Winning tip: an elevator for fabulous views
After a morning of sightseeing in the historic center, my favorite place in Lisbon is an exhilarating experience: the Santa Justa lift connects downtown Lisbon to the Chiado district at the top of the hill. I simply love the beautiful wrought iron of this centenary neo-Gothic tower, created by Raul Mesnier de Pondard, a pupil of Gustave Eiffel. At the top you can enjoy the fabulous 360-degree view of the Baixa, before relaxing on the terrace with a cold drink and visiting the impressive ruins of the 14th century Carmo Convent, which was destroyed during the great earthquake of Land of All Saints’ Day of 1755.
Virtuoso performances and design
Of all the things we have done in Portugal, our visit to Palacio Foz was one of the most memorable. Always on the lookout for inexpensive entertainment, we found a flyer for a free piano concert by then 17-year-old prodigy Bernardo Santos. Our amazement at the skill of the pianist is matched only by our amazement at the place – a sumptuous gilded and glittering 18th century Baroque palace, with painted ceilings, marble pillars, multiple mirrors and iron balustrades forge. Located in the main square, its relatively understated pink exterior leaves no trace of excess inside. Apparently the tourist office has moved in and there are guided tours, but I think our way of seeing was more interesting.
Feast of the senses
The Confeitaria Nacional, in Praça da Figueira, was founded in 1829. In the Baixa district of Lisbon, it offers a feast for the eyes as much as for the stomach, with its gold fittings, marble counter and ceiling. mirrored. Confectionery items include pastel de nata (cream pies) and the boutique’s signature Christmas cake, bolo rei. Hidden in the grand mahogany staircase is our favorite lunch break, loved by locals. We eat in style under the chandeliers and the stucco ceiling. Local dishes such as cod with creamy vegetables, accompanied by vinho verde, can be enjoyed for less than the cost of a fast food burger.
This bar deserves a medal
For a truly unique bar, I recommend the Pavilhão Chinês in Principe Real (Rua Dom Pedro V, 89/91). Originally a grocery store bought to house and display a collection of trinkets, one has the impression of going for a drink in a museum. Knock on the door to be personally greeted by the waiter and admire the five rooms filled with thousands of military artifacts, medals, and miniature dolls spanning the past two centuries. The long list of cocktails can be found in an erotic art book and there is also a pool table, but the collection takes center stage and this is where your eyes will be drawn.
Taste some of Lisbon’s best locally brewed craft beers at the Duque pub-brewery. Located on Calçada do Duque, a short walk from the Carmo Convent in the Chiado district, Duque offers a regularly updated selection of delicious bottled and draft beers from its on-site microbrewery as well as offerings from the entire scene. booming Portuguese craft beer, including the signature creations of multiple award winner Cervejeira Dois Corvos. Wind your way through a flurry of tasting portions in the stripped down bar, or watch life in Chiado pass from a table overlooking the cobbled steps outside.
The Unesco Tower of Belém, the Hieronymites Monastery and the Monument to the Discoveries are all great to visit, but if you think you have ‘done’ Belém once you’ve seen them, you might be surprised, like us, to find out. several other queues – free delights. The Church of Santa Maria de Belém is beautiful (and free). You get a panoramic view of the 25 de Abril Bridge and the riverside from the top of the recently opened MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). Entrance to the huge rooftop is free and it’s particularly spectacular at sunset with the play of light on the water and the white tiles.
Caipirinha, Brazilian style
Rendezvous – More than Wine on Rua de São Vicente is the best. After giving up exploring the Castelo de São Jorge during an unexpected heat wave in October, we stumbled upon this friendly little oasis. It has great service, delicious food and eclectic decor and we felt very pleased with ourselves for making this little discovery. Our tapas lunch was extremely tasty, my home made lemonade was refreshing, but the highlight was the generous caipirinha ordered by my son – for € 6. The alcohol content was almost noticeable and seeing my worried look, the waitress smiled convincingly and just said “Brazilian style”! Our ensuing winding walk through the beautiful narrow streets of Alfama was greatly enhanced by my son’s exuberant mood.
Kong is the king of vegan restaurants
While visiting Portugal as a vegan, I missed trying many traditional local dishes. That was until I discovered Kong, an intimate restaurant on Rua do Cruxifixo in central Lisbon that offers meatless versions of Portuguese classics. Its reasonably priced menu offers vegan interpretations of francesinha, a meat sandwich drizzled with tomato sauce and cheese, the octopus dish polvo to lagareiro, and sausage croquettes, among others. The place is a must-see for veggies and vegans, and might even turn a carnivore’s head.
Main course € 9.50-€ 12.50, open Monday to Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.m
Panorama of the park
If you are looking for a breathtaking view of Lisbon, nothing better than the Panorâmico de Monsanto. Monsanto is a large wooded park in the northwest of the city, and if you walk to the highest point you will have a 360º view of Lisbon and the Tejo River. The Panorâmico itself is a huge round concrete structure that looks a bit like a multi-story parking lot, and it has a colorful history: once a successful restaurant, it ran into financial difficulties and was abandoned in 2001 and closed. to the public for years. The intrigue around this belvedere – once a pearl of Lisbon, now dusty and graffiti – has only grown, giving it somewhat cult status. The building still contains original works of art, including murals by Luís Dourdil and beautiful ceramic and tile panels.
Near the cathedral, the Museu do Aljube, inaugurated in 2015, sheds a fascinating, albeit worrying, light on the lives of political prisoners held during António de Oliveira’s long dictatorship. Salazar from 1926 to 1974. You can learn about the role of the secret police and see the torture rooms and isolation cells endured by those incarcerated here. Visitors can experience an underground reunion, where groundbreaking pamphlets were typed on a typewriter sheathed with a wooden shield to muffle the sound. End on a positive note by discovering the exhibit celebrating the liberation on April 25, 1974.
€ 3, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.