The Tig Archives 10 / 22 / 2014
Lovely Lisbon has long been on my list of places to travel (alliteration much?) – the wines and madeira, the history and culture rounding every cobblestone turn, not to mention the beaches, Baroque architecture, and the applause worthy sunsets. My best friend, Linds, went a few years ago and has always gushed about it. And then I was introduced to Georgia Hopkins, an Aussie with a love of travel that runs as deep as my own. Having visited over 45 countries in a little over a decade and embracing the nuance of a locale as only travel aficionados do, this former Morgan Stanley gal, has traded in her day job for a life of wanderlust. She founded several pop up concepts, including a sustainable business design called House of Card which launched at SXSW in Austin in 2013, and created a travel blog aptly named, It’s Beautiful Here. Knowing Lisbon like the back of her hand, it was only right to have her do the Insider Guide to this Portuguese perfection. As Gigi says: Not only is Lisbon laden with charm and friendly people, there is also cultural and artistic richness here. An addictive buzz. I, for one, have my passport ready, and my walking shoes prime for this urban hiking extravaganza through the City of Seven Hills. Get excited yet again for that glorious feeling of teetering in the unknown – this time, by way of Lisbon with Gigi as your guide.
Mercado da Ribeira – My favorite food destination in the city. Although it opened just a few months ago, this market-like food hall is already a hit. Tons of food stalls which are hosted by some of the city’s best restaurants and chefs. You will also find great local wines as well! If you want some fun little gifts to take home, grab beautifully retro-packaged tins of sardines from the Conserveira de Lisboa. And check out my favorite stand of all – the plants at O Meu Amor e Verde.
Cafe Lisboa – Inside the São Carlos National Theatre, this is a beautiful spot in Chiado for lunch by young rising star in Portuguese cuisine – José Avillez. A charming space with a beautiful terrace as well.
Cantinho do Avillez – For dinner. Simple sophistication. A lovely relaxed dining room and exceptionally friendly staff. The Asian-inspired cuisine here is amazing. I could have chosen one of everything on the menu, it all looked so good (I decided on the scallops (highly recommend), and the meatballs in green curry). Another winner by star chef, José Avillez, who is only 34 years old, but already has six Lisbon restaurants under his belt.
Tágide wine and tapas bar – Located in Chiado, this beautiful tapas bar serves excellent small plates and delicious Portuguese wines. Be sure to try the custard tarts (served warm with cinnamon ice cream). A little pricier, but worth it.
Cervejaria Ramiro – For the city’s absolute best seafood, hands down. This is a Lisbon institution – loved by tourists and locals alike. Simple, but the best.
Pap’açorda – Another Lisbon institution located in Bairro Alto. Head there for dinner. The restaurant was once the ‘it’ place for the media crowd and celebrities around town. Pap’Açorda’s décor is simple and understated, and the food is amazing.
Las Ficheras – Authentic Mexican in a really fun and colorful space in the Cais do Sodré district. Come here for quesadillas and muitas margaritas!
Palacio Belmonte – For high-end historical luxury that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, the Palacio Belmonte is a 15th century palace-turned-guest house. Tucked away in the streets of Alfama, right up by the Castelo de São Jorge (atop the highest hill in Lisbon), this enchanted palace-style accommodation is run by a charming husband and wife team, and makes for a truly memorable experience.
The Independente – Affirming Portugal’s reputation as having the best budget accommodation in Europe, these neighboring late-19th-century mansions in a premium location on the border of the Bairro Alto & Principe Real districts, were stylishly converted in 2011. With views over the Tagus river, this lovely hotel is full of classical features – big shuttered windows, high ceilings, vintage furniture, stained-glass windows, floors laid with traditional Portuguese azelujos, and wrought-iron balconies. There is also a stylish in-house restaurant on the ground floor – Decadente – with a modern Portuguese menu, cozy atmosphere and beautiful outdoor courtyard.
Surfers Lodge Peniche – Though 1 hour north of Lisbon, if you head to the surfing haven of Peniche, you must spend a couple of nights at the most beautiful boutique surf accommodation I have found so far. All glass and wood, the ever-so-stylish hotel offers surf, food and yoga packages, as well as a beautiful Moroccan-inspired rooftop complete with a bar, pool and hot tub, cozy-chic bedrooms, and super friendly vibes. Not only that, but you are also on the doorstep of some of Europe’s most well renowned surf breaks (and some of Europe’s hottest surfers to boot!).
COS – Just because! Opening this summer, Portugal’s first ever COS (Collection of Style) store is as fresh and beautiful as the rest. COS – the higher-end label of H&M – is full of beautiful and timeless staple pieces – simple, stylish basics – with reasonable, mid-market prices. I can’t walk past one without stopping inside, in any city.
Feira da Ladra (“thieves market”) – Lisbon’s biggest flea market, held in Alfama each Saturday morning. Come here for some amazing antique finds. The market starts at the Arco de São Vicente – an arch near where the famous tram 28 stops.
Conserveira de Lisboa – With a store in Baixa (Rua dos Bacalhoeiros), and one at the Mercado da Ribeira, come here for the most beautifully vintage-packaged tins of sardines. A staple on any Lisbon shopping list, they have been around since 1930s. A perfect gift to take home.
Arcádia – In Bairro Alto, this is Portugal’s most famous chocolate brand, created in the city of Porto in 1933. I love the wrapping as much as I love the taste of the chocolate itself. Reminiscent of my favorite Brooklyn-based chocolatier – Mast Brothers – it makes for another perfect gift. Try the port wine flavor.
LX Factory – In a far-off corner, somewhere between Lisbon and Belém, an old industrial site has recently been converted into an exciting new art and design district. A creative hub full of galleries, cafes, bookstores, and clothing boutiques, this is the perfect place to while away a few hours. Shop here, eat here, hang here. I especially love the Ler Devagar bookstore, set amidst an old printing plant, with a little café tucked away amongst the books.
EDP – Lisbon’s Electricity Museum. Located in Belém, on the banks of the river, this beautiful old power station was once responsible for supplying Lisbon with all its electricity. When I visited in the summer, the EDP was hosting an awesome exhibition by Portugal’s most famed street artist, Vhils (who carves his art out of bricks and walls). No matter what the museum is showing, it’s an impressive building to check out in any case. And keep an eye out for Vhils’ work (Portugal’s answer to Banksy) on random street corners. One of my favorite pieces can be found on a large wall by the port.
Belém – A neighborhood famous for its pastry (Pasteis de Belém) and its monuments near the river. Tour the monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos) – one of the oldest in Europe, Torre de Belém, Padrao dos Descobrimentos, and the Centro Cultural de Belém (Contemporary Art Museum).
Principe Real/Bairro Alto – Walk down Rua da Escola Politecnica, then Rua d.Pedro v. When you’re coming down the hill stop on the left at the ‘miradouro’ to see the views of the city and have a coffee. There are several ‘miradouros’ (lookouts) spread around town with spectacular views and cute little cafes and tables outside. My favorite one (in Alfama) is miradouro de Santa Luzia, which is located halfway up the hill, at the top of Rua de Augusto Rosa.
Alfama – A very charming, very old part of town (and my favorite) with azulejos (the colored tiles) at every turn. Great photo opportunities. Don’t miss the Castelo de São Jorge (São Jorge Castle) at the top of Alfama for an amazing view of the city.
Chiado/Baixa – Perfect to wander around and explore. Watch the sun go down from Park – a tree-filled rooftop bar, above a parking lot in Chiado, with amazing sunset views, funky tunes, and chilled out vibes.
Sintra – One of the most beautiful and poetic places in the world, just a little outside of Lisbon. You will feel as if you are in a fairytale here. Wander around, grab a coffee, do a spot of shopping, and take plenty of photos. Get lost in the magic. A few hours will be enough.
Guincho – A beautiful beach town. Have seafood for lunch at Mar do Inferno. Or drive a little further north to have lunch in Azenhas do Mar – a little cliffside town overlooking the Atlantic Ocean which has amazing seafood and stunning views.
Photos via: It’s Beautiful Here, Paradise in the World, Time Out Lisboa, Jose Avillez, Publico, My Suites, The Vandalist, Agenda Cultural Lisboa, Gray Line, Surf Holidays.