JOIN the AFICIONADOS
To receive our world of travel and style delivered straight to your inbox.
Discover the best design guide to Lisbon, Western Europe’s creative, and some say most romantic, capital. A rich playground of tradition, crafted heritage and innovative thinking, Lisbon is often referred to as the new Berlin as the creative set flocks to take up residency in the Portuguese capital.
In Lisbon, design is more than just aesthetics—it's a way of life. Wander through the labyrinthine streets of Alfama, where the soulful melodies of Fado echo off weathered walls adorned with intricate azulejos, the hand-painted ceramic tiles that are synonymous with Portuguese design. Step into the bustling neighbourhoods of Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real, where hip cafes and trendy boutiques blend seamlessly with historic architecture, creating a vibrant tapestry of old and new. Here, local designers showcase their latest creations, from cutting-edge fashion to handcrafted ceramics and contemporary furniture.
But Lisbon's design scene isn't confined to brick-and-mortar spaces. Venture outdoors, and you'll discover a city that's alive with creativity at every turn. From colourful street art that adorns crumbling facades to pop-up markets brimming with handmade treasures, inspiration is everywhere you look.
Now, as more and more folk are discovering this vibrant city, the art and design world has too taken notice. Events like ARCOLisbon, Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Lisbon’s Fashion Week and the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival, all bring the global design set to the city, while the Lisbon Triennial and the newly opened Museum of Art and Architecture (MAAT) bring cutting-edge art to the city.
Once an 18th-century brothel in Cais do Sodré, this one space now holds a bar, erotic bookstore, concert space, trendy hair salon, Peruvian restaurant, and artist workshops, with a decor that features painted frescoes, paintings, and vintage interiors that recall its racy past.
R. Augusta 24
Home of the Francisco Capelo Collection, this chic museum houses unique design objects from both Portugal and the global design community. Despite being currently closed for a complete refurb - you can still grab some cultural candy with the pop-up exhibitions with MUDE outside. Current highlights include the history of Tattoos and a fascinating insight into Ibero-americana design.
Some of our favorite highlights include António Sena da Silva’s modernist chairs and Joe Colombo’s Mini Kitchen from 1963.
Av. de Berna 45A
Curated from the rich collection of British businessman, Calouste Gulbenkian, this one-of-a-kind museum houses over 10,500 pieces of Eastern and Western art, all within a modernist space designed by architects Ruy Jervis d’Athouguia, Pedro Cid and Alberto Pessoa.
Don’t let pictures of the formal concrete exterior scare you off - the Gulbenkian’s lush natural surroundings will make time feel like it’s standing still.
With architectural styles that range from Gothic to Moorish, Baroque and early Renaissance, the monastery is held up as a scion of the Portuguese spirit of discovery and contains the remains of legendary explorer, Vasco De Gama.
Praça do Império
An ambitious cultural centre with the aim of promoting cross-genre theater, dance, classical music, jazz, opera and cinema, with a restaurant and cafe with a terrace overlooking the river, the Centro Cultural de Belem (referred to as the CCB) should be on the list of all culture lovers.
With free entry, no one should have to pass up the chance to view Chagal’s luminous de Cena para A Flauta Mágica de Mozart.
Avenue Joao II
Created to house Expo ’98 almost 30 years later it still remains one of the main attractions of the city, and perhaps one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in Europe.
Inside is the dazzling Oriente Station by Santiago Calatrava, as well as L-o-and the Oceanarium.
R. do Salitre 5A
R. Ruben A. Leitão 17A
Right in the heart of historic Lisbon, this splashy cocktail bar has an almost intimidatingly comprehensive catalogue of mixed drinks, set inside a chic modern interior with plush red details.
Rua Rodrigues Faria 103
A must-visit for any artistic guru, this concept design centre features shopping as well as atmospheric eateries, start-ups, advertising companies, communications teams, artists, and temporary exhibitors who are using this space as a pop-up art gallery.
Finally, there's one act of utter self-reward that no trip to Lisboa is complete without - the mandatory and delicious Pastel de Nata. You should do this at the almost institutional Casa Pasteis De Belem. At this centuries-old coffee house, Lord Byron and Goethe enjoyed coffee, while it’s rumoured that Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt once met for pastries.