There is no city in Europe that combines the serenity of aesthetically pleasing buildings, the ocean breeze and hectic lifestyle buzz better than Lisbon does it. The pastel coloured houses, hilltop views and windy cobblestone streets all encourage tourists and locals to take the vintage trams rather than walking around for more than a few kilometers. The city is currently undergoing major revitalisation work, so you might as well just book your ticket ASAP if you wish to see the faded facades of Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Campo de Santa Clara, and other buildings that still share the neglect and history of Portugal’s years of financial crisis.
Oh salty sea, how much of your salt Is tears from Portugal?
– Fernando Pessoa
When booking your trip, take a look at the Inspira Santa Marta Hotel & Spa – this eco hotel is not only located in the heart of the city centre, provides vegan and gluten free meal options, but is also designed according to the Feng Shui principles! In the first minutes of being in Lisbon, you will immediately be drawn to the Baixa & Rossio, Bairro Alto, and Alfama neighborhoods, and that is not surprising, regarding the fact that these are the most tourist-friendly areas for walking around.
vegan’s worst nightmare
So, although Portugal is often considered "vegan’s worst nightmare", it’s easy to move away from this lousy stereotype in order to find healthier replacements to the countless pastel de nata's and ham omelette’s. Go ahead and start your first day with a portion of matcha pancakes at Comoba by the pier, intake the beautiful views from the bankside and head up on your cardio-intense journey for the day. Make sure to stop for the best coffee in town at The Mill (their iced brew has a secret ingredient that will change the way you perceive your summer caffeine dose for life). Grab a dessert from Fauna & Flora, and if you are a poke bowls fan, check out the portions at Bowls & Bar (I also highly recommend grabbing a slice of their carrot cake, and if you still have any space in your stomach left – the rose-brew iced tea made in house is to die for). This venture up the city through the botanical gardens and anonymous street art will bring you to my favourite neighbourhood: Bairro Alto. On your way to pick up some hand-crafted jewellery at Embaixada, make sure to stop for lunch at My Mother’s Daughters: this nature based cafe has one of the most diverse ingredients and menu options I have ever seen!
In the afternoon and early evening, while trying to find an alternative to the famous, but overly crowded Time Out market, head down to Decadente and enjoy a Portuguese style dinner. PSI is the place for you to find the biggest selection of vegetarian & vegan options and wines for dinner. Later in the evening, make sure to go enjoy a sunset wine session at Park – a rooftop bar located on the top of Lisbon’s busiest carpark.
jivamukti yoga, hilltop views and sunset surf sessions
Foodprintz, a place which has three main tenants: food, yoga, and education – is the place to join the only jivamukti classes in town if you miss your time on the mat! Karo, their head chef and also the author of an amazing vegan cookbook, will be leading you through the magical practice.
After your morning yoga session, caffeine fix and perfect vegan breakfast, it’s about time I introduce you to some of the greatest viewpoints to meditate your heart away in the city: Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro da Graca. Both these views will help you intake the energy of the charismatic and vibrant old city. Although Lisbon is still the least visited capital in Europe, try and make it to the spots before anyone else does (early morning or late afternoon would be best!).
After hours of roaming and getting lost in the capital, go re-charge at my favourite of Lisbon’s many beaches: Carcavelos. There you can take your first surf class, enjoy the beach break if you are an experienced surfer, or simply grab a drink in one of the many beach cafes.
a shopaholic’s dream: vintage and design shops, flea markets and exclusive hand-crafted jewellery
At least a morning at LX Factory will prove you Lisbon’s progressive thinking and modernism: the selection of vintage and design shops, tattoo parlours and coffee spots there will take your breath away. Best idea is to come here on a weekday to avoid the crowds getting their matcha latte fix. Pick up a copy of Fernando Pessoa’s poems at the famous bookstore Ler Devagar, which will help you fall in love with the Portuguese author. For lunch head down to The Therapist to find out what their "Ambulatory" is – this restaurant was born from the desire to change the world, offering different teaching courses and trainings, so take a look at their Facebook page for events prior to your visit!
Feira da Ladra, a century old flea market which will unveil you all the secret vintage magic of Lisbon, is located only a couple of minutes away by car. This place not only is a hoarders paradise, but will also immerse you in appreciation to the city’s history.
After spending a day in the outskirts, make your way back to the centre in order to visit Embaixada – a shopping gallery in one of the iconic buildings in the city’s trendiest neighbourhood: Principe Real. This XIX century new-Arabian Palace was turned into an innovative shopping gallery that hosts a series of national brands and artists focused on Portuguese design, craftsmanship, fashion, gastronomy and culture. The result is a meeting point of people and experiences, tradition and contemporaneity, blending preservation of the architectural heritage with the newest that Portugal has to offer. Enjoy a gin & tonic at their roof terrace, or sit outside in their garden and listen to some live jazz on the weekends – this place should be must-do on everybody's bucket lists!
Comoba | R. de S. Paulo 99 | 5-15€
The Mill | R. do Poco dos Negros 1 | 2,5-15€
Fauna & Flora | R. da Esperanca 33 | 5-7,5€
Bowls & Bar | R. de Sao Bento 51 | 10-15€
My Mother’s Daughters | Largo de Sao Sebastiao da Pedreira 49 | 5-20€
Decadente | R. de Sao Pedro de Alcantara 81 | 15-30€
PSI | Alameda Santo Antonio dos Capuchos | 5-25€
Park | Calcada do Combro 58 | 7,5-14€
The Therapist | R. Rodrigues de Faria 103 | 2,5-7€
Foodprintz | R. Rodrigo da Fonseca 82A | 5-10€