5 UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES IN LISBON
Lisbon is becoming more and more versatile and dynamic. For the personality and interests of each visitor – and dweller – the capital presents an appropriate profile. Among countless activities, agenda suggestions and recommended itineraries, I’m sharing five unmissable experiences that the city has to offer, which just confirm that for every occasion, there is a Lisbon ready and waiting.
Noites no Observatório — Get closer to the stars
Noites no Observatório (Nights at the Observatory) is the ideal program for those who are always staring at the stars and are on the lookout for a different and interesting Saturday night experience.
On the last Saturday of each month, the project developed by the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences is held at the Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium. The program always includes a brief talk by an illustrious guest – the speaker’s name and the theme of the talk are only revealed when registration is opened – followed by a show of music and effects in the Planetarium’s dome. If outdoor conditions permit, the evening ends with amazing astronomical observations with telescopes, guided by one of the project’s volunteers.
Noites no Observatório is designed to be suitable for various types of audiences, including onlookers, academics and even children, and is completely free – only registration is required. If you’re looking for an experience that will transport you closer to the stars, the planets and all the mysteries of the cosmos, stay tuned to the event page.
Estufa Fria — Escape the city without leaving it
Lisbon is (also) known for its chaotic and urban personality, but an escape to a more exotic, immersive and tranquil place is always a possibility. And Estufa Fria and Estufa Quente (commonly referred to as Estufa Fria) is the ideal star for an atmosphere like that.
Located in the middle of Eduardo VII Park, the complex is divided into three large greenhouses: Fria (Cold) – which houses plants from all over the planet; Quente (Hot) – for tropical flora; and Doce (Sweet) – perfect for cactus lovers. Each one’s plant collection is endless and leaves visitors completely dazzled. You’ll feel like you just got lost in an unforgettable forest. The sounds, smells, temperatures and views of each setting are what make the visit unique and perfect for relaxing and recharging batteries in green and calm surroundings.
Italy – Lisbona Caffé — Travel to Italy in the heart of the capital
“Am I in Italy??”, That's the question that lingers in our mind as we walk into this bright and charming Italian restaurant. The checkered tablecloths, the yellow toned lighting and the staff’s Italian accent leave no room for doubt: we’re here to live a true Italian experience, in the heart of Saldanha.
Have you ever imagined your pasta dish being finished inside a gigantic Parmesan cheese? That’s precisely how Pasta Alla Forma, the house specialty, is made. A spaghetti dish with ham, mushroom sauce, olive oil and parmesan cheese. If you order it, get ready for the show: a small table is laid out in front of you, with an already open huge parmesan cheese, inside of which the pasta is dipped and involved. Warning: there will be many covetous glances and pictures taken by customers who are sorry they didn’t order the parmesan show as well! And the flavor is just as good as the show.
Ler Devagar — Recreate your own Beauty and the Beast story
The Ler Devagar bookstore is perhaps the Mecca of book lovers in Lisbon. It was born in a Bairro Alto lithography, but ended up at LxFactory; Ler Devagar emerges, with all its charm, around a three-story rotary printing press and delights anyone who’s passionate about literature. The countless number of books on the shelves that start from the floor and reach the ceiling leaves no one indifferent.
In this fascinating space, where we have titles and book spines as far as the eye can see, there are literary novelties, recent editions and older volumes. The press manages to highlight the store's characteristic industrial environment even more and, as you go upstairs, you’ll find new levels from where to observe the bookstore from another perspective. With several small tables along the corridors and two coffee shops with mouth-watering snacks, the Ler Devagar bookstore is the perfect place for an afternoon of studying, a literary gathering or simply contemplating the thousands of stories resting on the shelves.
A walk through the neighborhoods – Feel like a true local
Much of Lisbon's charm still resides in its more iconic neighborhoods and streets, which transport us to a less urban, more traditional and organic capital. The tile façades, the laundry hung outside to dry and the neighbors at the windows chatting with each other are still part of the city's identity, and this territory is definitely worth exploring. Get lost in the streets (some narrower and steeper than others) in order to discover a more authentic part of Lisbon.
On foot or by tuk-tuk – a popular option in the city that provides a guided tour of the most emblematic places in Lisbon – bring your camera, circle Bairro Alto, Cais do Sodré, Alfama and Mouraria on the map and explore Lisbon’s most genuine side. In order to reward yourself for all the walking and steep climbs, enjoy and rest with the postcard-worthy views of some of the viewpoints that you’ll come across in these neighborhoods: Santa Catarina Viewpoint, Graça Viewpoint or Portas do Sol Viewpoint..
Collector of mugs and travel memories. She shares the best moments of her everyday life and the world on Instagram and writes at Bobby Pins, online since 2014, a happy getaway where she shares all the incredible things there are to experience, read, taste, visit and reflect on, with articles chock-full of personality.