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.

The Most Romantic 24 Hours in Lisbon

Lisbon sunrise

PORTAS DO SOL

SUNRISE
Wake up before sunrise, and head to Portas do Sol (literally “The Sun Gate”). This terrace in the Alfama district is where you may sit and watch the sun rising, and admire the early morning glow over the city’s most postcard-perfect view. It’s a good idea to stay at one of the hotels nearby, and if you choose Palácio Belmonte, you may even have the Portas do Sol view from your room. Other choices are Memmo Alfama, Solar dos Mouros and Solar do Castelo. After the sun has risen, go for a stroll around the neighboring maze of picturesque streets until 9AM, the castle’s opening time.
Castle view, Lisbon

VIEW FROM THE CASTLE

MORNING
Get a bird’s-eye view over the city from its oldest monument. Feel like the king and queen of the castle as you walk around the ramparts in the company of peacocks. You’ll want to spend some time here, but there’s still plenty to see, so hop on an official tram tour, which goes around the old city.
You may then look for a place for lunch that best appeals to you, although you probably should head back up by the castle for a meal with a view over the city, at Chapitô à Mesa.

Chapitô à Mesa

CHAPITÔ À MESA

Coaches Museum, Lisbon

COACHES MUSEUM

AFTERNOON
You may want to wait a few minutes for dessert. Try the city’s famous custard tarts on the opposite side of town, the Belém district. Lisbon’s most famous and iconic landmarks are all found there on the waterfront, where the Tagus river becomes the Atlantic. This was from where explorers like Vasco da Gama departed for their voyages around the world during the Age of Discovery, and now you may see the magnificent architecture from that time. Start with the cloisters of the Jeronimos Monastery, take a photo by the Discoveries Monument, and relax by the beautiful Belém Tower. Be sure to also see the Cinderella-like carriages of the Coaches Museum, and if you’ve still got the energy, head up the hill to the royal palace of Ajuda, known for its romantic collection of decorative art.

Belem Tower, Lisbon
BELEM TOWER

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon

RIBEIRA DAS NAUS

SUNSET
Head back to the center of town, but stay by the waterfront. Head to the top of the triumphal arch for the beautiful view, and late in the afternoon there’s no better spot to be than Ribeira das Naus, the promenade next to Comercio Square. This is where many choose to stay for the sunset, either at the Cais das Colunas wharf, or sitting on the steps of the promenade.
Lisbon sunset

RIBEIRA DAS NAUS

Moon over Lisbon
MIRADOURO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA

NIGHT
After the sun disappears in the horizon, but before nightfall, head up to Bairro Alto for the city’s most romantic viewpoint, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. It’s the perfect backdrop for a selfie of the two of you, and you may sit for a while, as the moon shines above the castle.

Comercio Square, Lisbon

VIEW FROM THE TRIUMPHAL ARCH

Embaixada

EMBAIXADA

Continue heading up the hill and you’re now in the romantic district of Principe Real. Get yourselves a gift at the monumental Embaixada shopping gallery, and sit relaxing under the gigantic umbrella-like cedar tree at the garden across from it. It’s now dinner time, so choose one of the many restaurants in the popular nightlife district Bairro Alto nearby. Consider As Salgadeiras, a former bakery (the stone vaulted ceiling and old brick oven have been maintained) that serves excellent Portuguese cuisine, or try Lisboa à Noite. It’s a former stable for horses that has kept the ring chains and beautiful tile panels from the 1700s, serving some classic Portuguese dishes. A third option is Pap’Açorda, a chandeliered restaurant known for both its contemporary and traditional Portuguese cuisine, and yet another choice is The Insólito, found on a rooftop looking out to the castle.
The Insolito

THE INSOLITO

It’s now time to head back to your hotel, but you may also choose an apartment instead.
But why should you only have 24 romantic hours in Lisbon? Make this a 48-hour experience, and head to Sintra on the following day. This fairy tale town less than 40 minutes from the capital city was Europe’s first center of Romantic architecture, and is now a World Heritage Site. Of the many palaces and castles in town, the one you can’t miss is Pena Palace, but we also recommend the Regaleira Palace and the Moorish Castle, and Monserrate Palace. You can easily spend an entire day hopping around palaces and castles, and you may then relax in the oldest hotel in the Iberian Peninsula, Lawrence’s Hotel, or have the royal experience at Seteais Palace Hotel.

Pena Palace

PENA PALACE

10 New Restaurants to Try in Lisbon this Fall

A Cultura do Hamburger, Lisbon

A CULTURA DO HAMBURGUER
Rua das Salgadeiras, 38
Tel: 213 430 272

Formerly a tea house, this attractive space in Bairro Alto is now all about hamburgers. They all come with fries, and there are also the traditional Portuguese “pregos” (steak sandwiches).

Apicius, Lisbon

APICIUS
Rua da Cruz dos Poiais, 89
Tel: 213 900 652

You’ll find this small restaurant between Bairro Alto and São Bento Palace. From outside (in a tile-covered building) you’d expect a traditional place, but the interior is very contemporary — not just the decor but also the food, which is of international inspiration.

Bastardo, Lisbon

BASTARDO
Rua da Betesga, 3
Tel: 213 240 993

Looking out to Rossio Square in the Internacional Design Hotel, this restaurant is open to anyone wishing to try some creative Portuguese cuisine. It uses regional products and has a stylish interior, made up of mismatched chairs and funny portraits on the wall.

Don Castellana, Lisbon

DON CASTELLANA
Rua da Moeda, 1 H/N
Tel: 213 901 016

Just around the corner from Ribeira Market, this restaurant has a Roman-born chef preparing refined Italian cuisine. It’s served in a classic-style dining room which may be booked for private parties.

In Bocca al Lupo, Lisbon

IN BOCCA AL LUPO
Rua Manuel Bernardes, 5A
Tel: 213 900 582

Hidden on a quiet street by Praça das Flores in the Príncipe Real district, this restaurant presents thin-crust pizzas prepared in a wood oven. It stands out from the other pizza places in town by being organic, and for offering the choice of vegan pizzas.

La Favorita do Cais, Lisbon

LA FAVORITA DO CAIS
Rua de São Paulo, 61
Tel: 211 376 146

This pizzeria in the recent nightlife district of Cais do Sodré prepares the pizza in a wood oven, and uses the traditional Italian toppings. There are also pastas and salads, which you may enjoy until late, as it only closes at 1AM.

Lisboete, Lisbon

LISBOÈTE
Calçada Marquês de Abrantes, 92
Tel: 213 950 953

Not far from the Ancient Art Museum is this all-white restaurant that mixes Paris and Lisbon. The desserts are French, the cheeses are Portuguese, and the rest of the menu (mostly meat and fish) combines the flavors of Portugal and France.

Mô Petiscaria, Lisbon

MÔ PETISCARIA
Rua das Madres, 2
Tel: 213 900 420

Found off the beaten path in the Madragoa district (the one major attraction within walking distance is the Ancient Art Museum), this small space offers the “petiscos” (tapas) of the Algarve region. There are always daily specials (listed on a chalkboard).

Moules & Wine, Lisbon

MOULES & WINE
Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103 (Lx Factory)
Tel: 211 340 579

Taking over one of the many former warehouses of the Lx Factory complex, this restaurant specializes in mussels accompanied by little-known Portuguese wines. Both the interior and the terrace in the back (plus a few tables by the entrance) reflect the industrial past of the space. The lower level becomes a club on Friday and Saturday nights.

Taberna da Baixa, Lisbon

TABERNA DA BAIXA
Rua dos Fanqueiros, 161-163
Tel: 218 870 290

This small restaurant is found downtown and offers traditional Portuguese dishes and wines. The several “petiscos” (tapas) vary daily, and are listed outside. It follows the style of the classic Portuguese taverns, but gives it a contemporary touch.

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