Wallets at the ready: explore the city’s best buys with this Lisbon shopping guide
When it comes to the great European shopping capitals, Paris, London, Rome, and Milan all likely spring to mind. But overlook Lisbon at your closet’s peril – the city is one of the continent’s richest and most ineffable retail hubs. Here, old world Portuguese leather shops that haven’t changed in decades sit alongside thoroughly contemporary concept stores; given its diversity, the city’s shopping-scape can barely be tackled in a single week, much less a single day. Hop on a tram, then, and keep this Lisbon shopping guide close at hand – whether it’s port, azulejos, or Portuguese fashion that you’re looking to score, your wallet may emerge happily battered by holiday’s end.
Lisbon may have largely old world looks, but the city is rife with cutting-edge concept stores that can stand alongside some of the world’s coolest retail addresses. Embaixada in Príncipe Real combines old and new – set within a 19th-century palace, its two storeys are filled with wares ranging from handmade jewellery and ceramics to organic cosmetics and edgy fashion. Also in Príncipe Real is 21pr, which stocks chocolates alongside perfumes and textiles next to art books. And then there’s the real hub: the sprawling LX Factory, located in an ex-industrial space, which merits is own half-day of wandering.
No Lisbon shopping guide is complete without comestibles – this is a city that knows how to eat. But even when the holiday comes to a close, you can bring those Portuguese flavours home with you, thanks to the 80 year-old Conserveira de Lisboa and its colourful, retro-inspired tins of seafood. Then, of course, you need something to wash it down with – happily, it’s only a three-minute stroll over to Napoleão, which hosts one of the city’s best stocks of port, madeira, and other Portuguese vintages. Fancy pudding? The old world Confeitaria Nacional is a dream for pastry lovers. Tuck into a pastel de nata in the store, and grab a box of something special to go.
Appreciate good design – with a bit of an edge? Lisbon’s many boutiques and independent designers stock pieces that fall well outside of the high street’s radar. For one-of-a-kind, graphic pieces, the Bairro Alto-based Fátima Lopes boutique is the ideal place to begin (she earned fame as the first Portuguese designer to show a collection in Paris Fashion Week). Designer Alexandra Moura’s boutique is another must for visiting style seekers – you certainly won’t run into anyone from home with the same look.
Over 10 seasons old, the Extreme Sailing Series sees nine teams from around the world battling it out in the water in one of the world’s most exciting international races. Sailing into Lisbon in October, the event will be a whirlwind of fast-paced short races and on-shore celebrations.
Following in the well-heeled footsteps of New York, London, Paris and Milan, Lisbon hosts its own Fashion Week in October, ModaLisboa. While the biannual showcase may not be as famous as its predecessors, it’s gaining traction in the European fashion scene. It’s one of the top fashion events in Lisbon and designers from across Portugal and Europe attend each year to present their latest collections and inspire new trends.
Doclisboa is more than a screening festival; it also aims to inspire debate. As well showing a busy programme of short and feature-length documentaries from around the world, the festival hosts an open forum in which attendees and filmmakers can discuss the findings of the documentaries they’ve viewed.
Another event celebrating its 10th edition in 2016 is Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival. Despite its name, the festival isn’t just a celebration of film; it’s a platform for all of the arts. The event welcomes creative talents from all backgrounds, including filmmakers, artists, writers, philosophers, musicians, actors, choreographers, composers and photographers, who exhibit their latest works in both the capital, Lisbon, and the seaside town of Estoril.