Visit Lisbon like a local

PARK, Lisbonne, bar, jardin

A few addresses to explore Lisbon like a local

Before setting off for Lisbon, it’s a good idea to find out about must-see s ights such as the Castelo de São Jorge, the Belém Tower, or even the city’s outskirts, at pretty Sintra. But when you arrive in the Portuguese capital, you soon realize that these monuments and other highlights are becoming less and less important to you. The idea of exploring the city’s colorful neighborhoods and embracing the rhythm of daily life quickly outweighs everything else.

Lisbon feels like a pocket-sized, accessible city, and the people of Lisbon are passionate about what their city has to offer.

Eat Portuguese

Portuguese cuisine is very diverse and delicious, but it can be difficult to explain what goes into each dish. So don’t be afraid and give Portuguese cuisine a try – you won’t regret it. You can try heavy dishes like Feijoada (beans, meat and sausages) or Cozido à Portuguesa (meat, potatoes, white beans and usually soup). As for soup, try Caldo Verde (more typical of the North, but good and simple). Eat it with a little chouriço and cornbread. For seafood and fish, try Amêijoas in Bulhão Pato (clams) or Bacalhau in Brás (cod, potatoes and eggs). For dessert, try one (or even two) Pastés de Nata (hot, with cinnamon and powdered sugar).

Mercado da Ribeira

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Chuck Moravec

This bold reinvention of the market began in spring 2014. While the traditional fish and produce market that has operated since the 19th century remains, top chefs and local restaurants have opened « satellite » stalls here, including Santini ice cream shop and SeaMe’s prego sandwiches. You can also eat bolo do caco, a soft circular bread subtly flavored with garlic and herb butter. But perhaps one of the best things you’re likely to try in Lisbon is bolo do caco com chouriço, a chorizo sandwich. The market is still packed at midnight on weekends. An ideal place for you to sample the real local experience.

Manteigaria and its Pastéis de Nata

Pastéis de nata Bairro Alto, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Flickr – Mário Pires

You can’t leave Lisbon without tasting the famous cream tarts at Pastéis de Belém. Outside this classic restaurant, the pastries are called Pastéis de Nata. Here, they’re probably the best pastries in town, but success sometimes has its drawbacks: there are a lot of tourists and therefore a lot of waiting. Instead, head to the elegant Manteigaria (Praça de Luis de Camões), in the Chiado district, for coffee and sublime tarts with butter crust and warm, sweet custard.

LX Factory

LX Factory, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Facebook – LX Factory

The best time to visit this former industrial complex transformed into a creative hub, located under the iconic April 25th bridge, is on Sundays, when a very « hype » flea market sets up with various boutiques. The Alcântara district is full of lively cafés and restaurants, cool boutiques and innovative art galleries to explore.


PARK, Lisbonne, bar, jardin

Photo credit: Facebook – PARK

Because Lisbon is a city built on several hills (it’s nicknamed « the city of seven hills »), finding a fantastic view is no problem. But rising above the rest, as in the narrow cobbled streets of Alfama, is another matter. There are no signs to alert pedestrians to the presence of PARK (58, Calçada do Combro), a « garden bar » located on the roof of a seven-storey parking lot, so all you have to do is find the elevator and get on.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Lisbonne

Photo credit: Wikimedia – CorreiaPM

For another exceptional view of the city’s rooftops, you can climb up to Santa Luzia, another vantage point from which you’ll have a breathtaking view of the dome of Santa Engracia (also known as the National Pantheon), the church of Santo Estevão and the two white towers of the church of São Miguel.

What to take home

If it’s Portuguese products you’re after, your first stop is A Vida Portuguesa (Mercado da Ribeira), a treasure trove of whimsical finds, from magazines and jewelry to the famous tiles that have long been the city’s architectural calling card.

At Goodies Boutique (17, Largo da Trindade), customers are greeted by smiling faces, Porto wines, and a selection of local products such as teas, jams, cookies, olive oils and much more.

Where to stay?

Because Lisbon is less expensive than many other major European cities, it’s possible to find special offers at hotels. But what could be more exciting than renting an apartment to fit into the local mold? The apartment rental site in particular offers a wide selection of apartments in Lisbon at very affordable prices. A great way to get up in the morning and immediately immerse yourself in the local culture, especially if you find an apartment in one of the countless alleyways.