Check in at the Hotel Valverde.
Not only is the location perfectly central, it’s on the Avenida da Liberdade, i.e. the home to Lisbon’s most exclusive boutiques. Strolls to and from the hotel offer the perfect opportunity for window shopping or actual shopping.
Grab a bica – the Portuguese equivalent of an expresso – in Fábrica Coffee Roasters to get you set up for the day ahead. With the Brazilian colonies being one of the greatest exporters of coffee in the world, it’s no surprise that Portugal became a nation of coffee lovers. The addiction has endured to this day and Fábrica’s signature coffee will show you why. Add pastéis de nata for the full Lisbon experience.
Walk off the caffeine and sugar by exploring the picturesque streets on your way to the Gulbenkian Museum‘s public gardens. Soak in some vitamin D or read a book, then pop inside as the sun climbs to its most intense point. You’ll discover that a world-class selection of artists make up the institute’s permanent collection. The curation goes far beyond Portugal with artists from JMW Turner to Rembrandt and Renoir.
Make your way to Cevicheria for lunch, and soak up the buzzy atmosphere of locals sipping pisco sours and enjoying beautifully presented dishes of crisp fresh ceviche of warming octopus causa. Hopefully, the meal will leave you feeling reinvigorated enough to forgo the metro and you can make your way to the riverside Mercado da Ribeira via the Santa Justa elevator, a 1901 construction linking different levels of the city. Traditional, bustling markets offer an array of local produce and ingredients, making it the perfect introduction to Portuguese food culture. A Vida Portuguesa is another worthwhile stop in the area: this department store showcases the best of Portuguese craftsmanship in everything from stationery to fine jewellery and quaint homeware.
From here, stroll along the banks of the river Tagus all the way to the Castelo do Santo Jorge, an 11th-century edifice on a hilltop, it offers some of the most beautiful views of Lisbon. They’re also some of the most photogenic, for you Instagram fiends.
Lisbon is a city that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.
Nip back to the hotel for a leisurely swim in the courtyard or a relaxing massage in your room before freshening up for the evening. Opt for a late dinner at Belcanto, as dusk settles in and your appetite starts to come back. The restaurant favours seasonal, organic products and aims for each dish to inspire memories and emotions. They’ve got the credential to back up this lofty talk, holding two Michelin stars along with a place in the hearts of their loyal clientele.
Alternatively, try Restaurante Geographia. This restaurant’s motto, ‘food that speaks Portuguese’, perfectly sums up its menu. Each dish is either traditional Portuguese fare or originated in a country that speaks Portuguese, think former colonies including Brazil, Macau, Goa, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe. It’s a gastronomic pitstop tour of an Empire. Finish your journey back in Portugal with an orange and olive oil portokal with basil ice cream.
Make your way home with a slight detour to the CINCO Lounge for either a nightcap or party starter. The choice is yours, but with a cocktail list this extensive and intriguing it’s an incredibly difficult one.
Assuage your hangover (or reward yourself for getting to bed before 3am) with the hotel’s excellent breakfast offering. Pancakes and pastries are always welcome, but healthier options are available too, as is champagne. Just something to note.
Pick up some souvenirs at Lisbon’s bustling flea markets; choose from Feira da Ladra or the LX Factory, depending on the day of the week. Each has its own particular vibe, but both promise hidden treasures for dedicated rummager. Other favourite shopping locations include Casa Pau-Brasil, a concept store that champions Brazilian design including our beautiful hand-carved beach bats, and JNcQUOI, a menswear ‘fashion clinic’ with an exquisite restaurant and bar space alongside sartorial treasures.
Gift obligations fulfilled, take this opportunity to head to one of Europe’s most beautiful and unspoilt beaches. The Comporta coastline has become something of a hotspot, but a rural, quiet one – a notspot, if you will – in recent years amongst celebrities and wealthy Lisbonites alike. Expect breathtaking vistas across the Atlantic, deserted strands, and the freshest, most delicious seafood in your life, served in an unassuming sadn-between-the-toes establishment. Restaurante Sal is a favourite for its local rosé and sea bass. drive back to Lisbon along the coastal road and enjoy one of the most magnificent sunsets in the world.
Start your last night out in the city properly with an apérif at PARK, a rooftop cocktail bar and garden offering beautiful panoramas of Lisbon at night. Follow this up with a little of old Lisbon culture by taking in some of the traditional fado music the city is famous for. Adega Machado dates from 1937 and is a typical fado house not so far from the hotel. The club’s chefs are as talented as its musicians, so try some of Lisbon’s most authentic preparations and peruse the all-Portuguese wine list to find my new favourite. They might be harder to source once you’re home, but don’t worry, Lisbon is a city you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.