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 Cool New Hotels in Lisbon

Memmo Principe Real Hotel, Lisbon

MEMMO PRÍNCIPE REAL

This is a 5-star design hotel in the city’s trendiest neighborhood. It has a wonderful view from the rooms (some of them with small balconies) and from the restaurant and small pool.

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Alma Lusa Hotel, Lisbon

ALMALUSA BAIXA/CHIADO

It faces one of the main central squares, home to the city hall palace. It has a nice restaurant with outdoor seating, and places you within walking distance of most downtown attractions.

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Palácio do Governador Hotel, Lisbon

PALÁCIO DO GOVERNADOR

Facing the city’s most iconic landmark (the Belém Tower), this 5-star hotel is the former 16th-century home of the tower’s governor. It has a wonderful spa, an even more wonderful outdoor swimming pool and another indoor pool, a refined restaurant and a décor inspired by the city’s famous blue-and-white tiles.

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PortoBay Marquês Hotel, Lisbon

PORTOBAY MARQUÊS HOTEL

With a small rooftop swimming pool and terrace, this hotel is in a good central location, just around the corner from Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s main shopping street. It also has a gym and a good restaurant.

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Pestana CR7 Lisboa Hotel, Lisbon

PESTANA CR7 LISBOA HOTEL

The CR7 in the name refers to world-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, who teamed up with the Pestana chain to offer this sports and fashion-inspired hotel right in the heart of Lisbon. The bar and bistro on the ground level is open to everyone, and serves good cocktails as big screen TV show different sports events.

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Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, Lisbon

LISBOA PESSOA HOTEL

This hotel is just a few feet from a charming square in the city’s most elegant central district, Chiado. It has a nice rooftop terrace serving drinks and views throughout the day.

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Hotel Riverside Alfama, Lisbon

HOTEL RIVERSIDE ALFAMA

It’s right next door to one of the city’s most historic landmarks, the curious “house of spikes” Casa dos Bicos, today celebrating the life and work of Nobel Prize author José Saramago. It’s a nicely renovated traditional building, facing the riverfront, with simple contemporary-style rooms.

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Martinhal Family Suites, Lisbon

MARTINHAL FAMILY SUITES

This hotel is made up of 37 apartments, catering to families that want to spend several days in Lisbon. It’s in a very central location, and it offers a “kids club” for parents who wish to leave the kids behind as they explore the city’s cultural attractions.

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Hotel White Lisboa, Lisbon

HOTEL WHITE LISBOA

This hotel is down the street from one of the city’s businest squares in a central business district. A Metro station is right outside, taking you downtown in just a few minutes. A rooftop terrace with pool lets you relax as you overlook the city.

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Turim Terreiro do Paço Hotel, Lisbon

TURIM TERREIRO DO PAÇO HOTEL

Just a short walk from the city’s grandest square and the waterfront, this 4-star hotel has rooms of different sizes. Although it has an 18th-century façade, it’s entirely new inside, featuring a contemporary décor.

See more details and booking info ›

10 New Reasons to Be in Lisbon This Fall

Autumn is one of the best times to visit Lisbon. The weather is still pleasant, the biggest tourist crowds are gone, and the sunsets are more beautiful. And in 2016 there are several new and exciting reasons to be in the city at this time of the year. Here are ten of them:

MAAT
THE NEW MUSEUM OF ART, ARCHITECTURE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) has already opened in the former Electricity Museum, in a former power plant. But the main building — an iconic piece of modern architecture on the waterfront — is only opening its doors on October 5th. On that date you’ll also be able to see three new major exhibitions, together with a series of events, celebrating this new cultural attraction.

Ancient Art Museum
THE NEW HOME OF PORTUGUESE ART
For another dose of art and culture, head to the Ancient Art Museum. It just reopened its entire 3rd floor after years of renovation, now taken over by Portuguese painting and sculpture. Many of the pieces have never been shown before, including new acquisitions. Its famous “Panels of St. Vincent” can also now be literally seen in a new light.

Maritime Museum
THE NEW “DISCOVERIES HALL”
Another museum with a new exhibition space is the Maritime Museum, which this summer unveiled its new “Discoveries Hall,” which now better shows and explains how Portugal explored the seas and reached so many lands.

Bairro do Avillez
“BAIRRO DO AVILLEZ”
Lisbon’s most famous (and Michelin-starred) chef already had half a dozen restaurants, so he decided that his next project wouldn’t be just another dining spot, it would be an entire neighborhood. He’s just taken over a huge space and divided it into different areas, from a “tavern” at the entrance, to a “grocery store,” to a traditional “Lisbon patio.” The interior mixes contemporary and traditional design, and depending on where you can get a table, you’ll be served traditional petiscos (tapas) or finer dining, strong on fish and seafood.
Address: Rua Nova da Trindade, 18
Phone: 21 583 0290

Pestana CR7 Lisboa
PESTANA CR7 HOTEL
World-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has gotten into the hotel business, and the first ones to open were in his home country. The very first one was in his home city of Funchal, and the second in Lisbon. Pestana CR7 Lisboa Hotel is not just for those who book a room, as the “CR7 Corner” bar downstairs is open to everyone, offering drinks and meals, as TV screens show sports and fashion events.

Memmo Príncipe Real
A NEW 5-STAR DESIGN HOTEL
A new 5-star design hotel opens in Lisbon’s trendiest neighborhood this fall, overlooking the city. The completely modern building with a terrace and swimming pool will also have a restaurant with views open to all, serving “lusophone cuisine,” meaning food from Portuguese-speaking countries. You may book it now: Memmo Príncipe Real

Money Museum
THE FREE “MONEY MUSEUM”
Good news for those who travel on a budget — there’s a major new attraction in town that’s completely free: the Money Museum. Accessed through a former church, it allows you to touch a 12kg gold bar in a vault that used to belong to the Bank of Portugal, and presents the history of money in the world, in a surprisingly engaging display of coins and banknotes.

Amoreiras 360
A NEW OBSERVATION DECK
Lisbon’s first major shopping mall opened in 1985 in controversial postmodern glass towers, but only in 2016 did one of those towers open its terrace as an observation deck. Accessed through the mall, it offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

Topo Chiado
A NEW ROOFTOP TERRACE
A huge terrace below the Gothic ruins of Carmo Church, right by one of the entrances to the landmark Santa Justa Elevator, finally became a public space in 2015, and this summer it became a bar open throughout the afternoon until late at night. Named “Topo Chiado,” it offers cocktails and tapas to the sound of chillout music, looking out the the castle and the elevator.

Rio Maravilha
…AND ANOTHER ROOFTOP TERRACE
Another terrace offering cocktails, but also some more creative and elaborate meals, is “Rio Maravilha,” facing the Monument to Christ and 25 de Abril Bridge. It’s at the top of one of the buildings of the trendy Lx Factory complex, and is currently one of the city’s hottest spots.

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.

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.