Summer in London is glorious and miserable in equal measure. Calendars chock up with invites to festivals, outdoor cinemas and rooftop restaurants, and the chance to show off your bomb lemonade inspired pedi.
Then there are the tourists (you’re not one… London is domicile numero deux for you); the so-hot-it’s-illegal-to-transport-cattle tube; uber surge pricing; elbow room only at Selfridge’s, Harrods, J. Sheeky and Farmacy, because you are fighting for space with what feels like all 7 billion on the pavement’s of St. Christopher’s Place.
So grab your passports like the cool kids and head to the continent. Anywhere the mercury hits at least 20. If you’re a maroon passport holder, or are itching to get the most out of your Schengen, these guides are for you.
If Athens and Rome are Winston Churchill (old, wise, weathered), then Lisbon is Justin Trudeau (young, enthusiastic and easy on the eyes). Set over 7 hills, you’ll be put through your paces so this is more loafers than Louboutins territory – we clocked a total of 70 km in 5 days (#thighsofsteel) absorbing all the old and new, the riots of colour, and the drool-inducing aromas of the pastelarias. Here’s our lowdown of making the most of this achingly cool city.
At Tartine to start your day, right in the heart of Lisbon. A laid back brunch spot, (even by Lisbon’s standards) choose from breakfast offerings of waffles, eggs or pancakes. Don’t forget to try the fresh OJ.
Seafood at Time Out Mercado da Ribeira. Described as an editorial in three dimensions, Time Out bought together the best chefs of Lisbon, where they now offer bargain versions of their pricier restaurant meals. A colossal cafeteria offering everything from twist-on-traditional local food, to sushi, burgers and gelato. Everyone’s taste buds will be catered for.
Salted Cod at Madam Petisca’s. In fact, eat everything at Madam Petisca’s. With an impressive view over the River Tagus, an equally impressive and innovative menu and chatty staff, this quirky eatery will not disappoint.
For beautiful vintage packaged soaps, candles, homeware and gifts from the Lisbon institution that is A Vida Portuguesa.
To stock up on the obligatory presents at Take.me, featuring cute and quirky hand crafted goods featuring azulejo tiles and the Nando’s rooster (yes, really).
At Embaixada, if you only have time for one shopping stop. A former palace, it is now an Alice in Wonderland style concept store with fashion, beauty, craft and food all under one roof.
Explore the streets of Bairro Alta, Al Fama and Baixa for street art, charming winding lanes, and a glimpse into local life. Every turn provides a photo op.
Check out Fado (meaning fate) a form of melancholic singing, taking place in tiny little bars dotted in Alfama and Barrio Alto. A Tasca do Chico has outposts in both, with no cover charge or minimum spend, and provides an authentic experience, as guessed by the number of locals present.
Take the tram to Belem to check out some Portuguese history for an epic 16th Century monastery, breathtaking river views and the final resting place of Vasco da Gama. Eat gelato and drink cocktails in mason jars to take the edge of the heat afterwards.
Don’t leave without
Eating… a pastel de nata straight out of the oven from any of the hundreds of pastelarias. We recommend Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata
Buying… Portuguese soap. Or something made of cork.
Daytripping… to Sintra, a hill station with no less than seven palaces, including the Disney-esque Pena Palace.