishings and more contemporary design, and offer different dining experiences. You may now go just for a glass of wine and a lighter meal, or for the full menu of contemporary Portuguese cuisine.

UMAI
Rua da Misericórdia, 78 – Chiado
Rua da Cruz dos Poiais, 89 – Bairro Alto
Tel: 213 958 057
A small space hidden in a corner of Bairro Alto close to São Bento Palace quickly became known as Lisbon’s best Asian restaurant. The owner is actually Portuguese but an experienced specialist in the foods of the East, mixing the delicacies of Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, India… That small space still exists but now focus on just Japanese food (yes, sushi but also more than that), and a bigger space has opened in Chiado. That’s where all the Asian specialties will now be served, offering fine quality at reasonable prices.

Olivier Avenida, Lisbon

OLIVIER AVENIDA
Rua Júlio César Machado, 7
Tel: 213 174 105
Unashamedly pretentious, this restaurant was made to impress, both in ambiance and cuisine. Large teardrop chandeliers hang above a blingy décor that’s just had a small makeover. It’s now a combination of what it calls a mix of “French Romanticism and the New Gothic” but whatever that means it’s simply an excuse to attract those looking for a see-and-be-seen place where well-presented food is served. Late at night from Thursday to Saturday it becomes the “Avenida Cocktail Lounge” for after-dinner drinking and mingling.