One of a kind
So it is officially the most beautiful city in the world. Fresher than Rome, more relaxed than Rio, more romantic than Paris. Nevertheless, beauty does always lie in the eye of the beholder. And if this city would put a crown on itself, it would be a little crooked. Because Portugal‘s capital is above all one thing: enviably modest. And at the same time thrillingly authentic. A metropolis in the midst of a culinary boom with excellent Street Food and innovative Michelin-acclaimed Haute Cuisine. Lisbon will completely bowl you over, that’s a promise, and yes, because of the food, but not only.
The AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado is a small, select boutique hotel situated in Lisbon’s historical district, not far from the famous Praça do Comércio (a popular spot for events of every kind) and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (on the banks of the Tagus River, from which Portuguese explorers set sail back in the day). The AlmaLusa offers 28 beautifully decorated rooms, adorned with striking wallpaper from the British hotshot designer Andrew Martin. Classic Portuguese dishes are served in the in-house Delfina restaurant.
The renowned architect Luis Rebelo de Andrade worked for almost six years with the owner Heleen Uitenbroek on the Santiago de Alfama project. The former Palace from the 15th century is now a 5-star hotel with 19 rooms – each one unique and hard to top for stylistic confidence. Great value is attached to the personal needs of the guests, for example, one of the luxuries is the hotel’s own driver, Kevin, who on request brings you to the most beautiful parts of Lisbon in the polished Jaguar.
Santiago de Alfama
Sometimes more is simply more: The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisboa is without doubt a venue of superlatives. It is the look: Art Deco coupled with a modern Louis-XVI style. The abundance of indigenous artwork. In the lobby you can view the works of Almada Negreiros. And the view from the Veranda restaurant, where you share promises over brunch and sunrise, or can put them into practice over a glass of wine and sunset.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisboa
R. Rodrigo da Fonseca 88
Reservations: +351 (21) 381-1400
EAT & DRINK
Sugar, butter, eggs: Pastéis de nata is Portugal‘s sweetest temptation. You can delight in the best example of these custard tarts sprinkled with cinnamon and as big as a plate in the Pastéis de Belém confectioners. They make 20.000 of them every day. The exact baking method is a strict secret and as old as the Hieronymite monastery that is located in the same part of the city. The recipe should never have passed through its walls but an epicurean monk was concerned that the recipe might die out.
When you book your flights, you would be well advised to book a table in the Michelin acclaimed LOCO at the same time. Star chef Alexandre Silvas‘ Discover menu promises fourteen unforgettable moments, consisting of four snacks, six dishes and two desserts – at a current price of 86 Euros. Organic Fine Dining conjured up in an open kitchen
The Belcanto is Portugal‘s first restaurant to be distinguished with two Michelin stars. One of the many requirements in star chef José Avillez‘ kitchen: Art combined with craft. And the objective: to trigger memories of people, places and times gone by with the created dishes.
Another Michelin star is the Catalan Sergi Arola, who produces veritable works of art on a plate in his LAB. If the dishes did not promise to give you an oral orgasm, it would be a crime to eat them. In addition to creative contemporary cuisine with a Portuguese touch the little gourmet temple offers 550 wines, exclusive cognacs and Armagnac.
In Tapisco the celebrity chef Henrique Sá Pessoa fuses Spanish and Portuguese delicacies. There are tapas and petiscos, paellas, etc. The dishes are a dream and are served in a small, modern restaurant in a relaxed atmosphere.
For those who aim high: Topo is perhaps Lisbon’s most beautiful rooftop bar. Peppered with a diverse crowd, live DJs, tasty drinks and an impressive panorama over the historic district of Mouraria. And if you are really lucky, they may even show a film.
Staying at this level, the spacious Sky Bar, in the ninth story of the Tivoli hotel. The view extends over the city to the open sea. And delicious small dishes are served to keep hunger at bay.
By the Wine is the first flagship store from the family of José Maria da Fonesca, who began to produce wine himself in 1834. You can sample fine wines at the bar, accompanied by cheese made locally, or oysters, salmon ceviche, meat and of course heavenly desserts. Occasionally you can take part in wine tastings and courses.
By the Wine
It’s up to you if you can tear yourself away from eating to have time to go shopping or not. It is well worth it in the Centro Comercial Colombo situated in Carnide; it is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe and in the mini mall Embaixada, situated in the trendy Principe Real district. A short walk away from the São Domingos Church, you can find a small millinery, the Chapelaria Azevedo. It was founded in 1886 and specialises in making hats of all kinds, the majority of them timeless classics. They are also happy to create customised pieces. International designers are represented mainly in the Avenida da Liberdade. But there are also a number of enticing little alleys or even whole streets to wile away the shopping hours. On one such street, the Calçada da Estrela, directly in front of the pretty Park Jardim da Estrela, you will encounter sweet Portuguese taste sensations. In the Casa dos Ovos Moles there are all sorts of delicacies, from the encharcada (an eggy sweet dessert with cinnamon), through to the pastel de Tentúgal (a filling mixed with yolk and sugar and wrapped in sweet puff pastry). If you have time book a workshop and learn the art of baking traditional desserts.
If there is a heaven on earth then at the Avenida 24 de Julho, in the Time Out Market Lisboa, an absolute Gourmet Mecca. Thirty of the best, coolest, most innovative chefs in Portugal offer their most delicious dishes under one roof. In one huge hall there are 23 restaurants, ten stands, eight bars and four shops in a row. Entertainment is provided in the form of live concerts and cooking courses. You can for example learn how to prepare pastéis de nata in a workshop. Open from Sunday to Wednesday, 10.00-00.00, Thursday to Saturday, 10.00-02.00.
Instead of getting into the legendary tramline 28 and getting your feet trod on, follow its tracks to the stop Sé, to Catedral Sé Patriarcal; you have a spectacular view over Lisbon from here.
Visit one of the many Fado Bars, get enraptured by Portuguese folk music, dance til the wee small hours, and forget all your sins. The best place to do this is Bairro Alto, Lisbon‘s scene district. The Park (Calçada do Combro 58) is located here, a bar, if you will, loaded down with plants and lamps, built on the roof of a parking garage, with good cocktails and a great view over the city.
A must for cultural savvys: a visit to the Hieronymite monastery. It is considered one of the most significant buildings in the Portuguese Manueline style, a splendid Portuguese style of architecture. Guaranteed to amaze even cultural philistines.
If you have the time, we recommend a trip to the Museu do Design e da Moda (in short MUDE). Housed in an old Palace, the collection covers thousands of works from design and fashion, including treasures from Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood. Admission free.
The journey to Sintra, 25 kilometres West of Lisbon, is a journey back to the Palaeolithic period. The natural landscape is a UNESCO world heritage site and particularly unique because of the centuries’ old palaces and castles. The National Palace of Sintra is especially worth a visit; a former Royal Palace, its construction represents a conglomerate of different architectural styles with its large conical chimneys.
An hour away from Lisbon, you can find the picturesque fishing village Ericeira with numerous sandy beaches, also known as surfers’ paradise. Not far from here is the National Palace of Mafra. Its library is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.