In our opinion there’s no bad time to visit the Portugese capital city of Lisbon. The city offers an array of cultural sites both contemporary and historic, as well as exciting culinary options and breathtaking views of the Tagus river. We go beyond the charming yellow trams and azulejos (blue and white tiles) to explore Lisbon’s arty side with insider tips from local guide Kasia who is also an independent curator living in the city. You can learn more about Oh So Arty tours in Lisbon here.
There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Lisbon and one of Kasia’s favorites is Marvila. In recent years creative spaces have been popping up all over this post-industrialist neighborhood. While you’re there make sure to visit Fábrica Braço de Prata a former factory converted into an alternative cultural complex hosting exhibitions, live music and performances. Thirdbase is another innovative project in the Marvila neighborhood. It is an art and residency program that also has a street level gallery and community space to host exhibitions and other events. You can also soak up the local culture by just wandering the streets of Marvila which are full of colorful murals.
If you’re looking to get some retail therapy in visit the antique store Cantinho do Vintage for unique furniture finds and other vintage treasures. For food make sure to enjoy the food, drinks and energy of El Bulo Social Club. This restaurant is the project of Chakall an Argentinian celebrity chef and combines Argentinian and Peruvian cuisines in a fun atmosphere. Another option in Marvila is Cafe com calma for a healthy lunch.
Alvalade is another one of Kasia’s favorite neighborhoods because it is yet to be discovered by most tourists and you can really feel the local vibe. This neighborhood is a must for art lovers looking to visit galleries and other art projects. While you’re there plan to visit Galeria Vera Cotes and Appleton Square. Before going to Alvalade, start your day with visit at Graça Brandão and 3+1 Contemporary Art around Principe Real neighborhood. These galleries offer quality contemporary content that a local and international audience can appreciate. After a full day of gallery hopping treat yourself to dinner at Sem Palavras. Open until late you will find delicious local Portugese cuisine and fresh seafood at this popular restaurant.
Lisbon offers an array of unique lodgings so you are sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. Located on the outskirts of the city is the stunning Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel. The hotel is housed in a former manor which has a pool and spa making it the perfect destination to unwind from a long day of touring. Without contest the Palácio Belmonte in Alfama is our favorite hotel offering in the city. The stunning building feels like a museum and dates back to the 15th century. It is decorated in thousands of azulejos tiles and each corner is more beautiful than the next.
While there are ample cosmopolitan activities abound there are also some green spaces to relax in around the city. Jardim da Cerca da Graça is perfectly located in the city center but is quiet and green. There is a cute coffee kiosk, playgrounds and an amazing view of São Jorge castle.
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation cannot be missed for both its exhibitions and beautiful gardens. In addition to travelling exhibitions visitors can explore both the Founder’s Collection and the Modern Collection. The Founder’s Collection consists of works acquired by Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian and is one of the best private art collections in the world with works from antiquity to the early 20th century. You can juxtapose these galleries with the Modern Collection, which has the largest collection of modern and contemporary Portugese art anywhere. In between galleries unwind and enjoy a treat at the museum cafe offering views of the scenic garden.