LISBON at Christmas

The Capital, Lisbon gets all dressed up for the Christmas Season and this is a wonderful time to visit. Stores and restaurants glisten with beautiful decorations and festive music. The main squares are adorned in fabulous twinkling lights awaiting Christmas visitors.

For those wanting to stay in one of the most sought after locations without paying high hotel prices, we can heartily recommend staying in an Air B&B in the Chiado. The Chiado is the centre of many of Lisbon’s most special shops and cafes and is the perfect place to start your explorations. Another tip: taxis are reasonable in Lisbon and all are on meters so if you’re arriving by train or bus or even flight take a taxi and it will get you directly to your destination.

Start your day with a coffee at Brazileira Café one of the cities oldest, resplendent in Art Deco design. Wander the streets from here catching some of Lisbon’s prettiest shops. Whether your looking for jewellery, linens, porcelains, clothing or stylish shoes they’re all here. Take a break from all that shopping and join one of Sandeman’s FREE Walking Tours of Lisbon. This tour will give you an orientation to the city at a great price! There are morning and afternoon tours. The tours meet at the Top of the Chiado (see online for details) and are actually Free. At the end of the Tour you give the guide a Tip. These 2.5 hr tours are really fun and you’ll learn a bit about Lisbon’s history in an entertaining way. The guides are fabulous with a great sense of humour! The Tours are in English.

After the tour stop at a local coffee for a snack or lunch/dinner and then have some free time to wander through the maze of shops. One of the most important parts of any trip is eating well. Avoid like the plague restaurants on the main walkways with a tout outside or lines of pictures showing the dishes as these are only patronised by tourists. Instead wander the side streets and find smaller restaurants filled with Portuguese. There will always be a friendly waiter inside who will help you with the menu and ordering. Or look at what other people are having and if it looks good just order the same.

For lunch or dinner try O OFICINA on Calcado do Duque 43A 1200-155 reservations: tel 210 996 354 A dish of roast lamb served with mint sorbet is absolutely delicious as is the roast pork with crackling. Another excellent choice to eat is The Market, a collection of dozens of small restaurants in a warehouse, wander through the aisles and pick one that appeals. Also a good choice is the MOMA GRILL on Sao Nicola. Food is delicious and the waiters are happy to help translate the menu. The friendly patron checks everything. If you need a break, bask in some nature at Campo do Ourique and visit the Jardim de Estrela ( The Garden of the Star) founded in 1862. Century old trees line the pathways interspersed with hundreds of different trees and plants collected from all corners of the world. And now back to the most important task of shopping. Have Fun and Enjoy Lisbon, recently voted best European city to visit. You’re sure to find out why!