Lisbon Shopping: Fashion

by guyan

Lisbon will surprise you with its quirky boutiques and innate effervescent style

Lisbon’s fashion sense is charmingly understated. And while this isn’t the kind of city where you’ll need to buy extra luggage for the amount of shopping you’ve done, you’ll find a fair few unique vintage boutiques and a handful of international brands, where prices are among the lowest in Europe. The great thing about shopping in Lisbon is you can easily break the city up into regions depending on your taste. Those seeking out vintage treats should head for the historic grid of streets in and around Baixa. For quirky and unique hipster designs, you should look no further than Bairro Alto. If you're tastes are more exclusive, then head for the chi chi high end boutiques around the Avenida. For middle of the road high street fashion and mid-level brands, Chiado should have everything you need and more

Avenida

The Avenida da Liberdade is the closest to a high street that the city has and is home to many of the big names in international fashion. Conveniently, many of the city’s hotels are in this area, allowing for doorstep access to the couture labels. Well-known brands that have their own stores on the Avenida include Emporio Armani (no. 220; +351 213 140 743), Hugo Boss (no. 141; +351 213 861 453), Massimo Dutti (no. 110; +351 21 343 2563) and Carolina Herrera (no. 150; +351 213 259 294).

Bairro Alto

Vintage hunters and those who love edgy/chic designs will love Bairro Alto. Here you’ll find some boutiques owned by local designers, alongside shops selling traditional treasures, although you should get used to seeing the ‘volta ja’ (‘back soon’) sign in the window as opening times are a fluid concept. The best shops to find trendy treats here include Mao Mao (no. 85; +351 213 460 656) and Tereza Seabra (no. 158-160A; +351 213 425 383; www.terezaseabra.com) on Rua da Rosa, Fatima Lopes (no. 36; 00 351 21 324 05 46) on Rua da Atalaia and Agencia 117 (no. 117; +351 213 461 270), Fake Lisbon (no. 113) and Eldorado (no. 23-5; +351 213 423 935) on Rua do Norte.

Chiado

Things get a considerably more mainstream in Chiado where you’ll find a few designer boutiques and high-street names. For jewellery and watches etc, look out for Hermes (no 9; +351 213 242 070) on Largo do Chiado. You’ll also see recognisable names such as Benetton (no. 83; +351 213 240 980)‎ and Bershka (no. 205; +351 213 428 265‎) on Rua Garret. Portugal’s most famous designer, Ana Salazar (no.87; +351 213 472289) has a flagship store on Rua do Carmo, which is where you’ll also find a few more recognisable brands such as Tommy Hilfiger (+351 21 250 17 57), Osklen (+351 218 452 715) and H&M (no.42; +351 93 260 86 60).

Baixa

There are some unique little finds to be sought in Baixa, where rickety old shops are bursting with dusty old vintage items and period fashions. A Outra Face da Lua (no.22; +351 218 863 430; www.aoutrafacedalua.com) on Rua da Assunçao is one of the city’s vintage gems as is the charming gentleman’s hat shop, Azevedo Rua on Praça dom Pedro IV (no.73; +351 213 427 511).

Malls

There are a few shopping malls around the city, the most central being the Armazens do Chiado, (Rua do Carmo, Chiado). It’s a pretty standard mall experience, filled with many major brands and fast-food outlets. Centro Colombo (Avenida Lusiada, Benfica) is the city’s largest mall and is found slightly out of the city centre in Benfica. The other major mall is Amoreiras (Avenida Eng. Duarte Pacheco), which is beginning to look a little faded these days.

More expert advice on Lisbon

For suggestions on where to stay in Lisbon, see my Lisbon Hotels – Award winning expert hotel reviews, from cheap to luxury hotels in Lisbon page.

For more information, see my guide on Lisbon Shopping: Local Produce and Crafts and read my overview on Shopping in Lisbon.

guyan

I'm a freelance travel writer, editor and author. I write and edit travel features and books for Lonely Planet, the Sunday Times, the Sunday Times Travel Magazine, A Hedonist's Guide To..., Esquire and many others.

I have been a regular visitor to Lisbon for the past thirteen years. I first visted on an interrail trip as an eager 16 year-old backpacker and immediately fell in love with the city for its cobbled mish-mash charm and Atlantic-sprayed air. I have many close ties with the city, and working as a travel journalist, I continue to return regularly. I’ve often spent months at a time in the city, living in an apartment in Bairro Alto or Cascais, where I would eat and drink my way around the town by night and sleep it off on the suburban beaches by day. I consider the city a second home and when I’m not there I can be found seeking out the best pastel de nata or bica in the many Portuguese enclaves of North West London.

My Lisbon

Where I always grab a coffee: going for a coffee in Lisbon is as much about getting my pastry fix as it is tending to caffeine cravings. If I’m anywhere near Belem, I’ll go into Pasteis de Belem for the world’s best pastel de nata (custard tart). If I’m closer to the centre of town I’ll head into Café A Brasíleira, for excellent coffee, Old World charm and bustling street tables.

My favourite stroll: in the summer, I like to head out to the beachside suburbs of Cascais and Estoril. There’s a lovely walk along the seafront promenade that connects the two towns. I also like to take one of the free bikes at Cascais train station and cycle out to the wild beaches at Guincho and beyond.

Fiction for inspiration: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon by Richard Zimler will give you an insight into 16th-century Lisbon and the mystical world of kabbalah during the Jewish persecutions of the time. While the book is set in a very different Lisbon from the one you’ll see today, it does bring alive the medieval cobbled streets of the historic quarters and gives the city’s religious sites real poignancy.

Where to be seen: with its penthouse views across the city, members bar Silk (free membership can be arranged easily online) in Bairro Alto is where the beautiful people hangout these days.

The most breathtaking view: position yourself behind any of the cannons that protect the medieval Castelo de São Jorge. Here you’ll get a view that spans over the city’s church spires, terracotta rooftops and yawning Atlantic-facing estuary.

The best spot for some peace and quiet: for real inner-city calm you can’t beat the city’s ornate and serene churches and cathedrals, Basílica da Estrela, Igreja De São Roque, Igreja de São Vicente da Fora and Sé Cathedral.

Shopaholics beware: the vintage tailors, perfumeries, herbalists and haberdashers in the timeworn Baixa district are a maze of skills, crafts and trade.

City soundtrack: while the melancholic fado music is the traditional sound of the city, 21st-century Lisbon swings to a more Samba sound. My favourite local artist is Sara Tavares, have a listen to the lovely ‘Balancé’.

Don’t leave without... partying till dawn then getting a freshly baked pão com chorizo (chrozio baked in bread, or a Portuguese hot dog, if you like) from one of the city’s just-opened bakeries.