May everyone visiting Lisbon have a minute to breathe and discover what the city is truly about. Let’s keep it short and sweet: here’s the mandatory list of 10 traditional and modern experiences everyone should have in Lisbon, either if you’re a 1 day visitor or a local for 30 years.
No Pastel de Nata and 28 tram rides allowed here this time. Let true Lisbon welcome you.
#1. Traditional: Alvalade Market | Modern: Riverside run
Only for the healthy early-birds. Right now, the sunrise is around 7:00AM and some say that’s even better than a sunset. Forget about all the overrated markets you’ve been told about. Alvalade Market is genuinely Portuguese with real farmer freshness, capable of waking up all your senses at once. You must hit it right at 7:00AM to get the most of it. Outdoor wise, getting out of bed for a run along Tagus River might be one of those enlightening life experiences you’ll never forget. Put your snickers on and enjoy the Lisbon’s calmness.
#2. Traditional: Marqueses de Fronteira Palace | Modern: MAAT
Interested in the noble Portuguese history? Fronteira Palace is all about impressive gardens, dreamy fountains and one of the world’s richest tile work, since 1640. From Monday to Saturday, there are always two guided visits at 11:00AM and 12:00PM. MAAT stands for Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology and is the new baby in town since it just opened this October and is considered outstanding due to its avant-garde and disruptive concept.
#3. Traditional: Quiosque de Refresco | Modern: TOPO
Up for a drink and some chilling time? Head to a Quiosque de Refresco spread across the downtown. They’re the charming recovered ensign of a Portuguese vintage past, selling signature refreshments like Capilé or Blackcurrant, all made of Portuguese syrups with natural ingredients, and others like Perfumed milk, Mazagran or Horchata.
You might also like: The 8 most instagrammable hotels in… Lisbon
#4. Traditional: Lisbon’s flea market | Modern: LX Factory
Lisbon’s flea market, literally translated as Thieves market happens every Tuesday and Saturday, from dawn to dusk. Expect to find all type of antique and crafts. Practice your bargaining skills though. LX Factory is Lisbon’s creative hub in which art, fashion, food, design and advertising got together in perfect harmony. There’s a great outdoor market every Sunday from 10:00AM to 7:00PM.
#5. Traditional: Lisbon ferry boat | Modern: uberPOOL
There’s a very cheap (1,20€), fast (10 minutes) and cool way (mingle with the locals and enjoy the views) to cruise Tagus River by catching the ferry boat at Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas. Once there, have a seafood platter at Farol restaurant or enjoy the sunset from Ponto Final restaurant. From November 4th to 13th, Uber is launching its carpool service called uberPOOL. It’s still a pilot test so get the chance to try it and enjoy 25% less than uberX.
You might also like: 8 scary Halloween experiences you must have in Portugal
#6. Traditional: A Vida Portuguesa | Modern: O Purista Barbière
These go for the ones who want some of Lisbon’s pampering. Shopping is included, right? Head to the gigantic A Vida Portuguesa shop at Intendente (not Chiado!) and you’ll get a sense of what authentic Portuguese memories are. O Purista Barbière is definitely a men’s place (women are more than welcomed though) since it puts together the joy of beer, a barber shop, snooker table and music – all in the same place (#WhatElse).
#7. Traditional: Carmo Ruins | Modern: Amoreiras 360º View
Carmo Convent is the dramatic roofless symbol of 1755 earthquake which almost stopped Lisbon of hosting the Web Summit (#ThankYouMarquisofPombal). Go get impressed with the eerie mummies inside. Amoreiras 360º Panoramic View – the name says it all – covers Lisbon’s greatness for you. The jaw-dropping views will make you understand why is the city so perfect in its own uniqueness.
#8. Traditional: Sol e Pesca | Modern: Queijaria
Canned fish is a true vintage delicacy in Lisbon, very much appreciated by the locals. At Sol e Pesca you’ll find different rods and hooks but also varied tin cans with all types of fish, served with bread. Queijaria is two years’ old now but got artisanal cheeses from all over the world – recommended a Portuguese cheese tasting with local wines.
You might also like: 7 free ways to discover the local Madrid vibe
#9. Traditional: A Merendeira | Modern: Palácio Chiado
This is a place where at some point, either as a local or a visitor, you’ll hear about and probably end up after a heavy night out. It’s not fancy, it’s Portuguese fast yet comfort food served until 6:00AM – straight out of the oven chorizo bread with a kale and chorizo soup. On a modern note, despite its recent opening this April, Palácio Chiado dates from the XVIII century. There you’ll get a posh hint of Portuguese gastronomy and entertainment blend (more here).
#10. Traditional: Fado house | Modern: Casa Independente
Forget about having a delicious meal while listening to Fado. It’s a myth! The food is usually very expensive, bland and you shouldn’t be eating when the musicians are playing anyway. Fado music must be felt, silently. Our suggestion is to go after dinner and have drinks. Lisbon has always been a cultural melting pot resulting in unique music blends. Casa Independente stands for that and much more. They host artistic and music projects with a high respect for the past with a cosmopolitan embrace.