What’s Happening in Lisbon in 2014

January 9th, 2014 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon

Two projects that were supposed to have been completed in 2013 will only be ready in 2014. The creation of a big hilltop garden overlooking the city by the Graça viewpoint was stalled when skeletons of around 50 people were found. Believed to date back to the 1755 earthquake, they caused the archaeologists to head to the site, and the garden should now only be ready by the summer. That’s also when the final phase of the Ribeira das Naus waterfront promenade shall finally come to an end. While the steps leading down to the water is already a “beach” for many locals and tourists, the green space behind it is taking much longer than anticipated due to various issues, from unfavorable weather to archaeological finds.

Names like Michael Bublé (in February) and Beyoncé (in March) will make Lisbon part of their tour this year, and 2014 is also a year of Rock in Rio-Lisboa which happens every two years. Already announced for the festival (taking place from May 23rd to June 1st) are Justin Timberlake, Arcade Fire and Robbie Williams.
Another regular festival is Optimus Alive which so far has announced Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys and Imagine Dragons (on June 10, 11 and 12).

Avenida da Liberdade will see the opening of even more luxury stores, with the next one said to be Chanel. For something more local, look for the shoes of Portuguese designer Luis Onofre later this year on the same avenue.
For local flavor, you will find a rejuvenated Ribeira Market on the waterfront this summer. In addition to the fresh produce and fish already available, it will add new shops, a restaurant and bar, as well as around 20 kiosks for meals and drinks.

The half marathon which crosses 25 de Abril Bridge is taking place on March 16th, the popular independent film festival IndieLisboa from April 24th to May 4th, the fish-themed gastronomic festival Peixe em Lisboa also in April, the Out Jazz festival which takes over several of the city’s gardens on weekends over the summer will be back, the international documentary film festival returns in October, as does the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival in November. The biggest parties of the year happen, as always, in June, culminating on the night of the 12th with the street feasts.

For the last couple of decades, most hotels in Lisbon opened in the more modern and soulless parts of the city, but the trend is now to renovate old buildings in the old town and downtown. Opening in 2014 are three around Avenida da Liberdade, and two in the Baixa district. We’ll have more details when they open, but in the meantime you may look for a room in Lisbon here: Hotels, apartments or hostels.

5 New Spots to Eat in Lisbon in the New Year

December 27th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Start the new year with new experiences. If you’re in Lisbon at the moment or will be arriving in early 2014, you may be among the first to experience some new spots for lunch or dinner.
Here are five:

DeCastro restaurant, Lisbon

Rua Marcos Portugal, 1
Phone: 915 986 474
The name is that of the chef, one of Portugal’s most acclaimed. Although he’s already responsible for the menu of one of the city’s trendiest restaurants (“Largo”), here he continues to innovate with new dishes, while not forgetting his old favorites (like the clams with butter beans). It’s found on one of the city’s most tranquil spots, facing the romantic little Praça das Flores in the Principe Real district.

Casa de Pasto, Lisbon

Rua de São Paulo, 20
Phone: 213 471 397
Hidden on an upper floor, this is a brand new secret by one of the city’s top young chefs. Although he brings his fresh reinterpretations to Portuguese cuisine, the menu is mostly a list of time-tested dishes, cooked in a charcoal oven. That oven isn’t the only inspiration from the past, as the entire dining area is decorated like the typical Lisbon restaurant from the early 1900s.

Las Ficheras, Lisbon

Rua dos Remolares, 34
Phone: 213 470 553
In Lisbon you may want to concentrate on the local cuisine, but for something different, why not try Mexican? This new spot is open throughout the day and offers the spicy traditional Mexican food that has fans all over the world. Wash down the tacos and enchiladas with a nice glass of tequila before continuing down the neighborhood known for its bars.

Prego da Peixaria, Lisbon

Rua da Escola Politécnica, 40
A prego is a steak sandwich but at this restaurant it’s also fish burgers. The most popular is the salmon prego, but be warned that if you’re not a big fan of fish, you should go for the meat or vegetarian option instead. The fish taste is quite strong, as is that of the cod prego. All are accompanied by fries in a small attractive space decorated with recycled materials.

Campo de Ourique market, Lisbon

Stay on tram 28 until the last stop in Prazeres and you’ll be in the mostly residential neighborhood of Campo de Ourique. Although it doesn’t offer much in terms of tourist attractions, it’s a pleasant area with some good restaurants. But if you’re looking for a meal at any time of the day, head to the neighborhood market instead. It’s a building from the 1930s, recently renovated inside to offer a food court in addition to the stands of fresh fish and vegetables. You can sit for a quick meal of traditional Portuguese petiscos (tapas), or sushi or pizza, every day until midnight.

Free Wi-Fi in Lisbon’s Metro and Beyond

December 12th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

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.

5 Things to Do in Lisbon this Christmas

December 9th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

If you’re in Lisbon this Christmas, you should know that most of the city will be closed on the 25th. That’s most of the city, but not all. You’ll find several things to do on that day that have a special appeal for families. On the 24th many attractions close earlier, but are open during the day. Here is what you can do in Lisbon on the 24th and 25th of December.

Christmas Village, Lisbon

A “Christmas Village” has been set up on Edward VII Park, and is already open every day until 8PM. The only exception is on the 24th when it closes at 6. You’ll find real reindeer, camels, Santa Claus to take photos with, and rides to keep children and adults happy. It charges admission: Children up to 11 years old pay 8 euros on weekdays and 10 euros on weekends; adults pay 10 euros on weekdays and 12 on weekends.

Christmas tree, Lisbon

From the 13th to the 24th, Comercio Square will be the stage of a Christmas-related 3D multimedia projection on the walls of the arcaded buildings and triumphal arch. It happens every 6, 7, 8, and 9PM, so on the 24th you can experience some Christmas magic before your Christmas eve dinner.

Zoo, Lisbon

The zoo is open every day throughout the year, so it’s a good family attraction on Christmas day. It has everything you expect from a zoo, but the star attraction is the dolphin show.

Oceanarium, Lisbon

If you prefer sea creatures and the indoors, head to the Oceanarium. It’s one of the world’s largest aquariums and is open on the 25th, although with a special opening time of 1PM to 6PM.

Casino, Lisbon

For a more mature attraction where children are now allowed, there’s the casino. It’s a short walk from the Oceanarium and is open on Christmas day from 3PM to 3AM (it closes on the 24th instead). In addition to the slot machines and gaming tables, there are also a couple of restaurants.

10 Things to Do in Lisbon Before the End of 2013

November 11th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Christmas 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


October 22nd, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

Principe Real is now Lisbon’s trendiest shopping area together with Chiado. And it all happens down one long street, Rua Dom Pedro V which then turns into Rua da Escola Politécnica. It is popular with locals and tourists, who find some of the most original spaces and buys in the city, mostly by local designers. Here are the five shops you can’t miss:

Embaixada, Lisbon

Praça do Príncipe Real, 26
This would be worth a stop even if it were empty. It’s a neo-Moorish mansion from the 1800s across from the neighborhood park and is now one of the city’s main shopping destinations. Its rooms are now shops specializing in design and creativity, mostly by Portuguese designers and brands.

21PR Concept Store, Lisbon

Praça do Príncipe Real, 21
This concept store is just a couple of doors down from Embaixada and also offers “Made in Portugal” products. The best buy here is the famous luxury soaps Claus Porto that are now among Portugal’s most popular gifts, but there is also fashion and accessories.

Solar, Lisbon

Rua Dom Pedro V, 68-70
It’s one of the oldest shops in the neighborhood and still one of the most interesting. More than a shop, it’s a cultural attraction, as a treasure trove of centuries-old tiles that you see in almost every Lisbon church and palace. In business since 1956, it offers pieces from the 1600s to the present, in different styles and at different prices.

Alexandra Moura, Lisbon

Rua Dom Pedro V, 77
Portuguese designer Alexandra Moura shows off her creativity at this boutique full of cutting-edge fashions. She also has a shoe line, beautifully presented in the small mirrored interior.

Nuno Gama, Lisbon

Rua da Escola Politécnica, 46
Nuno Gama is one of Portugal’s best known fashion designers and all of his creations are inspired by Portuguese culture. At this shop he offers his latest menswear collections, including underwear, footwear, and accessories.

5 Spots for a Break by the Castle

October 2nd, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

After climbing the hill to the castle and walking around its ramparts, you’ll surely need a break. Luckily, there are several spots to sit for a drink or meal in the neighborhood, and we’ve selected five that you’ll want to place on your itinerary:

Nata Lisboa

Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 5-11
You don’t have to wait until you go to the Belém neighborhood to enjoy Lisbon’s famous custard tarts. They’re available throughout the city at most cafés and pastry shops, and recently a chain specializing in that pastry was born. There are currently a trio of branches in the city, and one of them is right by the castle gate. With tables facing the castle entrance, here you can have one or several tarts or simply enjoy a refreshing drink.

28 Café, Lisbon

Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 45-47A
Down the same street as Nata Lisboa is another authentic Lisbon experience — having a drink or meal inside an old tram. At least that’s what the interior of this cafe which recreates that of the city’s emblematic trams wants you to feel. But instead of taking you up and down the city’s hills it transports you back in time, with old black and white photos of the city and its trams on the walls.

Wine Bar do Castelo, Lisbon

Rua Bartolomeu Gusmão, 13
Down the hill, around the corner from the gateway to the castle is this wine bar that’s become a tourist magnet with dozens of Portuguese wines by the glass. They’re accompanied by cheeses and charcuterie, perfect for a break at the end of your sightseeing.

Claras em Castelo Restaurant, Lisbon

Rua Bartolomeu Gusmão, 31
A few doors up from the wine bar is this tiny restaurant which specializes in traditional Portuguese food. There are only a few seats inside, but there are a couple more placed outside when the sun is shining. It’s quite a romantic little place where you can also simply stay for a glass of wine.

Chapitô à Mesa Restaurant, Lisbon

Costa do Castelo, 7
For a more complete gastronomic experience with Lisbon at your feet there’s this restaurant further down the hill. It belongs to a circus school but the food is serious business. It now even has one of the city’s most creative young chefs in the kitchen. There’s a more formal dining room with postcard views of Lisbon where a more refined (and expensive) menu is served, and a more informal terrace outside for lighter meals.

5 New Spots to Taste Portugal in Lisbon

September 24th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

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.


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

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

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

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.

Two Michelin-Star Chefs Opening New Restaurants in Lisbon

September 5th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

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.”

What’s New to Experience in Lisbon this Fall

July 10th, 2013 by Mario Fernandes - GoLisbon.com

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 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

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 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

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.

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 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

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.