I always think I was lucky to “feel” Lisbon just as described by Tavares.
I had only just begun my journey wandering the city, admiring its facades of azulejo tiles, when I encountered Isabelle in her beautiful shop. Perhaps it was buying the book “Show me Lisbon” or maybe our conversation that led late into the night on the steps of Bairro Alto. But I felt as I were living the life of a Lisboeta. Commencing as well a beautiful long lasting friendship.
“The best way to travel is to feel.”
Rita Sousa Tavares
Yes, Rita Sous Tavares, it is true: “It is the people who guide you, leaving a part of them to live in you.”
Walking by myself, I had already felt I was going back in time, but it was Isabelle who gave character and life to my impressions of this mysterious city. I could feel Lisbon’s “voyageur spirit,” having always been a city of departures and arrivals, explaining the mix of cultures, tastes and ideologies. It’s a city full of legends of those who left and returned from distant lands. It tells its story through the poetry on the walls and the melancholy of its music, Fado. When the room falls silent and Fado begins, emotions whirl inside of you and dismiss any need to understand the words.
“Lisbon is the sum of several very small cities, which blend, intermingle and live together.”
Lisbon is to be experienced through the scenes and sounds of everyday life. The dance of light and shadows in the narrow stoned alleys will attract you to explore every corner. Its cobblestones will make you complain, but also make you wonder what each one has silently witnessed.
You can listen to the magnetism of the sea and the Tagus River in people’s stories, in the streets. You can sense the proudness of its people in gatherings in the plazas around popular dances. You can see the creative expression in the decor of restaurants, hostels and little quaint shops; and taste the mix of influences in every flavor of its gastronomy.
If you did not feel all this when visiting Portugal the first time around, then it is time to return and take a glimpse into more of its hidden secrets.
“For is there anything more special than feeling like a local when traveling”
Lisbon, is part of my 2017 list of “Special Tours with “Nomad Voyageur” to explore and discover with all your senses, see more info at nomadatelier.com/bespoke-experiences.
MY TRAVELING LIFE:
WHERE TO EAT:
You can’t leave Lisbon without tasting the pasteis de nata from Manteigaria, always freshly made. Then walk down the street to Café Brasileira one of the emblematic cafes, home to artists, intellectuals and politician gatherings of the past.
If you are looking for the best coffee in town, the rumours say you must stop by Corallo in Principe Real where a piece of delicious chocolate accompanies every drink.
Indulge drinking a cocktail or having lunch at Cevicheria, it’s the signature restaurant of Chef Kiko, offering an unforgettable experience from its Pisco Sour (a must here) to its dishes offering a mix of different flavours (my favorite: Pure Ceviche). Love the relaxed and chic atmosphere.
If you want to give yourself a special treat in a more formal atmosphere you can go to Tagide and enjoy a beautiful view of the city. But many of us whom also look for some sense of exploration go to Mercado da Ribeira, it’s an old market brought back to life with 34 different top chef stands at great prices, all promoting Portuguese products where you can indulge and share between friends.
If you want to live a whole new dining experience than you can’t miss going to Mini Bar, one of the restaurants run by the famous Chef José Avillez. A creative and intimate atmosphere where to relax, open your mind, curious to know what dish comes next. A real experiment of flavours giving your palette some sense of adventure.
Restaurante 100 Maneiras is another place with great decor where lisboetas like to go, have cocktails and meet with friends savoring their famous mini-hamburguers.
Unwind an afternoon walking, taking a break at one of the Tasquinas in Principe Reale.
DRINKS & NIGHTLIFE:
Lose yourself in magnificent views from some of my favorite terraces where you can see the chaotic city lit up in front of you The Insolito & Memo Alfama, explore different bars like Pesao amor & Cobre bar, or wander off dancing at Lux or Rive Rouge in the vibrant nightlife of Lisboa.
LX Factory: one of my favorites for some shopping or having a bite.
Lose yourself for hours at Ler Devagar a wonderful book shop. If you love design I’m sure you’ll find something you like at Wish Concept Store and then have a drink at its own cozy cafe. Or walk over to Landeau and be tempted as all lisboetas are to savor their famous chocolate cakes from heaven.
Before leaving you might be lucky enough to see Tell the Story, a beautiful mobile bookstore that circulates through Lisbon hoping to introduce you to Portugal through the words of their beloved writers.
You might want to stop by Conserveira to take home a few tins of famous portuguese fish in beautifully wrapped conserves just like in the 1930’s reminding you how this city still takes you back in time. Or stop at Isabel’s beautiful shop for beautiful home linens and lifestyle objects.
WHERE TO STAY:
Lisbon is known to be a city with the most charming hostels located in amazing locations and boutique hotels carefully hidden in alleys vibrating with everyday life.
Lisbon Destination is a quirky and creative space, located inside the Rossio station.
The Independente Collective offers one of the most magnificent views of the city, centrally located with a cool restaurant The Decadente.
WHAT TO VISIT:
People can sometimes forget its history and how much Portugal has to tell, a few places to admire: Jeronimo’s Monastery, Belèm Tower, Miradouro de Santa Catarina, Elevador da Bica, Maat museum or explore its neighborhoods Chiado, Alfama, Baixa just to name a few.
Escape to see Sintra and discover this beautiful corner of Portugal full of history and myths only 30 min away or escape to Comporta and have a relaxing drink in one of the most beautiful uncontaminated beaches at Comporta Cafe.