WHAT’S NEW AND HAPPENING IN LISBON THIS SEASON
Quirky tours, trendy restaurants and colourful exhibitions land in the Portuguese capital
By Neil Kook
Lisbon, Libson, Lisbon. Despite being one of Europe’s most ancient and historic capitals, Lisbon is constantly evolving to meet the demands of the modern traveller, adding a host of new attractions, tours and exhibitions to its already impressive repertoire. Here are some of the latest:
Street art tours: Fans of Banksy and the underworld art scene will love this 50km Street Art Tour, which gives visitors a “backstage pass” and a chance to get a closer look at Lisbon’s urban culture, plus an opportunity to photograph the city’s most interesting pieces of street art. www.lisbondestinationtours.com
Tagus cruise: A new and different way to see Lisbon is by taking a river tour along the Tagus, the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. The Belém Tower (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Parque das Naçoes (the most modern parish of the city, characterised by its futuristic buildings) and the Christ the King Statue are some of the monuments visitors will be able to enjoy on the two different routes available. www.transtejo.pt
Helicopter tours: Land, sea… and now air. For the very first time it is possible to gain a bird’s eye view of Lisbon with brand new helicopter tours. Lisbon Helicopters offers two different flight routes above the city centre (‘Discoveries’ and ‘Imperial Lisbon’) and another above the towns of Estoril and Cascais. Tailor-made excursions and trips for special events are also available.www.lisbonhelicopters.com
The 28 eco tour: The famous “Tram 28”, which passes through Lisbon’s main tourist spots, has a new competitor: the electric car. Onboard a twizy, visitors have the opportunity to drive along the same route as the legendary tram while learning about the buildings and monuments thanks to the vehicle’s GPS audio guide.www.lisbonecotours.com
Scooter tours: A personal favourite- there’s no quicker and more fun way to get to know Lisbon than a tour on a motorbike. Visitors can rent a scooter, design their own itinerary and discover Lisbon at their own pace. Alegria Ride also delivers and collects the bikes from a preferred location. www.ar-rentascooter.com
Mini Bar Teatro: Recently opening its doors in May, Mini Bar Teatro is Chef José Avillez’s first gourmet bar in Lisbon. The bar, located in Chiado’s Teatro São Luiz, one of the city’s most important theatres, is the trendiest place to have a cocktail, a snack and also to try the chef’s innovative tasting menus.
Flores do Bairro: This bistro-style eatery offers regional Portuguese cuisine in a quirky but refined way. Located on the ground floor of Bairro Alto Hotel, Flores do Bairro offers great views of Luís de Camões Square and Rua das Flores, right in the heart of Lisbon.
EXHIBITIONS AND FESTIVALS
French Film Festival: The 15th edition of this acclaimed festival will feature la crème de la crème of the French seventh art until the end of November. Some of the films to be screened at the festival include, the comedy “Aimer, boire et chanter”, the thriller “L’amour est un crime parfait” and the drama “Brooklyn”.
Treasures from the Royal Palaces of Spain: Until the end of January 2015, the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is hosting “A Shared History: Treasures from the Royal Palaces of Spain”. The exhibition features over 140 paintings (some of them never previously exhibited) and places particular emphasis on collecting and on the patronage practised by the monarchs and members of Spain’s royal family.
FMR The Franco Maria Ricci Collection: Lisbon’s National Museum of Ancient Art is hosting an art exhibition from Italian publisher and bibliophile Franco Maria Ricci. Until 12th April 2015, visitors will have the chance to appreciate around one hundred paintings and sculptures which will illustrate the history of Western Art from the 16th to the 20th century, by well-known artists such as Filippo Mazzola, Jacopo Ligozzi and Philippe de Champaigne, amongst others.
Lisboa Story Centre: Celebrating its second birthday, Lisboa Story Centre stays true to its vision of offering an interactive view where visitors can learn about the city’s main historical chapters, with the help of multimedia and sensory experiences. Lisboa Story Centre opens daily from 10am to 8pm.
Santa Justa Lift: One of Lisbon’s most spectacular urban lifts, the Elevador de Santa Justa celebrated its 112th anniversary last summer. The lift, designed by engineer Raul Mesnier de Ponsard and opened in 1902, connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Carmo Square.
NEW HOTEL OPENINGS
Valverde Hotel: Opened last September, this new 5-star property is located in the cosmopolitan Avenida da Liberdade, one of the most fashionable parts of the city and home to some of Lisbon’s most exclusive boutiques and stores. This Art Deco hotel has 25 rooms, an outdoor pool, a fitness centre, a library, a restaurant and a bar/lounge.
Direct flights to Lisbon operate from London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Bristol with TAP Portugal, BA, easyJet and Ryanair. For more information on Lisbon please visit www.visitlisboa.com.