Once the center of a mighty empire, the Portuguese capital was nearly wiped out in the 18th century, only to rise again and establish itself as one of Europe's most beguiling cities, rich in beauty, grace and melancholy
Author Chris Wright Photography Pedro Guimaraes
It isn’t the perkiest music in the world. Its performers sing in tortured tones about love and loss, set to the strum of acoustic guitars. But Lisboans are fiercely proud of their fado—more so since last year, when it was listed as a global cultural treasure by UNESCO. This urban peasant music is, in fact, enjoying a revival, thanks to artists like the dashing Duarte, who wouldn’t look out of place in a hip indie rock band. Courted by fashion designers and lauded on YouTube, Lisbon’s young fadistas are the hot new thing— even if their material is a couple of hundred years old.
If there’s a redundant institution in Lisbon, it’s the Tile Museum. The entire city serves as a permanent exhibition of tilework, or azulejo. Tiling was brought to the region by the Moors in the 15th century, but Lisboans have run with the idea. You’ll find tilework on houses, bars, benches, churches, barbershops. Entire streets are swathed in multicolor geometric patterns; the interiors of bakeries spin elaborate visual narratives. The best way to see this stuff is just by walking around. To buy some, visit Loja dos Descobrimentos on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, and ask for Josefa Ribeiro.
Diogo Noronha Andrade
CHEF DE CUISINE AT RESTAURANTE PEDRO E O LOBO
“Miradouro de Santa Catarina, near Bairro Alto, has one of the most beautiful views of Lisbon, plus a nice mix of tourists and locals. Sometimes there are people playing instruments. I usually walk my dog over there and hang out with my friends.”
STREET PERFORMER (BUDDHA OF CHIADO)
“I go to a typical tasca—a traditional spit-and-sawdust wine shop—in Santa Catarina. The senhora who keeps it is Rosa, so she calls it Taberna da Rosa. It has marble tables, wooden stools, no frills—just good, very cheap wines, made by small producers.”
OWNER OF THE BAKERY CONFEITARIA NACIONAL
“I like to go hiking in the hills of Sintra, a 20-minute drive from Lisbon. It’s very peaceful, with lots of trees and palaces. From the top you have a nice view of the sea. I walk along the beach or, if it’s cold, go to one of the fish restaurants. It’s lovely.”
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