Lisbon, Portugal is beckoning you to come explore its cobblestoned streets, sit for a spell in its plentiful cafes, and dine in its world-renowned restaurants. Journalist & Lisbon resident Stacey Leasca’s official HAP city guide awaits below.
Palácio Príncipe Real is charming in ways only an old family home in Lisbon can be. The one-time estate of the Teixeira da Mota has been lovingly restored to now offer 25 individually decorated suites, including original tiles (azulejos) and hand-painted arabesque ceilings. There’s even a pool hiding in the back and a bartender ready to make you a sundowner featuring herbs from the palace’s garden.
Memmo Principe Real takes a little effort to find, but man it’s the juice worth the squeeze on this one. Guests must first find the narrow street in the Principe Real neighborhood, make their way through a tunnel, and out the other side to find this hidden oasis. The hotel is an idyllic mix of old and new, blending the historical limestone flooring with modern amenities like a glittering rooftop pool and a chic bar with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the neighborhood.
Where to Eat
JNcQUOI Avenida provides an upscale experience that will help you to fall in love with Portuguese cuisine. The restaurant serves lighter fare like a sea bass ceviche that shouldn’t be missed, alongside an extensive wine menu including plenty of varietals grown in the region. Order a bottle of Anselmo Mendes ‘Parcela Única’ Alvarinho, Vinho Verde for the perfect “only in Portugal” drink.
Putting your trust in Chef Pedro Pena Bastos is easy. As the master behind Cura, a Michelin star restaurant, he creates a story with his multi-course tasting menus. Go for the Origins menu, which comes with 12 plates that will take you on a journey from tuna belly to green garlic custard to a banana and lovage dessert.
Cafe culture is the centerpiece of life in Lisbon. Seagull Method Cafe is the perfect place to experience the slow-motion style of sipping an espresso and watching the world go by. It’s salty pancakes and the breakfast burger.
Where to Drink
Would you believe us if we told you the best view in Lisbon is found at the very top of a parking garage? It’s true, but don’t worry. You won’t be forced to drink cocktails next to a Peugeot. Park Bar sits atop a carpark in the middle of Barrio Alto. It’s not a secret, but it’s not exactly obvious either. You really do need to walk through the garage, up several flights of stairs, and finally, stumble upon the bar. Get there at least an hour before sunset to ensure you can snag a table to watch the sun sink below the city’s skyline.
Where to Visit
Spend the Afternoon at Museu Nacional do Azulejo
On a trip to Lisbon, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are gorgeous tiles everywhere. Learn more about the stunning aesthetic by visiting the National Tile Museum. Walk through the history of azulejos and see modern creations by the nation’s best up-and-coming artists.
Walk the Waterfront
Let the salty air cool you down with a walk on the waterfront. Start at the Belém Tower, a 16th-century building that served as the gateway to Lisbon. Keep walking toward the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology and the Museu do Oriente, stopping for an espresso, snacks, or a cocktail or two along the way.
Walk and Shop Your Way Around Príncipe Real
One of Lisbon’s most hip neighborhoods, Príncipe Real is known for its slew of boutiques and concept stores — make sure to check out Embaixada, an artisanal boutique market located in the Ribeiro da Cunha Palace. Here you’ll find one-of-a-kind clothing shops, jewelry markets, menswear, home goods, and if you pick the right day, Fado concerts (traditional Portuguese music). And when you’re done shopping you can reward yourself with a drink at Gin Lovers Bar, you know, for good measure. Those looking for a non-shopping experience should stop by Lisbon’s botanical gardens, Jardim Botânico do Príncipe Real, with its smattering of different plants, which includes a 150-year-old Cypress Tree.
Take Tram 28
Lisbon may be small, but it’s full — full! — of hills. It’s still an easy place to explore, thanks to the plentiful yellow trams zigzag through the city streets. To see as much of Lisbon as possible, hop aboard Tram 28, which runs from Campo de Ourique to Graca.
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