With many restaurants to try from - don't fall for the tourist traps that will try to seduce you each step of the way - and many typical stores and streets to lose yourself in, both Baixa and Sé are worth a whole day (or more) of exploring.
Bring comfortable shoes and hit the streets. When the day is done, grab a seat at a bar, watch the game (whichever one is on) and you'll get why Baixa is one of the best places in Lisbon for a late afternoon drink.
Recommended: Top 10 things to do in Chiado
Top 10 Things to do in Baixa and Sé
A few yards away from Sé is the first Austrian establishment in the city. It has a room with sofas to spontaneously spend the evening with a book in hand (there are several you can choose from). Pois Café serves lunches, snacks and dinners and complete brunches on Saturdays. The typical pastries (like strudel) are always served with battered cream.
There are grana padano cheese cubes and toasts for starters and crispy thin-crust pizzas, made in a wooden oven as the main course. Esperança da Sé’s room is small but it opens to the street and during those hot summer months, they have a small but lovely space outdoors, just next to Sé’s walls.
This is how you say “hi” to downtown Lisbon: with a refined tomato sauce that has a parmigiano cheese flavour. Or even with a broccoli orecchiette scent. The one to blame for the authentic Italian cuisine at Bella Ciao is Marcello di Salvatore, who created a sort of refuge similar to his country: the TV is tuned in RAI (an Italian broadcasting company) and there are red squared tablecloths.
“F**k off”, he says, “you f**k off”, she replies. The two paintings arguing with one another are part of the unusual, relaxing and ironic ambiance. At “O Bastardo” each chair is different and the menu has dishes such as Tio Patinhas (Scrooge McDuck): which is basically a duck samosa, foie gras, shitake and egg yolks. The bread is served as if it were a Lego construction.
And ask yourself: what is money? How much are coins worth? From which material are bills made of and how do they circulate? Museu do Dinheiro (Money Museum) answers this restlessness by displaying an interactive exhibition that demonstrates how we went from gold bars to painted and illustrated bills.
It’s uncomplicated, simple and comforting. Served with rye bread or mixed seed bread, cheese from Seia and the naturally brined ham from Alentejo will do you good at any hour of the day. It is called “serrana” and it’s among the best 20 sandwiches available at Nova Pombalina.
At an old Portuguese jail is Museu do Aljube that accomplishes the hard task of remembering what PIDE, the political police that acted in favour of Portugal’s dictatorship, did. It also portrays how the inmates were intimidated and tortured but also how they used to communicate with each other and how they resisted.
At the seafood restaurant “Uma” you can have one of the best shellfish rice in the city. It is served in a generous pot that also has mussel and crayfish floating on top of the rice. A word of advice: call in, book a table and take the opportunity and say upfront what you are going to have.
The rooms have carpets with replicas of the soccer player’s footprints and, in the hallways, you can hear the stadium’s commotion. Pestana CR7 not only celebrates Cristiano Ronaldo but also soccer: it has a bar with eight screens so you can watch the matches and table football so you can keep busy during halftime.
What to do nearby
Play detective and search for little villas, eat fresh fish and have a toast with sparkling sangria, you'll fit right in. Afterwards, walk around the neibourghood and visit one of the most famous Lisbon Castle and take it all in - this is as typically Portuguese as it gets. Don't get lost and make sure you cover the list with all the top 10 things to do around Graça and Castelo.
Families, celebrities, tourists, divas, intellectuals or fools: everyone strolls around the most famous and dearest of neighbourhoods. All roads lead to Chiado. Take a walk on the city's red carpet and release your inner Prima-Donna. We promise it's okay, just go with it.
Play detective and search for little villas, eat fresh fish and have a toast with sparkling sangria so you can fit in. Getting lost in Graça is like being part of a treasure hunt: you never know what you might find. We know your parents told you not to talk to strangers but in this case, you must. Meet the locals, the culture and the hidden jewls of this amazing areas.