The Idealist

Idealist City Guide: LISBON

Where to eat, shop and stay in this rich capital

We’ve had so many suggestions for places we should feature in our travel and shopping guides and one that keeps coming up is Lisbon. Benjamin first visited as a teenager to surf off the coast near Cascais. Here he takes us back to the city with some quick shopping ideas.

Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and the cultural home of ‘the sweet and gracious language’ of over 250 million people. It’s a laid back, culturally diverse city, and a major world tourist destination. With its rich cultural history that dates back to its days under the Roman Empire, Lisbon makes a perfect blend of heritage and beautiful scenery that’s kind of hard to skip in a visit to Portugal. Over the years, the city has survived major cultural and physical changes to become what it is today: one of the most magnificent cities in Europe.

Beautifully positioned between a river and seven low hills, the city’s landscape is one of its most breath-taking sights. With the beautiful architecture of Art Nouveau buildings, medieval quarters, and world heritage monuments, a simple stroll down the streets of Lisbon is an adventure in itself.

 

Style Shopping in Lisbon

Besides its architectural and landscape beauty, Lisbon is also blessed with an artistic culture and a creative population. It’s your perfect shopping destination if you have a thing for distinctive handcrafted wares and art. When it comes to design, interiors, and antique furniture, shoppers are spoilt for choice. Check out these cool places in the course of your stay in Lisbon and buy some unique designs to take back home.

Deposito Da Marinha Grande

Rua de São Bento, 418-426, Lisboa. www.dmg.com.pt

Get rare hand-blown glasswork designs at Deposito Da Marinha Grande. The store offers a wide variety of beautiful home glassware products at affordable prices.

Vista Alegre

Largo do Chiado 18-22, Lisboa www.vistaalegre.pt

Founded in 1824, Vista Alegre is one of the oldest design shops in Lisbon. Here you can find anything from porcelain bowls and plates to a vast array of a selection of wooden figures, furniture, and interior design accessories in modern and traditional designs.

 

Cork & Co.

R. das Salgadeiras 10, 1250-396 Lisboa www.corkandcompany.pt

Cork lampshade

Get beautiful cork designs in the form of interior design accessories and fashion at Cork & Co., Lisbon. Some of the products you can find at the store include wall hangings, furniture, and kitchen ware.

 

Nord

Venida Infante Dom Henrique Armazém B, 1900-264 Lisboa www.lojanord.com

Nord is a Scandinavian design shop in Lisbon. Here, you will find a vast collection of home décor, carpets and blankets, unique wall fixtures, furniture and other forms of beautiful home ware designs.

 

Where to Stay

The city of Lisbon is filled with boutique hotels spread across the city’s Avenida da Liberdade, Baixa-Chiado and Alfama districts. Accommodation is easily available for all tastes. Take a look:

Solar do Castelo

R. das Cozinhas 2, 1100-181 Lisboa www.solardocastelo.com

Located within the walls of St. George’s Castle, the 20-room hotel has a stunning view of the Alcaçova Palace. The rooms are beautifully decorated with ancient art, and the corridors are lantern lit. The hotel has a full-time room service for those days when you …just… can’t.

Almalusa Baixa

1100-365, Praça do Município 21, Lisboa www.almalusahotels.com

The Almalusa Baixa is one of the city’s most adventurous options. Every room has its unique elements and the hotel is extremely central for visiting all the best sights of the city. The 18th-century building that houses the hotel used to be the city’s armoury. They tell us that right in the heart of the “Praça do Município”, it’s infused with the spirit of its surroundings, the Portuguese culture and the ancient bones of an 18th century building. It was rebuilt just after the 1755’s massive earthquake and tsunami which devastated Lisbon’s Tagus river front. These days it’s a boutique hotel with all the luxuries you might imagine!

York House Lisboa

R. das Janelas Verdes, 1200-691 Lisboa www.yorkhouselisboa.com

Get a personalized service in this 32 room hotel that dates back to the 1880s. The building used to be a Carmelite convent in the 1600s. You will be met by friendly staff upon entry but watch out for the steep staircase.

Memmo Alfama

Tv. Merceeiras 27, 1100-348 Lisboa www.memmoalfama.com

Get a view of the wide Tagus River and other beautiful views of the city from this 42 room hotel. Each room has a fridge filled with local delicacies; everything else in the hotel is local too. The hotel offers an authentic feel of the city with views to die for!

As Janelas Verdes

R. das Janelas Verdes 47, 1200-690 Lisboa www.asjanelasverdes.com

The As Janelas Verdes was once the home of a famous 19th-century novelist, Eça de Queiroz. It’s a small 29 room palace with a rooftop library and a breath-taking view of the city.

Where to Eat

There’s just so much to explore in Lisbon, but you can’t do that on an empty stomach. There is a vast selection of restaurants serving mouth-watering local cuisine in the city. Some of these restaurants include:

À Margem

Doca do Bom Sucesso, 1400-038 Lisboa www.amargem.com

Located in the Belem, the café is one of the most popular in the city. À Margem is always packed with tourists who come to get a view of the Belem tower. Famous for its custard tart, the café attracts a large number of tourists and locals.

SeaMe, Chiado

Rua do Loreto 21, 1200 Lisboa www.peixariamoderna.com

SeaMe is a seafood restaurant with a modern touch. The restaurant offers seafood cuisines inspired by an Asian menu hence a unique taste you won’t find in a typical seafood restaurant.

Atira-te ao Rio, Cacilhas

R. do Ginjal 69, 2800-284 Almada www.atirateaorio.pt

Located on the other side of the Tagus River, the Atira-te ao Rio gives you a good stretched out view of the city as you enjoy your meal. Among the restaurant’s main servings are Portuguese steak and fish stew.

Tágide Wine and Tapas Bar, Chiado

Largo da Academia Nacional de Belas Artes 18-20, 1200-005 Lisboa www.restaurantetagide.com

Tágide Wine and Tapas Bar, Chiado is a popular joint in Lisbon with a restaurant just below it. The restaurant is popular for its Portuguese classic amêijoas à bulhão pato, the Portuguese version of clams in garlic and white wine. Each meal comes with a coffee and a glass of wine.

Decadente, Bairro Alto

R. São Pedro de Alcântara 81, 1250-238 Lisboa www.thedecadente.pt

Decadente is the in-house restaurant of Independente Hostel & Suites, one of the city’s premium hotels. The restaurant main dishes include cod with honey and almonds, Iberian pork belly, and seafood rice.

Art & Museums

The city of Lisbon has a vibrant art scene. It is home to some of the leading independent art galleries and museums in Portugal. Here’s our pick of some of the top art galleries and museums in Lisbon.

 

Museu do Design e Da Moda (MUDE)

1100, R. Augusta 24, 1100 Lisboa www.mude.pt

The Museu do Design e Da Moda (MUDE) is an old but beautiful colonial building that used to be a bank. The MUDE is a massive exhibition where you can find high-end interior design  and antique furniture. Unfortunately for all of us design fans, it’s currently closed for renovations.

Galeria 111

Campo Grande 113, 1700-089 Lisboa www.111.pt

Galeria 111 was established in 1964 to promote contemporary Portuguese and international art. The founder, Manuel de Brito was an artist himself. The gallery has a collection of world-renowned artists and lesser-known names such as Lisbeth Moe Nilsen, Rui Pedro Jorge, and Alex Fleming.

São Mamede Galeria de Arte

Rua da Escola Politécnica 167, 1250-101 Lisboa www.saomamede.com

The São Mamede Galeria de Arte is located on the edge of the vibrant Principe Real neighbourhood in Lisbon. The gallery is solely focussed on promoting contemporary Portuguese artists. Here, you’ll find an inspiring collection of Portuguese art.

Galeria de Arte AFK

Rua Professor Fernando da Fonseca 21A, 1600-616 Lisboa www.arteafk.com

The Galeria de Arte AFK is one of the latest additions to Lisbon’s vivacious art scene. The gallery focuses on paintings and photography and was established in 2012.

Museu Coleção Berardo

Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa www.museuberardo.pt

Established in 2007, Museu Coleção Berardo showcases some of the latest and very best forms of contemporary art. You’ll find a massive collection of recent artwork at Museu Coleção Berardo.

Getting there

Lisbon is a perfect style shopping destination. The city is safe, welcoming, economical and easy to explore on foot as you scout for unique interior design accessories, art, food and souvenirs. From London, you can get to Lisbon by bus, train or flight. A flight is the most convenient option and depending on the airline; it will cost you anywhere up from £100.

If you like Lisbon, you’ll like…

 

  • Ben is a painter and DJ and loves all things concrete, urban and handmade. Based in London, when he’s not working on an interior renovation, he’s riding his scooter down some alley or other in search of the perfect cortado.

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