Lisbon is a unique city, with its very own identity and culture.
"The city of seven hills", as it is known, is now more than a thousand years old. As a result of the ages, the many microcosms created now intersect and intertwine.
We selected for you some of the most interesting districts for shopping, but also those who deserve to be known for their history, tradition, architecture and gastronomy. Because Fado is sung in Alfama, and the good pubs made Bairro Alto famous, they’re also listed. The historical stores are in Baixa (downtown) and Chiado, the best antique shops in São Bento, and the famous brands in Avenida da Liberdade. The avant-garde trends may be found in Príncepe Real and design is happening in Santos. From Belém we went out into the world and nowadays Martim Moniz has the all world in it. The best of Modernism is in Alvalade, and contemporary architecture can be visited at Expo.
In Alfama inhabits the soul of Lisbon. This is the oldest and most typical of the city's districts, famous for its narrow streets, picturesque facades, traditional shops, taverns, Fado houses and countless churches. Animated by the peculiar local population, Alfama explodes with life during the "popular saints", a traditional festival that draws thousands of people to the streets. This maze of medieval alleys leads us to the Castelo de São Jorge and a wonderful view.
In Graça, the belvedere baptized with the name of poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen is one of the best places to admire the city and to fall in love. Not far away, we find the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, the National Pantheon and the Campo de Santa Clara, where the flea market takes place and you can haggle trinkets and curiosities.
Baixa is Lisbon’s welcome card and also a district of memories, preserved traditional trade and lively due to its cafes and street performers. In what is the oldest commercial area of the city, alongside the new names in fashion, we still find examples of the crafts that gave the name to the streets of orthogonal geometric layout: Correeiros (saddlery), Douradores (gilders), Fanqueiros (cloths) and Sapateiros (shoemakers). It is also here were you’ll find one of the most beautiful squares in the world, the Praça do Comércio /Commerce Square (also known as Terreiro do Paço / Real Palace Square), lined with restaurants and terraces. The Triumphal Arch takes us up the noble and pedestrian Rua Augusta to the emblematic Praça D. Pedro IV or Rossio.
On Chiado, Lisbon walks proud and elegant, since the times when politicians, intellectuals and artists here met in endless gatherings. With its theatres and opera houses, historic cafes and century old bookstores, it is also the scene of the latest fashion trends and some of the best restaurants in town, becoming a meeting point and an mandatory stop for tourists and residents.
In Bairro Alto different generations encourage the traditional trade and alternative shops of urban fashion, galleries, hair salons and tattoo studios. This sixteenth century streets districts is the a chameleon spot in town: during the day is the address of flowers in balconies and drying clothes hanging, at night it becomes the bohemian centre of Lisbon with some of the most popular bars and restaurants in town (including traditional Fado houses).
Traditionally known for its centenary garden and antique shops, Príncipe Real is an old district, but elegant, sprinkled with colourful historic buildings.
Today it represents a new Lisbon, cosmopolitan and entrepreneurial, attracting avant-garde shops, national artists’ studios, galleries, cafes and trendy restaurants. It is a district appreciated by locals and tourists alike, for its unique charm, with palaces converted into shopping arcades, a bio market and lively nightlife.
The street of São Bento is famous for several antique shops, where decorative items and treasures with historical and collection value can be found. There are also the celebrated "Noites de São Bento" (São Bento Nights), a marathon that keeps the stores open until midnight for three days in a row, along with street entertainment, music, exhibitions and even wine tasting. It is also here that you’ll find the Casa Museu (House-Museum)Amália Rodrigues and the São Bento Palace, a grand, neoclassic building that houses the Parliament of Portugal since 1834.
The romantic garden Guerra Junqueiro, known by all as "Estrela" and the beautiful and monumental baroque and neoclassical Basilica are a trademark of Estrela. Campo de Ourique is the starting point (or arrival) of the famous 28 Tram line that runs up through the historic centre down to Martim Moniz. It is one of Lisbon's most charismatic districts, with a family environment, a sort of village within the city, with a life of its own and the "jardim da parada" (parade garden), a church, market, shops, cafes and traditional restaurants. As a natural extension of Campo de Ourique, we have Amoreiras whose main symbol is the Amoreiras Shopping Centre, a mall of reference opened in 1985.
Avenida da Liberdade was built in the style of the Champs Élysées, the "Public Garden" of high society in the nineteenth century Lisbon. Today is one of the most luxurious arteries of Europe where the elegance and sophistication of the big luxury brands shine in the shop windows and the five-star hotels and major companies’ offices are located. It is one of Lisbon’s main avenues, connecting the Restauradores Square to the Marquis of Pombal roundabout. In the shade of old trees lurk the facades of noble buildings, the patterns of cobblestone and kiosks with terraces.
The elegant Castilho Street is almost an extension of Avenida da Liberdade, bringing together a number of international luxury brands, especially of women's fashion. Grouped in the Castilho Fashion Street concept, the stores promote trade through various initiatives contributing to its transformation in one of the noblest and charming streets of the capital, where also hotels and services are concentrated.
As a result of the urban growth of the late nineteenth century, this district is made of flat streets, wide sidewalks and sober architecture, testimony to the progressive urbanism of the engineer Ressano Garcia, influenced by the technical and aesthetic concepts followed by Georges-Eugène Haussmann in Paris during its renovation in the 1850s and 1860s. It is in the Avenidas Novas (new avenues) that you’ll find the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a cultural icon of Lisbon and an absolute must. Directly opposite is the Bairro Azul, an architectural complex of the 30s of the twentieth century, with buildings in the Art Deco style, bas-reliefs, pilasters, friezes and pediments elegantly decorated. With the Garden Amalia Rodrigues and the Eduardo VII Park next to it, this is a good area for sightseeing and shopping in the country's largest department store.
Alvalade is the area north of the city formerly occupied by farms, manors and extensive green fields. It is known as "the most modern district of Lisbon", thanks to the grand projects of Modernist architecture it bears witness. And if here abound buildings to admire and visit (such as the National Library, the Rectory of the University of Lisbon, the Torre do Tombo, the Museum of Lisbon - Palace Pimenta or the Bordallo Pinheiro Museum), its streets are animated by traditional trade and the true district life, including one of the best markets in the capital. This is also here where you’ll find the largest green space in the center of Lisbon.
Built in 1940, this residential and traditional district of the Estado Novo regime is part of the architectural history and urbanism of Lisbon, with several works signed by renowned architects like Cassiano Branco, Joaquim Bento de Almeida, José de Lima Franco, Antonio Lino, Filipe Figueiredo and José Segurado. The axis Guerra Junqueiro, Praça de Londres and Avenida de Roma has become one of the most charming shopping areas of the city with the Café Mexicana as a meeting point for locals and visitors.
Alcântara derives from the Arabic "al-qantara", the "bridge" that once crossed the now invisible river Alcantâra. Today the 25th of April Bridge dictates the landscape of this old industrial district near the Tagus, where warehouses gave way to restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The old borough of Ajuda, with its rural origins in the sixteenth century, is famous for grand National Palace, built after the earthquake of 1755. Along the river, Belém is a mandatory destination to taste the Pastel de Belém, and also the borough that celebrates the Discoveries. It was from here the ships set off in search of new worlds. In this garden by the sea you’ll find the ex-LIBRIS of Lisbon’s monuments, the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, both heritage of Manueline architecture. Here is the Monument of the Discoveries and the Belém Cultural Centre.
The requalification of Santos has attracted schools, artists and forefront commercials spaces, particularly a set of decoration and design shops that have joined the initiative Santos Design District. Neighbouring the famous National Museum of Ancient Art and the Puppetry Museum in the old quarter of Madragoa, this riverfront area is also known for its restaurants and the young and lively nightlife. Right next to the Cais do Sodré, an old port area, frequented in the past by sailors and prostitutes, it has been witnessing a major change, which includes the Mercado da Ribeira newly rehabilitated. It is currently one of the most sought after areas to go out at night (particularly Rua Nova do Carvalho, known as the "Rua Cor-deRosa / Pink Street"), thanks to the systematic opening of restaurants and trendy bars.
Mouraria (Moorish quarter) is the place where the Moors were relegated after conquest of Lisbon in 1147. This district of dark alleys and simple people, is one of the cradles of Fado, and where Fado singers like Severa, Argentina Santos and, more recently, Mariza lived. Today is the most multicultural spot in the city, a patchwork of ethnic groups living with a long rich history and the parochial spirit. The renewed Martim Moniz Square is where you can still go to the Mercado de Fusão (fusion market) to taste the flavours of the world (China, India, Bangladesh ...) and breath culture. Next door, the Intendente Square was named after D. Diogo Ignacio de Pina Manique, the famous police superintendent of Queen D. Maria I. For years the center of drugs, theft and prostitution, it underwent a renovation that gave it a new light. Special attention to the store of the old factory Viúva Lamego and its beautiful facade tiles.
The Zoo is the true symbol of Sete Rios, a pleasant space that takes an active role in the protection and conservation of nature. Currently one of the most cosmopolitan and populous boroughs of Lisbon, Benfica was once an area occupied by farms and smallholdings. This applies to the Quinta da Granja, converted into an urban park, the Beau Sejour Palace, a former summer residence, where today works the Olisiponenses Studies Department, with the largest collection of books about the city, or the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira, the most beautiful example of Portuguese civil architecture of the XVII century, with stunning gardens and tile decorations. For the more consumerists, Centro Colombo is the reference; it is one of the largest shopping centres in the Iberian Peninsula.
On the shores of the river Tagus was born a contemporary Lisbon. Parque das Nações, once an industrial center, was built to host the Expo 98, the last Universal Exhibition of the twentieth century. Along a 5 km strip of waterfront, this district emphasizes the modernity of the city, with spaces for leisure, culture and sport designed by big names of world architecture, as Santiago Calatrava and Alvaro Siza Vieira.
Lisbon is a unique city, with its very own identity and culture.
Yes, Lisbon is an amazing city, but it does not exhaust the richness Portugal has to offer. Right next door, Estoril, Cascais and Sintra are regular tours, to discover beautiful beaches, restaurants that serve the freshest fish and seafood and a magic mountain inhabited by an enchanted palace. The capital is a good base to explore the country from north to south. A little over an hour away, is a medieval village and great monuments of Portugal's history, all classified by UNESCO. Porto is undoubtedly one of the best destinations in Europe, while the Douro Wine Region is an absolutely mandatory destination. To the south, the plains and the Alentejo wineries win international prominence. The Algarve no longer needs introduction. Ready to get started?