Traveling to Lisbon

Sundays are sacred. Whether you spend the day exploring local art and architecture, browsing market stops, or indulging in culinary delights, there’s no denying the seventh and final day of the week is reserved for discovery as a ritual. This Sunday, we explore the best of Lisbon.

From cobblestone laneways winding up hills topped with cheerfully-colored Art Nouveau buildings to the sounds of sweet fado floating out from quaint cafés, charm is certainly not in short supply in Portugal’s seaside capital. One of the oldest cities in the world—predating Paris and Rome—Lisbon is experiencing something of a modern renaissance in the realms of food, art, and culture. Here, how to spend the perfect Sunday soaking it all in.

Jose Gorjao, Portugal Sotheby’s International Realty

For a superlative Lisbon experience, wake up in a contemporary flat in the historic Campo de Ourique neighborhood, a district that is the last stop for tram 28, a popular scenic route for seeing the best of the city. Close to restaurants and the Jardim da Parada, this four-bedroom modern home captures every bit of coastal light in premium finishings: natural woods, bright whites, herringbone washroom tiles, angled ceilings, and a sunny terrace accessed via a floor-to-ceiling sliding door.

Morning

After a trip spent indulging in Portugal’s famed Pastéis de Nata egg tarts, there’s no better place to reset than local café Amélia, where you can tuck in to an energizing breakfast of poached eggs, avocado toast with red hummus, or buckwheat pancakes.

Basilica da Estrela, photo courtesy of Takashi Images / Shutterstock Inc

Grab a street galão (the Portuguese answer to a latté) to go, and saunter down Rua Domingos Sequeira to bask in the Baroque architecture at the Basílica da Estrela, one of Lisbon’s most striking monuments. Designed in 1790, this church features the one of the country’s largest nativity scenes, with over 500 terracotta and cork images. Pay the fare to climb to the basilica’s terrace for prime views of the city’s ornamented Manueline architecture, or spend some time across the way in the Jardim da Estrela.

Campo de Ourique market, photo courtesy of Radu Bercan/ Shutterstock Inc

After working up an appetite, take a short stroll north to explore the fare at the historic Mercado de Campo de Ourique, the market a fixture in the neighborhood since 1934. A recent refurbishment project has provided the market a chic set of modern amenities, and when it comes time for lunch, locals are spoiled for choice. Petiscos (small plates) are an integral part of Portugal’s gastronomy and, much like their Spanish tapas counterparts, are best enjoyed with friends. Share iconic Lisboan dishes like eggs with Portuguese sausage, clams à Bulhão Pato, and mussels. Other local lunch favorites include Fiammetta—think regional wines and paninis teeming with freshly imported Italian cheeses, prosciuttos, and artisan salamis—and Tasca da Esquina, where chef Vitor Sobral is offering avant-garde takes on classic Portuguese dishes.

Afternoon

Livraria Ler Devagar bookshop, photo courtesy of Zabotnova Inna / Shutterstock Inc

Though a soothing cochilomay sound appealing after lunch, there’s no time for napping with some of the city’s best shopping around the corner. The shopping scene in the Campo de Ourique is as wide and varied as its food market: here you’ll find cheerful beachwear at Futah and luxury tailoring at Alphaiate, with colorful bookstores and contemporary home goods sprinkled in between.

Campo de Ourique, photo courtesy of studio f22 ricardo rocha / Shutterstock Inc

Don’t forget to stop for exquisite cheeses at Maître Renard and textiles at Carmim d’Ourique or Nomalism.

Evening

Peixaria da Esquina, photo courtesy of Peixaria da Esquina

Seafood is an inextricable part of Lisboan life. With such close proximity to the Atlantic, the city offers some of the best seafood in Europe. When it comes time for dinner, cozy up to another Vitor Sobral establishment, Peixaria da Esquina, for masterfully-executed classics like shrimp mango coconut and poejos. Even more traditional, the menu at O Magano hits all the high notes of traditional, hearty Portuguese dishes. After dinner, take a short stroll down the street to join locals for a cocktail at A Paródia, one of the older bars in the city.

No matter which way the ocean breeze steers you, a Sunday in Lisbon provides a sea of options. In a city with this many appealing surprises, it’s hard to go wrong.

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