As one of the oldest cities in the world, it’s fair to say Lisbon is steeped in history. Its cobbled streets and narrow alleyways sprinkle themselves over seven hills and tell a different tale to every passer willing to listen. Portugal’s capital city is known for its stunning architecture, its authentic tram rides and, of course, the custard pies.
It’s early morning, you can hear the gentle chatter of tourists and locals alike as you look up from your coffee at one of the many picturesque restaurants that litter the edge of the main square, Praça do Comércio. As you sip your coffee, take in the glorious Portuguese architecture and the sun yellow walls of the surrounding buildings. The statue of King Jose takes centre stage in the square, facing the river Tagus.
Behind King Jose, the vintage trams creek along picking up patient tourists, venturing into the hills and history of Lisbon. It is easy for a moment to forget yourself and feel like you have been transported back in time a few hundred years. This happens all too often in this wondrous city which, unlike some other European city seems to have kept its historic charm.
It is highly recommended that you take a tram up into the hills and take an opportunity to take in the view of a sea of red-topped roofs, punctured every so often with chimneys and cobbled roads. The bridge in the distance makes for a cool backdrop with the dotted green foliage of trees all lending itself to some great photo opportunities.
In this article, Far Out Travel will give you some key tips and tricks to make sure that you get the most out of your visit to one of Europe’s most stunning cities. Situated in South Western Europe, Portugal is a hotbed for tourism and it is easy to see why.
With its reputation for arts and culture, world-class restaurants and its unbeatable seafood (or so the locals say), Portugal’s largest city remains in high demand for all travellers from backpackers looking for a cheap stay, right up to the high-end traveller in search of luxury.
Lisbon is too small a city to have uber-cool hipster-heavy neighbourhoods like London and New York but what it lacks in size, it makes up in creativity with areas which definitely lend themselves to the more arty, cultured off-the-beaten-path areas.
Largo do Intendente
Located on the north-easterly in the city centre, the Largo de Intendente has a variety of bars and restaurants that are either restored old-fashioned buildings clad with tiles notable in Portugal. This place is definitely a hub for young locals catching dinner in the day or stumbling into live band performances on the night. The most popular bar in the area being the Casa Independente, a 19th-century cafe bar, restaurant and hip spot to hang on a night with its range of live bands and DJs.
Martim Moniz Fusion Market
Heading back towards the river from the Largo de Intendente, wander through this immersive market and enjoy the tantalising scents and aromas coming from its array of various cultures foods. Try everything from Latin American cuisine, African and other various foods from across Europe. It is a hotbed for locals in the day and a market where you will find more unique gifts than the usual items you find in the city centre. Live music helps to lift the place from being just your standard food markets.
LX Factory and Village Underground
Head west along the river to find yourself at LX Factory and next door Village Underground, a cool arts with a range of pop-ups and eateries. Every Sunday a Flea market communes with vinyl and more at the LX Factory and Village Underground where unique art and fashion exhibitions events happen throughout the year. As well as organised music concerts.
Costa da Caparica
A beach located just over the river, this seaside town can be reached by ferry or bus. Quiet during the off-season, it is a perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city centre for the day with a book purchased from one of Lisbon’s markets.
Don’t miss out on…
This futuristic building is home to scientific, biomedical research into the unknown. Architect, Charles Correa, sought to create a work of art with this building in order to match the creative thinking of its scientists on a day-to-day basis. Facing the River Tagus, this is as much a museum as it is a place of new and exciting discovery.
Visit its gardens and open-air amphitheatre, then get yourself a drink in the Darwin cafe as you take time to learn about science and nature.
Museum of Fashion and Design (MUDE)
The Museum of Fashion and Design or MUDE, is dedicated to design and fashion of the 20th century. Critics have been known to refer to it as the best of its kind in Europe. Housing around 1200 couture pieces such as Jean Desses gown that Renee Zellweger wore to the 2001 Oscars and Christian Dior’s landmark 1947 New Look.
It has an extensive collection of over 230 designers works from trends all around the world: Phillipe Starck, Charles Eames and George Nelson, to name a few.
As well as fashion it has other design elements such as furnishings, jewellery and glass creations from 1937 to the present day.
Getting there and when…
One of the benefits of Lisbon is undoubtedly its location, ideally close to the airport which makes travel ludicrously simple. It is a short ten-minute taxi ride to the heart of the city and, ideally, it is very reasonably priced.
Predictably, Lisbon is busiest between the months of June and August so, if your aim is to miss the crowds, these times are best avoided. It is still a temperate 20-25 degrees through April and May so if you aim is to enjoy the sun at a quieter time look at flying a little earlier in the year.