Treat yourself or those you love with unique quality products and help the local economy while you’re at it. Discover the creativity made in Portugal, found in shops all over Lisbon, from original designs to gourmet delicacies. They’re perfect gifts for any occasion.
Footwear is one of Portugal’s main industries, with the country ranking among the world’s top exporters every year. It’s achieved a quality matched only by those made in Italy, and in Lisbon you’ll find national footwear at the Foreva shops, Fly London, Eureka and Cubanas. A brand to look for is Xuz (available at Gardénia) which modernized classic Portuguese designs and creates them using time-tested techniques and materials such as wood, resulting in truly unique pieces
Portuguese soaps are now internationally renowned as luxury products, especially those of Claus Porto and Castelbel. Perfect for men is the Antiga Barbearia de Bairro brand which was inspired by the green spaces of Lisbon’s Principe Real neighborhood and by the memories of old shaving rituals. Handmade and available at various gift shops (such as Artes & Etc.), it includes regular soap, shaving soap and a classic wooden shaving brush.
As the world’s main producer of cork, Portugal has begun to use this natural material in its design industry. From furniture to fashion, jewelry and even postcards, anything seems possible with cork which has become something of a national icon for its original and eco-friendly pieces. That originality and eco-friendliness has led to international acclaim, and in Lisbon you can look for those special creations at the Pelcor and Cork & Co. shops.
Also look for the innovative use of wool at Loja da Burel.
With the “seal of approval” of New York’s MoMA design shop, Lisbon’s Tela Bags have become known internationally as unique products (re)using alternative materials. There’s a new collection and new designs every season, and you may find them at several design and gift shops around the city such as the CCB shop, Amatudo and Tom Tom Shop.
Also look for the more exclusive Muu handbags at We3, all handmade in Portugal out of cowhide leather.
Portugal’s biggest neighbor is the Atlantic Ocean and the vast coastline and history as a seafaring nation has turned it into a big seafood admirer. Fish has come to symbolize Portuguese cuisine, and canned fish is often a charming souvenir, especially for the retro designs of the packaging. Add it to a gourmet basket together with the award-winning olive oils and cheeses, and the only tea produced in Europe, the green tea from the Azores. Complete it with something sweet, such as the famous custard tarts and the Arcádia or Chocolataria Equador chocolates. Good Portuguese gourmet shops include Silva & Feijó, Manuel Tavares, Espaço Açores and Zazou Bazar.
No Portuguese gourmet experience is complete without wine. As one of the world’s major wine-producing countries, there is now much more than Madeira or Port Wine. Discover the reds from Alentejo or the “greens” from the Douro in shops like Garrafeira Nacional and Napoleão in downtown Lisbon.
Visit any Portuguese church and you’ll sense that the Portuguese love gold. It all started when Brazil was Portugal’s biggest colony and the world’s main gold-exporting territory. Gold jewelry sold in Portugal is now at least 19.2 karats, quite rare in most other countries. Lisbon’s jewelry shops are some of the city’s most beautiful, some now decades-old historic spaces. Look for a precious gift at Joalharia do Carmo, Maria João Bahia, Ourivesaria Sarmento, or at countless other jewelry shops in the center of the city.
Tile painting is Portugal’s “national art” and you’ll find it in a variety of designs in Lisbon, from classic baroque reproductions to contemporary pieces, to centuries-old antiques. The Portuguese capital is the world’s largest tile art gallery, and you’ll want to look for a special piece at shops like Solar, Fábrica Sant’Anna, or Loja dos Descobrimentos, some of which accept custom orders for special personalized gifts.
Young artists and designers have created quirky pieces available at shops like Bairro Arte or Original. Many are limited editions inspired by Portuguese traditions for modern times, meaning you’ll have something unique and original to brighten your or someone else’s home.
Saramago won the Nobel Prize but he isn’t the only critically-acclaimed Portuguese author translated worldwide. There’s also the genious Fernando Pessoa, Luis de Camões, Eça de Queiroz and Camilo Castelo Branco who’ve recently been (re)discovered around the world. Portugal and Lisbon have also been subjects or settings in several fiction and non-fiction works, and Lisbon’s wonderful old bookshops such as Ferin or Bertrand (the branch in Chiado is the world’s oldest bookshop) often offer rare editions for special gifts.
Source: Lisbon Lux