Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, has emerged as a premier travel destination in recent years. Flying more under the radar than major city break getaways such as Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam or Barcelona, Lisbon has cemented itself as one of Europe’s premier cultural capitals. Known for its pleasant climate, distinct architecture and thriving nightlife, it is also a great city for artisan shopping.
Main Shopping Areas
Lisbon’s historic district, Baixa Pombalina is the city’s main shopping area as well as its major economic centre. Rebuilt entirely following an earthquake in 1775, it is arguably the first example of earthquake-resistant urban planning on the continent. Its central location and close proximity to major landmarks makes it a highly popular destination amongst tourists. In addition to a wealth of shopping centres, it is also home to a number of boutique stores specialising in artisanal goods.
Avenida da Liberdade
The city centre’s finest shopping area, Avenida da Liberdade is on the site of a former public park. The Avenue as it is generally referred to by locals is home to a wealth of major designer labels and the perfect place to shop for those wanting to splash out. Even for those not wanting to spend this much, a walk down the avenue is one of the most pleasant experiences in the city. Modelled after Parisian boulevards, it is lined with trees and features a diverse range of architecture ranging from 18th Century neo-classical buildings to more contemporary structures, giving visitors a well-rounded view of the city’s history.
One of Lisbon’s most culturally interesting neighbourhoods, Chiado is located next to the main city centre of Baixa Pombalina. Chiado is also one of the best shopping districts in town, known for its combination of big brand companies and traditional artisanal shops. It is also home to a number of museums and bars, while its close proximity to Bairro Alto makes it an ideal place for those seeking out the city’s bustling nightlife.
Colombo Commercial Centre
Lisbon’s most notable shopping centre, the Colombo Centre is a far cry from the soulless, sterile malls we commonly associate with the term. Known for being thematically centred around the Age of Discovery, it has a unique appearance and is also well-known for its eco-friendly design. The largest shopping centre in the Iberian Peninsula, it has a wealth of stores with a number of different specialities including big brand names and smaller stores.
Main Shopping Markets
Mercado da Ribeira
Lisbon’s main food market, the Mercado da Ribeira is a sight to behold. One of the city’s major cultural landmarks, the market has been a staple of city life since the end of the 19th Century. A farmer’s market selling fresh meat and produce as well as home to the city’s trendiest food court, the Mercado also sells a number of local goods and crafts. An unmissable market experience.
Mercado do Jardim
Open once a week from spring to autumn, the Mercado do Jardim specialises in arts and crafts and is a brilliant exhibition of local artisans. In addition to the painstakingly made local goods, it is a great place to watch local performers and musicians. Set against the backdrop of one of the city’s most picturesque parks, the Mercado do Jardim is a singular and beautiful experience.
Feira da Ladra
Lisbon’s longest-running and most popular flea market, the Feira da Leidra is the best place in town to find the bargain of a lifetime. Literally meaning ‘Thieve’s Market’, Feira da Ladra is filled with sellers specialising in a diverse range of goods ranging from books, clothes, local crafts, antiques and furniture. For those with a keen eye and with much patience, the potential rewards are endless here.
LX Factory Sunday Market
One of the city’s newer markets, the LX Factory is a local arts centre which is home to a number of start-ups, which have grown increasingly popular in Lisbon recently. Every sunday, LX Factory plays host to a flea market, which draws vendors from all across town. The market is best known for its vintage clothes, local goods and vinyl.
Libraria Bertrand Chiado
The oldest bookstore in the world. Livraria Bertrand is now a major chain throughout Portugal but its original location in Chiado has been operation since 1732. While much has changed in the three hundred years since its opening, it remains one of the city’s most important cultural institutions and reflects Portugal’s important literary identity.
Armazem das Caldas
Lisbon is filled to the brim with boutique stores specialising in local arts and crafts, but Armazem Das Caldas is worthy of special mention. One of the city’s finest ceramicists, Armazem Das Caldas is a fairly recent addition but is by far one of the best stores of its kind. The pottery works are simply sublime, each painstakingly crafted.
A Vida Portuguesa
One of the most uniquely Portuguese stores you are likely to find in Lisbon, the store is known for attracting many international celebrity customers. Known for its aesthetically pleasing design, the store specialises in a wealth of local Portuguese products ranging from soaps to clothing. It captures the identity of the old Portugal better than anywhere else in town and is well worth seeking out.
One of the city’s finest specialist stores, Fora Sunglasses, as its name indicates, has one thing on its mind. Its sunglasses are handcrafted and are known for their intricate designs and aesthetic richness. Fora is one of the world’s premier independent sunglasses retailers and well worth seeking out for a stay in the sunshine-blessed city.