Spending a weekend anywhere in the world is always a challenge, time constraints mean you have to be pretty sharp to be able to squeeze everything in without overdoing it. Here we present a guide to the eats, drinks and tourist hotpots in lovely Lisbon, where it's so easy to lose yourself in its evocative streets.
Friday in Lisbon
Nothing better than a beautiful view of Lisbon to start your trip. With a cocktail in your hand, of course. Located on top of a parking lot, Park is one of the trendiest rooftops in the city. Popular with both locals and tourists, it’s a great spot from which to watch the sunset - but arrive early if you want an unobstructed view. There are DJ sets every night and no cover charge.
Advance booking is required, as it’s very difficult to get a table on the day. The restaurant - a project by Catalan architect Lázaro Rosa-Violá - is one of the most beautiful in Lisbon. There’s even a dinosaur skeleton in the middle of the dining room. Try the gratinated codfish (bacalhau com broa, €26).
As a former brothel frequented by the marines that regularly docked at Cais do Sodré, Pensão Amor is inspired by the neighbourhood’s past life as Lisbon’s red light district. This can be felt in the decor and in the names of the great cocktails on the menu, such as Orgy. It closes at 4am on weekends.
Located on the top floor of Time Out Market, Rive-Rouge is a club opened at the end of 2016 by Manuel Reis, who also owns the famous Lux. Entrance is free here, and there are daily DJ sets (5pm “matinées” on Sundays) and signature cocktails like Rive (with gin) and Rouge (with rum).
Saturday in Lisbon
If your phone was pickpocketed on Tram 28, you’re likely to find it here. At the Feira da Ladra market, you can find a bit of everything, from rare antiques to stolen items, to handicraft clothes, shoes and furniture. This fair has been around since the 13th century, and moved around various locations until it found its permanent residence here.
It’s one of Lisbon’s most amazing views, which is evident judging from the number of tourists with smartphones in their hands, and the number of tuk-tuks parked near the lookout. It’s a good alternative to Miradouro da Graça, and here you have the city at your feet - and a kiosk where you can get refreshments to help you digest the view.
This mini-restaurant has managed the feat of reaching the top of TripAdvisor’s list of best restaurants in Lisbon - at least until this magazine went to press. It only has eight seats and is managed by a Brazilian couple, Joyce and Luís, who also make the food. Give the mojitos a try.
It’s nice to avoid the chaos of Tram 28 and go down to Graça by foot, via Jardim da Cerca da Graça. This garden/viewpoint is still a rather well-kept secret, a popular spot for Graça residents (and their dogs). It links Graça to the multicultural neighbourhood of Mouraria.
Rent a bike (preferably electronic), and go from Belém to Terreiro do Paço, with a mandatory pitstop at Ribeira das Naus. Some dip their feet in the river, but we don’t recommend it - and if you do, be careful not to slip. The best thing to do is to get a beer at the kiosk and watch the boats sail by.
It’s become a Lisbon classic, with its giant octopus hanging from the ceiling getting as much photographic attention as the Oceanarium’s otters. This restaurant by Chef Kiko doesn’t accept reservations, so expect a long wait. Luckily, the pisco sours are available to drink on the street while you wait.
In 2017, it won the title of Best Bar in the City at the Time Out Bar Awards - and it could win it every year. It’s in the list of 100 best bars in the world, with cocktails prepared by owner Paulo Gomes, using rather unusual ingredients. The decor is inspired from prohibition-era speakeasies.
Sunday in Lisbon
It’s the Portuguese museum that holds the largest concentration of national treasures and masterpieces. Between paintings, sculptures, drawings and goldsmithery, there are close to 40,000 items from the 13th to the 19th century, among which the famous São Vicente Panels.
It’s one of the most beautiful shops in town. Here you’ll find everything from tableware to canned goods, carpets to soaps, children’s games to posters with political slogans. It’s the perfect place to spend your spare cents on a souvenir of Lisbon to take back home.
This is Lisbon’s busiest attraction, with 3.6 million visitors in 2017 alone. The concept is simple: the market is home to the best of the city’s gastronomy, including artesanal gelati. It’s a great spot for lunch, dinner or just a snack. Or to have a drink and dance until daybreak.
Located on the fourth floor of an Lx Factory building, this is one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city, with regular sunset parties from spring to autumn. The cocktail list is good, and there’s also a restaurant with a panoramic view from where you can watch the traffic on 25 de Abril bridge. Worth a visit.