Even the most sophisticated Lisbonites recommend getting acquainted with the Portuguese capital’s 18th century narrow warren of cobblestone streets and its most notable monuments like the Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos by donning a helmet for a spin with Sidecar Touring Co. Half-day tours in the care of English speaking expert guides who double as dexterous motorcycle drivers prove a most engaging and heart-pumping introduction to this sprawling metropolis along the Tagus River.
In the newly hip Chiado neighborhood, order the almond shrimp tempura and sweet potato chips at the Portuguese-Japanese fusion Sea Me, leaving room for dinner to be the six ‘act’ tasting menu of Ferrero Rocher-inspired foie gras bonbons and codfish escabeche with raspberry vinegar at the exceptional Mini Bar, Michelin starred chef José Avillez’s theatrical yet casual eatery.
To take a cultural bite out of Lisbon, head for the MUDE (mude.pt) design and fashion museum located near the waterfront. While the impressive permanent collection includes iconic objects by Charles Eames, Arne Jacobsen and Tom Dixon, notice the two stools covered in burel, a traditional Portuguese felted wool, and designed to reference mother and baby sheep. These endearing home wares are produced by Matecas, a native brand with a kaleidoscopic emporium nearby on the rua Serpa Pinto. Walk there along the Rua da Conceição, where a psychedelic hued mermaid in the window at Loja 58 foreshadows the array of one-of-a-kind accessories like leather coin purses shaped like lovebirds inside this haven of the handmade.
Here at Hotel G, we’re always on the lookout for style that transcends time. A pilgrimage for design minded travellers like us, the original A Vida Portuguesa opened almost ten years ago inside a former Chiado perfume factory. These days the vintage hand-carved wooden cabinets and glass powder jars hold everyday items, from toys to toiletries, which embody Portuguese heritage through elegantly old school packaging and products.