Famous Cafés in Lisbon

No trip to Lisbon is complete without tasting the famous Lisbon coffee called bica. In Portugal, and Lisbon is not an exception, coffee is an obligatory drink. All the cafés and pastelarias in the city have the espressos (strong coffee) or the galão (latte).

Below we present a list of some of the famous Cafés in Lisbon that you can visit during your vacations in the city. You can taste a coffee indoors on in the beautiful esplanadas (outdoor terraces) spread all over the streets and avenues of Lisbon.

Café Martinho da Arcada in Lisbon’s downtown

Café Martinho da Arcada, in Lisbon

Author: João Carvalho

Opened over 200 years ago, Café Martinho da Arcada in the Comércio square, in Baixa-Chiado district, is the city’s oldest café. Coffees such as meia de leite (half milky), bicas (espressos) and the famous portuguese custard tart are served in a traditional tiled interior. It also as a restaurant, where a table remains laid for modernist poet and former guest, Fernando Pessoa.

Café Brasileira, in Chiado 

Café Brasileira, in Lisbon
This is the city’s most famous café in Lisbon, opened in the early 20th-century. Most tourists come to see the bronze statue of modernist poet and former regular customer Fernando Pessoa. Even today this coffee house in Chiado is popular with writers.

Café Benard in Chiado

Café Benard, in Lisbon
Right next door to the famous Brasileira, in the heart of historical Lisbon, is another city attraction – the Benard Café. The pastry and the croissants are an excellent reason to stop in this adorable café, opened in 1912.

Café Versailles in Saldanha
Café Versailles, in Lisbon
Located in the business district of Saldanha, this is a spectacular 19th century decorated café with a dizzying baroque confection, aristocratic grace and taste. An endless range of sweet and confections are served in a shimmering glass case and it is a must to visit.

Antiga Confeitaria de Belém in Belém
Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém, in Lisbon
Antiga Confeitaria de Belém is a traditional café renowned for its custard tart recipe. Pasteis de Belém can be enjoyed with coffee in the maze of rooms at the back, sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar from battered metal shakers, or take them home in a tube with little sachets.

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Lisbon Museums

If you are an art lover or a museum fan, Lisbon is the perfect city for you. Plan an afternoon excursion to theLisbon museums where you can find fantastic collections of historical and cultural items.

Start at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (Ancient Art Museum),in the Lapa district, were you will find some of Portugal’s finest ensemble of paintings like the panels of “São Vicente de Fora”, one of the most renowned group portraits in the European tradition. This 17th century palace also contains the work of artists like Bosch and its “Temptation of Saint Anthony” and the the Namban Screens that depict the arrival of the Portuguese in Japan in 1543.

In the Belém area there are three museums that should not be missed. The Museu Nacional dos Coches (Coaches Museum) – Lisbon’s most frequented attraction, the world’s best coach museum contains an impressive collection of coaches dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries – , the Museu da Marinha (Navy Museum) where you can findPortugal’s glorious contributions to nautical expedition and the recent Museu Berardo (Berardo Museum of Modern Art) where you can appreciate one of the world’s most acclaimed modern art collections.

In the Chiado area, one of the city’s historical neighbourhoods, the Museu do Chiado (chiado Museum), offers you a tour through the Portuguese contemporary art. For more contemporary Portuguese art there’s also the Gulbenkian Foundation’s Modern Art Center and the Arpad Szenes – Vieira da Silva Museum.

If you want to know Portugal better don’t miss the Fado Museum in the Alfama district and the Azulejo National Museum, near Santa Apolónia, a tribute to a most cherished aspect of Portuguese history. Exhibits trace more than 500 years of this remarkable art form with several thousand examples on hand.

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Lisbon New Year’s Eve

This is a gorgeous time for massive celebrations!
Hurry in booking your apartment in Lisbon to guarantee your presence in this fun, crazy and super crowded day in the city.

The great Lisbon districts for celebration are Chiado and Bairro AltoBairro Alto is the nightlife of the city where you can find lots of restaurants and nice bars. The spirit of this district is actually to stay outside the bars and talk and meet new people while enjoying their drinks.

But amongst the most spectacular celebrations are those that take place close to the waterfront and at Belem gardens
New Year revellers toast the arrival of a new year with a packed programme of street entertainment, including live music and a fantastic fireworks display, which illuminates the night sky on the stroke of midnight.

At 10pm there are always musical performances and at midnight pyro-musical display!

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Top 5 Things in Lisbon on a Weekend Break

One of Europe’s most popular cities – Lisbon is an ideal destination for a weekend break. With fantastic museums and galleries, restaurants, bars and much more, Lisbon is a superb city for an European weekend break.

1) St. Jorge Castle and Alfama

Alfama View

View from our Apartment 120, in Alfama

The Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George Castle) is one of Lisbon‘s major tourist attractions, offering splendid panoramic views across the tile roofed houses of Rossio and the cool blue waters of the Tagus River.
Take a walk in the narrow streets of Alfama. This is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the St. George Castle and the Tagus River. In the slopes of Alfama there are other terraces (called miradouros) from which you can see the city, like the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and the Miradouro das Portas do Sol. Among the churches of the Alfama are Lisbon Cathedral, the Convento da Graça, the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, and the National Pantheon.

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2) Baixa Pombalina – Chiado

Largo de Camões, in Chiado

View from our Apartment 33, in Chiado.

Chiado is a cultural point of Lisbon and an elegant shopping area with all sorts of facilities and street entertainment. Here you will find theatres, bookshops, museums, restaurants and famous Portuguese fashion houses. The Carmo area, next to the Chiado, has some of the most fascinating historical sites in the city, such as the Convent and Church of Carmo, which maintain their elegance and grandeur. Carmo is connected to the Baixa Pombalina by the Elevador de Santa Justa, another of Lisbon’s icons. The Baixa is the city’s traditional shopping district. Rua Augustais the main artery of the Baixa Pombalina leading north from Terreiro do Paço (known as Black Horse Square by the English), to the beautiful Praça do Rossio (Praça Dom Pedro V).

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3) Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto, by night

Our Apartment 57 is located here!

The Bairro Alto is one of the most characterful and attractive neighbourhoods in Lisbon. Small restaurants, Fado houses, bars, pubs and Cafés as well as some unusual, expensive shops are all around the streets, lanes and alleys. Bairro Alto is the heart of Lisbon‘s youth culture and nightlife.

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4) Belém

Pastéis de Belém

Don’t miss the famous Pastéis de Belém!

In Belém district you have several things to do. Visit the Torre de Belém (Belem Tower), the Jerónimos Monastery and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. Take a walk at the Belém gardens and go eat a creamy and flaky custard tart at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. Don’t miss a visit toBelem Cultural Center (Centro Cultural de Belém), the host of international exhibitions and other cultural events, from theatre to dance, from classical music to jazz, from opera to cinema.
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5) Parque das Nações – Old Expo’98

Parque das Nações

View from our Apartment 163, in Parque das Nações

The Park offers numerous attractions both during the day and at night. Visit the Lisbon Oceanarium, the Lisbon Casino, the Pavilion of Portugal, the Pavilion of Knowledge or attend live concerts in the Atlantic Pavilion. Discover the Orient Station and go shopping in the Vasco da Gama Shopping Center.
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Lisbon Tram 28

The most unique way to explore Lisbon is by its yellow traditional trams. This method of public transport in Portugal has become one of the most appealing attractions in the city. The tram 28, considered a national treasure, takes you on a tour by a selection of old Lisbon’s sights, past historic buildings and traditional housing. Inaugurated in 1914, between Largo Camões and Estrela, the tram 28 route has been successively extended over the years.

Lisbon Tram

View from our Apartment in Lisbon 230 – Chiado

In fact, Tram 28 covers the most picturesque route in Lisbon. It runs from Largo Martim Moniz to Prazeres, via the Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, São Bento and Estrela.

Leaving Martim Moniz, the tram 28 continues through a labyrinth of narrow streets. Discover Mouraria and Alfama and while you are there, go and see the Miradouro da Graça which boasts fantastic views of the city. Continuing the route along Tram 28 will take you to the Royal Pantheon, São Vincente de Fora Church, one of the most imposing and notable religious monuments in the city, and the famous Feira da Ladra. It is held from Tuesday to Saturday and is one of the most popular in Lisbon. The Tram continues its route to Largo Portas do SolMiradouro de Santa Luzia with its traditional mosaic and the Sé Cathedral.

28 continues is route to Chiado quarter and Largo Luis de Camões until S. Bento. Running up Lisbon’s hills, the tram 28 arrives to Estrela. Facing the gardens is the Basílica da Estrela, in late baroque and neo-classical style. Taking the streets Domingos Sequeira and Saraiva de Carvalho the tram finally arrives at Campo de Ourique right next to the final resting place of the famous, the Cemitério dos Prazeres (Prazeres Cemetery).

There are many choices amongst the 35 stops of tram 28 for places to get off and discover the Lisbon’s heritage.

Lisbon Climate and Weather

Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate that is strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream, giving it one of the mildest climates in Europe. The city offers a mild and temperate climate and is sunny throughout the year.

In Lisbon, summers are warm and dry with average daytime temperatures of 26-29°C, falling to 16-18°C at night. Winters are cool and rainy with temperatures around 8-15°C, while spring and fall are generally mild, or even warm during daytime.

The warm afternoons are favourable for a nice walk by the river Tagus in Belém area and Parque das Nações or for a well-spent afternoon in one of the many street cafés in Lisbon’s downtown (Baixa) or Chiado. But even rain can be romantic if you’re winding in Alfama’s narrow streets; the charms of rain can usually be felt between December and March.

As the result of the regular mild and balmy evenings in Lisbon, many of the restaurants, especially in Bairro Alto, remaining open late, together with the bars and clubs.

Extreme temperatures may reach 36°C in some of the warmest summer afternoons and 2°C in the coldest winter mornings.

Chiado – Famous Lisbon Quarter

Largo de Camões, in Chiado

Chiado is a cultural point of Lisbon and an elegant shopping area with all sorts of facilities and street entertainment. Here you will find theatres, bookshops, museums, restaurants and famous Portuguese fashion houses.

At the turn of the century and during the first decade of the 20th C. Chiado was the meeting place for writers and artists. Political and cultural exchanges constantly took place in the cafés here. Once the centre of intellectual life, today Chiado is one of the most fashionable neighbourhoods in Lisbon.

Chiado hit the world headlines when an enormous fire destroyed part of the quarter on August 25, 1988. In the main it was the Rua do Carmo, a pedestrianized street, which was affected by the catastrophe. Together with homes and offices two old department stores burnt down, as well as the famous Pastelaria Ferrari and the valuable archives of the music shop Valentim do Carvalho containing unique documents relating to the history of Portuguese music.

Even though there are still some scars of that disaster, all the destroyed buildings in Chiado had been magnificently restored by architect Álvaro de Siza Vieira.

Following Rua Garrett, passing shopping zone, is Largo de Chiado. Great spot to rest and perform the tradition: having a bica at “A Brasileira”, a café frequented by Fernando Pessoa, whom now, in order to commemorate his tradition, has a bronze statue on the esplanade.

The Carmo area, next to the Chiado, has some of the most fascinating historical sites in the city, such as the Convent and Church of Carmo. Carmo is connected to the Baixa by the Elevador de Santa Justa, another of Lisbon’s icons. The Elevador, designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, is open to the public and boasts impressive views over the Baixa Pombalina and the rest of Lisbon.

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