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.

10 New Reasons to Go to Lisbon in 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.

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.

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.

10 Spots to Watch the World Cup in Lisbon

If you’re in Lisbon between June 12 and July 13, and want to join the rest of the world in watching the World Cup, there are a few spots in town where you may do that in the company of locals and other tourists — while having a couple of drinks. We’ve chosen ten of them, in different parts of the center of the city, so no matter where you are staying, there is a place close to your hotel or apartment:

Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, Lisbon

1. QUIOSQUE DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Address: Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara

The kiosk café on Lisbon’s most romantic terrace viewpoint will be presenting more than just the usual city views. It will show all of the games and offer beer “happy hours.”

2. QUIOSQUES LIBERDADE
Neighborhood: Avenida da Liberdade
Address: Avenida da Liberdade

The several kiosk cafés found down Lisbon’s grand central boulevard will be showing Portugal’s games on large screens, with beer glasses going for just €1.50.

3. PARK
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Address: Calçada do Combro, 58

Found at the top of a parking garage, this is one of the city’s most popular bars. You’ll be able to watch the games (in the afternoon and at night) with a view of the 25 de Abril Bridge.

Ribeira das Naus, Lisbon

4. QUIOSQUE DA RIBEIRA DAS NAUS
Neighborhood: Cais do Sodré
Address: Ribeira das Naus

The waterfront promenade Ribeira das Naus, between downtown’s Comercio Square and the Cais do Sodré neighborhood, is the latest hotspot for some drinks in the sun, and during the World Cup it will also be the best waterfront spot to watch the games. It promises to show all of them, with “happy hours” offering beer at special prices.

5. LE CHAT
Neighborhood: Santos
Address: Rua das Janelas Verdes/Jardim 9 de Abril

Right at the doorstep of the Ancient Art Museum is this café terrace looking out to the port. During the World Cup games it will offer special menus, such as steak sandwiches and beer at special prices.

6. ELÉCTRICO BANANA CAFÉ
Neighborhood: Belém
Address: Largo dos Jerónimos

If you’re in Lisbon’s most monumental district, look for an old tram now converted into a café parked across the street from the famous Jeronimos Monastery. It will show the games on a 2-meter screen.

7. QUIOSQUE DO OLIVEIRA
Neighborhood: Príncipe Real
Address: Praça do Príncipe Real

Across the street from the city’s trendiest shopping gallery (“Embaixada”), at a corner of the neighborhood park of Príncipe Real, is this kiosk café that’s popular for late-afternoon drinks. It will show the games on a TV as it serves cheap beers.

8. CLUBE FERROVIÁRIO
Neighborhood: Alfama
Address: Rua de Santa Apolónia, 59

Hidden on a street behind Santa Apolónia train station by Alfama, this bar offers a terrace overlooking the river. It will project the games on the stage where it usually presents DJs and live music.

Mercado de Fusão, Lisbon

9. MERCADO DE FUSÃO
Neighborhood: Mouraria
Address: Praça de Martim Moniz

The big square in Lisbon’s most multiethnic neighborhood which usually serves foods from different parts of the world, will have a 42-inch LED screen showing the World Cup matches. Given the size of the square, that is not huge, so make sure you show up early to find a spot up close to the screen.

10. JARDIM DA ESTRELA
Neighborhood: Estrela
Address: Largo da Estrela
The café by the entrance of Estrela’s park across from the basilica will be showing every World Cup game except those that start at 11PM. In addition to its regular menu, it will have special finger food for you to enjoy as you watch the games on a plasma screen.