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Lisbon, Lisboa, or however you may call it, this city is beckoning. Portugal’s capital is often synonymous with the words tiles, sardines, and miradouros — but there is so much more. There’s another side to Lisbon waiting. Bursting with creativity and arts, thoughtful spaces and designers alike, it’s become no secret that Lisbon is this year’s hot spot for the artistic traveler.

Lisbon is in constant change with new places opening up daily, new bars with spectacular views, and happening fashion design. All the while, its historic cobblestone streets, rolling hills, and iconic tiled walls act as an anchor, rather a reminder, of the city’s roots.  The perfect example? Dining in Time Out Mercado da Ribeira. Stalls of restaurants, most serving their take on Portuguese classics, all in this creative community space — the perfect blend of the old and new.

As I came back to Lisbon for what would be the second time in a month, my eyes were set on having a different experience. This time I craved to walk with the locals. I wanted to eat where they ate, sip caipirinhas where they did. Shop the boutiques and designers that marked the fashion district of Lisbon. All with the aid of the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, I was paired with exactly this. (Read the full hotel review here).

Given the ultimate insider’s guide to stepping with the locals and a focus in the arts, my five days on ground were satisfying. I returned home with a fresh look at Lisbon, and am happy to report back the artistic side of Lisbon is a sure hit.

The Local Guide to Artistic Lisbon

Where to Shop

  • Design stores in LX Factory: Home to a street filled with warehouses turned into boutiques, eateries, and more. Be sure to stop by Livraria Ler Devagar for a classic bookstore.
  •  Designer shoes at Luis Onofre Shoes: A Portuguese designer hailing from the North has designed shoes (primarily heels) that has captivated well-noted international clients and locals.
  •  Curated shopping at Concept Store 39a: Brought together by owner Raquel Prates, this store showcases exclusive pieces only to be found in her store that tell the story of both urban and well designed clothing and accessories.
  •  Portuguese classics at A Vida Portuguesa: A visit to Lisbon has to include one stop at this mecca of classic soaps, oils, and products of Portugal.
  •  Oldest bookstore at Bertrand in Chiado: Another classic bookstore, this time famed for being the oldest bookstore in the world. Be sure to stop by for a look.

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Where to Eat/Drink

  • 1300 Taberna: Set inside LX Factory, this eatery is a happening spot during the lunch rush. Shareable dishes, and sangria make for a great long lunch.
  •  Tipico Restaurant at Corinthia Hotel: Don’t go too far from your stay at Corinthia, and dine at the hotel’s happening restaurant with classic Portuguese dishes.
  •  Pharmacia Restaurant: Appointed as if you were in a historic pharmacy, this restaurant takes classic “petiscos” (tapas) and tasty cocktails to another level.
  •  Portas do Sol: A lovely patio in the Alfama that has a wonderful view for sunset, making it the hip spot to grab a drink.
  •  Espelho De Agua: Stop by for an espresso or cocktail with a view over the river.
  • Topo Rooftop Bar: Newly opened, this layered space features a view and a playful space for bar food and drinks.
  •  Minibar: Every visit to Lisbon should include at least one dinner here. Michelin Star Chef Jose Avillez makes a play on the historic theatre his restuarant is in, with a coursed meal featuring playful dishes.
  •  Mercado da Ribeira: Time Out has created a space where multiple merchants from beer tastings to Lisbon’s Sea Me has setup food stalls for a community dining style.

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What to Experience

  •  Discover art at MUDE
  •  Walk Chiado: A classic neighborhood is always worth exploring for the tiled wall, historic buildings and more.
  •  Explore LX Factory area: Be sure to spend at least one afternoon to peruse this area for shops and more.
  •  Coastal drive to Furnas do Guincho: Make like the locals do when the sun comes out for a drive down the coast through Cascias to Furnas do Guincho. A beautifully set restaurant with ocean views, their fresh seafood is an absolute win.
  •  Explore Sintra: The castle town noted for the Romantic period of art is filled with multiple options for castle touring.
  •   Off the beaten path to Herdade da Comporta Beach: Down the coast of Lisbon, this beach that seems to be almost deserted, is a relaxing spot to unwind. On the coast is Restaurante Sal, a beach house style space, is perfect for an afternoon of Portuguese dishes and fresh seafood. Make like the fashionable Europeans, and be sure to take a helicopter tour down to Herdade da Comporta for lunch with Lisbon Helicopters.
  •  Discover history at Jeronimos Monastery: Completely worth a visit to see the architecture of the Age of Discovery.

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Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

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  1. Rita Cromwell Reply

    Thank you so much for your useful information on Lisbon.How many days do you think I should spend in the city, without goingto Cascais and Sintra.I am interested in Art, so any other information would be very helpful, or have you said it all.

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Absolutely, I think 3-4 days is a great starting point if you will do day trips!

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