Stay Curious: Experience Lisbon From Your Living Room

Discover Lisbon no matter where you are
Discover Lisbon no matter where you are | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
Joana Taborda

As staying in becomes the new normal, Culture Trip invites you to indulge in a spot of cloud tourism. Experience the sights and sounds of a place – without even leaving your home. Grab a pastel de nata and discover the best of Lisbon from the comfort of your sofa.

Whether your trip to Portugal was postponed or you’ve visited before and want to refresh your memory, there’s a way to discover it without leaving home. So sit tight, hum along to Portuguese songs and explore the city through its art, cuisine and music.

Experience Lisbon’s art, food and music, all from the comfort of your living room

Watch Os Verdes Anos

Lisbon has changed quite a bit since Paulo Rocha shot the movie Os Verdes Anos in 1963, but that’s the beauty of this film. You get to see the old Lisbon, when people gathered at social clubs for mid-afternoon dance sessions, and monuments like the Elevador de Santa Justa had no tourists in sight.

The film was one of the first examples of the Portuguese New Cinema (Cinema Novo), a movement inspired by the French New Wave and Italian Neorealism. You can see traces of it in the way the camera follows the characters around the city, taking you through its streets and inside its cafés, clubs and homes of the ’60s.

For a glimpse into Lisbon in the 1960s, watch the black-and-white film ‘Os Verdes Anos’ directed by Paulo Rocha

Read Lisbon: What the Tourist Should See by Fernando Pessoa

Born in Lisbon in 1888, Fernando Pessoa is one of Portugal’s most famous writers. He’s renowned for having multiple pseudonyms (with different personalities), under which he wrote thousands of poems and stories. If you’ve been to Lisbon before, you might have spotted a statue of him next to the Café A Brasileira.

Pessoa spent most of his childhood in South Africa but returned to Lisbon in 1905. In 1925, he wrote Lisbon: What the Tourist Should See, a guidebook for travellers, which is still pretty accurate. While most of his work is in Portuguese, this book came out in English first, so it’s clear that he wanted to share his tips with those people outside of Portugal.

In this book, Pessoa takes readers on a tour of Lisbon, passing through some of the city’s main sights, such as Terreiro do Paço, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Alfama. Even if you can’t be there in person, you can imagine what these places look like from Pessoa’s detailed descriptions of the buildings and their surroundings. He also reveals some of Lisbon’s lesser-known spots, like the Palácio da Ajuda and the gardens of Campo Grande. Of course, some things have changed since the 1920s, so it’s also a chance to travel back in time.

Delve into ‘Lisbon: What the Tourist Should See’ guidebook by Fernando Pessoa to plan your next trip

Take a virtual tour of Lisbon’s street art

There is urban art scattered all over Lisbon, covering anything from recycling bins to parking lots and whole buildings. Until you get to see these colourful pieces in real life, your best option is to take a virtual tour of the city. Luckily, the Urban Art Gallery (GAU) has made this pretty easy with these online exhibitions of Lisbon’s street art.

The gallery brings you closer to the famous artworks that have become a symbol of Lisbon. Some pieces are abstract, and others depict significant moments in the city’s history, such as the Carnation Revolution. You can go through the albums, organised by artists, themes and locations, or scroll through all the images at once. Most of them include a description to help you learn more about the artwork.

Join an online exhibition of Portugal’s best street art, where you can explore the city’s Picoas area

Listen to Lisboa Menina e Moça by Carlos do Carmo

When speaking of Lisbon’s music, you can’t help mentioning fado. It’s the traditional Portuguese music style, and while most songs are sad in tone, there are happy tunes, too. Lisboa Menina e Moça is one of those songs.

Sung by Carlos do Carmo (a renowned fado singer), it’s a love letter to Lisbon, in which he compares the city to a woman. Menina and moça are two words for a young lady in Portuguese. In his lyrics, he takes you through the city’s neighbourhoods, from Alfama to Graça, and invites you to walk along the Tagus River and try medronho, a strong Portuguese fruit spirit.

In 2014, Carlos do Carmo received a Latin Grammy Award, and to honour that, a couple of Portuguese singers got together and made this version of the song, matching the lyrics with images of the city.

Make some pastéis de nata

Don your chef’s hat, roll up your sleeves and try baking some pastéis de nata. These delicious custard tarts are a famous staple of Portuguese cuisine and a must-try when you visit Lisbon. You can find them in cafés and pastelarias all over the city, but when you can’t make it there, it’s easy to bake them at home.

Gather eggs, milk, flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon to make these sweet treats. If you don’t have these ingredients in your kitchen, make sure to get them on your next outing to the shop. Then, assuming you have a muffin tin, you’re all set to recreate these tarts. This recipe gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make the dough and the filling from scratch. It also includes a video, in case you get stuck. For the complete Lisbon experience, pour yourself an espresso and imagine sitting outside a kiosk (a balcony will do) while you take a bite of your freshly baked pastéis.

Sample Portugal’s famous pastéis de nata (custard tarts) from your living room

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article