Twenty-four hours in Lisbon is nowhere near enough, but you can do and see muite in 24 hours. Where to eat, where to shop, what to see and where to sleep? These are my Lisbon city short break favorites of the moment. Leave your Loubies in the suitcase. Built on seven hills, this is definitely a flat-shoe-city.
Where to sleep in Lisbon
As reviewed earlier, loved the hotel Duque de Loulé. Just opened in April 2015 and beautifully decorated.
With a bit of luck – I always request an early check-in – you can check in around twelve and start your 24 hours in lovely Lisboa. The hotel is located close to the lush and wide Avenida de Liberdada, the perfect start for a stroll into the city which takes you along a string of high-end luxury shops at the same time. I prefer a walk on the left side, think Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Miu Miu and more.
What to see and where to shop in Lisbon
At the end of Avenida Liberdada wander to the left side into the small streets, you’re in Baixa neighbourhood, but keep going straight to the Tagus river. You will find a lot of local places to eat and/or drink (skip the touristy things), make a stop at Confeitaria Nacional for a bica with one of the delicious pastries. In case you do eat sugar. Try to get a seat upstairs in the renovated salon with great views over the Praça da Figueira square.
Continue your city stroll via Rua de Santa Justa, take a look in the window at Garrafeira Nacional while passing by. You’ll find some 1910 Port wines. For 1000 €. Or more.
Look ahead and you’ll see the stunning Santa Justa Elevator, a main tourist attraction but so worth it. Built in 1902 as a public service to increase the circulation of people on the hilly grounds. The architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard made the base of cast iron structure, enriched with filigree details. Take a ride up and enjoy the view of Baixa Chiado neighbourhood and beyond!
Now it’s time to get some original Portuguese gifts. Walk to Rua Anchieta (small alley) and enter a previous era inside the A Vida Portuguesa store. Everything Portuguese and still in production is found here, with their original packaging. From candles, old-fashioned toys, natural herbal soaps and creams till tiles, rugs and sardines. I’m never not buying here. That sums it up.
From old Portuguese products to ‘old’ poets. Walk to Largo do Chiado where you’ll find the famous art deco Café A Brasileira, favourite spot of intellectuals since 1902. As in Fernando Pessoa, one of the great twenty century poets, who is still there at his table outside on the terrace. In bronze. Turn around and face the large Hermès Boutique at the other corner – pay attention to passing trams! You might be in desperate need for another colour Birkin or Kelly. Otherwise just take a #ihavethisthingwithfloors photo at the entrance (make sure the guard is looking the other way).
Before you’re heading back to the hotel for some cocktails on the spectacular roof terrace with views as fas as the other side of the Tagus river, grab a taxi and head to Belem neighbourhood. Taxi’s are very cheap in Lisbon and you can do sightseeing at the same time. Stop at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a richly ornated – understatement – monastery from the middle ages. Stunning. From there cross the street and walk to the river, sit at the river bank and contemplate about the explorers who boarded tall ships from here to explore and trade with the Orient. Walk back to the last stop at the mothership of pastries: Pasteis de Belem for a box of originals.
Where to eat in Lisbon
Get dressed for dinner at A Cevicheria by chef Kiko (at Rua dom Pedro V), in the hip Principe Real Neighbourhood. Think restaurants, bars, little (antique) shops and gardens everywhere. This restaurant unfortunately takes no reservations and has only 6 tables and some seats at the bar. Best thing to do is come around 19.15 hours (very early for Portuguese) or wait outside on the pavement with a GT from the bartender behind the open window for the next available table.
A ceviche is originally a Peruvian dish where raw fish is cured in lemon. Delicious! From here it takes around 30 minutes to walk back to the hotel. Or hop on a tram who takes you to another street level. Or take a taxi for 5 €.
What to see in Lisbon
After breakfast the next morning, take a taxi to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. A modern minimalistic building from the 50’s. This museum is the result of the final wish of private collector Calouste Gulbenkian, an Armenian oil tycoon who lived in Lisbon since 1942. He wanted his collection of art, assembled over four decades which reflects his personal taste, to be kept together under one roof. It covers various periods from the history of art, from classical and oriental to european art from the early twentieth century. It really is a walk through time.
I like the contrast of the collection and the architecture of the building. Glass everywhere and therefore light and views into the Parque Santa Getrudes all around. Take one of the many exits outside and see the art from a different view.
There is only one hour left… head back to the hotel for checking out and take a taxi to the airport. This will take 15 minutes from Hotel Duque de Loulé. And once on board, immediate start planning your next visit to this great city because there is so much more.
Or as Pessoa puts it: ““Give me some more wine, because life is nothing.” Saúde!