Posts About 'Lisbon General'

10 New Reasons to Go to Lisbon in 2016

Monday, January 11th, 2016

MAAT, Lisbon

THE NEW MAAT – MUSEUM OF ART, ARCHITECTURE AND TECHNOLOGY
The major new attraction of the year is the MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, which will be found on the water’s edge in the Belém district. Directed by the former curator of contemporary architecture of New York’s MoMA, the first exhibition is scheduled for September, but you’ll be able to admire the exterior of the rather futuristic building before then.

THE NEW DISCOVERIES MUSEUM
It’s not being labeled a “museum” but rather a “museological space,” and it’s quite a space. It’s a replica of a ship from the 1500s, the type that left Lisbon for Asia, Brazil and around the world, and will explain the planning and process behind those voyages, together with all the different aspects (both positive and negative) of the Age of Discovery. It will be placed on the waterfront some time in the summer, by Ribeira das Naus, and will have a terrace at the top offering views of the Tagus flowing into the Atlantic, allowing you to imagine the ancient sailors heading into the unknown.

THE NEW MONEY MUSEUM
It’s been postponed year after year, but 2016 is said to be the year for the opening of the new Money Museum. It will be found in the mostly unlikely of places, a former church from the 1700s, but also extending to the building behind it, which belongs to the Bank of Portugal. Although the museum is said to open in the first half of the year, the former church is already open to visitors, showing traces of Lisbon’s medieval wall together with archaeological finds from the Roman and Moorish periods of the city.

Amoreiras Towers, Lisbon

“AMOREIRAS 360”
It may be hard to believe for many locals, but the Amoreiras Towers have just turned 30 years old. Quite controversial due to their postmodern architecture in a historic city, they’re now very much part of Lisbon’s skyline and house one of its favorite malls. In 2016 it will open its rooftop to visitors for the first time, a new attraction it’s calling “Amoreiras 360.” That’s because it will offer 360º-views over Lisbon, reportedly at a cost of 5 euros per person.

TALL SHIPS RACE
One of the biggest events of the year will happen in July. From the 22nd to the 25th, “Europe’s Atlantic Capital” will have several activities (from concerts to exhibitions) related to the famous sailing race. Many of the ships will be open to visitors, and there will be lots of photo opportunities as they go down the Tagus towards the Atlantic.

“HOSPITAL DO DESTERRO”
The same company that turned a group of abandoned warehouses, now collectively known as “Lx Factory,” into one of Lisbon’s trendiest spots, will now try to do the same for a former hospital. The 500-year-old building actually started out as a monastery, then became an orphanage, then it was turned into military barracks, and finally became a hospital until 2006. In the spring of 2016 it will have its 11,000 square meters divided into shops, cultural spaces, restaurants and a hotel.

NEW HOTELS
A larger number of tourists every year means that there’s still a need for new hotels. And the new ones try to stand out from the competition in any way they can. Studies show that Lisbon is one of the cities with the best-reviewed hotels in Europe, and the upcoming ones will make sure they keep it that way. There will be a new design hotel in the Príncipe Real district overlooking the city, a new hotel downtown from a new chain created by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, and a new four stars in the central Figueira Square.

A NEW WATERFRONT
The final touches are scheduled for January of 2017, but by the end of 2016 you’ll already be able to enjoy a large part of the renewed waterfront between Cais do Sodré and Campo das Cebolas, by the cruise terminal.
Extending the promenade Ribeira das Naus, also used as an “urban beach” during the warmer months, the square across from Cais do Sodré station will be landscaped, and the square across from the famous Casa dos Bicos will be mostly car-free, so you’ll be able to enjoy a picnic or relax in the Atlantic breeze.

25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon

THE NEW 25 DE ABRIL BRIDGE ELEVATOR
In the year that the landmark 25 de Abril Bridge celebrates 50 years, there are plans for the addition of an elevator to take tourists to the top. It’s still in the planning stages, so there’s no guarantee that it will open in its 50th year, but sooner or later you’ll be able to go up 70 meters (230ft) in the air. It will not only offer bird’s-eye views of Lisbon, it will also tell the story of the bridge, including why it looks so much like San Francisco’s Golden Gate.

A RENEWED ANCIENT ART MUSEUM
An entire floor of the Ancient Art Museum is currently closed and will only reopen in May. At that time it will have a (re)new(ed) space for the display of Portuguese paintings and sculpture that were rarely seen before. It will have around 200 new pieces, from the Middle Ages to the 1800s.
Until April you may also see the temporary exhibition “Great Spanish Masters”, with works by names like El Greco, Goya and Sorolla.

Survey Says: Tourists Love Lisbon

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon had a record year in tourism in 2014, and it seems that almost everyone left satisfied and wanting more. When visitors were asked how much they liked the city on a scale of 1 to 10, the average score was a 9.28, and 99.3% said they wish to return. Over half of those surveyed (62%) said Lisbon exceeded their expectations, and around the same number (60.8%) said they rank the Portuguese capital among their top 5 favorite destinations.

Lisbon was the European capital with the highest growth in hotel stays, and in 2015 there will be close to two dozen hotel openings. But this doesn’t mean that it will become more expensive and overrun with tourists like most other European cities. It remains an undiscovered (overlooked) destination for most tourists from outside Europe, and prices are still well below those of most other Western European capitals, especially when it comes to hotels and apartments.

There are many reasons why Lisbon is suddenly becoming a favorite in Europe, and one of them seems to be word of mouth, which reminds many of one of the most authentic European capitals. Lisbon is now more attractive than ever, especially after its renovated waterfront, new museum openings and a rejuvenated food scene. Tourists sharing all the scenic views they captured on camera in Lisbon on social media, and trip reports on blogs and websites have convinced many to visit the city and see for themselves.

If you haven’t been to Lisbon or it’s been some time since you were last in town, it’s time to discover a whole new destination. So start planning your sightseeing now!

10 Reasons to Visit Lisbon in 2015

Friday, January 2nd, 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.

10 Things to Do in Lisbon this September

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Comercio Square, Lisbon

“I LOST MY HEART IN LISBON” MULTIMEDIA SHOW
September 1st-8th
Every day, until the 8th, at 10PM, 11PM and midnight, you may catch a free 15-minute multimedia show projected onto the arcades of Comércio Square. It will show images of contemporary Lisbon, with lots of street art and 3D effects.

LISB/ON FESTIVAL
September 6 and 7
www.lisb-on.pt
September is still very much summer in Lisbon, so here’s a special outdoors music festival for you. It’s happening in Edward VII Park in the city center, with dance music, soul and jazz starting at 1PM and lasting until 11PM.

VOGUE’S FASHION’S NIGHT OUT
September 11
www.fashionsnightout.pt
The annual “Fashion’s Night Out” promoted by Vogue magazine is back, and in addition to the shops in the neighborhoods of Chiado, Príncipe Real and Avenida da Liberdade, this year several shops in Baixa are also staying open until late, with events and special discounts, plus the usual festive atmosphere, from 7PM to 11PM.

MEO OUTJAZZ FESTIVAL
Weekends
Lisbon’s summer-long festival of jazz and chill-out music continues in September, and this month, the locations are Martim Moniz Square on Fridays at 6PM and Saturdays at 5PM, and Parque Tejo, the park by the Vasco da Gama Bridge in the Parque das Nações district, on Sundays at 5PM. Always free.

MOTEL X – HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
September 10-14
www.motelx.org
Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival is back for its 8th edition at Cinema São Jorge on Avenida da Liberdade, and this year will also have screenings at Teatro Tivoli on the same avenue, to celebrate that theater’s 90th anniversary.

QUEER LISBOA FILM FESTIVAL
September 19-27
www.queerlisboa.pt
This annual film festival screening LGBT-themed films from around the world is actually Lisbon’s biggest film festival in terms of number of screenings, and one of the largest of its kind in Europe. This year it will show 120 films, both long and short features, and a retrospective of the American director John Waters’ movies.

CAIXA ALFAMA – FADO FESTIVAL
September 19 and 20
www.caixaalfama.pt
The narrow streets and alleyways of the old Alfama neighborhood will stage several concerts of Fado music, with some big names of classic and contemporary Fado, such as Ana Moura and Gisela João. Two of the main locations are the Fado Museum and São Miguel Church. There’s one single ticket of 35 euros which offers access to all concerts in all locations.

VHILS EXHIBITION
www.vhilsfundacaoedp.com/
Throughout the entire month (and until october 5th), you may see an exhibition of renowned contemporary artist Vhils at the Electricity Museum. Although mostly known for his street art, you’ll be surprised by the range of his work, mainly the large scale works. Admission is free.

“THE SAVOYS” EXHIBITION
Until September 28th
www.os-saboias.pt
With art from several Italian museums and royal residences, this exhibition at the Ancient Art Museum shows the wealth of the House of Savoy, one of the oldest royal families in the world. Most of the 100 works on display are from the early 1700s, and by different Italian artists.

Graça, Lisbon

COM’OUT LISBON FESTIVAL
www.lisboanarua.com
Until September 20th, don’t be surprised if you stumble upon an outdoor concert or film screening at the most unlikely of places, from small hidden squares to narrow streets, throughout the old town neighborhoods. All the events are free, and all you have to do is check the calendar on the website to see what’s going on and where.

Free Wi-Fi in Lisbon’s Metro and Beyond

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Lisbon Metro

Lisbon’s Metro is about to become the second underground train service in Europe to offer free wi-fi internet connection to all passengers, after London. It will start next week at the stations of Marquês de Pombal, Alameda, Campo Grande, and Colégio Militar, and should cover the entire network by the spring of 2014 after a 5-million-euro investment.
All you’ll have to do is search for the ON-FI network on your smartphone or tablet, without the need to register or enter a password. It was also announced that in the near future you may be able to do the same in Lisbon’s main squares.

If you’re looking for free wi-fi connection in Lisbon, you may find it at several cafés in the city, but you may have to ask the waiter for a password. For password-free connection, head to the Armazéns do Chiado mall, right in the center of the city. The best connection is around the food court on the upper floor. Other malls such as Amoreiras and Colombo also offer the same free service.

Lisbon Slowly Rising as One of Europe’s Most-Visited Cities

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

From overlooked off-the-beaten-path destination in the shadow of the other great Iberian cities (Barcelona and Madrid), Lisbon is now rising on the European “must go” list. That’s according to the Global Destination Cities Index 2013, a study sponsored by MasterCard.
Lisbon is currently Europe’s 16th-most visited city, attracting 2.6 million visitors per year. On the list of 132 world cities, it ranks 39th.
Most visitors arrive in the Portuguese capital from Paris, followed by London, Amsterdam, Madrid and Frankfurt. Naturally, not all are leisure travelers, as the city also ranks well as a business destination, particularly for congresses.

Topping the list in Europe is London followed by Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona and Milan. The British capital is likely to maintain that position in the future, but Paris will probably be overtaken by Istanbul by 2016.

On the worldwide ranking, it’s Bangkok that comes at the top in terms of international visitors, having made London drop to second place (followed by Paris, Singapore, New York, Istanbul and Dubai).

This study looks at the number of international visitors who stay overnight, not just those passing by for connecting flights.

10 Spots to Get a Tan in Lisbon

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

If you know anything about Lisbon you already know that it’s the European capital with the most sunshine hours per year and the closest to sandy beaches. But you don’t have to head to the coast nearby to get a tan — you may return home with a bronzed glow by simply staying in the center of the city, and often with wonderful views. Here’s where:

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon

RIBEIRA DAS NAUS
This waterfront promenade was renovated and reopened in 2013 and was already the “beach” of the center of the city on sunny April days. It’s found between Comercio Square and Cais do Sodré station which takes you to the beaches of Cascais.

Cais das Colunas, Lisbon

CAIS DAS COLUNAS
Across the road from Comercio Square is the “quay of columns” where ships docked throughout the centuries. Now it’s a tourist magnet for the views and for sitting in the sun in the company of seagulls and with the breeze of the Atlantic.

Parque Tejo, Lisbon

PARQUE TEJO
Between Vasco da Gama Tower and Vasco da Gama Bridge is this green park which is used by joggers and soccer players throughout the year. During the summer, you’ll find people in beachwear working on their tans on the lawns facing the bridge.

Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon

EDWARD VII PARK
The people of Lisbon head straight to the beaches and overlook their parks. That’s why who you find here are usually foreign tourists, not just because the park is surrounded by many hotels but also because it’s a wonderful attraction with city views. Many remove their shirts as early as April and make this their own private outdoor tanning salon.

Tapada das Necessidades, Lisbon

TAPADAS DAS NECESSIDADES
Spread your towel on one of the city’s most tranquil spots, the little-known Necessidades Park next to a former palace that’s now home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although mostly a picnic spot and site of outdoor jazz concerts, it’s also a wonderful place to relax in the sun.

Docas de Santo Amaro, Lisbon

DOCAS DE SANTO AMARO
It’s one of the city’s cruise terminals and home to several restaurants facing a marina so it’s only natural that you’ll find many tourists enjoying the Lisbon sun on this spot throughout the year. Locals prefer to jog along the riverfront towards Belém and you’ll find many sitting on the water’s edge relaxing in the sun or even fishing.

Portas do Sol, Lisbon

PORTAS DO SOL
It’s called “The Gateway of the Sun” for a reason. This is where you get the best sunrise views and where the sun shines all day long. There’s a cafe serving meals and drinks throughout the day and on the terrace above it you’ll find tourists aiming their cameras at the postcard views. You may simply sit there in the sun and do nothing.

Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara, Lisbon

MIRADOURO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA
Arguably the most beautiful of Lisbon’s several viewpoints, this romantic garden attracts tourists to the upper level and young couple to the lower terrace, the sunniest spot where you enjoy the sun and Lisbon before you.

Jardins de Belém, Lisbon

JARDINS DE BELÉM
Between Jeronimos Monastery and the famous Coaches Museum is a park that’s a family destination on weekends. In the summer, tourists use it to get some sun between sightseeing.

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon

COMERCIO SQUARE
The city’s largest square is one sunny terrace. You may sit at one of the several cafés and restaurants, or sunbathe by the monumental statue in the center.

10 Things to Do in Lisbon in the Summer of 2013

Sunday, March 10th, 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.

New Study Reconfirms Lisbon is One of Europe’s Most Affordable Destinations

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Belem Tower, LisbonLisbon has been found yet again to be one of the most affordable destinations in Europe, according to the European Backpacker Index for 2013. This report focuses essentially on how much a low-cost traveler or backpacker spends in a total of 47 European cities, and the top 10 reveals that Eastern Europe is the place to go (number one is Bucharest, followed by nine other Eastern cities). Lisbon is in 19th place in this report and the Western European capital that follows it is Berlin at number 20.

The most expensive destination for backpackers was found to be Zurich followed by Oslo, Venice, Stockholm and Helsinki. That’s based on the price of a central hostel plus two tickets in public transportation, three budget meals, three beers or local wines a day, and admission to one cultural attraction. For all of that, it was concluded that you’d need 47.30 euros per day in Lisbon.

Lisbon is also known for having Europe’s best hostels but another alternative to a hotel is staying at a central apartment.

Best of 2012 in Lisbon: Year in Review

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Who’d have thought that a year of bailouts, rising unemployment and budget cuts would turn out to be so good for Lisbon? Taking a look back at the 10 main news and trends of 2012, we can only hope and expect a 2013 that will be just as good or better, at least for Lisbon in general.

Myriad Hotel, Lisbon

MYRIAD HOTEL

MAJOR NEW HOTELS
There were several hotels opening in the city, and not ordinary hotels. A couple of them are even true landmarks such as the Myriad in Vasco da Gama Tower, or the Cascais pousada outside the city in an old fortress by the sea. Another is the stylishly luxurious Fontecruz in the city’s main boulevard, while the always-buzzing Chiado district had not one, not two, but three new hotels — Mercy, Teatro and Lisboa Carmo — all featuring elegant interiors.

A NEW MAIN SQUARE
Rossio Square used to be the heart of the city, but that’s now moved closed to the river, to Comercio Square. The city’s grandest praça saw several new cafés and restaurants open under the arcades of its east wing, and this new leisure area with views of the river also has a club open on weekends (“Lust”) and a new cultural space, the Lisboa Story Centre.

NEW CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
In addition to the Lisboa Story Centre which tells the history of the city through multimedia displays and recreates Lisbon’s different historical periods and atmospheres, there was the new Casa dos Bicos, the landmark house from the 1500s that is now home to the José Saramago Foundation remembering the Portuguese author who won the Nobel Prize.
Not very far is Martim Moniz, Lisbon’s most multiethnic neighborhood which was revitalized with a new weekend market and new kiosk cafés open every day, offering foods from all over the world.

NEW RESTAURANT TRENDS
Speaking of food, Lisbon’s restaurant scene is changing. In order to survive the economic crisis it had to be more creative so it went back to what never fails — the old traditions everyone loves. That meant “petiscos”, or what is often called “tapas” for international visitors, with restaurants now specializing exclusively in those small plates of food grandma used to make. Of course many of those are recreated and readapted to modern times, like the other new trend in the city — the new “tabernas.” What used to be simple family-owned places are now stylishly-decorated spaces but with the expected laid-back atmosphere.

BACK TO TRADITION
Restaurants weren’t the only ones looking at tradition as a means to escape the crisis. The best new shops also offered the best of “Made in Portugal,” including the first of the future chain of “Nata Lisboa”. Believing that “the world needs Nata,” this new café (there are currently two of them) specializes almost exclusively in Portugal’s famous custard tarts that almost no one can resist. Then there was the new P Chiado café offering the pastry specialties of Sintra in the center of Lisbon, the new Mercado 1143 which is a grocery store/market presenting only Portuguese products, and Loja da Burel with creative and top-quality handmade products from central Portugal. Finally, Portugal’s canned foods have become gourmet delicacies at yet another spot, the Can the Can restaurant in Comercio Square.

Lisbon airport metro

LISBON AIRPORT METRO STATION

AIRPORT METRO
The best Lisbon news for travelers was the extension of the metro which finally reached the airport. And the station is quite an attraction in itself, decorated with curious cartoon images of some of Portugal’s biggest personalities and cultural icons, making it an interesting new welcome to the city.

LUXURY AVENIDA DA LIBERDADE SHOPPING
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year was the continuous opening of international luxury shops down Avenida da Liberdade. The luxury market is the only one booming during the current crisis, so there’s a new Gucci, a new Miu Miu, Officine Panerai, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss… and a new Cartier and others will be joining them in 2013.

Tous, Lisbon

TOUS

RENOVATED CLASSICS
Another brand to open in central Lisbon was Tous jewelers which took over the city’s most beautiful shop, the former Ourivesaria Aliança in Chiado. Other classic spaces that had a makeover but kept much of the old look were Mimosa da Lapa, the 50s-style Sapataria do Carmo shoe store, Silva & Feijó, and the Old Pharmacy which is now a wine bar.

THE BAKERY INVASION
Petiscos and tabernas were not the only trends in Lisbon in 2012. Perhaps the biggest of all was the several high-profile bakeries opening in the center of the city. First was A Padaria Portuguesa downtown and in Chiado, then came Ratton next to Rossio Station, La Boulangerie with its French-style bread, and Tartine which makes a pastry that’s already a classic, the eggy “Chiado” cake.

SPECIAL ANNIVERSARIES
Speaking of pastries, 2012 was the 175th anniversary of Pastéis de Belém, and the 90th of the city’s most beautiful café, Pastelaria Versailles. Also celebrating was one of Lisbon’s most photographed icons, the Bica funicular which turned 120!