LISBON HIDDEN GEMS

LISBON HIDDEN GEMS

Lately, Lisbon has indeed expanded its beauty and essence by the many visitors who have recently been discovering it.

But there are many corners and secrets in the city that remain far from the crowds that visit us and that are part of my memories and my daily life as a Lisboner.

That’s why I decided to share with you some of my favorite spots in Lisbon, where I often go to relax, meditate, meet with friends, shop or simply to get inspired and stroll.

Capela Santo Amaro
Capela Santo Amaro

SANTO AMARO CHAPEL

Legend has it that in the 16th century, some friars of the Order of Christ promised Santo Amaro the construction of a chapel in his honor if they survived a storm at sea that tormented them when returning from Rome.

Looks like the trip went well because there it is on the top of one of Lisbon’s seven hills, near Alcântara valley, the lovely and unique Santo Amaro Chapel.

Founded in 1549, this small temple with a round plant in Renaissance style, was projected by Diogo de Torralva, one of the most renowned architects of the 16th century.

Classified as a national monument since 1910, it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque treasures of this city.

The atrium is covered by a stunning set of glazed tiles in a late-mannerist style, alluding to Santo Amaro, and the three 18th-century wrought iron portals are also imposing.

The chapel is not always open to the public, and mass only happens on the first Sunday of every month but its location, on a stunning viewpoint, is a true invitation to quiet and contemplation moments over the Tejo river and the 25 de Abril Lisbon Bridge.

THE GALVEIAS PALACE GARDEN

Built circa the end of the 17th century, to be the country house of the Távora family, it served as a refuge for this family after the 1755 earthquake.

This palace in the center of Lisbon, at Campo Pequeno, houses the Municipal Library of Lisbon and hosts some exhibitions of historical and cultural interest.

Closed for 2 years of rehabilitation, it reopened in the summer of 2017 with stunning interiors of unique and original 17th-century tiles collection and many rooms have been adapted for studying and co-work, with internet access and services.

The highlight of this palace is the garden at the back where I go often to enjoy the quiet feeling of being far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It is the perfect place to enjoy a good book, and there is also a kiosk, where you can eat and drink.

Estufa Fria
Estufa Fria

ESTUFA FRIA

There is a magical place in Lisbon where my imagination runs wild.

In the middle of Lisbon, at Parque Eduardo VII, this secret garden is an authentic living museum of nature, with plants from all over the world like China, Australia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, the Antilles, and the Korean Peninsula.

This grand greenhouse has a fixed wooden slat that protects the plants from the rigors of winter and the intense heat of summer, and conditions the intensity of light and climate, providing the ideal environment to accommodate so many species.

The tranquility of this magnificent green sanctuary always transports me to distant landscapes, and inspires stories and fantastic characters among statues and sculptures, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and small surprising caves and stone paths.

AV. DUQUE D’ÁVILA

Perhaps you find it strange that I mention a mere street in the center of the city, close to Saldanha, in a residential area little visited by those who are looking for old Lisbon and its history in secular neighborhoods.

However, this noble area of the city, built at the beginning of the 20th century brings together some of my favorite places nowadays.

On the sidewalk along to Arco do Cego Garden, every Thursday and Friday of each month happens one of my favorite fairs in Lisbon, D’Avila Fair.

Some carefully selected stalls sell antiques, vintage fashion, handmade jewelry and artwork, and regional portuguese food delicacies, from where I often buy one of my favorite snacks: dried fruit and nuts.

On the next block, I love meeting my friends on the terraces in front of two of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

I have a special fondness for Art-noveaux, and the facades of these buildings are beautiful and intricate, full of details that I can’t get enough of looking at. 

One of these buildings is also part of my childhood memories, because it was there, on the second floor, that I learned to play the piano.

One block ahead, and you will find my favorite bakery in Lisbon called Pão Doce.

The smell in this store is irresistible and whets your appetite and you’ll find it hard to choose from so many varieties of bread and brioche.

But the one I am almost addicted to, has a slight flavor of fennel and cinnamon and it’s called Pão Doce, giving the store its name.

LORETO CANDLES

The Casa das Velas Loreto (Loreto’s Candles House) at Chiado, is probably one of the most ancient and most beautiful stores in Europe, working for 6 generations in a row.

Known for its handmade candles since 1789 this place has a very welcoming aura that you’ll feel just entering.

The beautiful wooden panels and colorful displays are mesmerizing and you will fall in love with the traditional smooth scents such as Tomato leaf, Heather, Coffee, Green Tea, Magnolia and, my all-time favorite, sweet Honey.

Don’t miss the chance to add a cozy and intimate atmosphere to your home with these natural scented candles.