Lisbon Journals

The Sweetest Capital City In Europe?

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A March 2010 trip to Lisbon by Liam Hetherington

Carmo Monastery Photo, Lisbon, Portugal More Photos
Quote: The capital city of Portugal is perfectly bite-sized for a long weekend with plenty of variety in things to see and explore. The inhabitants also have a wonderfully well-developed sweet tooth...

The Baixa

Confeitaria Nacional

Restaurant | "Portuguese Pastries in the Praca"

Confeitaria Nacional Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
One of the things I liked best about Lisbon was that the local take their sweeties quite so seriously. Wherever we went we found little cafés, confeitarias and pastelarias all devoted to selling the local versions of sweets and cakes. Very local. In Belem one eats Pasteis de Belem; in Sintra the Queijadas de Sintra take centre-stage. Many of these are historic landmarks in their own rights such as the Café A Brasileira, haunt of the poet Fernando Pessoa and all 72 of his split personaliti...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Confeitaria Nacional
Praca Da Figueira 18B
Lisbon, Portugal
+351 213244470

Vip Eden Lisboa

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Hotel | "Cinematic Rooms With A View"

Vip Eden Lisboa Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The VIP Eden is a swish, central, and surprisingly affordable landmark location right in the very heart of Lisbon. It is sited right on Praça dos Restauradores beside the main tourist information office (the Palácio Foz) and around the corner from the grand Manueline frontage of Rossio station. And it was hard for me to miss!The building that is now the hotel was once the Eden cinema (Teatro Eden). Opened in 1931 it is an eye-catching Art Deco masterpiece of creamy pink marble, crystalline windows and a sweeping palm-filled atrium. The pediment at the top displays Greek-style friezes of dancers – with cameramen placed off to one side to record the action. It is the sort of fr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Vip Eden Lisboa
Praca Dos Restauradores 24
Lisbon, Portugal 1250 187
+351 21 3216600

Bom Jardim, Rei dos Frangos

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Restaurant | "The King Of Chicken Does Not Have Lamprey"

Quote:
Portas de Santo Antão, east of Resuradores and north of Rossio, pretty much seems to be where the locals come out to eat (those that do not go to the tiny hole-in-wall restaurants and bars in the Bairro Alto anyway). This long street must have almost a dozen eateries on it, as well as a theatre (showing La Cage Aux Folles on our visit). The way was thick with touts trying to entice diners, and all the places had signs in the window proudly decalred "We have lamprey". Yay. We had a look at them coiled up in the window displays. Ugly little suckers, and not very appetising to look at. We had already been adventurous with ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

A Ginjinha

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Attraction | "Losing My Cherry"

Cherry With Your Brandy? Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
Like cherry brandy? Well in that case A Ginjinha is the place for you! Not too keen on it? Well tough – you still have to come here to take part in a time-honoured Lisbon custom!Ginjinha (or just Ginja to those in the know) is a typical Lisboeta spirit made from aguardente, sugar, and sour morello cherries. You can buy it in stores, but the best place to sample it is in the small cubby-hole sized shop fronts devoted to selling shots of the stuff and little else. There are a couple around the northern end of Praça Dom Pedro IV (Rossio). Of these A Ginjinha on the Largo de São Domingos is the oldest (now being run by the fifth generation of shopkeepers). It really is lit...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Elevador de Santa Justa

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Attraction | "Going Up?"

Elevador de Santa Justa Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The Elevador da Santa Justa is probably the most unusual attraction in Lisbon. It is one of the city’s most innovative public transport systems, constructed in 1902 to tackle the problem of connecting the different areas of the hilly city centre. It is a public lift, an elevator, linking the Baixa (the Lower Town) to the Bairro Alto (the Higher District).Located at the western end of the Rua de Santa Justa off the north-south Rua Aurea is a spindly free-standing gothic fantasy in cast iron. The 32m tall lift shaft is topped with a wider pavilion above. It resembles in part the metal latticework of Paris’s Eiffel Tower. You queue on the northern side to access one of the two counterb...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Elevador de Santa Justa
Rua do Ouro at Rua de Santa Justa
Lisbon, Portugal

The Alfama

Castle of St. George (Castle of São Jorge)

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Attraction | "Guarding Lisbon for Thirteen Centuries"

Castle of St. George (Castle of São Jorge) Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of St George) is one of the oldest structures still standing in Lisbon. It was constructed by the Moors in the 8th century and wrested from them in the 12th by King Afonso Henriques who was helped out by a group of English knights en route to the Second Crusade. It – and the surrounding Alfama district – were largely spared the devastation wrought on the rest of the city centre by the terrible earthquake of 1755. The Portugese flag flies proudly from its battlements to this day and it is one of Lisbon’s major tourist magnets.Finding the castle is half the fun. Unlike the ordered ruler-straight grid of streets that had made up the since the Marques de...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Castle of St. George (Castle of São Jorge)

Lisbon, Portugal

Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Attraction | "My Viewpoint On Viewpoints"

Miradouro de Santa Luzia Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The hilltops of Lisbon are dotted with miradouros - viewpoints. Plazas and terraces are angled to offer great vistas over the city and river. There are many you can stumble upon just by wandering. The Castelo itself offers great views. To the north the Miradouro da Graça looks west over the Baixa. To the south the miradouro at Largo Portas do Sol looks east towards the churches of São Vicente de For a and the dome of Santa Engrácia. Over in the Bairro Alto the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara faces east towards the Baixa and Alfama. But my favourite viewpoint would have to b...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Largo De Santa Luzia - Alfama
Lisbon

A Regueirinha

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Restaurant | "Sardines and Cuttlefish"

Cuttlefish and Sardines Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
Hidden away in the tangled maze of streets that forms the hillside Alfama district we stumbled over a cluster of hole-in-the-wall eateries crammed into a trangular space at the junction of Rua da Regueira and Rua de São Miguel. We chose a table outside one of the places, A Regueirinha, and sat down in the sun to peruse the menu. A basket of nice fresh bread and some slices of a tart aged cheese were delivered while we ordered, and I had a bottle of Superbock beer. We chatted and watched the streetlife as we waited for our food to be brought. The Alfama, despite its touristy appeal, is still a neighbourhood home to a vibrant community, and life went on all around us as we sat in the ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Lisbon Se

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Attraction | "I See The Se; The Se Sees Me"

Lisbon Se Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
The Sé (cathedral) does not look like much in photographs. It looks small, crammed in by all the houses around it, jolted by the trams rattling by on the corner. It is certainly nowhere near as ornate as many of the later churches that speckle the cityscape. But this cathedral, founded in 1150 to celebrate the Christians’ ousting of the Moors, has a simple charm to it. Its frontage is that of a border fortress, battlemented, with two towers that rise higher than the surrounding edifices. Its deeply recessed door is surmounted by a circular rose window. Entry is free, and inside it is pure vaulted gothic, dark and atmospheric (and made even more so by piped-in Gregorian chanting). To...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Lisbon Se
Largo De Se
Lisbon, Portugal

The Bairro Alto

Carmo Monastery

Attraction | "The Skeleton in the Sky"

Carmo Monastery Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
On the very eastern edge of the Bairro Alto, teetering over the drop down to the Baixa stands the gothic Convento do Carmo. Constructed in the 14th/15th century, this was once the largest chuch in the city. Until the 1755 earthquake anyway. Even today you can quite clearly see where the earth below it must have moved – the masonry in places looks to have been physically torn roughly in half like a hunk of bread. Its roof is long gone, but the pointed arches still rear up to the skyline like a whale’s bleached ribcage.This shattered shell has housed the Museu Arqueologico do Carmo for 150 years now, a repository for stonework and sculpture from this and other dissolved monasti...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Carmo Monastery
Largo do Carmo
Lisbon, Portugal

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch)

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Attraction | "The Most Expensive Chapel Ever Constructed"

Quote:
We found the streets of the Bairro Alto to be well-kept and well-populated – a distinct difference to the the often shabby and sometimes deserted Alfama. This area is pretty spruce and ritzy with patterned cobbles in the streets and quares and chic boutiques and noodle bars jostling for space. It is all very pleasant.A tarnished statue of a dinky lottery ticket seller, cigarette dangling from under his moustache, announces that you are in Largo Trinidade Coelho. The north-western side of this square is formed by the Igreja de São Roque. You wouldn’t believe it to look at it, but this church contains a chapel that, relative to its size, is estimated to be the most expensive e...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch)
Largo Trinidade Coelho
Lisbon, Portugal
213 235 381

El Gordo

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Restaurant | "The Big One (Bill, That Is)"

El Gordo Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
It probably says something that my abiding memory of El Gordo will be the bill we were stung with, not the quality of the food. This tapas bar seemed a nice little place decorated with bric-a-brac and with a chilled out funky music policy veering from Minnie Riperton to Fun Lovin’ Crimals. But it really was criminally expensive - €66 for the pair of us, and we were not even full. We didn’t tip. It didn’t seem important considering that the staff had already added on an extra 20% to our bill - €4 compulsary cover charge, and then an extra €6 for some ham and bread they brought out without being asked. To be fair your bottle of Portuguese red was not too bad a price for a restaurant (€12.5...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 10, 2010

El Gordo
Rua De Sao Boaventura 16
Lisbon, Portugal
+351 21 3424266

Belem

Antiga Confeitaria de Belem

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Restaurant | "The Famous Pasteis de Belem"

Antiga Confeitaria de Belem Photo, Lisbon, Portugal
Quote:
I sometimes think it mustn’t be a bad life being a monk. If you’re not busy brewing beer you get to live in some of the most beautiful buildings around – the Mosteiro de Jeronimos in Belém being a case in point. Not only did monks live and worship in this gorgeously over-the-top complex, but they also got well fed doing it. For this monastery was the home of the Pasteis de Belém. The pasteis de nata that you will see in confeitarias across Lisbon are all base upon these famous custard tarts. These were prepared solely for the delectation of the Hieronymite monks out here in Belém. Following the 1830 liberal revoluation and the dissolution of the monasteries the cooks moved to...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 11, 2010

Antiga Confeitaria de Belem
Rua De Belem 84-92
Lisbon, Portugal
351-21-3638077

Sintra

Piriquita

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Restaurant | "Queijadas de Sintra"

Piriquita Photo, Sintra, Portugal
Quote:
While we were in Portugal Rebecca and I were very happy to note that the locals take their ‘sweeties’ seriously. Every locale seems to have its own traditional sweet pastry. Under the shadow of the Heironymites Monastery in Belem, Lisbon, it is the done thing to munch on Pasteis de Belem. And in the hills of Sintra the cognoscenti queue up for Queijadas de Sintra..So esteemed are these pastries that the historic family establishments that produce them have formed their own association to keep standards high, the Associacão das Antigas Fabricas das Queijadas de Sintra. The recipe is a closely-guarded secret, but in general they are little cheesecakes, sweet like ricotta. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 22, 2010

Piriquita
Rua Das Padarias 5, 7 E 9, Sintra-vila
Sintra, Portugal
+351 21 923 06 26