It is quite interesting that my beloved hometown – Lisboa, or Lisbon for you foreigners – is becoming quite a popular destination for weekend breaks. This is good news for the “current economic climate”, but also because, in my humble opinion, it is quite a place.
More often that not, I get asked by friends and friends of friends (I’d say at least once a week!) so an email is ready to be forwarded. But with this blog soft-launch, why not go all the way and share my favourite places?
They are not the latest places that opened in town – they are my favourites, some of them I have been going for 10 years and always have a brilliant experience. You can take my word for it!
Lisbon is quite a compact city and you should take the opportunity to have a look around. On this page you’ll find some recommendations and links to external sites.
Taxis are cheaper than anywhere else in Europe and easy to find 24 hours a day. Two useful numbers, in case you need to call one – TeletaxisÂ (+351) 218111100Â or Radiotaxis – 218119000. Taxis only take 4 passengers, and extra charges apply for luggage and pre bookings (1.60 Euros). A taxi ride within the city should never cost more than 10 Euros, so don’t get fooled! Uber now also operates in Lisbon.
Both buses and the underground system are inexpensive and easy to use – I can’t offer more advice as I rarely use them for the above mentioned reasons. Very naughty, I know!
Trains are modern and punctual, but we’d definitely recommend hiring a car if you really want to see the country. Besides the usual suspects,Â we have been getting good prices at Avis (but hiring a car in Lisbon can still be a bit of an experience).
A good place to start, would be to get yourself an updated travel guide. A particularly good one, guess what, HG2 (www.hg2.com) but theÂ DK Eyewitness Lisbon Top 10 andÂ Wallpaper guides are also good.
Lisbon has 2 sightseeing tour companies, and one is clearly better than the other one. Visit Carris’ website on www.carristur.pt. It has information on various tours, which you could consider:
– Lisbon Hop-On – Hop-Off – there are 2 guided routes: the ColinasÂ and the Discovery circuits. They stop everywhere and run quite frequently. â¬18 per person – Sintra tour – fantastic little place 45 minutes away from Lisbon. â¬35 per person.
Alternatively, you can hire a car and drive to Sintra, and return via Cascais – more details in a second!
Portuguese food is excellent and should appeal to most tastes. What is Portuguese food like? I hear you ask.. well, it’s lovely! We use mediterranean ingredients, but cook them in what I would say a “simpler” way than Spanish or Greek (I love them both, not complaining!). Obviously, it will be easy to find other types of restaurants. Below are some ofÂ Mrs. O’s all-timeÂ favourites:
– Pap’AÃ§ordaÂ – modern Portuguese, a classic – Rua da Atalaia, 57. Tel 21 346 48 11. Has 2 seatingsÂ for dinner: one at 8pm and another at 10pm. (Bairro Alto)
– VaskusÂ – mostly meat: fondue, brazilian picanhaÂ and steaks – Rua Passos Manuel, 30. Tel. 21 352 22 93. Only takes reservations until 8.30pm. If you do not turn up by then, only go after 10pm as it’s a small place and always busy.
– KaisÂ – modern Portuguese, by the river – Rua CinturaÂ Porto ArmazÃ©m 1, Tel. 21 393 29 30 www.kais-k.com
– A TravessaÂ – more French/Belgium, in a convent – TravessaÂ do ConventoÂ das Bernardas 12, Tel. 213902034 www.atravessa.com
– BicaÂ do SapatoÂ – Portuguese food, very trendy place, located next to Lux. Ensure you book a table at the “Cafeteria”, trust us – AvenidaÂ InfanteÂ Dom Henrique ArmazÃ©mÂ B, CaisÂ da PedraÂ Ã BicaÂ do Sapato, Tel 218810320 www.bicadosapato.com
– CharcutariaÂ – very Portuguese, with traditional food from the Alentejo – Rua do AlecrimÂ 47 A, Tel 21 342 38 45 (near Bairro Alto)
– EstadoÂ LÃquido – Fusion Sushi – Largo de Santos 5 A, Tel 21 397 20 22 www.estadoliquido.com
– AquiÂ hÃ¡Â PeixeÂ – fish dishes – Rua da TrindadeÂ nÂº 18 A, Tel. 213 432 154 www.aquihapeixe.pt
– ParreirinhaÂ de AlfamaÂ – to listen to fado music and eat traditional Portuguese food – Beco do EspÃrito Santo 1, Tel 218 868 209 (good if you are of a certain age, it is not for me, except when friends beg me to go.. the food is actually quite decent here if you are up to a “touristy Portuguese night”
One of Portugal’s best kept secrets are its patisseries, or “pastelarias” as they are called. Most Lisboners go out for breakfast as it is delicious and not expensive at all.
One of the best pastelariasÂ in Lisbon is VersaillesÂ and we’d strongly recommend a visit. These places are open between 7.30am and 8.30pm and is itÂ located on Av. da Republica, 15-A, immediately after Saldanha. http://www.pastelariaversailles.com
Portugal is a good place for shopping and the offering is quite good. Obviously, we have most international brands at better prices than in the UK, as in most cases these are indexed to the local cost of living. Zara, Mango and Massimo Dutti’s prices in Portugal can be 30-40% lower. It’s worth checking out some Portuguese and Spanish brands which are not available everywhere and are particularly good:
– Wesley (for men) – has a shop outside AmoreirasÂ Shopping Centre, one in SaldanhaÂ and another in Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre
– LanidorÂ and Globe (for women) – they are on most high streets and shopping centres, and both have flagships in AvenidaÂ da Liberdade
– Adolfo Dominguez, PurificaciÃ³nÂ Garcia and Carolina Herrera (for both men and women) – all 3 can be found of AvenidaÂ da LiberdadeÂ and at El CorteÂ InglÃ©sÂ department store. Adolfo Dominguez has a shop in Saldanha’sÂ Atrium SaldanhaÂ Shopping Centre and PurificaciÃ³nÂ Garcia has another shop in Saldanha Residence Shopping Centre.
Large Shopping Centres
– AmoreirasÂ Shopping Centre (in Amoreiras), best accessed by taxi
– VascoÂ da Gama (in ParqueÂ das NaÃ§Ãµes), underground: Oriente (red line)
– Colombo (Portugal’s largest shopping centre), underground: ColÃ©gio Militar (blue line)
– El CorteÂ InglÃ©sÂ – Lisbon’s only department store, underground: SÃ£o SebastiÃ£o (blue line)
– Freeport Designer Outlet – located in Alcochete, 30 minutes south of Lisbon. Easy to get to by car, but there is also a hotel shuttle service in the summer. Brands include Carolina Herrera, PurificaciÃ³nÂ Garcia, Zegna, Burberrys, Versace, Adolfo Dominguez, Boss – as always, you need to be lucky on the day you go.
High Street Shopping
– AvenidaÂ da Liberdade – where most designer shops are
– Rua Augusta (in Baixa)
– Rua do CarmoÂ and Rua Garrett (Chiado area)
As far as hotels are concerned, my home away from home is the Sheraton Lisbon, where I always stay when I’m in town. It’s 5-stars (literally) and average rates are around â¬115 per night, which is unbeatable. Did I mention it is also the tallest building in Lisbon and has one of the coolest rooftop bars? www.sheraton.com/lisboa
With these suggestions, you can spend a great long weekend in Lisbon, ensuring you see a little bit more than the Castle and all the other “must-go” places.. and help the local economy of course!. If you use these suggestions, I’d be delighted if you let me know how it went! Photos, please!
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