Lisbon Shopping: Local Produce and Crafts

by guyan

Lisbon is a delight for hunters of high quality local goods and produce

Lisbon’s dated nature ensures that many of the shops that celebrate local products and skills – that have been wiped out in most modern cities – are still easily found. The city is filled with all manner of nooks and crannies where you’ll find local goodies that have produced here for generations.


Rato


Head up to Rua São Bento in Rato for a world of antique stores. Here you’ll find anything from tatty old tables to pristine grandfather clocks. Some of the best shops include Brique a Braque de São Bento (00 351 21 395 31 65), Cinco 50 Zero and Janelas de São Bento (00351 21 396 83 39, www.jsbento.com). There are also some local crafts shops on Sao Bento, which are among the city’s best. Soc Comercial a Rocha (00 351 21 395 91 35) sells excellent glassware and Cavalo de Pau (00 351 21 396 66 05, www. cavalopau.no.sapo.pt) has some pretty handmade furnishings.


Baixa


This is the real heart of Old World traditional trade and crafts that Lisbon is so famed for. Many of the old school traders of the Baixa have been here for more than a century. The concentrated grid of streets makes for a colourful collection of perfumeries, haberdashers, tailors and herbalists. Casa Macario (00 351 213 420 900, www.casamacario.com) on Rua Augusto sells local tea, port, wine and cigars. Alceste on Rua da Conceição is a charming old-school perfumery. Also Luis S Fernandes on the same street is a traditional haberdashers, selling vintage furs. Also, on Rua da Conceição there are some very elegant antique jewellers, such as Aurea, Correira and Diadema.


You can’t leave Lisbon without some delicious chouriço (local sausage) for your fridge at home. The Manuel Tavares (00 351 213 424 209), on Rua da Betesga, sells all manner of stinky cured meats and cheeses. For excellent local wine, head to Napoleão (00 351 218 872 042, www.napoleao.co.pt) on Rua do Fanqueiros. While the Douro Valley wines traditionally have the strongest reputation, it's worth looking out for a few bottles from the Alentejo region, which has started to compete in the local quality wine stakes.


Bairro Alto


This boho neighbourhood is famed for its nocturnal behaviour but if you look beyond the many bars of this quirky neighbourhood you’ll find some fun little shops. Foodies should head for Mercearia di Atalaia (00 351 21 342 11 04, www.merceariadaatalaia.com) on Rua da Atalaia and A Carioca (00 351 213 420 377) on Rua da Misericordia. For cheesy gifts and knick-knacks such as porcelain cockerels and key rings look for A Vida Portuguesa on Rua Anchieta (00 351 213 465 073, www.avidaportuguesa.com) and The Wrong Shop (00 351 213 433 197) on Calçada do Sacramento.


Markets


Big chain superstores have arrived in Lisbon, but not on quite the same scale as in other Western cities. This is still a town where many will drag their shopping trollies around the local market to pick up their weekly requirements. The most famous market is the Feira de Ladra (Campo de Santa Clara, every Tuesday and Saturday, 6am – 5pm), which translates as thieves’ market. A Portuguese equivalent of a car-boot sale where people come to buy and swap household junk. The other major market is Ribeira Market (every Sunday morning, 9am – 1pm, near Cais do Sodré). A foodie’s heaven, where you’ll find good local produce, in particular some excellent wines and cheeses.

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 Lisbon Shopping: Fashion 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.