Lisbon is incredibly popular with tourists, and it can feel as if there is not much new to discover. A few locations, however, remain largely off the tourist radar. Here is a breakdown of some of the spots that are still secret.
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Once a city full of secret fado bars and traditional restaurants that only the locals knew about, Lisbon has now become one of the most-visited destinations in Europe. Social media make visiting even easier, providing tourists with lots of insider tips. So, now, many of the coolest spots in the city are out in the open. Read on to discover some of the remaining secret spots in the capital of Portugal.
Young and trendy Largo do Intendente is a bright square surrounded by beautifully renovated homes with azulejo-covered façades and hip local bars and restaurants, like the Casa Independente. Once one of the seedier parts of town, it is now a cool hangout spot for the city’s artistic, freelance and entrepreneurial circles.
Open since 1943, the Pastelaria Aloma is a favourite pastry shop, where locals swear by the pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts), even suggesting that they may be the best in Lisbon. If you’re up for a walk, you can find Pastelaria Aloma just past the Jardim da Estrela, near Campo de Ourique.
A true secret in Lisbon is this seafood restaurant, found at the end of the pier in Alcântara. It’s spacious and bright, and it’s easy to get a table because many people simply don’t know about it – including some locals. This isn’t a place for artistic presentation: the food is simple, honest, fresh and budget-friendly.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to drink coffee, have lunch or just sit and read, Linha d’Água is a great cafe to know. Located behind El Corte Inglés, it sits in the middle of a park and beside a small artificial pool with a fountain. Sit on the lovely terrace with friends to soak in Lisbon’s sun, or head inside, where there are many more tables beside the long counter.
Ajuda is a beautifully authentic neighbourhood near Lisbon, located northeast of Belém. Even some locals can’t resist playing tourist and walking past the grandiose and beautifully preserved 18th-century National Palace or strolling through the lovely botanical garden. Although it’s only a short 15- to 20-minute walk from the Jerónimos Monastery, tourists sometimes miss it while exploring Belém.