What to do on April the 25th

As you may know, every year, on April the 25th we celebrate the Red Carnation Revolution. It was a non-violent revolution that put a end to a long lasting fascist dictatorship.

Being such a recent and emblematic date, there isn’t much open in this day. However, not many places open don’t really mean that there isn’t a lot going on.

If you’re in Lisbon and are wondering what you should be doing today, the answer is simple: join the crowd!

At 3pm starts a cheerful parade along Avenida Liberdade. Foklore groups, brass bands, people dressed in traditional customs and everybody else walk and sing along this avenue to celebrate the freedom of speech.

Worried about the dress code? That’s simple: buy a red carnation and you will immediately make part of the group.

“Portugal is, and there I will be, happy” – Ruy Belo

Lisbon’s underground Roman museum

     If you were reading about Lisbon, this weekend, you may have heard about the Roman galleries that only open 3 days a year, being submerged by Tagus river during the rest of the time.

     Lisbon was once an important city for the romans and to prove that, there are a number of roman vestiges. These galleries are by far the most famous ones. The media coverage about this place is huge and so are the lines.

     What few people know is that there is another underground museum area, with roman ruins, underneath the city center.

     I’m talking about the Archaeological Center of Millenium BCP (a Portuguese bank). It’s located underneath the downtown area and you get to walk under the main building and see a former roman house and fish salting factory.

     It is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm and has guided tours (mandatory) starting at every sharp hour. It’s not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia but it’s definitely something different to do while in Lisbon.

If you really want to visit this place, here are the contacts.

Saint Anthony’s day is coming and the party is on!

     Have you heard about Saint Anthony of Padua? Well the truth is he is not from Padua, Italy but from Lisbon, Portugal. Why are we telling you about this now? The celebrations in Saint Anthony’s home town, our dear Lisbon, have already begun but the highlight will definitely be tonight: the night of the 12th June.

     Saint Anthony is not the patron saint of Lisbon – that would be Saint Vincent – however he’s our favorite and celebrating him is a way of paying our homage.The date we celebrate is actually the 13th June- the date that marks his passing away in 1231, although the party starts way before that day.

     This is a popular celebration so people come out in the streets and go out partying with their neighbors or with anyone passing by so I am sure you will feel even more at home during these days The festivities include beautifully decorated streets, street parades and a dance parade and contest between associations belonging to the different parishes in the city.

     Food and drinking are also an important part of this party and never like in this week, will Lisbon be as much filled with the scent of grilled sardines all over the place. These don’t go without the occasional glass of red wine, although green wine is also a good choice.

     Dance the night away to the sound of traditional music sung by everyone or played by informal bands here and there; go and eat grilled sardines out in the street and then don’t miss out the parades in Avenida da Liberdade, the main avenue in Lisbon where the dance contest is held.

     The following day you might want to join the crowd that goes to the church of Saint Anthony, right next to the cathedral in the old neighborhood of Alfama and ask for a little blessing. Here is a tip: he’s known as a good match-maker!

May 18th-International Day of Museums

     We are very excited around here at Lisbon Stories! Tomorrow is the International Day of Museums. We love what we do, so this date is just a good excuse to visit our stunning monuments  and museums yet another time. The best of all: for free!!

     The date is celebrated worldwide and the best of all is that this year, May the 18th is a Saturday, so there is a full weekend to be planned starting tonight. Yes, you read it well; many museums and monuments throughout the country will be open at night, holding different cultural events, music concerts, guided tours, etc…

     If you are around Lisbon I would suggest taking a walk around the Chiado quarter, in the center of the city, in the evening and then head off to one of the nearby museums open at night such as the Archaeological Museum of Carmo or the more modern Museu do Chiado.

    However, anything goes as the different programs include special guided tours, dance and acting performances, workshops for families and many, many activities more. The Portuguese institution that runs the public museums in Portugal (IGESPAR) has a full program of the weekend which you can see here.

   It is in Portuguese, but we are happy to help you with the translation. Just send us an email and maybe we can meet in one of the museums. Don’t miss out all the fun!!

Outjazz – Our Jazzy Lisbon

     As you might have guessed by the name, Outjazz is a Jazz Festival and yes, it is out in the open.

     As the sun starts to shine, in Spring time, Portuguese people start to find excuses to spend as much time outside as possible. We have coffee outside, we eat outside, we go to the beach, we jog… and we attend music festivals.

     This Festival has been held since 2005 and it was a huge success from the very beginning. Why? The concerts take place in some of the most fantastic locations in Lisbon.

     View points, terraces, gardens, monuments, public parks all of them and many others will welcome various bands and solo performers every Friday and Sunday throughout the next 5 months. This year besides the usual food and drinks stalls, there will also be street markets, selling handicrafts and other items.

     Do you know those hot afternoons when you’re tired of touring around and just feel like relaxing a little bit? Well, it looks like we’ve just found you a little excuse to do so.

Find more about it, as well as the program, here.

     We’re terribly sorry that the program is not in English. Feel free to contact us if you need a little help with it. Anyway, “Sextas” means Fridays and “Domingos” means Sundays. The writing in bold is the location so, go ahead and google maps that.

25th of April- a very special national holiday.

Whenever I go to Lisbon- and believe me when I say I go to Lisbon a lot! – there is a place I never miss: the Largo do Carmo. This is a quiet yet central square of Lisbon where some very special piece of recent History took place.

As you might have heard already, we had a closed, strict regime in Portugal from 1926 (although only officially from 1933) to 1974. António Salazar was the head of government until 1969 and Marcello Caetano, his successor until 1974.

In that year it all ended finally, not in a blood bath as you might imagine, but in rather a joyful way, with a “shower” of carnations, grabbed from the street flower vendors, instead (you can read more about it here.

It’s been 39 years but we still celebrate this date and what better place to start celebrating than the very place where it all happened? If you are around Lisbon on this date you must make your way to Largo do Carmo and other nearby places and see for yourself.

We will have music playing, speeches from some important political leaders, poem reading in the open air from tonight.  In the afternoon a parade will be held in Avenida da Liberdade down to Rossio where there will be some Portuguese music concerts.

You won’t need to go hungry nor thirsty as there will be many stands selling cold drinks and traditional nibbles. Cafés in the center will be open all day. Will you want to miss all the revelry and joy of yet another year in freedom?

Comercio Square – Our square

     If you’re visiting Lisbon during Easter, there’s something you can’t miss.

     During the extended Easter weekend (28-31 March), Terreiro do Paço will be transformed into a giant interactive screen — with a free multimedia event, that invites tourists and local residents to visit this revitalized zone of the Portuguese capital.
The initiative will feature drawings by young children and adults that will be brought to life using 3D videomapping projection techniques and an interactive touchscreen platform, in real-time — projected on the facade of the Terreiro do Paço’s West Wing.

     The light show – based on 2D and 3D video-mapping projections and techniques – will be accompanied by a dynamic original soundtrack. From 9 pm onwards  all roads will lead to Terreiro do Paço. Imagination is the only limit.

Both text and images were taken from the event’s official webiste.

 

Portugal Restaurant Week

     If you love to go out and try new restaurants, new flavors and gourmet foods, you’re coming to Lisbon during the right week.

     Portugal restaurant week is here and until next Sunday the best restaurants in Portugal will be available at a settle price of 20€ per person (drinks not included). This is a great opportunity to try expensive restaurants, where one can’t go every day. Besides, 1€ per person will be donated to charity, which makes this event even more special.

      To check this long list of restaurants and to do your reservation just follow this link. You’d better hurry up: this promotion only lasts until March the 24th and some restaurants are already full.

    If you decide to give it a try please don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us how it was!

MacNamara and the waves of Nazaré

     Thanks to Garrett MacNamara even those who couldn’t care less about surf have been hearing a lot about Portugal as a surf destination. I’m going to be honest: I’m not a great fan of surf myself, but the pictures leave anyone speechless and have been going around the world.

  Last year MacNamara was recognized by Guinness World Records for riding the largest-ever wave, a towering 78-foot wall of water. Now he claims he broke his own record, after surfing a 100 foot tall wave, also in North Beach, in Nazaré. Tó Mané, a local photographer, took the magical shot and this picture is now being published by world reference newspapers.

Photo by Tó Mané, originally published by Zon North Canyon

      Is our coast that rough? Incredibly, not at all. Nazaré Canyon is a rare phenomenon created by a gap in the Continental plate. It’s about 105 miles long and 3 miles deep and focuses the Atlantic energy right on the beach of Praia do Norte, creating huge waves.

      If you ask me, I’d give you other solid reasons to visit this area. In Nazaré you can still see women wearing seven skirts (the traditional costume) or dressing all black once they become widows; try incredibly fresh (and affordable) fish in local restaurants; see the fish sun-drying in the beach and relax watching the beautiful waves and beaches in the Atlantic Ocean.

      Any time is good for a visit, as Nazaré is an open door to an almost lost world of local traditions, centuries old and to a never ending variety of table delights. Sounds like a perfect destination for a family trip, doesn’t it?

 

Lauren, will you marry me?

     We’ve all dreamed of wonderful proposal stories with medieval castles, sunsets by gorgeous views, or even surprise trips. Well, this is one of them, but actually happened.

     Lauren was going to visit Lisbon on her own, and Nathan decided to give her a little surprise. Two months in advance he emailed me and asked for my help to put up something really special. How could I say no?! My mind immediately started to conspire different ideas.

     Nathan told Lauren he’d have a surprise for her in Lisbon and gave her a letter she could only open on the plane. The letter said that the surprise was a tour of Lisbon but little she knew what it really was.    When I picked her at the airport and found her a little upset as she wished a bigger surprise… she even asked me twice if her boyfriend was in the city! I had to lie and apologize, saying that I only exchange a couple of emails with Nathan (we might have exchanged 20) and he only asked for the tour.

     I suggested we’d start the tour with Lisbon’s castle (the chosen location) and then asked her to come downstairs, where the tiles were waiting for her. Words can’t describe Lauren’s reaction (I think that her brain just blanked) when she saw the tiles with her name written on. I had to ask Nathan to hurry up (he was coming downstairs by then) before she’d get a heart attack, but she only got more confused when she finally saw him.

     It was a magical moment when them met halfway in a long flight of stairs, in Lisbon’s castle, by the sunset, with a gorgeous view and many emotions. He got on one knee, showed her the ring and… she said Yes!  It was such a delight to meet them and take part in such a lovely proposal. Best wishes guys!

Love this story? Do you need some help to make something similar? Let us know!

Lisboa Open House – architecture

     Did it ever happen to you to suddenly find a beautiful building (sometimes looking out of place) and stop your fast walk to look at it? Did you ever thought that it was a palace or museum but it was “just” someone’s house or office?

    This weekend Lisbon Open House will answer many of the questions about architecture and will also show several buildings from a very special point of view: the architect’s who build it.

     Open House is all about unlocking the secrets of architecture for you, the public, so that everyone can enjoy it. That means opening a lot of doors that are usually shut, and even when they’re open, giving you the insights to enjoy and understand the architecture there. We do that with guides, tours, and information sheets that are all free, and some of Portugal’s leading architects will be making contributions. It all comes together in one amazing weekend. (piece taken from the Official Website

     Afraid of getting lost? There’s a very handy map with all the buildings and the fact sheet also includes lots of useful information: location, schedules, how to get there, etc etc.  Though some buildings need prior reservations, many others can be visited at any time… and free of charge!

One museum per month

    Hi everyone! As of today there will be a new category in our blog: “Featured museum”.

     When one visits a new city there’s always a huge range of museums to visit, but, having a limited time it’s always hard to choose the most interesting one. In order to help you every month we’ll be picking one of our favorite museums and tell you why we love it.

     This month we’ll start with a hidden gem, just in the center of Lisbon. Even its location is also very special, as the Red Carnation Revolution happened in front of it. Curious? read the post, it will come out in 5 minutes!

    Why posting this on a Monday if National Museums and Monuments close on Mondays? A little bit of irony never hurts, so, stay tuned on the 1st Monday of every month!

Ano do Brasil em Portugal

    Aí pessoal do Brasil, hoje este post é para vocês! Bem sei que na LisbonStories escrevo sempre em Inglês, mas tendo em conta que hoje é o dia de inauguração do Ano de Brasil em Portugal… há que abrir uma excepção!

    Leram bem: começa hoje a celebração do ano de Brasil em Portugal. Para celebrar, haverá (já desde hoje) exposições, concursos de fotografia, workshops de samba e concertos em muitos bairros emblemáticos de Lisboa e Porto, as duas principais cidades portuguesas. O melhor? É gratuito!

    Este sábado à noite vai ter concerto de Ney Matogrosso e Monobloco e domingo concerto de Martinho da Vila, Carminho, Paulo Gonzo, Zeca Baleiro, Boss AC e Zé Ricardo, a partir das cinco da tarde.

    Ficou com fome? Tranquilo. Vai ter também um espaço gastronómico para provar quitutes portugueses e brasileiros: pastel de carne, pão de queijo, kibe, bolinho de bacalhau ou até mesmo salada de polvo.

    Mas tem mais, muito mais. Basta visitar a página oficial e programar bem a sua agenda!

Com’out Lisbon – another festival

During summer time it’s quite hard to see one Lisboner sitting inside, either at a restaurant, café or even music concert. As the sun starts to shine and the nights get warmer Lisbon’s streets get more and more crowded with plenty of things to do. Open cafés and restaurants can be found everywhere, belvederes are turned into chill out areas, kiosks open and get popular and there are also the famous feasts of Lisbon. They only last until July, but for those who are visiting Lisbon during August or September (like you, Kristin) and are sad because the Feasts of Lisbon are over, I have great news: “Com’out Lisbon” has just begun.

This festival will last until the 11th of September and will cover the whole city. Almost every concert or projection happens in a different part of Lisbon, which will let you discover off-track gardens or parks. The activities are varied, including music concerts (don’t miss the Big Band from Hot Club Portugal, on Sept the 8th), outjazz, DJ’s and open air cinema. As usual, the entrance is free and you don’t need to pick up tickets some days before, or so. Just show up at the exact place in the exact time and enjoy the show!

The full program can be found here. Unfortunately there’s no English program but it’s not hard to understand the location nor the date, so, since it’s free entrance, I guess that you have nothing to lose!

 

Évora with picnic lunch and wine tasting

    Yesterday I had the most amazing day with Carol and her family. They are a happy family of 6 composed by her parents, her and her husband and two kids, aged 8 and 14. They all wanted to visit Évora but while her husband wanted to visit a winery and try some wines, her parents wanted to see the country-side and her kids wanted to do something fun.

    In order to please everyone we visited Évora in the morning and once they were feeling hungry we drove towards a vineyard where between cork-oak trees and endless vineyards there was a wooden table set with regional products. Cheeses, hams, chicken pies, regional sweets and liqueurs, bread and jams, as well as fruit composed the menu. While parents could eat and taste some regional wines and liqueurs, the kids could run around vineyards and scratch pieces of cork from the trees.

    The picnic was provided by a local company of wine experts, so, all the products were fresh and we didn’t need to worry about cleaning the table or so. Once we finished eating we visited the winery where everyone could learn about the wine production and its complicated process. Since the kids were very interested in cork, we also visited a cork-factory in a really small town, far from everything, where they could learn more about the cork process and see how things are made.

By the way, here’s the tour link. If you’re looking for a romantic tour this can be an idea.  Imagine you and your partner having a picnic lunch on your own, tasting great wines in an idyllic landscape on the shade of cork-oak trees and vineyards…

Thanks god for the free Sundays… or, I love Outjazz

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I also love to have some free time for myself and for my friends. Since there are no bookings for this weekend I already have a plan for my next free Sunday. Want to meet me there?

    This Sunday I’m definitely going to be in the Park Eduardo VII (at the top of Avenida da Liberdade) attending Outjazz. This is a sort of music festival that brings different DJs and bands to the city center, with free concerts and nice moments of relax. They happen in different parts of the city but regarding this specific one, since it’s in the park, many people bring their kids, dogs, a blanket and some drinks and sit to relax the end of the afternoon. I’ve been there two weeks ago and can’t wait for tomorrow!

    Where and when? The concerts happen in different parts of the city. This year even hotels decided to join, so, the “stage” ranges from museums (Ancient Art Museum, Tiles museum, etc) to hotels (Sheraton hotel, hotel Mundial, Tivoli hotel, etc) passing by train stations, historical elevators (Gloria, Santa Justa) and obviously public parks and gardens of the city. It runs from May to September on Fridays and Sundays afternoons. On Fridays the concerts start at 6pm and on Sundays at 5pm.

   With big companies cherishing this project all concerts are free which allows everyone to enjoy nice concerts and performances. I’d say that this is a really good thing about Lisbon: there are tons of things that one can do even without money in its pocket!

    Here you can find the program for the whole summer. Just check your available date and see where the festival will happen that day. If you can’t understand the location or something else don’t be shy and ask, ok? See you tomorrow!

This is the photo I took with my bberry, 2 weeks ago

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Off the beaten path, a new place to relax and enjoy

     Despite being very central Martim Moniz rarely comes on guidebooks. This square is named after the nobleman who helped the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, to conquer the city of Lisbon from the Moors. As the Moors were trying to close the doors of the castle, he stood between them and let the Christians get inside.

     Honoring this brave for his actions, the square where he lost his life received his name. Though it was built with a noble purpose, with the evolution of times, it became a degraded place, with signs of poverty on the streets, prostitution and some drug dealing. Finally the Town Hall decided to change history and rehabilitated this area.

     Instead of closing the eyes to the huge immigrant community that lives in this area, they decided to assume and be proud of it, opening lots of cafés, kiosks and restaurants serving food from the entire world. Handicraft shops, art exhibits, concerts and cinema, among many other activities, can also be enjoyed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

     On Fridays and Saturdays you can enjoy this place until midnight, so if you want, you can go there for a drink after dinner. To finish the good news, on weekends you can also visit the Fusion Market, which is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., where you can find goods of all kinds from all around the world.

     Don’t be shy nor afraid and come to discover the multicultural identity of Martim Moniz. It is open 365 days per year, 365 days plenty open air performances in a perfect symbiosis of cultures, music and entertainment!

Ready to go there? Share your thoughts with me and this article with your friends!

Lisbon’s markets and fairs

If you’re one of those persons who loves to look for little treasures in lost places and browse little stores searching for rarities, then this post is for you.

One of the things I love to do on my (rare) free time is to walk around markets, buy rarities and handicrafts, or simply observe the quaint things some merchants want to sell. Lisbon has a nice offer in terms of markets and since many people like to visit local markets when they travel, I decided to list some interesting markets and fairs.

  • “Feira da Ladra” – Lisbon’s flea market is just like any other flea market in the world: name a bizarre product and you’ll find it there. From old books or vintage furniture to used clothes, shoes, underwear or other types of garbage, it has it all. Some artists use it to show their work too, so, you may find some art pieces or design jewelry as well. Where: Páteo São Vicente, between Alfama and Graça; When: every Tuesday and Saturday morning.
  •  “Mercado da Ribeira” – Is one of the most traditional markets, mostly visited by locals who want to buy fresh products: fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, flowers… Besides the classical products you’ll also find many things that you’ve never seen before. Don’t forget to buy some olives and some lupins (azeitonas e tremoços). Where: Cais do Sodré; When: every morning except on Sundays.
  • “Jardim da Estrela” – is the perfect combination of shopping and relaxing as it’s located in Estrela public garden. Most sellers are young artists who sell urban handicraft, jewelry, clothes, bags and other hand-made items. Besides the market you can sit and relax in the garden: sometimes they also have free Tai-Shi lessons or concerts. Where: Jardim da Estrela; When: first weekend of the month, from 10am to 6pm
  • Similar Fair: “Feira da Alegria”. Where: Praça da Alegria; When: every 1st and 3rd weekend of the month, from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • “Mercado Biológico do Príncipe Real” – has all sorts of organic products. While more and more consumers are worried about the quality of what they eat, more and more producers are proud of growing their products without the use of pesticides nor other chemical products. Since there was no place for them in the normal market, Agrobio decided to create this “organic market”. You can find vegetables, fruits, animal derived and bakery products. Where: Principe Real; When: every Saturday morning
  • Similar Fair: “Agrobio”. Where: Largo de Santos; When: every Thursday, from 4 to 8 pm
  • “Feira do Chiado” – is specialized in old books and collectible items. Is used mostly by collectors and second hand book sellers, some of which just show books they’ve been keeping for a while. Where: Rua da Anchieta, Chiado; When: Every Saturday morning.
  • “Mercado das Colecções” – located in the same place than “Mercado da Ribeira”, its name “Collections Market” says it all: is perfect to find stamps, coins, books, medals, postcards, watches and other rarities. Where: Cais do Sodré; When: every Sunday morning.
  • “Mercado da Avenida da Liberdade” – brings all sorts of items to the centre of the city. Old books and antiques, stamps and coins, handicrafts and designer’s clothes, it has a little bit of everything. Where: Avenida da Lisberdade; When: Every 2nd weekend of the month.
  • Similar Fair: “Mercado de Belém”. Where: Belém, in front of St Jerome monastery; When: every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, from 9 am to 6 pm.

Not sure if everyone will speak English? Check this page with the essential words.

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