We love visiting markets at our various homes around the world, and were excited to learn that Lisbon has historic halls spread all across the city. However, once we started visiting them, we weren’t always too impressed.
Lisbon’s most attractive residential neighborhood might be Campo de Ourique, found to the west of Estrela. Centered around a lively market hall, the block-shaped streets hide a wealth of restaurants and shops, and make the area feel like an independent village hidden within the capital city.
Set inside the sprawling confines of a former manufacturing complex in Alcântara is the LX Factory: a collection of almost painfully cool shops, galleries, restaurants, and offices. We spent an entertaining afternoon poking around the merchandise, browsing a stunning bookstore, and grabbing drinks at a bar on top of the factory.
Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, and the oldest district of this very old city is Alfama. Planted just beneath the Castelo de São Jorge, Alfama was the seed from which the rest of Lisbon sprung.
Trams have been a way of life in Lisbon since 1873, with the installation of cars powered by horse. Unlike the city’s remaining funiculars, which have primarily become tourist sights, the trams are still useful and popular with locals. Though, they’re touristy, too. We took a ride on the #28, which is known for its breathtaking route past some of Lisbon’s most iconic sights.
In 1998, Portugal honored the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s historic journey to India by constructing the longest bridge in Europe. A gondola provides incredible views over the bridge, the Tagus estuary which it spans, and the former pavilions of the 1998 World Expo.
If you’ve spent enough time among the cobblestone streets and 19th-century architecture of Baixa and central Lisbon, the Parque des Nacões might come as a shock. This area which stretches along the Tagus estuary northeast of the city center, was totally redeveloped for Lisbon’s 1998 World Expo, and is defined by its modern pavilions, parks and attractions.
What is it that Christians are supposed to ask themselves? Ah yes… “what would Jesus do?” Well, if Jesus were alive in Lisbon on Christmas Eve, he’d definitely visit the huge statue of himself in Almada. How could he resist? I bet he’d even take a selfie, posing with his arms up in front of his own likeness. Jesus is so meta.
When Lisboans want to shop, they head to the neighborhood of Chiado, found between Baixa and Bairro Alto. This upscale “middle ground” is known for its historic shops, churches and theaters. Braced for madness, we explored it on a sunny Saturday, two weeks before Christmas.
The neighborhood of Mouraria will be our base of operations during these 91 days in Lisbon. Ranged along the hill east of the center, underneath the shadow of the Castle of São Jorge, this has historically been the city’s most ethnically diverse section. We took a long self-guided tour, to get to know our new home a little better.