The facades of Lisbon shops and bars are quaint and old-world, with a timeless appeal that is far from the homogeneity of the usual UK high street, with its identical Zaras and H&Ms (Lisbon has them, but they’re not in your face). In the Baixa quarter you can find antiquated haberdashery shops that haven’t changed for decades, especially on Rua da Conceicao.
For all your button, ribbon & wool needs:
Rua da Conceicao:
Ginjinha is the local sour Morello cherry liqueur, a couple of euros in tiny bars like the one below. In the evening, residents cluster in the street sipping on little glasses with or without a sour cherry at the bottom – I can report that it’s fruity, powerful stuff.
I think my favourite miradouro was the one at Largo das Portas do Sol, perhaps the most obvious one, but for good reason. We were there on a stormy, liqueur-necessitating weekend, and from Largo das Portas do Sol you get an expanse of rooftops, sky and sea; there is also an elevated bar overlooking the square (‘Portas do Sol’ terrace bar) that has amazing views from the outdoor tables.
The Alfama quarter is quintessential vintage Lisbon, a maze of twisty old streets leading up to São Jorge Castle, with some eye-catching doors and interesting crannies.
The photogenic number 28 tram takes a route that passes through both Alfama and Baixa, and is handy for climbing the steep hill to the castle, but is perhaps more picturesque and iconic from the outside. We followed the number 28 tramlines on foot and covered some of the city’s most curious streets.
The no.28 close to the Thieves’ Market (Feira da Ladra):
It passes through some unbelievably narrow roads, where you really do have to breathe in if you hear it coming. I had never seen such a thing anywhere: the tram is practically the breadth of the actual street, with no pavement space at times.
Lisbon shop fronts:
The Elevador da Bica is a dinky funicular-type thing that trundles up one of the most atmospheric streets of the city. You can take a short ride up in it, or just irritate the driver by jumping in front of it to take photos.
Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo, one of Lisbon’s most photographed streets
Typical tea, coffee and sweet shop:
Lisbon is a bit like travelling to another time, before the shops were cloned and the streets of European cities all started to look the same. It’s old-fashioned and shabby, full of faded colour and character; with genteel, timeless streets and some very civilised al fresco liqueur-supping (excellent port and gin bars, too).
Porto is even more time-warpy, but (appropriately, for time-travelling) I went there before digital…
The famous number 28:
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