Bairro Alto is the only district in Lisbon that transforms drastically and is unrecognizable between day and night. Bairro Alto has been dubbed the bohemian district, full of luxury shops located on Rua do Norte, and endless bars and restaurants. Bairro Alto is a place where visitors can crowds of all ages blending together seamlessly, giving the district a unique avant garde vibe mixed with old-fashioned influences. This extensive guide presents the top 10 things to see and do while you are wandering around the streets of Lisbon’s heart, Bairro Alto.
Admire The Sunset From The Miradouro de Santa Catarina
Located just behind Camões Square, the Santa Catarina viewing point is an intersection that separates Bairro Alto from the neighborhoods of Principe Real and Santa Catarina. This area is full of pastel painted houses and international and local restaurants and bars. But, it is mostly famous for its viewing platform, which faces the terrace and the River Tagus. The platform has some cafés and restaurants, which should be visited at sunset, where you can order a bottle or a glass of an excellent Portuguese wine to accompany the marvellous views of Lisbon.
Get A stylish Haircut At The Facto
Facto has been a hotspot for all the fashionistas and trendsetters of Lisbon. Opened by the creative director Antony Millard in 1999, and located in a preserved 17th-century building, Facto has an extensive and friendly team of professional stylists who aim to provide a good quality service and a memorable experience for every single customer. Facto’s unique philosophy of hair care in a short time has brought them a diverse range of clients, and won them the first place in several national and international competitions, among which was the prestigious Wella Trend Vision Award.
Rua do Norte, 40-42, Bairro Alto, Lisbon, +354 213 478 821
Discover Lisbon’s History At Carmo Convent
Once the biggest church in Lisbon, founded in 1389 and built in a Gothic architectural style, today Carmo Convent is a site of the ancient ruins that commemorate and remind us of the devastating consequences of the 1755 earthquake. Located on a hill overlooking Rossio Square, the interior features a nave with three aisles and an apse with five chapels. The roof had been severely damaged during the earthquake and was never rebuilt. However, its former space and the area under the altar is now occupied by a tiny museum with archaeological evidence of the earthquake and a collection of tombs, ceramics and mosaics.
Visit The National Museum Of Contemporary Art Of Chiado
The National Museum of Contemporary Art of Chiado focuses on presenting the masterpieces of mainly Portuguese artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. The permanent collection consists of works which change and develop from the period of Romanticism to Modernism. The museum was founded in 1911 and its initial collection could fit into three rooms of the current venue. This was until the director Sousa Lopes provided strong and dedicated leadership, during which time modernist artists begun to have input in the collections of the museum. Under the Diogo Macedo, in 1945, the museum opened its doors to the public. However, the shabby condition of the venue and a lack of profound research into the art movements called for a redesign, which was completed by the French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte for the Chiado Museum’s re-birth at the beginning of the 21st century.
Rua Serpa Pinto 4, Lisbon, +354 21 343 21 48
Ride Elevador da Bica
Small and unremarkable at first glance, Bica district is the world famous location of the Bica funicular railway that connects Calçada do Combro, Rua do Loreto and Rua de Sao Paulo. The neighborhood goes down the hill, and is located right next to the sophisticated Principe Real district and below the famous viewing platform of Santa Catarina. Iconic of Lisbon, a refurbished yellow funicular was re-opened in 1992, presenting a desire to preserve late 19th century transport history. The original yellow funicular was constructed by the engineer Raul Ponsard and operated from 1892 to the beginning of the 20th century.
Shop At Loja das Conservas
The first shop of the traditional Portuguese souvenir that is canned fish, Loja das Conservas opened its doors in trendy Bairro Alto. The interior of the shop is decorated with a funky mural with the image of the canning industry, created by contemporary artist Jaime Rydel. The aim of the shop is to attract the attention of both local Portuguese visitors and international customers, who will put Portuguese produce in the increasingly popular segment of gourmet products. The canned specialties at Loja das Conservas are very affordable, so checking out this shop if you have free time is highly recommended.
Rua do Arsenal 130, Lisbon, +354 91 118 12 10
Marvel The Church Of Sao Roque And Visit The Museum Of Sacred Art
The church and Museum of Sao Roque were refurbished in 1905 on the site of the former 17th century Jesuit building. The building of the church is plain outside, with minimum décor. But upon entering this magnificent masterpiece of European art, you’re greeted with an incredibly rich Baroque interior built using some of the most costly materials, including ivory, agate, lapis lazuli and gold. An adjoining Museum of Sacred Art presents a rich collection of 16th century Portuguese religious sculptures and paintings, a display of vestments and jewellery, and Flemish tapestries. All pieces have been carefully preserved and are presented in dark rooms under charming dim lights.
Largo Trindade Coelho, Bairro Alto, Lisbon, +354 213 235 065
Drink Wine At BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto
Despite its small capacity this wine bar is always receiving positive reviews and houses around 200 different bottles of Portuguese wine in the cellar. The wine at BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto bar is served by the glass, and the history of origins of the grapes and each specific brand are explained to customers by professionally trained sommeliers. Depending on the tastes and preferences of clients, members of staff will pick a perfect wine drink with rich flavors. The bar offers a wide selection of tasty tapas, including cheeses, hams and tuna.
Rua da Rosa, 107, Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 346 1182
Buy Artisan Portugeuse Products From A Vida Portuguesa
A Vida Portuguesa is the creation of the journalist Catarina Portas. The shop specialises on traditional and vintage Portuguese products, which are carefully wrapped in thematic and unique colorful boxes. The most popular items include Brito and Trust soaps, Viarco pencils, Emilio Braga notebooks and others. The project is interesting, as it combines many items from brands that have been associated with the souvenir and tourist industries in Portugal, as well as careful research, design and an excellent choice of brands to help promote Portuguese production beyond the country’s borders.
Rua Anchieta, 11, Lisbon,+354 213 465 073
Dine At 100 Maneiras
Bairro Alto has a high concentration of restaurants and bars so heading to one after a long and tiresome day is a must. 100 Maneiras is a sophisticated dining venue with a minimalist black and white interior. It was the first restaurant that implemented the groundbreaking concept of providing a tasting menu only, without a traditional à la carte menu. This is the second time 100 Maneiras has opened its doors to customers. The new owner, a Serb by birth, started to serve Yugoslavian regional plates such as meat rolls and cheese and spinach pita in addition to traditional Portuguese cuisine. 100 Maneiras is a very small space which accommodates 30 guests at a time and does not invite for long dining evenings, however, the intimate setting facilitates conversation between two people.
Rua do Teixeira 35, Lisbon, + 351 910 307 575