Let Lisbon be your Christmas shopping destination. In historic neighbourhoods like Baixa, Chiado or Bairro Alto, you will find traditional commerce alongside the most modern shops, as well as old buildings next to design hotels and 5-star restaurants, in a big open-air shopping centre!
In the cosmopolitan city of Lisbon, everything is just a stone’s throw away.
To the people of Lisbon, Baixa (downtown) has always been the place par excellence for shopping. And even the big international brands like to have their space in this area. Avenida da Liberdade is one of the city’s main thoroughfares, with hundred year old trees that offer some welcome shade. It’s very pleasant to stroll down and a prime location in terms of real estate, where the most expensive commercial space in Lisbon is to be found. There are also boutique and 5* hotels, reputable brands, luxury shops, restaurants and terraces.
Downtown, in Baixa, the more traditional shops are found side by side with fashionable and avant-garde clothing stores. Always enchanting are shops that are hundreds of years old, like Casa das Velas do Loreto, Chapelaria Azevedo and Luvaria Ulisses (for candles, hats and gloves, respectively). It’s the same in the old bookshops, Bertrand, Sá da Costa and Aillaud & Lellos, where time flies by as you browse through the latest literary releases. And with the haberdashers on Rua da Conceição, which still retain the original furniture where a multitude of buttons and thread are kept.
Between Chiado and Bairro Alto, among the ruins of the Carmo Convent, the Chiado Museum and the Church of São Roque, you can also stay abreast of the latest creations by Portuguese fashion designers like Ana Salazar, Fátima Lopes, the Manuel Alves/José Gonçalves duo, José António Tenente, Filipe Faísca, Miguel Vieira and Storytailors, amongst others. They are all key figures in Portuguese fashion.
One of the latest innovations in these open-air shopping malls are the vintage shops and those that are reinstating the products of old factories. The models from earlier times will help you discover what makes a difference in today's global fashion. Similarly, those products that have retained their image for decades, and bring to mind the times of our grandparents and our childhood, can still surprise you for their quality.
Bairro Alto is still considered Lisbon’s most Bohemian neighbourhood. By day, it offers urban, avant-garde fashion stores and tattoo parlours. At night, it’s very lively, and there’s a great choice of restaurants, bars and fado houses, which provide the perfect complement for those who’ve been walking around shopping.
Very close by is Príncipe Real, a residential area with gardens, terraces, decoration shops and the studios of Portuguese designers such as Nuno Gama. And Rua de São Bento, known for its antique shops. This is also where the Portuguese Parliament is to be found, and the Amália Rodrigues Museum.
More dedicated to design, the Santos district is a former industrial waterfront area that has attracted art schools, artists' studios, architectural offices and creative agencies. It has also been chosen by certain contemporary designer brands to have their furniture and interior design showrooms. In contrast with this modernity, there is also the National Museum of Ancient Art, one of the most important museums in Lisbon.
When there is no time to shop during a tour of the historic districts of the city, you can concentrate all your energies on the shopping centres: Amoreiras, Columbo and Vasco da Gama are the largest, but Campo Pequeno and Saldanha are also alternatives worth considering.
In these cases, you can always take a break from shopping with a visit to the cinema. In Portugal, all movies are shown in their original language with Portuguese subtitles, except in the case of children's cinema which is usually dubbed. But there are always sessions in the original language.
For practical information on shops and where to shop in Lisbon’s historic neighborhoods, visit www.lisbonshopping.pt.
All the neighbourhoods mentioned are accessible by metro or bus. Information at www.carris.pt e www.metrolisboa.pt.
Amoreiras – buses 774 and 783
Campo Pequeno – Campo Pequeno metro station (Yellow Line)
Saldanha – Saldanha metro station (Yellow Line)
Colombo – Colégio Militar metro station (Blue Line)
Vasco da Gama – Oriente metro station (Red Line)