Lisbon, you beautiful, glowing sun goddess. Lisbon, you poetic and noble land mermaid. Lisbon, you perfect sunflower.
My smitten feelings for Lisbon reminded me a lot of Leslie Knope’s numerous and colorful metaphors for her best friend, Ann Perkins.
This May marked my first visit to The City of Seven Hills and I could not have been more enamored. My expectations were high (which can be good and bad) but in the end, I loved it. The days felt like a vibrant blur of ceramic tiles, pastries and peri-peri chicken.
With dozens of beautiful neighborhoods to explore, you’ll be spoiled for choice, but Chiado was an instant favorite of ours. (And Insta favorite.)
While trip planning, I took note of various landmarks, shops and restaurants I wanted to visit. I then realized many of them were in the same area, just minutes away from one another. A handful of them were on the very same street!
I mapped it all out and had it ready when we arrived. It was such a fun and easy route that I wanted to share it with you.
If I lived in Lisbon (True Life: I Daydream About Living in Lisbon), I have a feeling I’d spend a lot of time in Chiado. As opposed to “checking it off the list” and moving on, we went back several times to revisit favorite spots and explore new ones.
Keep scrolling for my self-guided walking tour that will take you to some of Chiado’s best spots, from viewpoints, bookstores and leafy squares to ice cream, pastries and juicy pork sandwiches. Take your pick, because this easy and beautiful walk covers it all!
Gelados Santini | Rua do Carmo 9
This iconic, long-standing ice cream maker opened its doors for the first time more than seventy years ago in Cascais, a coastal town west of Lisbon. One night Dan and I were looking for ice cream (standard) and Santini appeared on Google Maps with the description “legendary local ice cream parlour”. We were sold.
In addition to the storefront in the city, you can also still visit the original shop in Cascais.
Livraria Bertrand | Rua Garrett 73
Bertrand is the oldest bookstore in the world that is still in operation. Its first storefront was opened in 1732 not far from its present day Chiado location, which was established in 1773.
After hearing about its Guinness Book superlative, I think I was expecting something that felt more hallowed and historic; it turns out that today Bertrand is Portugal’s largest bookstore chain, and it definitely had that feel. However, the building itself is gorgeous, and as I’m a firm believer that #ReadingIsSexy, I always love to visit bookstores and libraries in new places.
For another absolutely beautiful Lisbon bookstore, head to Livraria Ler Devagar at the LX Factory.
Praça Luís de Camões | Largo Luís de Camões 1200-243
This small and lovely square has a statue in its center of 16th-century poet Luis de Camões. He’s surrounded by a handful of smaller statues of fellow renowned Portuguese authors. For a small square, there’s a lot of activity here, and it’s a great place to pause for a few and enjoy your surroundings.
The square is also home to one of the city’s iconic quiosques de refrescos, or refreshment kiosks. Stumbling upon these bright and uniquely decorated kiosks was a highlight of Lisbon. When I got home and read this article about their history, I was even more enamored, not to mention inspired by what determination and creativity can accomplish.
Here’s a quick overview:
The kiosks first starting popping up in squares throughout the city more than a century and a half ago. They served as a centerpiece to the Lisbon’s social scene; a gathering place to buy a newspaper, have a drink, and spend time outside with friends and family.
In the 1930s, the culture surrounding the kiosks began to fade. Many shut down and fell into disrepair. But in 2009, Lisbon native Catarina Portas and architect João Regal undertook a wide-reaching revitalization project to bring the kiosks back. The kiosk in Praça Luís de Camões is one of the ones they restored and reopened.
O Trevo | Praça Luís de Camões, 48
Sometimes you hear about a spot that locals allegedly love, and then when you get there, you get the distinct feeling it’s probably been a while since a local casually stopped in. Not so at O Trevo. Sure, you’re definitely going to see fellow tourists. But the local crowd isn’t about to let visitors get in the way of one of their favorite lunch spots.
Squeeze through the front door of O Trevo and you’ll find basic tables and standing room at the bar. Leave your phone in your bag; there aren’t going to be any neon signs or trendy pieces of art to Instagram. This is a place where the focus is on the food. (But would I judge you if you wanted to document your sandwich? Heck no!)
On our first visit we ordered right at the counter. On our second and third (no shame), we were seated by a waiter who buzzed around the small dining room taking orders, delivering food and clearing tables.
The specialty at O Trevo is a bifana, or pork sandwich. Tender, thinly sliced pork is grilled and then simmered in a garlic stock, then piled onto a fresh roll and served with classic yellow mustard. One sandwich cost us less than 2 euro and was a perfect mid-day meal. Their soup of the day was pretty delicious, too.
Manteigaria | Rua do Loreto, 2
If you’ve heard anything about Portugal, it’s probably involved their renowned custard pastries, pasteis de nata.
Manteigaria is known for making some of the best in the city. Their Rua do Loreto location is a great spot to not only get your fix but observe them being made, too. Either enjoy your sweet treat on-site while watching the magic happen or take some to enjoy outside while people – or tram – watching. (More on trams soon.)
Retrosaria Rosa Pomar | Rua do Loreto, 61
Retrosaria is the Portuguese word for haberdashery, otherwise known as a shop selling goods for sewing. Unfortunately when we stopped by to check this one out, it was closed; however, I’d be lying if I said the shop was what drew us there initially. The real purpose of the visit is right on the first floor landing: this colorful wall of mailboxes.
The Internet can be a weird and wonderful thing. (I emphasize can be.) I originally saw an image of this magical mailbox wall several years ago. I loved the design aesthetic and color palette. Fast forward to this spring, when it popped up on my Instagram feed tagged in Lisbon. I couldn’t help myself from seeking out these rainbow beauties in real life, especially since they were conveniently located near so many other points of interest for us.
If you’re anything like me and would get excited about something like a colorful wall of mailboxes, this stop is perfect for you. Bonus, it won’t require any extra effort!
Elevador da Bica | Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo
This steep street is home to the Bica funicular and is one of the most photographed spots in the city. There are actually two funiculars that run on this route, but only one is the iconic bright yellow model. The tram costs a few euro to ride and runs in each direction every fifteen minutes, with one train going down and the other going up simultaneously.
Searching for that perfect tram photo? Between crowds of tourists, locals going about their day, construction crews, delivery vans, and parked cars, it’s easier said than done to get an unobstructed shot.
My advice would be to walk past the street and take your first left onto Rua Marechal Saldanha. You can then stop at any of the three streets you’ll come to on your left-hand side: Tv. Do Sequeiro, Tv. Da Laranjeira, or Tv. Da Portuguesa. These are really just staircases down to the neighboring street that offer a perpendicular view of the funicular path. From here you can position yourself on the stairs, the neighboring street (Rua do Almada), or even right off of the tram route, depending on how far away/close up you’d like to be.
Time it just right and you’ll be able to snag a photo of the tram passing your street on its short journey.
Biblioteca Camões | 109, Largo Calhariz 17
Another spot great for bookworms, this public library has beautiful views over the city. (It also offers clean and free bathrooms – that rare and coveted treasure it can often be so hard to find while traveling!)
Miradouro de Santa Catarina | 401, Rua de Santa Catarina
One of the city’s many scenic miradouros, or viewpoints, this is a great spot to relax at another popular refreshment kiosk and enjoy views over red rooftops, the 25 de Abril Bridge, and the Christ the King statue across the Tagus River.
Following the Rua Marechal Saldanha that I mentioned above will take you right to this viewpoint.
It’s right across from the Museu da Farmacia, or Pharmacy Museum. On the first floor of the museum is a restaurant called Pharmacia that’s decorated in a funky, vintage way to complement the exhibits – wine bottles resting in first aid kit ice buckets, drug store cabinets on the walls, etc. There’s also an outdoor terrace full of bright, mismatched furniture.
Park Rooftop Bar | Calçada do Combro, 58
We stopped by Park briefly and ended up not staying because it was super busy and we were mostly interested in checking out the view, which was beautiful as promised. Had there been more room to hang, we would have stayed. It’s on the top floor of the parking garage on the corner of Calçada do Combro and Tv. André Valente, and you can access it by taking the stairs or elevator from inside the street level of the garage.
Walking this short route from start to finish will cover about 1km and take about fifteen minutes. Of course, I hope you’ll be stopping many times!
Use this map to guide your walk.
Have you visited Lisbon and/or any of the spots on this list? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!
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