Lisbon is beloved by travellers and locals alike, for its strikingly colourful buildings, the glistening River Tagus, and an epic cultural scene with a vibrant nightlife. But the Portuguese capital is also one of Europe’s coolest shopping meccas, with many independent designer shops springing up in virtually every district. Maria at One Tiny Leap reveals her favourite spots and why you should book in a visit!
There’s a great selection of shopping malls in Lisbon, such as Colombo, with all the expected high-street retailers and major brands, but if you’re looking for a more unique type of retail experience then keep reading, because we’re bringing you a local’s guide to Lisbon’s best shopping spots.
My favourite neighbourhood in the whole city, this charming and elegant neighbourhood is the perfect place for you to discover talented local designers and indulge in high-end Portuguese design.
Several of Principe Real’s stunning little palaces have been repurposed in recent years as indoor-markets, such as Entre-Tanto or, self-styled ‘shopping galleries’ like Embaixada. The latter boasts distinctive Arabian architectural features and extravagant indoor design, and the breathtaking views over the Botanical Gardens make it a fabulous spot for lunch. Further down from here you’ll find Real Slow – Retail Concept Store, an open space showcasing the best of Portuguese indie brands from jewellery to children’s fashion.
Chiado & Bairro Alto
As you wander down the hill from Principe Real towards Chiado, you’ll want to make a point of stopping at the miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. From here, the views over the city are spectacular, stretching as far as the castle of St George and the River Tagus. Look to your right, and you’ll see one of the city’s marvellous working funiculars (or elevadores).
Chiado is one of Lisbon’s cultural hubs, home to a plethora of interesting bookshops and theaters, and a mix of designer, beautiful ‘old Lisbon’ shops and high-street standards. Have a coffee and a photo with Portugal’s most famous poet, Fernando Pessoa at the Brasileira Cafe, and if you’re planning to take home a souvenir or two, make sure you visit ‘A Vida Portuguesa’, a treasure-trove selling a wide variety of traditional Portuguese soaps, artworks, notebooks, and much more besides. To us locals, these products tell many stories and bring back memories of a simpler time.
Make your way into the winding streets of Bairro Alto and you’ll immediately notice the difference between the delicate architecture in Principe Real and Chiado, and the working class and bohemian vibe of the Bairro. Here you’ll discover an array of lively bars and fado houses, and shops that cater to those who like quirky finds, vintage haunts and street-fashion. It’s not a place for early risers though, as the shops here tend to open late in the morning, and close late at night – so if you fancy a bit of vintage shopping in between imperiais, Bairro Alto is the place for you.
Avenida da Liberdade
A meander through the luxurious Avenida da Liberdade brings you to Lisbon’s ultimate destination for luxury designer shopping – Prada, Chanel, Miu Miu and D&G are just a few of the brands you’ll find on this famed tree-lined boulevard. Some refer to it as the Champs Elysees of Lisbon, but I like to think the Champs Elysees is merely the Avenida da Liberdade of Paris. When you’re feeling tired from browsing the rails of boutiques, you can stop for a refreshing coffee at any of the many kiosks that line the street, or admire your purchases in a trendy rooftop bar above one of the Avenue’s fabulous hotels.
Maria Belfort is an award-nominated travel blogger and photographer, based in Brighton, UK. A Lisbon native with a serious passion for Pastel de Nata and Fado, Maria writes about her experiences exploring the world on the family travel blog One Tiny Leap.