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.

5 Things to Do in Lisbon Before the End of 2015

Videomapping Terreiro do Paço

CHRISTMAS MULTIMEDIA SHOW IN COMERCIO SQUARE
It’s becoming an annual tradition — the multimedia Christmas show projected onto the triumphal arch in Comercio Square. Twelve projectors will present a 15-minute family-friendly show from December 11th to the 20th, at 7PM, 8PM and 9PM. As this is a public square, it’s a free event for all.

MNAA

Photo: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

GREAT SPANISH MASTERS AT THE ANCIENT ART MUSEUM
An extraordinary collection of works by Goya, El Greco and other great Spanish painters is now on display at the Ancient Art Museum until April 3rd, 2016. It’s a total of 60 paintings from the 15th to the 20th century, and tickets are 7 euros. This is also a great opportunity to check out the museum’s permanent collection of Portuguese treasures, which is free with the Lisboa Card.

Lusitania Romana

ROMAN LUSITANIA
Lusitania was the name of the Roman province in Western Iberia that is mostly modern Portugal, and Lisbon’s National Archaeology Museum is presenting the art and culture of that time. It’s showing around 200 pieces from several museums in Portugal and Spain, including mosaics and sculptures. The exhibition lasts until June.

Henrique Sá Pessoa

NEW RESTAURANTS
Check out two new restaurants from two of the city’s top chefs. The first one is Alma, from chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, which previously existed in the Santos district, but has now moved to Chiado (Rua Anchieta, 15 ). Only the name remains from the previous restaurant, although the chef’s innovation is still there. The menus and the decor have changed, now serving contemporary Portuguese cuisine with some Asian influences. The second restaurant, also of fine dining, is Loco, found facing the back of the Estrela Basilica (Rua dos Navegantes 53B). This is where chef Alexandre Silva expects to surprise you with his most creative dishes.

Obidos Vila Natal

THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
It happens every year — the medieval village of Obidos is turning into the “Christmas Village”. Just one hour north of Lisbon, it’s presenting several holiday-themed family activities around its castle and narrow streets, from December 4th to January 3rd.

9 Things to Do in Lisbon in September

The ninth month of the year is still warm enough for plenty of outdoor activities, and that’s why there’s an outdoors festival throughout almost the entire month. It’s also the beginning of the film festival season, with two international film festivals in town. See the special events and activities that you may experience in Lisbon this September:

Roman Theater, Lisbon

THE NEW ROMAN THEATER MUSEUM
The Roman Theater Museum closed a couple of years ago for a major renovation, and will reopen some time in September. The few archaeological remains of the theater that survive have been cleaned up, and the new small museum will attempt to bring it back to life, through findings from the excavations and through multimedia displays.

JOSEFA DE ÓBIDOS AND THE INVENTION OF THE PORTUGUESE BAROQUE
During the first six days of the month you may still catch one of the biggest art exhibitions of the year in Lisbon. It’s in the Ancient Art Museum and shows more than 130 works (including paintings, sculptures and decorative arts), mostly by one of the very rare female artists from the 17th century, Josefa de Óbidos. They came from several Portuguese and international collections, and admission is 7 euros. If you want to see the museum’s permanent collection, you may do so for free if you get the Lisboa Card.

VOGUE’S FASHION’S NIGHT OUT
The sixth annual event dedicated to fashion and shopping will bring the usual crowds to the streets of Chiado, Príncipe Real, Baixa and down Avenida da Liberdade. Expect major discounts and special events both inside and outside the shops in the evening, until 11PM on September 10th.

MOTELx
September is the start of the film festival season, and the first one is dedicated to horror movies. This is the 9th edition of the MOTELx international horror film festival, and it will last from the 8th to the 13th of the month at the São Jorge Theater.

QUEER LISBOA
The other film festival this month is one of the oldest in Lisbon and one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. Queer Lisboa is dedicated exclusively to screening gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender films, or a genre simply referred to as “queer cinema”. The festival lasts for just over a week, from September 18th to the 26th, in São Jorge Theater on Avenida da Liberdade.

“LISBOA NA RUA”
This outdoor festival lasting until September 20th turns different public spaces in the center of the city into stages for shows ranging from musical performances to movie screenings. A major show is happening on the last day, with the orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation offering a free concert in Municipal Square at 7PM. Another free show is a Fado concert on the 4th and 11th of the month in front of São Carlos Theater at 9:30PM. In between, don’t be surprised to come across other events and performances at different spaces around the city.

View from the Monument to Christ, Cristo Rei, Lisbon

CROSS THE BRIDGE AND OPEN YOUR ARMS TO THE CITY
A new tour takes you across Lisbon’s landmark 25 de Abril Bridge on an open-top bus and stops at the Monument to Christ where you have the city at your feet. Take a moment to admire the views and snap a few photos before heading to the top of the pedestal to stand by the statue looking over the bridge and the city. More tour information here: Bridge and Christ the King Tour from Lisbon

SKIP THE LINE
Also new is the chance to skip the line at the Jeronimos Monastery. The crowds won’t be as big as in August, but September is still a major tourist month, and you may want to save some time and your legs, and avoid standing in line. This after a guided walking tour of the neighborhood and of its most famous monuments. More info here: Skip the Line and Belem Walking Tour

NEW RESTAURANTS
Be among the first to try new restaurants serving everything from award-winning pizza to fresh Portuguese fish. Not far from the last stop of the popular tram 28 in Campo de Ourique/Prazeres is celebrity chef Vitor Sobral’s newest restaurant “Peixaria da Esquina”, specializing in fish and seafood. In the center of the city, in Chiado, is the new Mercantina, the only one in town certified by the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana”, meaning the city of Naples thinks this is one of the places in the world where “real Neapolitan pizzas” are served. Right next to the cathedral, with tables outside, is the new “Ao Pé da Sé”, a café-restaurant serving carpaccios, piadinas, tartare, sandwiches and salads throughout the day — perfect after sightseeing in the neighborhood.

10 Reasons to Visit Lisbon in 2015

Belem Tower, Lisbon

500 YEARS OF THE BELEM TOWER
Lisbon’s most iconic monument is celebrating its 500th anniversary throughout the year, with a special event at the end of June. On the same month, the annual parade down Avenida da Liberdade on the night of the 12th will have the World Heritage tower as its theme and inspiration.

Ribeira Market

THE NEW RIBEIRA MARKET
Lisbon’s central market added a food court on the ground level last May, which quickly made it one of the city’s most popular spots. In 2015, it will add new attractions upstairs, including a restaurant, auditorium and gallery, making it more than a dining destination.

MORE GASTRONOMIC STARS
2014 ended with Lisbon having a 2-Michelin-star restaurant for the first time. It was awarded to Belcanto, which had previously already been distinguished with one, and in 2015 there will be more acclaimed chefs opening new restaurants in the city. Henrique Sá Pessoa, known locally for his TV cooking show, closed his restaurant “Alma” in 2014, but will reopen it in a more central location, in Chiado, in the new year. And local celebrity chef Olivier will open a high-end restaurant and members’ club by Avenida da Liberdade, while in the same neighborhood there will be a new hotel with a restaurant managed by a Michelin star chef from Madeira. There will be more information about all of these places and more, throughout the year.

Roman Theater, Lisbon

THE NEW ROMAN THEATER MUSEUM
It’s one of Lisbon’s oldest constructions, but was only unearthed in the 1960s. It’s the city’s Roman theater, which is now only seen in part, as an archaeological site. But a small museum with a few pieces found on the site was created in 2001 next to the excavations, only to close in 2013 for renovations. Now in May of 2015 it will reopen and will better explain life in Lisbon during Roman times, while also trying to bring the ancient monument to life.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The 12th edition of the round-the-world ocean race chose Lisbon as a transatlantic stopover, bringing the sailing competition to the city from May 23rd to the 27th. During these dates, you can expect to see the Lisbon waterfront with even more activity.

Super Bock Super Rock

SUPER BOCK SUPER ROCK
It’s one of Lisbon’s biggest annual music festivals, but it had left the city for the beach in the last several years. In 2015 it’s back in Lisbon, in Parque das Nações, on July 16th, 17th and 18th. Right now only Florence and the Machine have been confirmed, but other bands will be announced soon.

EXPERIMENTADESIGN – DESIGN BIENNIAL
2015 is a year of Lisbon’s design biennial which is essentially also a contemporary culture festival taking place in several venues around the city. It’s only happening late in the year, in November and December, so there is no information about it at the moment, but you may now mark your calendar.

Ribeira das Naus

A NEW URBAN BEACH
With the Atlantic just a few minutes from the city center, Lisbon doesn’t really need an “urban beach.” But after the Ribeira das Naus waterfront promenade by Comercio Square became a “beach” last year, there was an idea to turn another waterfront area into a central “beach.” That project seems to be coming true, and the location is in the Belém district, not far from the Discoveries Monument. There will be beach chairs and an actual beach environment but no sand, only a lawn — and no swimming. But plenty of sunbathing.

THE NEW COACHES MUSEUM
Will 2015 be finally the year when the new Coaches Museum opens its doors? The building has been ready for a couple of years, but the inauguration has been delayed several times. It’s now said that it’s scheduled for the summer, but locals have to see it to believe it. And tourists will also see more of Lisbon’s magnificent old carriages that also have to be seen to be believed. These fairy tale vehicles that once transported royalty and nobility can currently still be admired in the old museum, but when the new one opens, there will be more to see and more to learn about them, and about the times when they used to roam the streets of Lisbon and elsewhere in Europe.

NEW SPECIAL PLACES TO STAY
Portugal’s network of historic hotels will finally open one in the capital, in one of the arcaded buildings of Comercio Square. Scheduled for some time in the summer, the Pousada de Lisboa will blend the historic and the contemporary, plus an unbeatable waterfront location. Another excellent location is that of the upcoming Hotel Santiago de Alfama, just steps from the castle and around the corner from a couple of the city’s most beautiful viewpoints. And yet another special place where you may be the very first guest is Porto Bay Liberdade, opening soon by the city’s luxury shopping boulevard, featuring a refined restaurant and rooftop lounge.

Christmas and New Year’s in Lisbon 2014

Holidays in Lisbon, Portugal

The Christmas lights are now on, and the Christmas shopping has begun. Much like everywhere else, there’s plenty of Christmas spirit in Lisbon, and if you’ll be in town this month and until New Year’s Day, you’ll find special events around the city:

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS
From December 7th to the 21st, there will be free Christmas concerts in several of the city’s churches. Some of the highlights: In São Roque Church on the 12th at 9:30PM, in Graça Church on the 14th at 4PM, and in São Domingos Church on the 20th at 9:30PM. There will also be a special concert of the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra on Sunday the 21st, at 5:30PM in São Luiz Theater.

CHRISTMAS MARKET
From the 12th to the 28th you’ll find a Christmas market in the city’s largest square, Praça do Comércio. It’s the perfect opportunity to find something special from Lisbon for a gift.

MULTIMEDIA SHOW
The market won’t be the only event in Comercio Square. From the 14th to the 23rd, there will be a multimedia show projected onto the façades every night at 7PM, 8PM and 9PM. It’s a family show, lasting for about 15 minutes, with the theme of “Christmas wishes.”

CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
Outside Lisbon, to the north of the city in the medieval village of Obidos, is the annual “Christmas Village.” It presents several shows and activities from December 5th to January 4th within the castle walls: See Facebook photos of the event here

NEW YEAR’S EVE
As always, the major New Year’s Eve celebrations will also take place in Comercio Square, with the usual fireworks at midnight. There will be plenty of live music before that, and you may grab a seat for a meal or drink at one of the many tables surrounding the square.