Experience Lisbon through the eyes of those who know it best: the locals. This list includes spots with the best views and coolest ambiances. After all, a Lisboeta wouldn’t choose to go anywhere offering less than the best that the city and the surrounding area have to offer its residents. Here are our picks of the coolest hangouts in and around Lisbon.
Casa Independente is a café/bar, restaurant, cultural center, and social hot spot all inside a traditional manor home from the 1860s. Located in the diverse and, these days, hipster Intendente Square, it is surrounded by cozy eclectic bars and a mix of international restaurants/eateries. Offering spacious seating around wide tables and a kitchen/bar, it’s a cool and colorful place for digital nomads and students to go with their computers to get in a few hours of work. At night, the venue comes alive with the city’s night crowd looking for their first round (or two) of drinks and socializing inside the terrace garden. It’s also a cool spot to listen to live music.
Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 45, Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 887 2842
Martim Moniz’s Fusion Market, Lisbon’s most culturally diverse scene, is rimmed with food stalls varying from Latin American to European and African cuisines, and, on the topic of live music, during the weekends, different international music (and dancing) add an extra vibrant energy. Sit among the locals during the day to taste a different kind of “fast food” that includes burgers made with Madeira Island’s special bolo do caco bread and soak in the sun or visit at night for drinks and dancing. It’s also a great spot to peruse souvenir stands and look for a unique gift or keepsake.
Where do Lisbon’s local freelancers and artists spend a lot of their time? That varies depending on who you ask but chances are usually good that the LX Factory and nearby Village Underground are among the top choices. The LX Factory is also a great spot to grab a coffee, lunch with friends, and shoppers never know what artistic treasures will be found at the Sunday market, every Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. There is also Rio Maravilha, a colorful restaurant with a rooftop terrace and stunning views of the bridge, Tagus River, and the Cristo Rei in Almada. Their menu blends Portuguese and Brazilian flavors to create unique dishes but most of the crowds head for drinks and the excellent scenery.
R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, Lisboa, Portugal +351 21 314 3399
The many parks and other green spaces are other also excellent locations where you’ll find locals lounging under the sun, sipping coffee or having a drink at a kiosk, and socializing with friends. Oftentimes, families and friends plan picnics to celebrate birthdays or other milestones. During the summer, it’s common to see activity groups meeting in these free public spots and many fairs/festivals are also held there.
Parque Eduardo VII: Parque Eduardo VII, 1070-051 Lisbon, Portugal
Jardim de Estrela: Jardim da Estrela,Largo da Estrela, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 397 4818
Visit Park Bar in the summer and there’s a high possibility that the venue will be overrun by tourists, but during fall, winter, and spring the locals like to plan their evenings/nights out at this popular bar. Located at the top of a parking garage in lower Bairro Alto, it’s a unique spot with excellent views towards the Tagus River. The terrace is covered with trees and shrubs, adding shade and earthy tones to the decor, and in addition to high-quality cocktails, beer, and wine, the bar also serves burgers and Portuguese-style sandwiches.
Park Bar, Lisbon, Portugal +351 21 591 4011
Costa da Caparica
Although there’s plenty to see and do in Lisbon, locals like to head out of the city on a regular basis and spend time in some of the other beautiful spots nearby. Costa da Caparica and its stretch of beach all the way to Fonte de Telha is among those popular locations. It doesn’t need to be summer to visit, either. Even in the cooler months, the beach bars are excellent places to go for coffee, drinks, or lunch and lounge while taking in a spectacular beachside backdrop.
Then there is Cascais, Lisbon’s semi-close resort neighbor that’s reachable by hopping on a train from Cais do Sodré and cruising for less than an hour along the Tagus River and the Atlantic coast. Home to spectacular sights and equally amazing seafood restaurants, in addition to charming boutique shops, it’s popular among Lisboetas seeking a day or weekend away without traveling too long, and activities include cycling (there are plenty of bike rental shops in town), rollerblading, and visiting the cliffs at Boca do Inferno (a top spot for taking photos). The surrounding beaches are also stunning and from Cascais, it’s possible to walk to Estoril, a beach with an incredible castle-like fortress.
Forte da Cruz: R. Olivença 13, 2765-262 Estoril