The real charm of Lisbon lies in its small, cobbled back streets with its tiny balconies and yellow cable cars.
Unpack your walking shoes (ladies, leave your high heels in the hotel – you won’t get very far) and unleash your stamina to scale the many hills of Lisbon on foot.
The most charming district is Bairro Alto, the cultural and bohemian heart of Lisbon with cafés and restaurants aplenty. Quiet by day, with laundry hanging from windows and balconies, this part of town transforms by night and becomes a vibrant and bustling magnet to people of all ages. Make your way from jazz club to fado houses or dance the night away in a nightclub, scattered around all over town. To get your culture fix, choose any church and marvel at the lavish gold decorations and intricate coloured stone-inlays.
Chiado is the neighbouring district of Bairro Alto, and is boasting elegant fashion stores, theatres and bookshops. Trendy São Carlos square is where one of Portugal’s most prominent chefs, José Avillez, has located his culinary empire, consisting of Michelin-star restaurant Belcanto, where he serves fine-dining interpretations of traditional Portuguese dishes; Cantinho, a more relaxed restaurant with a sophisticated menu; MiniBar, a gourmet bar offering exciting drinks and gourmet snacks; Café Lisboa, a charming traditional café with an outside terrace; and Pizzaria Lisboa, where Avillez created a new concept of pizza as a homage to Lisbon.
For lunch – or indeed dinner – snacks, make your way down to the river and the Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon’s main fresh food market. Aside from specialities such as cheese, wines, sardines, chocolate, ham and custard tarts, the market has another big selling point. Since 2014 it is being managed by Time Out, who have invited all key players in food and wine to open bistros inside the market, from Henrique Sá Pessoa to Dieter Koschina.
For an aperitif or just a laid-back cocktail, chill out at Noobai Café’s terrace and take in the funky jazz and gorgeous view over the Tejo river.
For the most central and stylish accommodation, the Bairro Alto Hotel Lisbon offers an ideal location in the heart of historic downtown. It’s a luxury boutique hotel and gives off a historic vibe while at the same time offering all the latest mod-cons, as well as a beautiful roof-top terrace bar and restaurant with wonderful views towards Rio Tejo over the old Lisbon rooftops. It’s the central location in chic and trendy Chiado that makes it an absolute must for those who like to be at the pulse of Lisbon.
Little Black Book
Belcanto | Largo de São Carlos | 101200-410 | Lisbon joseavillez.pt
Mercado da Ribeira | Avenida 24 de Julho 49| Lisbon | TimeOutMercadodaRibeira
Noobai Café | Miradouro de Santa Catarina | noobaicafe.com
Bairro Alto Hotel Lisbon | Praça Luís de Camões N.º2 | Bairro Alto | 1200-243 | Lisbon |bairroaltohotel.com
Taste Portugal | tasteportugal-london.com
Source: Four Magazine