Dec 13, 2021
5 min read
A Guide to Lively Lisbon
Sahara-warmed winds make the Portuguese capital the perfect city break all year round – it’s beautiful in the warmth of summer, and evocative in the mid-winter. While most of Europe beds down for the colder months, Lisbon is one of those destinations that always feels alive – whether you’re here for the art exhibitions, some of Portugal’s best restaurants, long riverside walks, late-night rooftop cocktails, or all of the above.
Pastéis de nata, cobbled streets, contemporary architecture, indoor markets, and red-roof vistas… what’s not to love? Come for a long weekend’s exploration and you’ll be tempted to check into a suite, plug in your laptop, and start living that digital nomad dream.
Where to stay in Lisbon
In this 42-room hotel, the showstopper is the red-tiled pool, which matches the red roofs of Lisbon. The best rooms look over the Tagus River. For breakfast, pastéis de nata are aplenty and the hotel offers a free daily guided walk around Alfama. Time to learn those facts and impress your friends.
We love the leafy rooftop restaurant and there’s a great outdoor cinema, too. The hotel is just 25 minutes from the waterfront and offers a fantastic collection of wine. Most importantly: all guests get a complimentary gin and tonic kit and locally brewed Lince craft beer. Need we say more?
Found in the Bica neighborhood, this boutique hotel has just 18 rooms. Of all the hotels in Lisbon, this one offers the most personalized service with butlers and amazing attention to detail. There’s no spa or gym, but the royal interiors and Aesop amenities make up for it.
Where to eat in Lisbon
Light pours into this farm-to-table favorite through the huge glass windows. The cabbage is amazing (I know, who would’ve thought) and they do a kombucha of the day. Very Los Angeles vibes, with a Lisbon spin.
Offering some of the best seafood by famed Portuguese chefJosé Avillez
this is the more relaxed of his restaurants, or level up the sophistication a notch atCantinho do Avillez
. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. Reserve in advance.
Generous portions, the best mackerel in Lisbon, and a cozy vibe with just nine tables. Definitely one for date night.
The classic dishes here are fun and inexpensive. It’s a small restaurant, seating 25, but this means the atmosphere is super friendly. There’s no website, so it’s full of people in the know.
Consider this hard to find and tough to beat. Cute and down-to-earth, a real hidden gem.
This bar and restaurant is just off Costa da Caparica. The portions are generous and the fish is fantastic.
Take a ferry or scooter ride across the bridge to Almada from Lisbon to get to this spot. They serve the best Aperol Spritz – enough said.
Not many tourists know about this local favorite. Expect good, traditional food; try the sardines and the duck rice.
Where to get coffee
Cupcake heaven in the heart of the city –
something called a ‘Nutella coffee’. Hello!Santini
Rumor has it the King of Italy said this was the best ice cream he’d ever tasted. We wholeheartedly agree.
You can’t visit Lisbon without grabbing a nata at Pastéis de Belém, which has been baking since 1837. They also sell incredible bread, cakes, and tarts.
The more natas the better – Manteigaria is, arguably, the best in the city. With two locations, one in the Barrio Alto, and one in the Time Out Market (more about that below). They ring a bell when a fresh batch is just out of the oven. Heaven with an espresso.
Where to drink in Lisbon
Since 1933, sunset seekers have been flocking to thisglitzy hotel
for phenomenal views. Up on the ninth floor, it’s the perfect place for cocktails.
A classic Art Deco speakeasy with a pool table and extensive wine cellar. Go on Saturdays when the atmosphere is buzzing with visitors and locals alike.
An absolute must, with delicious food of all sorts, for lunch or dinner. Right next to the ‘pink street’ bar area, so definitely check this out before heading out on the town.
Where to party
Of course, begin withBarrio Alto
, the most popular area in Lisbon. Start late, at around 11:30 pm, and just hop between bars. Beers are around €2 and caipirinhas or mojitos are €7 (which is dangerous!). For those with stamina, head to Cais do Sodré or Rua Cor de Rosa around 1:30 or 2 am.
A famous club with three floors: one for deep house; one for commercial music; and a rooftop, which is a great place to chill. The problem is, locals call it the ‘Portuguese Berghain’ (after the club in Berlin), which means the entrance is completely random! Give it a shot though – and wear converse and tees, not fancy stuff.
Where to workout
This studio is beautiful, with a full schedule featuring Vinyasa, Nidra, and Ashtanga yoga. The views of the river help ease you into a state of calm.
This state-of-the-art fitness club includes a pool, sauna, hot tub, gym, fitness classes, and more. Sleek design and super-clean facilities make working out all the more bearable.
Where to shop
In the Príncipe Real neighborhood, this concept store was built in a beautiful 19th-century neo-Moorish palace. Discover the best Portuguese designers then check out the garden, restaurant, and exhibition space.
A cute shop full of Portuguese houseware, as well as soaps, ceramics, food, paper goods, and jewelry. Support quality workmanship and grab a few gifts to take home.
One of the classics of the Lisbon shopping scene on the luxury fashion street, Avenida da Liberdade. Expect high-end brands like Fendi, Chloe, and Dolce & Gabbana.
What to do in Lisbon
For sea views and a refreshing breeze, head up to the castle for a wander around this historic part of Lisbon.
For ceramic fanatics (we know you’re out there) this is a must-see. Dating from the 15th century to the present, you’ll adore the rows of decorative tiles. Buy a few for your bathroom, go on.
Best beach in Lisbon
This is one of the most stunning beaches in Portugal. It’s compact but promises crystal-clear waters. It tends to be quite windy though, so bring layers.
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