Lisbon Cuisine is very fresh and diversified, rich of local ingredients. Your first stop shoul be the Mercado da Ribeira, the grand city market of Lisbon located in Cais do Sodré. Arrive early in the morning and you will see fresh fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, flowers and all sorts of groceries getting into place for locals to buy. The other option is one of the many district markets of Lisbon, maybe Campo de Ourique is the most atractive but you have others.
Both Mercado da Ribeira and Campo de Ourique were recently renovated so you will also find a food court with a variety of local food from seafood to soups, from steaks to healthy food. Very informal they are a great option for a lunch or a snack.
After discovering all the different fish, seafood, meat cuts, aromatic herbs, vegetables it is time to find your way into Portuguese Cuisine which is simple, earthy and usually heavy! Fish and meat stews, with potatoes. tomato and onion cooked rices with aromatic herbs. Fried baby mackerel fish, bread purée, grilled fish and meat on the charcoal with sea salt are all savoury exemples of local Lisbon food.
Some of the best traditional Portuguese food restaurants in Lisbon are, O Fidalgo, Bacalhoeiro, Cantinho do Bem Estar, Taberna do Vilarinho, Cervejaria Ramiro are great exemples of everyday restaurants. But if you wish to splurge than Gambrinus is the top expression of Traditional Portuguese Cuisine with old fashioned servisse to detail.
For food and wine shopping some of the best places are Manteigaria Silva (Cheeses, Codfish, Bread), Cafés Pereira (Coffee and Tea), Venha Vinho (Wine), Bettina and Nicolo Corallo (Chocolat and Coffee), A Conserveira de Lisboa (Canned Fish) or Espaço Açores (Azores Food).
For the best pastry shops I suggest Versailles, Confeitaria Nacional, Careca, Aloma and Casa dos Pasteis de Belém. For a quick custard pastry Manteigaria is a great pick!
Fazenda Nova is a secluded luxury Country House in the heart of the Eastern Algarve, near the beautiful historic coastal town of Tavira and stunning coastline and beaches.
The Fazenda is an original Portuguese country house that has been renovated to combine a modern style with traditional architecture and features.
Formerly a family home and farm, it sits on ten hectares of land, with its own orchard, vegetable and herb gardens. In spring it is abundant with wild flowers growing among almond, carob and olive trees.
The cleverly-designed gardens were created by a noted local landscaper. Simple and romantic, they surround the house and annexes. A series of paths lead you to undiscovered, wilder areas where you can reflect and relax and study the bird life. Shady areas are perfect for settling down with a great book. The gardens are tranquil, calm and simply planted, and complement the house and its leisurely ambiance.
Lisbon is my hometown, and for years it was just the city I lived in. I liked it, but I saw nothing special here. It was one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and had its own charm, but it was decadent and worn out. It lacked services and activities that would keep people interested beyond the usual stroll around old neighborhoods that were falling apart.
It took living abroad for a year to really made me appreciate my home. I left in 2010, and by then, the city was already changing. I was too busy with my own plans to notice at the time, but the rest of world was already recognizing its beauty, and Lisbon had evolved into a cosmopolitan capital, maintaining the qualities that made her unique. From 2009 on it has won multiple awards as a prime destination.
It’s been two years since I came back and I’ve spent them rediscovering the city that defines me. Since I returned, I have come upon many visitors and guidebooks doing and recommending things that, to me, kept them from truly experiencing the best the city has to offer.
As a local, I want to share my expertise and don’t want you to make the mistakes I see so many other visitors making. Here are this alfacinha’s (Lisbon residente) tips on how to dodge them:
1. Do not stay only for a weekend
If it’s one weekend or not at all, do stay, but know that you’ll want to stay longer.
The best thing about Lisbon is its neighborhood life. Alfama, Principe Real, Bairro Alto e Bica are just a few of them, and they are best seen on foot, getting lost and checking out the many cafes on the many terraces (miradouros) that overlook the city, like the ones at Graça or Principe Real.
The nightlife starts late, and you should take advantage at least one night – having drinks on bars or on the street (Cais do sodré and Bairro Alto are the best neighborhoods for that) followed by all night dancing in nightclubs (Muxicbox, Lux and Ritz are my personal favorites) that will require at least a whole morning of sleep in to recuperate.
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Historical monuments are scattered in different parts of the city (the ones in Belém alone require a full day) and visiting museums like the Water Museum, Carmo and the City Museum (to name just a few) will allow you to better understand the culture and history of the city and the Portuguese.
Squeezing all that into a couple of days will leave you with the exact opposite feel of the relaxed yet lively street life of Lisbon.
Do stay at least for a week. Take Lisbon in a relaxed pace and also visit the surrounding cities of Sintra, Cascais, Mafra, the Peninsula of Troia, and Serra da Arrabida.
2. Do not try to speak Spanish
You’d be surprised at the amount of travelers who come to Portugal and speak Spanish, thinking it will be a courtesy to their interlocutor. But Portuguese is not Spanish, and we do not say gracias, adios, orbuenas noches.
If you speak English and/or Spanish and don´t know how to speak Portuguese but need to start a conversation, do ask what the other person will prefer. If you’re only trying to be polite, learn how to say a few basic words and phrases in Portuguese: Obrigado, adeus, and boa noite.
3. Do not have dinner before 8.00p.m.
We very rarely eat dinner early. Only at very touristy restaurants will you find anyone having dinner before 8pm. Anywhere else you´ll be joining the staff for their meal, if they are opened for business at all. If you´re tired after having explored all of the 7 hills in one day (ah, didn´t follow tip number 1!), go and have a nap, freshen up, and then join the rest of the city for dinner.
Do have dinner after 9.00 p.m if you´re planning to go out, otherwise you will need to kill time afterwards. Bars only start filling up after 10:30-11pm, and nightclubs are empty until around 1-2am. Do as we do: start late, eat slowly, linger around the table chatting, drink coffee and some digestifs, and make dinner part of your “night out.” If you really want to do it like the locals do, your night out should not end before 6am.
4. Do not pay a fortune for mediocre food and a Fado show.
Yes, Fado is very much part of Lisbon´s history and culture (and, since 2011, UNESCO´s intangible cultural heritage), and you should listen to it live while you’re here, but most recommended places for dinner and fado in Alfama are a rip-off. You can expect to pay something between 35-60 Euro ($45-80USD) for a mediocre (or even bad) dinner with the show included. There are some where you can come after dinner, but there’s a fee (10-15 Euro) just for the show and the drinks are very expensive or they have a minimum drink requirement of at least 20 Euro.
Do listen to Fado for free. Try A Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto. On Mondays and Wednesdays, they don’t charge admission or have a minimum drink requirement. You can just have a drink, some dinner or a snack – like cheese, ham, or chouriço.
O Povo in Cais do Sodré holds a monthly musical residency for young fado singers/players. They act on weekdays, starting at 10pm, and there is no fee for the show. You can have just a drink at regular prices or have a meal, which will cost you about 15 Euro for a couple of plates of traditional petiscos(tidbits). The Fado museum has “sung visits” on Saturdays and Sundays where you have a short fado session with a tour of the museum. There is no extra to the admission price.
5. Do Not get on Tram 28 at rush hour
Hopping on and of this tram is one the best and most inexpensive ways to get to know the more traditional neighborhoods of Lisbon, but stay away between 6 and 8pm. Apart from being a favorite among tourists, the tram also serves as the means of transportation for many locals.
Do take it between 9 and 11 am. It will be practically empty (except maybe in August when it may be packed with tourists at all times), so you’ll be able to enjoy the mellow, laid back feeling as you look out the window, sit down on the old leather seats, feel the breeze, and listen to the creaks and squeaks the old rail makes, as it has for the last 70 years.
6. Do not eat at Portas de Santo Antão Street
It’s a mystery to me why those restaurants are always filled with tourists. Supposedly they are famous for the seafood, but I can’t understand why. They are overpriced, serve mediocre food, and are the only places in Lisbon with annoying people on the street flogging their businesses.
Do put on a couple of pounds. Seriously, don’t hold back. I never realized how good and varied Portuguese food was until I lived abroad for a year and didn’t have access to it. I craved for roasted cod, octopus “à lagareiro”, seafood rice, or açorda.
The Decadent and Entra are two good options for fresh, tasty Portuguese food with good presentation, a nice decoration, and great value for money (around 20 Euro per person, with wine). Ramiro is always a safe choice for seafood, but it can be pricey, and on the weekends the line is extremely long.
If you want to go cheap, there a lot of places that may look a little rough-around-the-edges but have simple yet tasty food. Practice common sense – look for portuguese people inside, ask around, and follow advice from locals.
7. Do not be discouraged by the derelict buildings.
The situation has improved enormously in the past five years, with many recovery programs occurring. But you´re still likely to run into some neglected old buildings downtown and around the historical center.
Do check out the Urban Art. Since 2009, the City Council has an association (GAU) dedicated to promoting graffiti and street art as part of the cultural development of the city. They have put up several panels across town and periodically submit them to competition to be painted by the winners with the best drawings.
The CRONO project developed throughout 2010/2011 and turned some derelict buildings into canvases for national and international artists. Works from Os Gémeos, Erica il Cane, Sam3, Blu, Vhils, and many more can be seen on a simple walk on the street across town. In the summer, GAU organizes free tours to a lot of these locations.
8. Do not drink the same wine you drink at home
In its tiny, 92,000 square kilometers, Portugal has 14 officially-recognized wine regions and several smaller ones within and around these, not to mention hundreds of local varietals. The wines are not classified by their variety, but by their region (each region has its own, typical grapes). We are (righteously) proud of our wines, and wine production is an important element of Portuguese culture, so we urge foreigners to try the local offerings instead of asking for cabernets and merlots.
Do explore all of our varieties of wine. Educate yourself in one of the many wine bars in town. They sell by the glass, which will allow you to try different ones without blowing your budget. My personal favorite, Os Goliardos, takes the concept of wines with character that transmit the terroir they come from, very seriously. They only have bottles from producers they have met, are very passionate about the historical and social context of wine production, and also organize blind, thematic wine tastings and courses.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do and have some alternatives, get out there and explore. Let the city win you over as it has won me. Get lost, talk to people, feel its unique light as you wander over the cobblestoned streets, rest your eyes on the views over the rooftops and on to the Tagus river, eat a lot, drink some wine, laugh more, and just enjoy.
Are you planning a trip to Portugal?Check out the following round the world trip that includes Portugal as one of its stops. To customize the trip and make it your own, click on the map, register for Indie, and enter your destinations and dates to get an immediate price. By Filipa Chatillon
What was the Algarve like before resorts, golf courses and Irish pubs sprang up along this coast with its year-round sunshine and golden beaches? Head east (rather than west) from Faro airport and you might find out. Tavira, 18 miles from the Spanish border and straddling the Gilão river, is arguably the Algarve’s prettiest town, and exudes an authentic Portuguese charm. Big hotels are few, churches are many, fishing boats crowd the river and everyone has time to dawdle.
Layers of history can be seen, from Phoenician excavations through Islamic-decorated doorways to Renaissance and Baroque flourishes. However, it is the colours that hit you: blinding-white walls, brilliant azulejo tiles, fiery-red pantiles.
I climbed cobbled streets to the ramparts of the ruined Castelo and looked down over waves of triangular “hipped” roofs, spikes of lacework-white chimney pots, and the graceful domes and towers of the town’s 22 churches. The river sprawled into the Ria Formosa lagoon, a rich nature reserve bordered by an eight-mile-long string of golden sands.
Praça da República
Rebuilt in the 13th century, after the town was recaptured from the Moors, the Castelo was partially destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Today, a beautiful garden sits amid the crumbling walls, ablaze with oleander, jacaranda, angel’s trumpets and bougainvillea.
Close to the Castelo, the 16th-century Palácio da Galeria (now a gallery), with Baroque window mouldings and 16 roofs, is a vestige of Tavira’s wealthy past. Once the Algarve’s main port, the town saw its fortunes change after the earthquake hit and the river silted up, although fishing and salt extraction are still important.
From the Palácio, I explored churches: the Gothic portico of Santa Maria and its huge clock-face tower; the austere façade of the late-medieval São Brás; elaborately carved wooden altarpieces in São Paulo; tiny, medieval Santa Ana with its pretty bell-tower and lovely river views. Most spectacular is the Renaissance Misericórdia, with its carved portico and shimmering blue-and-white tiled panels depicting the 14 Acts of Mercy.
Tavira was once the Algarve’s main port
Exploring Tavira can be slow. Something always drags you off course: latticework doors with door knockers in the shape of hands (a Moorish legacy); brilliant azulejo tiling (Rua Almirante Cândido dos Reis is a treat); coffee, cake and people-watching in the riverside Praça da República; sleepy squares such as Largo d’Anna with its shady Cape Lilac trees and inviting benches.
I slipped in to the Carmo Convent church as it filled up for evening mass. A priest led the congregation in a choral warm-up, his sonorous voice filling the nave beneath a magnificently overblown Rococo altarpiece.
On my final morning, I strolled through the riverside Bandstand Garden, listening to elderly men putting the world to rights, peered at fish from the low-arched Ponte Romana (late-medieval, in truth), and watched a bronzed fisherman sift for clams. The 21st century seemed a long way away.
Airlines flying to Faro from London and regional airports include British Airways (0844 493 0787; ba.com), EasyJet (0843 104 5000;easyjet.com), Flybe (0871 700 2000; flybe.com), Jet2 (0871 226 1737;jet2.com), Monarch (0871 940 5040; monarch.co.uk), Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com), Thomas Cook (0871 230 2406; flythomascook.com) and Thomson (0871 231 4787; thomsonfly.com). The 20-minute shuttle bus into Faro costs €1.70/£1.40, and from there it is an hour’s bus ride (€4.20/£3.45) to Tavira. Auto-Rent (0800 032 4979; autorent.pt) has three-day car hire from £20 during winter (£65, summer).
The Old Town is easily walkable. To go farther afield, hire a bicycle from Casa Abilio, on Rua João Vaz Corte Real 23A (00351 281 323467;abiliobikes.com, from €6/£4.95 one day, €16.5€/£13.60, three days). A return by ferry to the beach costs €1.90/£1.55 from the town centre (summer only) or €1.50/£1.25 from Quatro Águas, the nearer lagoon.
Most churches, Misericórdia aside, are closed except for services or concerts. Visit half an hour before Mass, or check at the tourist office (281 322511; visitalgarve.pt, Praça da República 5) for information on concerts.
Café Veneza and Pastelaria Tavira Romana, in Praça da República, are good places in which to try local cakes such as pastel de nata (egg tart) or morgado da serra (almond cake) and to watch the passing show.
Explore the Ria Formosa lagoon by boat (918 720002; formosamar.com, €15 per person, one-hour guided tour), passing salt-pans, clam and oyster farms, and spotting birds such as flamingos and egrets.
Round off an evening with home-made ice cream at Delizia, in Mercado da Ribeira, the old covered market. By Helen Pickles
Luxury hotels should cater to today’s younger, more adventurous affluent traveler who is seeking exotic locations and packages to be immersed in new cultures.
Many luxury hotels are offering more culture-focused packages that allow guests to celebrate and experience the local flavor while staying at a luxury property. With this trend increasing across global markets, more hotels should aim to please this adventurous group.
“The luxury travel market will always have the typical affluent traveler who wants the best services and amenities in the typical tourist destinations like New York, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney,” said D.M. Banks, director at DMB, New York.
“However, the luxury travel market is also changing in many ways with many affluent travelers being younger and more adventurous,” he said.
“Additionally, with the technology we all have at our fingertips, affluent travelers are more familiar with every corner of the world, and can research all the possibilities in terms of adventure and exploration before they arrive to their destination.”
New hot spots
Adventurous travel can help create special memories, which is what luxury hotels strive to provide for guests.
“At their core, people are looking for memories,” said Taylor Rains, account coordinator at RMA, Charleston, SC.
“The desire for adventure and experiential travel has grown out of a shift in the way people value their time,” he said. “I do not see this trend disappearing anytime soon.
“The average traveler is now looking for more adventure and experience out of a vacation, and across the board, less active vacations continue to drop in popularity, while those including some form of outdoor activity now account for nearly half of all trips taken.”
These affluent travelers are also looking for new travel destinations that will give them a unique experience not widely available to consumers.
“Always looking for the next ‘it’ destination, the affluent traveler is not afraid to go off the beaten path to experience something unique,” DMB Public Relations’ Mr. Banks said.
“Often, these hidden hideaways today offer all the luxuries and amenities while still providing the extreme exploration options for the traveler hungry for adventure,” he said.
In addition to finding new destinations, these affluent travelers are looking for the most desirable activities.
“Luxury travelers are looking for more, with 94 percent saying that they are looking for something new and different from hotels and hospitality, according to the International Luxury Travel Market,” Rawle Murdy’s Mr. Rains said.
“Crafting unique, memorable and experience-driven travel packages is one way for luxury hotel brands to do just that,” he said.
New era of travel
Luxury hotels are beginning to offer packages specifically for the adventurous affluent traveler.
Luxury hotels are investing in locations that were not always considered luxury travel destinations.
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels’ Waldorf Astoria and The Ritz-Carlton have recently opened or plan to open new properties in the Middle East.
New luxury hotels in this area should prepare for a variety of affluent guests with the influx of business and leisure travelers.
Since luxury travelers are looking for exclusive and unique packages, more hotels should cater to those who want an adventurous, but still luxurious, vacation.
“Luxury travelers want one-of-kind getaways and more luxury hotels are recognizing the importance of providing their guests with something completely unique,” said Tiffany Dowd, luxury hotel inspector and president of Luxe Social Media, Boston.
“It is no longer just about a great hotel stay, it is about integrating into local culture to experience something new,” she said.
“Luxury travelers are seeking out more exotic experiences and hotels can benefit by offering packages that provide personalization, spontaneity and adventure.” by Erin Shea
From the palace, I can see the Castle of the Moors on top of the opposite hill. That Castle, built on Roman ruins, dates back to the 8th century when the Moors were new to the Iberian Peninsula.
The castle’s decline began in the 15th century, when more of the population chose to live at the bottom of the hills, in today's ‘old quarter’ of Sintra.
The feature that is uniquely ‘Sintra’ is neither the Castle nor the Palace, but the two, cone-shaped chimneys that rise skyward from the Palace kitchen. The giant kitchen, meant to prepare elegant banquets for royalty and guests, needed giant chimneys.
Sort of odd to have the chimneys be the identifying feature of the view, but it is.
Once we leave the Palace, I wander the old quarter of Sintra. After the hectic start to my trip, after missing the introductory tour of Lisbon, I am only now starting really to feel, I immerse myself in the narrow, hilly, winding streets of this ancient city.
Away from the palace and the wide boulevard that leads to it, the streets are almost like alleys, barely large enough for 3 people to walk abreast, often with steps leading up or down a hill. Small shops beckon; laundry hangs from the windows; sunlight and shadow play on the walls. This is Portugal. By Dawny Gershkowitz
NIGHTLIFE AND FADO
The night comes to Lisbon and each day of the week has an itinerary. There is a lot for everyone, in Principe Real district traditional bars like Pavilhao Chines or Foxtrot and a great cocktail bar, like Cinco Lounge.
The real Movida place of Lisbon is Bairro Alto district with a great choice of small Bars and Restaurants and great Bars like Clube da Esquina, Mahjong or Silk Club. The best Club here is Bedroom.
Bica district is full of small bars and in fact is a great place for Bar hopping without actually loosing your friends. Cais do Sodre district holds a mix of Bars like Pensao do Amor but mostly nightclubs like the often packed Jamaica, Copenhagen, Liverpool and the likes. The Docas area is full of Bars and Restaurants that will also make a nice part of your night in town. Alfama district has a more laid back style with some small Bars and loads of Fado clubs.
For after hours clubbing Europa is our favorite. Fashionable clubs include BBC, 3D, Main and Lux all on the riverside area of Tagus river.
The Museu do Fado is probably the Museum that tells you the most about Portuguese while showing less.
Other Museums might have the best works of art, show Portuguese wonders and achievements but Museu do Fado is the one that will teach who we are, what we are and why we are the way we are.
For us, Fado is our national way of expression, lyrics that tell stories about love, friendship, sad moments, bravery, people we miss, great days in the bullring or in the wine tavern, our beloved Kings, everyday feelings and friends.
Than Fado singers, simple people that became symbols of our people, because that express in a way that touches your soul. If there is white people soul music its Fado.
Than we have the acoustic guitar and the Portuguese guitar players, these guys take melodies to the next level, the game of fingers maneuvering with skill, art and passion.
Fado is in many words skill full passion for simplicity. Silence we are going to listen to Fado!
Considered Portugal's popular music, Fado has been on the streets since its first days.
Together with Coimbra, Lisbon is the hometown of Fado. What started as the perfect singing and playing in wine taverns today is everywhere from theaters to concert halls.
The two greatest Fado singers are Amália Rodrigues and Alfredo Marceneiro. From the new generations names like Camané, Mariza, Carminho and Kátia Guerreiro are the new ambassadors of Fado.
The best districts in Lisbon to feel Fado are Alfama, Bairro Alto, Bica, Madragoa, Sé and Mouraria.
While some restaurants continue to showcase great Fado singers and guitar players showing the true soul of Fado the majority became the perfect tourist trap.
A year after Fado was declared World's Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, the Fado Museum in Lisbon's Alfama District launched on November 27th a virtual roadmap including interesting and useful information related to Fado.
There is nothing better than going to the right places out of the travel guides. If you have lots of time start searching this new tool organised by Fado Houses, Events, Temporary Exhibitions, Guitar Makers and much more.
From early days Lisbon´s location was perfect to become a prosperous city. On River Tagus (Tejo) rightside Lisbon was born and close to the Atlantic Ocean but far enough to create a natural harbour.
Throughout the times locals learned the importance of its hills for their villages to be protected from invaders and pirates.
Neverteless Celts, Cempsis, Phoenicians, Romans, Sarmatians, Alans, Vandals, Suebis, Visigoths, Berbers and Arabs (Moors) made their way into Continental Portugal.
Until present days many archeological remains are still visible. After Lisbon conquest to the Moors in 1147 by Portugal's first King Dom Afonso Henrique Lisbon gradually took its place in the new Kingdom.
Lisbon takes its name from Phoenician Allis Ubbo (safe harbour), Latin Ulyssippo (Ulysses) and Olissipona for the Tagus River.
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