The sunny weather, sense of hospitality, rich cuisine and relative low cost live style made Lisbon one of the hottest European touristic attractions in recent years. The city has responded kindly to this new found interest, renovating their infrastructures and services in order to accommodate all the visitors and expats. However, just like in any other highly touristic site, the search for authenticity becomes a real concern for visitors due to the increase of “very typical” tourist bait places.
With that in mind we’ve elaborated this short list with some activities and places in Lisbon to give you the feel of the land:
Fado Vadio – If you ever heard about Portugal chances are you’ve also heard about fado, the traditional Portuguese music played with two guitars and a singer. Fado nights in Lisbon are easy to find but if you’re searching for that extra authenticity factor, “Fado Vadio” is what you’re looking for. “Fado Vadio” is what we call amateur fado nights, were anybody from old locals, to professional singers sing only for the sake of it. You can find some impromptu “Fado Vadio” nights in several small taverns in Alfama and Mouraria, just ask around and keep your ears open.
Drinking in the Street – One of the things visitors find more surprising is Lisbon is the fact that drinking on the street is not only legal; it’s a cultural thing. If you spend an evening in Bairro Alto you’ll find yourself frolicking in the streets with a plastic cup in hand, which should come as no surprise giving the warmth of the night and the small dimensions of the pubs. Whether you’re enjoying all the commotion of a busy Lisbon night or a relaxing sunset in one of the many viewpoints of the city, a cup of one of ours famous wines might just be the perfect companion.
Feira da Ladra – Literally translated to “thief’s fair”, Feira da Ladra is the oldest fair in Lisbon, dating as far as the XIII century. The fair is set in Campo de Santa Clara since 1882 and it starts every Tuesday and Sunday morning. You can find a bit of everything in there, from clothes and art pieces from young up and coming designers to basically everything one can find in a yard sale. During the fair everything is negotiable so put your best game face on and go hunt some bargains.
Esplanada – Any Lisbon café worth its salt has an outside area with some tables we call an “esplanada”. These usually simple spots are favoured by locals, who like to enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the natural sunlight Lisbon has to offer. You can find an “esplanada” pretty much anywhere in the city and they’re better enjoyed with a friend that you can be lost in conversation with during an entire afternoon.