What to visit around Lisbon

Do you want to get out of the city centre and find the best places and villages around Lisbon to get deeper in touch with Portuguese culture? Then we will share our favorite spots around Lisbon where we usually go with our family or friends. If you want to know also what to visit around Porto check our other blog post.

Portugal’s varied geography ranges from the verdant mountains and vineyards to the rolling farmland and medieval villages. So in just one hour from Lisbon you can find yourself in a completely different atmosphere and feel the weight of Portuguese history and traditions.

We already wrote about Romantic Sintra so this time we’re mentioning some least crowded and not so famous spots.

How to visit Évora from Lisbon

Évora is just 1-hour drive from Lisbon and, although is a small town in the Alentejo plains, its worth a visit. With more than 2 000 years, Évora was one of the most important Iberian cities under Roman rule. Today, Évora has a well-preserved Old Town, sheltering more than 4 000 historic structures, including old Roman walls and temples. The 13th century Cathedral of Évora, one of Portugal’s most important Gothic structures, is another big highlight. The macabre Bones Chapel is decorated with bones from more than 5 000 people that are artistically and impressively exposed.

If you happen to love stillness and a slow paced living style, than go further deep into Alentejo. Travel through its almost deserted roads and feel its plains and hills, seeing, from time to time, a house splashed in the landscape. The villages with a few hundred inhabitants are walled with whitewashed houses and paved floors.

If you love pre-historic monuments, not far outside the city is Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megaliths. Just remember that during the summer, the weather is always more extreme than the weather in Lisbon and it can be quite hot during the day.

The Famous “Templo de Diana” in Évora via Prestige Dreams.

 

Óbidos – Go west and travel to medieval times

Óbidos history is as beautiful as the place. It is one of the most beautiful and preserved villages in Portugal with its citadel encircled and protected by an old fortified stone wall.

Located on a hilltop in the Centro Region of western Portugal, Óbidos with its magnificent medieval castle is a travel machine. You walk in a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets that leads you along busy squares, inviting cafes, quaint shops and whitewashed houses spruced with colorful flowers. The castle with its commanding quarter, huge gates, towers and battlements, is now a luxurious hotel and a marvel to behold.

The big wall used to provide soldiers a way displace quickly along the fortification. Today visitors use this path of 1.5 km to circle around the city with spectacular views in every direction and it’s the best way to enjoy the citadel architecture.

Óbidos is just 80 km north of Lisbon and there are plenty of buses and excursions in that direction.

Óbidos deserves, at least, a full day. It takes time to truly taste the village, its precious medieval architecture, food, wines and, specially, its history.

The beautiful and tradicional small town of “Óbidos” in Portugal via Vortex Mag.

 

“Ginginha de Óbidos” – tradicional berry liquor served in a chocolate shot glass. Via Ruralea.

 

Why did the chicken cross the river?

To visit Tagus River south bank. On the other side of the river you get the best Lisbon views. Cristo Rei (King Christ) Statue is probably the most iconic place to visit since it’s seen from all over Lisbon and from up there you can see the entire city and River Tagus bay and mouth. Sunsets in Spring and Summer are astonishing from there since you can see the sun laying at Atlantic horizon. There are also some more incredible view points like:

Casa da Cerca

This beautiful 18th century house, is a contemporary art centre where exhibitions are held. From its magnificent gardens it is possible to enjoy the view over Lisbon and Tagus River.

 

Panoramic Elevator and Naval Museum 

The panoramic lift takes you 50 m down until the River Garden, where you find the Pipa Fountain and the Naval Museum. From the belvedere you enjoy an amazing view over Lisbon.

The Castle Gardens

The scenic overlook of Almada’s Castle, built during the Arab occupation, give us stunning views of Lisbon’s seven hills.

 

Capuchos Convent 

The surrounding environment, overlooking the sea, surrounded by pleasant gardens, away from the hustle and bustle of the great centers, just a few minutes from Lisbon, makes the Convento dos Capuchos a must visit for lovers of heritage and nature. The privileged location you can contemplate Lisbon, Sintra Mountain, Cascais Bay, Bugio, S. Julião Tower, Arrábida Mountain and Cabo Espichel. The simplicity and frugality of the building reflect the principles of the Franciscan friars. Today, more than 400 years later, the Capuchin Convent has the stillness and peace, perfect for meditation sought by its first inhabitants.

 

Arrábida

Most people discover Arrábida by accident getting or following wrong directions on their GPS. Suddenly you’ll find yourself facing crystalline waters surrounded by vegetation and white sand that will make you look again to you device, while thinking you’ve ended up in Sardinia. The hikes around the mountains and hills are completely embraced by nature and the end is almost a dream. You’ll find beautiful and protected sandy beaches that you’ll make you think you caught a plane to the Caribbean’s, except, of course, the water temperature.

 

Ericeira

The sea urchins gave the village its name are making a come back to Portuguese gastronomy. Ericeira become famous worldwide for its surf quality waves. But, besides surf, is also best known for the great and fresh grilled fish and sea food, especially lobster, raised in nurseries along the coast rocky.

Ericeira is a charming village, located about 30 kilometers west of Lisbon and still retains a beautiful historical part, labyrinthine streets and an excellent fishing port.

With a history that dates back to the Phoenicians, Ericeira was the most important port of the region during the 19th century and in 1910, while the Republic was being proclaimed in Lisbon, King D. Manuel II was fleeing to exile from from the Fishermen’s Beach.
The quality of the beach and surf made Ericeira one of the first surfing reserves in the world. So if you’re into surfing or willing to give it a try, you must visit Ribeira d’Ilhas beach, the mecca of surfing.

Distinguished as one of the most “cool” European villages Ericeira is fashionable and recommended. More than a simple typical Portuguese fishing village, you must look down while walking in Ericeira. You’ll step on the most beautiful displays of Portuguese Calçada art. Looking up, you’ll find buildings covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.

Azenhas do Mar – small town near Ericeira via Cidade Sem Fotos (Blog).

 

If you need some extra pointers or some other region or cities near Lisbon that you want to know more, just send us an email.


How to give that urban industrial interior design look to our apartment

You’re probably thinking that to create a the best urban industrial interior design look you just need refurbished materials and peel some wall layers. Or, that urban industrial style is just for loft apartments in big cities. This trend is growing not only in lofts but also in small and big spaces. Even big industrial spaces are being transformed into sets of apartments that are trying to capture some of the industrial essence.

Urban industrial, or Industrial chic as it’s sometimes called, combines utilitarian design with worn textures and the warmth of raw, aged woods, but there’s a little more to it.

The general lines of an urban industrial interior design

The genesis of urban industrial interiors lies on elements and designs that turn the gritty vibe of the frugal and poor of old working places into an interesting and appealing indoor context. Of course, a lot of experimentation is needed, using what you have from the space itself mixing it with unusual materials and features. Be careful no to get carried away and arrive to a distinctive bohemian look. We have to find the raw root of the space we’re working in and elaborate on the structural features, industrial components and even exposed ducting.

Urban Edge – Cozzy Apartment in Bairro Alto. Click here to see!

Transforming spaces “in the rough” into precious “gems”

Old industrial and office spaces were not built to be attractive and appealing to their workers. Saving costs and long lasting tough materials were the preferred choice for owners. Of course nowadays, a certain nostalgic feeling makes us look at those spaces with brighter eyes but still, something has to be done if we want to call it a Cozzy Home.

Floating in light colours and clean finishes adds a touch of feminine elegance to an overpowered “testosteroned” environment. In fact, the urban interior usually comes with a hefty dose of artistic indulgence, often turning to the unexpected for answers.

Urban Edge – Cozzy Apartment in Bairro Alto. Click here to see!

 

Hot to get the urban industrial look

The key to achieving an appealing urban industrial look is simplicity. Excess furniture and accessories might make it look more bohemian that industrial. So keep only what’s needed and remember that depth in the space will be found in the mix of textures and patina.

Let’s start with a neutral colour palette (grey, white, black), then layer in some warm wood tones. Look for woods that have some wear and tear. Scratches, knots and nicks will just add to the authenticity of the look.

Use metal.

Whether it’s metal windows. metal furniture and lighting or galvanized metals and steel will combine brilliantly with wood.

Expose pipes or bricks.

Industrial spaces are often wide, open rooms that feature these elements. Create your own kitchen table with wood from demolition boards.

You have to find some elements in your apartment, or falsely create, to give that immediate industrial look:

  • Exposed brick walls
  • Cements floors
  • Raw, unfinished materials
  • Sleek, metal and glass lighting
  • Exposed beams
  • Stainless steel accents
Urban Edge – Cozzy Apartment in Bairro Alto. Click here to see!

 

Creating or closing space

Usually industrial spaces are either to closed or too open. They were thought to cram the most amount of workers in an already tight space or they were wide open to have room for big machines and necessary reparations and production outputs. We can create a lighter, more spacious interior using steel and wood to separate or merge spaces.

Don’t hesitate to start picking those walls. First you never know what you might find under several layers of paint and cement after years of changes in that building. Second, wide space and industrial goes well together and there are always clever options of separating spaces with more utilitarian materials than simple walls.

Regarding walls and industrial interior design, remember what Reagan said to Gorbachev in 1989: “Tear down that wall!”

Urban Edge – Cozzy Apartment in Bairro Alto. Click here to see!

 

Interior decoration for an urban industrial apartment

For the industrial interior decoration, you will need objects that are made from steel, metal or wood. Painted walls with a mix of large pieces of art hanging is perfect choice for industrial style living room and timber or stone flooring are also good finishes that will help you achieve the industrial look.

You can use fabric lampshades made way for industrial steel wire lamps assuming all the cables as part of decoration and not something that had to be hidden away. Of course curtains are an element that does not make sense so, to add that ‘Cozzy’ effect, use plants to create a green, sustainable touch.

With no walls you can use tables, chairs and other more fixed elements like sofas to give a new layout and strengthen the urban look.

 

Urban Edge – Cozzy Apartment in Bairro Alto. Click here to see!

 

Conclusion

Urban industrial It’s all about mixing raw materials like galvanized metal, glass and reclaimed woods. Although it can appear a kind of nonsense style, we must keep the shapes and silhouettes relatively simple, while making use of vintage and salvaged items. It can have something in common with a modern farmhouse style and is often favoured by fans of “green” design. But it needs to be a lot more edgy, inspired by the industrial revolution.

You can find items that fit the urban industrial look all over the place, like second hand stores and salvage shops. Check also some restoration hardware but stay away from anything too cutesy and stick with items that have clean lines.

While it used to be reserved for converted lofts and factories, urban industrial is now “killing” in all kinds of buildings – both urban and rural.

So what are you waiting for? If we can help in any way, just drop us line.

 


What to visit around Porto

If you want to discover more about Portugal in your next holidays, around Porto there is so much to see and experience still connected to the deepest Portuguese culture and roots. Portugal is much more than Lisbon, Oporto and Algarve. We love our country and we are blessed to have travelled around so much. We have selected our favorite places close to Porto that we love and we believe are worth your visit.

Visiting Braga from Oporto

Considered by many the oldest city in Portugal, Bracara Augusta was founded more than 2000 years ago and was considered the Portuguese Rome, because of the so many churches and squares like in the Italian Rome. But, being old doesn’t mean it isn’t filled with life. In fact, Braga is the Portuguese city with more youth, seen in the lively bars and jovial aura that embraces the streets.

Since most of the attractions are concentrated in the historical center, it’s perfect for a urban walking visit.

The scattered gardens across the city are landscaped designed around the so many secular churches, such as Santa Cruz Church and Sé (Cathedral). The perfect spot to appreciate this landscape geometry is on the top of the hill where Sanctuary of Bom Jesus emerges as an important point of pilgrimage.

How to get to Braga from Porto

To reach Braga from it is best if you catch one of so many trains departing from Campanhã Station in Oporto. Another option is taking the bus that connects the main Portuguese cities in the north of the country like: Rodonorte e Rede Express

 

Visiting Guimarães from Oporto

If Braga claims to be the oldest city, Guimarães claims to be the birthplace of Portugal. The rivalry between these two cities from Minho Region is old and goes beyond football and regional quarrel. Both have interesting culture and beauty that is worth your visit.centro de guimaraes panoramico

You can feel the weight of history in Guimarães in the city center monuments, the Bragança Dukes Palace and the Guimarães Castle.

You can start from here: take a taxi up to the Castle region, which is in the highest part of the city, and then go down from there. Its walls are still well preserved and it is interesting to climb its tower.

If you enjoy hiking you can choose one of the hiking trails up to Penha Mountain and enjoy the magnificent views from the hill top Sanctuary. But if you’re feeling lazy just take the Cable Car up there, and still brag you walked all the way up when you get home. It will be our little secret…

After this mourning walk you deserve an excellent northern meal. Adega do Ermitão (Hermitage Cellar) is a restaurant/cellar inserted in a cave. It is known for the sardines bread loaf and codfish cakes that has flavors that your taste buds never experienced before.

How to get to Guimarães from Porto

The best way to go from Oporto to Guimarães is by train. In São Bento or Campanhã Train Station , which is located in the center of Porto, you can catch a direct train.

Don’t forget Porto Beaches and the northern coast

With all your attention drawn to the Douro and Ribeira you might neglect Porto’s beaches.

Portuguese northern coast is a bit more rugged yet very romantic. You can walk for miles without seeing a soul in those long stretched sandy beaches, even in Summer. Try to visit Vila Chã, just 20 km away from Porto, where you can still find the same traditional habits and life in this small fisherman village, kind of lost between the middle of the sand and ocean. We recommend having lunch there, where you’ll find the best cheapest meal of your life.

Crossing the river to the south bank, the Atlantic shore has a long stretch of a, what seems endless, sandy beach. The ocean road has bicycle and walking lanes, along small terrace cafés and restaurants.  If you’re happy to travel a little don’t rule out the town of Miramar, which has a pretty 17th-century chapel on the rocks between its huge golden sandy beaches.

Include some of the outlying beaches, a few minutes from the city. You have at least 10 to choose from, many of which fly the Blue Flag every year. The most convenient is Matosinhos, just past the Parque de Cidade and with a massive bay that seems boundless when the tide is out. There are plenty of surf schools here in case you want to give this sport a try. Closer to the city, Porto’s Foz do Douro, with its morning mist, adds an extra enchanting element. On a hot day you can dip your toes in the brisk Atlantic and clear your senses in the breeze.

Douro Cruises

cruseiros-douro-portugalDouro is beautiful. There are so many kinds of cruises: from sailing to wine cruises you name it. Roteiro do Douro’s is an informative riverboat cruises website where you can find the best deals. You can choose a quick hop-on, hop-off tour spanning Porto’s six bridges from 15 euros to going up stream to Barca d’Alva for a couple of days and feel the overwhelming Douro slopes embracing you.

Visit a wine cellar

Since your going to where the vines are, visit a wine cellar. Douro is famous for its wine but not only Port. Douro wine is one of the most appreciated wines in the world, winning several awards. The river slopes provide different sun exposure and completely different terroirs. The famous wine expert Jancis Robinson even considers:

“This remote valley well upriver from Oporto is one of the wonders of the wine world.”

Some cruises have partnerships with wine cellars, where you can taste different bottles from different years and learn more about wine.

 

Porto bridge climb

This last one is a bit different from the other tips and also more radical. However, we feel that the views you get from Douro’s last bridge before the Atlantic are breath-taking. When Ponte da Arrábida (Arrábida Bridge) was finished (1963) had the longest span of a concrete arch bridge on the world.

But what has really put the Arrábida Bridge on the map is the new bridge-climbing activity.

Kitted out with safety gear, you’ll have Douro’s river mouth and the older part of Porto at your feet. At the top, 65 meters above the River Douro, the panoramic views of the outlying city and the length of the river ending up at the Atlantic Ocean create one of the most original urban attractions.  It is one of the more unusual things to do in Porto and certainly a radical departure from the traditional sightseeing options.

Hope this blog post has helped you. If it didn’t just drop us a line and we’ll be glad to help.

Porto Bridge Climb, a unique experience in Porto.

Love holidays in Portugal

There are several European cities known for their Old-World romance, sprinkled in fairy dust and history, but the most romantic city, perfect for love holidays is Lisbon. Of course our opinion is not biased, just because we love and fell in love in Lisbon.  

The recipe for this romantic cocktail is easy:

  1. Equal parts beautiful weather and stunning colours;
  2. Two parts of relaxing surroundings around the city;
  3. A few dashes of magic sunlight and starry skies.

Mix it all together and you’ll find the perfect combination for your love holidays in Lisbon.  

We just feel that there is something in Lisbon light, smell and looks, that provide us leisurely strolls and beautiful promenades leading us to amazing sunsets that makes us live the moment entirely.

Is there anything better than to share this feeling with someone you love?

 

The most romantic places to stay in Lisbon

Nowadays, some newly weds and couples are preferring to rent apartments for their romantic getaways, keeping things even more private and Cozzy.

Of course we’re biased but we’d like to point you in the direction of our most romantic apartment in Lisbon: The Chic Breeze apartment in Bairro Alto. We carefully designed and decorated for romantic couples.

elegant classy flat lisbon
Cozzy Chic Breeze Apartment for rent in the heart of Lisbon with romantic interior design.

 

If you rather have the service of a hotel, then we suggest the charming Torel Palace, housed in two former palaces. We are not affiliated with this place, but we believe you will find the best of both worlds: the fast pace you expect from a capital city and the peace and quiet only achieved in a rural and private setting. The rococo decoration with golden and flowery is just one of the distinguishing elements of this hotel that is the champion of the most panoramic views of Lisbon.

It’s quite isolated, well hidden between the Jardim do Torel and the Elevador do Lavra. A late afternoon glass lighten by sunset light makes this terrace one of the most exclusive outdoor bars in Lisbon and perfect for any love holidays.

 

Romantic sunsets and starry nights in Lisbon

We already mentioned several times how gorgeous Lisbon light is and where you can see the most amazing sunsets in Lisbon.

If we had to choose the best view point for a romantic sunset in Lisbon, then Miradouro de Senhora do Monte would be it. It is one of the highest points in the city, provides a panoramic view of Lisbon and is especially well-known for its stunning sunsets. From there, you can see São Jorge Castle, Lisbon centre, the banks of the Tagus River and Bairro Alto.

best-places-sunset-lisbon
Sunset in “S.Jorge” Castle, Lisbon via Lisbon Lux.

 

A romantic nightcap in Lisbon

Bring your romantic day in Lisbon to a close, with an indulgent nightcap. You have rooftop bars like Silk Club, Parque or Rio Maravilha overlooking the river with stunning views. But you prefer a more private and cosy place, then Paródia is an antiques shop was turned into a bar in 1974 and remains open today as one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The intimate ambience goes back in time to the 1920s, with an Art Nouveau décor in two “vintage” rooms, with magazine covers on the walls, mirrors, woodwork and marble.

As you sit back and take in the scenic views or absorb the local energy, you’ll quickly discover why Lisbon is the perfect city for a love holidays.

“Rio Maravilha” Restaurant/Bar in Lisbon via Trip Advisor

 

Starry skies

If you’re willing to go the extra mile, in this case, the extra 70 miles, you can visit one of many vineyards hotels in Évora region. Go there on a clear night and you’ll be able to gaze at the stars and milky way as there is no light pollution near.

 

The romantic Lisbon center

Just get lost in the little streets, trying to find your way out in alleys and tiny long stairs, the hikes up and down and make sure you also have a coffee/ dinner in one of the small restaurants located in the side walks. It is a perfect place for spending 2 hours walking around, holding your love one hand.

 

Alfama urban walks

With its medieval alleys, striking architecture and scenic ocean views, Alfama is perfect for lovebirds to explore. Overlooking this romantic Lisbon district is the hilltop São Jorge Castle. Reaching it through its narrow streets allows you to discover tiny squares, quaint houses covered in blue and white Portuguese azulejos (tiles), and lively restaurants and bars.  Discovering together this inner core of the city will take your romance to another level.

 

Fado – Lisbon’s Fado music

Fado was born of nostalgic days. This emotionally moving style of Portuguese music will set your heart aflame. Most Fado houses tend to be cosy, dimly lit spaces where singers are accompanied by live guitarists. However, be careful to avoid the tourist trap Fado bars. Check our post about Dos and Don’ts at Lisbon to know the best places to go and what to avoid.

Fado House/Restaurant in Lisbon (“A Severa”) via Discover Lisbon.

 

Ice cream in Lisbon – probably the best in the world

Maybe it’s the image of Audrey Hepburn eating an ice-cream in Roman Holiday, but we find sharing a good ice-cream with your love one can be one of the most romantic things to do. Fortunately for us that live here, some of the best gelato makers in the world are in Lisbon.

It all started in the 1950’s with an Italian gelato master, Attilia Santini,  moving to Cascais. Santini Ice-creams were so good, that Attilio even became friends of the Kings of Spain, living in Cascais in tha period. The brand became famous all over the country and other ice cream shops had to work hard to keep up the quality. This way, it’s no surprise that you can find excellent ice-creams all over the Lisbon  that would shadow some of the most notorious Gelaterie in Rome.

Let’s just say that Lisbon Ice-creams are so good that, if Audrey knew, the movie would be called Lisbon Holiday.

Amorino Ice Cream Roses in Lisbon via Living in Iberia.

 

Go wine tasting

A glass of wine that can completely take your evening to the next level, if you know what we mean – and we think you do;). Depending on the wine, it’s a relaxing and sophisticated addition to any meal and also perfect on its own. We’ve talked about wine and in case you didn’t read it, Portugal has the best wine in the world , regarding price/quality relationship. Portugal’s wine may not be as popular as France or Italy’s, but they’re delicious and will be another aphrodisiac to your romantic evening.

Exploring Portugal’s wines is the easiest thing to do in Lisbon. Every restaurant or bar owner is proud of the wine they serve there.  Just ask for a recommendation and you’ll get a complete basic tutorial on Portuguese wine.

 

Sintra – the most Romantic Village in Europe

If you’re looking for a village that looked that was drawn from scratch to be the best romantic village in the world, you’ll find it in Sintra.

This village inspired poets and writers, who created romantic scenarios, lyrics and songs. Sintra also became a refuge for kings and dreamers, building Palaces, gardens and corners on top of the mystic Sintra Mountains. All this, combined with its characteristic mist, gives Sintra the title of the capital of romanticism and is the perfect love destination for your holidays.

You can visit Monserrate Palace, set on a gorgeous estate, and experience Portugal’s most exquisite examples of Romantic architecture, surrounded by lush botanical gardens.

Or you might prefer to go Old-school on your romance and enjoy a carriage ride, through the enchanting Vales dos Lagos (Valley of the Lakes) and the Chalet of the Countess of Edla, through the green, hilltop forests of Pena Park.

After your carriage ride, take the 434 bus up to Pena Palace. The Palace looks like it was drawn by a Moorish architect that stole the “Back to the Future” De Lorean, got his inspiration on Las Vegas and Disney World on a present day and returned to the 19th century, to transform an abandoned monastery.

Former vacation home for royalty, the Pena Palace is at the top of Serra da Sintra, perfectly located for some breath taking views of the surrounding area. And don’t miss out on touring the inside of the palace, which is just as decadent and glittering as the outside. If you still have time, tour the Moorish Castle and the Convent of the Capuchos, just a short walk down the hill.

“Pena” Palace in Sintra via BookMundi.

 

How to get to Sintra quickly:

Take an early train from the Rossio train station in downtown Lisbon to the end of the line – Sintra. It’s about a 20-30 minute train ride. When you arrive, your romantic instinct will guide you, through the cascading hilltop houses and buildings as you walk towards the centre.

 

Conclusion: Why is Lisbon considered the most romantic city?

 

Recently, in the TimOut annual City Index 2016, Lisbon was considered the most romantic city. The reference criteria was its dynamism, inspiration, food and drink, community, sociability and accessibility.

From the various conclusions, it turns out Los Angeles is the best city to eat, London is the perfect destination for fun and Lisbon is the place to travel with its expensive half (As a side note it was also listed as the third most fun city in the world).

This is not the first time that Lisbon is classified as ideal for the most romantic ones. Already in 2013, the capital was awarded the distinction by Food & Wine publication.

As you can see, it’s not just us that find Lisbon and its surroundings, the most romantic city in the World. We believe you’ll feel the same when you get here.

If you need more tips or information, drop us a line or send us a whatsapp. We love to help love happen.


Feel the mystic – what to visit in Porto

Probably this isn’t the first website you’ve read to help decide what to visit in Porto. Chances are, you haven’t decided where to stay in your next holidays in Porto, either. If you haven’t found a place, let us point you in the direction of our Cozzy Homes.

Now that we got our “sponsor” out of the way, let us mention our top list of things we love in and around Porto. Of course there are many more, but these are the ones we think will make you feel the mystical and enchanted life of the city.

 

How to dive into the enchanted underground of Porto

Porto has something mystical that is difficult to describe and which varies according to the place, time of day and light. These top things we love in Porto are just the tip of the iceberg. We want you to discover the medieval heart of the city that inspired JK Rowling, when she lived and taught here. Without Porto, probably Harry Potter would never found the way to Hogwarts.

Cais da Ribeira

The Ribeira is the medieval riverfront neighbourhood, UNESCO World Heritage Site and Porto’s most iconic cityscape.

There are cafés and restaurants lined on after the other with relaxing and spectacular views, including sunsets over Porto’s bridges.

Of course there’s plenty of things to do, see, eat, etc, in Cais da Ribeira, and the riverside walk by itself is worth the trip. Moving a little to the inside, if you duck through the arcades you’ll find yourself in an intriguing maze of steep streets and stairways between the ancient houses.

But our favourite thing is to seat at a nice terrace café, order a glass of wine (or coffee if its before 12 AM) and stop. Just watch the river go by, imagining what “he” must have seen over the past 2000 years.

Just feel the noises, the smells and pay attention to how the colours change on the postcard-perfect row houses while the sun appears and disappears behind the clouds.

Cais da Ribeira, OPorto via GoOPorto

 

Clérigos – Rise Above the Rooftops

Clérigos tower is like the Empire State Building of the Portuguese 18th century. At the time it was the tallest building in the country and at the top you’ll be rewarded with a complete 360º city panorama. It’s a beautiful monument, with delicate carvings all the way up and a clock so high you need to take few steps back to be able to read it properly.

Of course, presently there is no comparison possible with the Empire State Building. Clérigos Tower is far superior, with a clean and magnificent view over the red-roofed houses and Douro river.

A triumph in Baroque construction for its height and exquisite stonework, Clérigos Tower is a symbol of Porto. The ticket is only 3€ and grants you access to the sixth-floor balcony as well as the Clérigos Church itself. If you’re lucky you can even listen to the polyphonic harmonies of the church choir.

‘Torre dos Clérigos’ in Porto via TâmegaSousa

 

Livraria Lello – Spark Your Imagination

Remember our Harry Potter reference at the beginning?

Right next door to Clérigos, you have to check in at this delightful bookstore on Rua das Carmelitas. It was considered one of the most beautiful in the world, by The Guardian  and cooler by Time magazine .

Livraria Lello has an Art Nouveau design, with plenty Gothic traces in its murals and pinnacles on the facade. The central staircase is the major attraction. But the ceiling piping and stained glass skylight inside are also stunning.

There’s also an indirect celebrity endorsement: Legend has it that one of J.K. Rowling’s mains inspirations for the Harry Potter fantasy world was Porto’s.

JK Rowling was married to a Portuguese and lived in Porto during the 1990s, when she began to write “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. Although she had never spoken openly about her time in Portugal, according to Time magazine, the staircase Rowling describes at Hogwarts is based on what we can find in the Livraria Lello. However, contrary to what some fans of the saga think, no scene was filmed there.

In recent years, the bookstore has become so overrun with tourists that there’s now a €2 entry fee, which is redeemable against any purchase in the store.

“Livraria Lello”, famous bookshop in Porto via Pontos de Vista

 

Café Majestic

With a Art Nouveau façade of beautiful stonework and undulating motifs, this coffeehouse is a Porto gem.

Inside, you’ll find a vintage 1920s ambiance with the original carved wood chairs and marble-topped tables that fills Majestic its delightfully bohemian flavour. The walls reflect the Majestic spirit with the help of some huge Flemish mirrors while cherubs and lamplights cling to the plasterwork ceiling. This is one of Europe’s most historical cafés but besides the “majestic” architecture and interior design” the café is also known for its cakes and pastries selection, and conjures up specialties like French toast smothered in a creamy egg custard topped with dried fruit. Kids will love it here, especially when they realize that author J.K. Rowling worked on the draft of her first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone while sipping coffee at a table near the entrance.

Majestic, emblematic coffee in Porto via pportodosmuseus.

 

How to get to Porto

By plane

If you’re arriving directly by plane, the airport transfer means are highly reliable at Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport. But you can also count with our Cozzy Airport Transfer service.

Getting to Porto from Lisbon

Train will be the best way to travel from Lisbon to Porto. The tickets are between 20€ and 40€ and the trips is just a bit longer than 3 hours. In order to learn more about the railway routes between Porto and other national and international destinations, train schedules and ticket prices please visit Comboios de Portugal.

 

Conclusion

Remember that the weather in Porto is a bit different than in Lisbon , but you can still visit Porto all year round. However, there’s a special charm in April and May. After the winter rains there is lovely freshness and greenness to the city. Cafés and restaurants that line the River Douro and the outlying beaches are filled with life.

Porto is truly an enchanted city with a cosy medieval spirit still floating around. Porto people are filled with generosity and are emotive and expansive. If you’re looking for some magical times, forget the packed Euro Disney and visit us at Porto.

If you need any help or more information, drop us a line or send us an Whatsapp (+351 932 323 296).

 


What is the weather like in Lisbon, Portugal

If you’re planning your trip to Lisbon, Portugal, and are looking for the best time, weather related, to visit Lisbon, this is the post for you.

The official tourism season is expanding from the summer months to all year around.  Lisbon is one of the sunniest cities in world and it’s estimated to have 300 sunny days per year. However, the best time to visit Lisbon depends on your interests and what you want from this visit.

Let’s break down the weather in Lisbon per month.

The weather in Lisbon in January

Winter in Lisbon via Simply Lisbon

Starting from the beginning, the weather in Lisbon in January is around 14ºC (57ºF), during the day. However, it’s not uncommon to have warmer days, where most northern visitors are seen walking around with shorts and t-shirts, escaping their freezing winters.

During the day, you can walk around freely, visit monuments and feel the vibrant downtown. At night, all the best restaurants are more vacant. Portuguese had eating heavily during Christmas and New Years festivities and now it’s that time of the year to take a break.

 

The weather in Lisbon in February

Winter time in Lisbon, Belém – ‘Mosteiro dos Jerónimos’ via Blondie at worldz end

Moving on, the weather in February in Lisbon can be tricky. You can have an excellent week where you can feel spring is at the door. Of course, you can also get lousy weather. Just remember, that lousy weather for us is what English and Dutch people call a normal Spring day. Portuguese and rain do go along that well. Traffic goes mad, people stay indoors or flood malls, like Attila the Hun invaded Europe. But, these can be good news for tourists that are used to this weather. In February, the weather in Portugal is perfect to eat and drink, not feeling guilty that you should be somewhere else doing or seeing some monument.

 

The weather in Lisbon in March

Half Maraton in March (EDP Portugal Sponsored) via Terra Ruiva

We have this popular expression about weather in March in Portugal:

 

In March, winter in the morning and summer in the afternoon.

 

Of course, it rimes in Portuguese, but most important it makes a lot of sense. Basically, in Lisbon the weather in March has cold mornings with temperatures around 10º C (50ºF), rising up to more than 20ºC (68ºF) after lunch. March weather in Lisbon is perfect for hiking around the city hills and relaxing at one of many viewpoints terraces.

 

The weather in Lisbon in April

Animal March Lisbon 2017 in April via EPHEMERA

In Lisbon the weather in April is… great. We love it. The winter is gone and a lot of Portuguese start going to the beach during the Easter holidays. The weather is not summer perfect, but the sun is warm enough. Families take their children to play with sand and lovebirds have their romantic walks along the seashore. The long river side walk between Cais do Sodré and Belém is beautiful and what better way to feel the energy where Portuguese Sailors departed to discover the world.

 

The weather in Lisbon in May

Pink Street in Cais do Sodré via Visão

The weather in May in Lisbon is pretty much like in April… during the day. But the nightlife starts booming in May, in Lisbon. Don’t get us wrong. Lisbon night life is famous for not being seasonable. But in May, Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré are packed with people having drinks in the middle of the street, enjoying those warm nights.

 

 

The weather in Lisbon in June

‘Costa da Caparica’ Beach in Portugal via HDBeachCam

Regarding weather in Lisbon, June is as close to weather perfection as it gets. Hot summer nights invite everyone to come out to enjoy the so many festivities that occur during this month throughout the city. During the day the temperatures are between 26ºC (79ºC) and 30ºC (86ºF) ordering you to relax at Costa da Caparica or Cascais beaches.

 

 

The weather in Lisbon in Summer time

Music Festival in July – NOS Alive via Nit

The temperatures, during the Summer in Lisbon are not that hot, comparing to other southern cities like Madrid, Athens, Rome and Barcelona. The cold Atlantic waters and the northern breeze, that blows almost everyday, are Portugal natural air conditioning.

The most difficult thing to find in Lisbon, during the summer, is time. You can walk around and visit the city during the morning, enjoy the beach after 3 PM, check one of the best sunsets of the world , have a late dinner and go crazy at night. You’ll sleep when you get home.

 

The weather in Lisbon in September

Lisbon Outjazz via Jornal Hard Musica

The weather in September in Lisbon is not as credited as it should. The temperature is milder and more pleasant throughout day and night. The beaches are not as crowded, since almost everybody had their fair share of beachcombing and the northern wind is over. Even the ocean water hits its warmest peak. It’s the perfect weather for anything you want to do: Visit Lisbon or travel around to other cities, relax at uncrowded beaches during the day and have a blast at night. If you surf or would like to learn, then this is the perfect time.

 

The weather in Lisbon in October

 

Lisbon Streets – October via Ambitur

Climate change affected the weather in October in Lisbon. For the past years, October looked like a normal summer month. No rain and hot and dry days were the perfect combination for the devastating fires in October 2018. While the rest of Europe is prepping for winter, we’re still enjoying the sun.

 

 

The weather in Lisbon in November

St Martins – Chesnuts’ Man in Baixa (Chiado) via TrekEarth

November weather in Lisbon is the perfect month to do the Portuguese favourite thing: eat!

Chestnuts are roasted on the streets and the S. Martinho festivities are packed with smoked traditional Portuguese delicatessens as well as traditional pastries. Don’t forget the most important: “Água pé” (literaly translated Foot Water) a kind of mild wine that we call the “people’s Champagne”.

 

 

Conclusion

So, when is the best time to visit Lisbon, regarding weather? The best time is now. You’ll always have fun in Lisbon regardless of the weather. If you want to enjoy the beach and hot nights come in the summer months. If temperatures over 30ºC (86ºF) are too hot for you, you’ll find our Autumn perfect. In case you’re looking to escape a freezing winter and hike the city hills, then you’ll find our winter just perfect.

Let us know if you need more information. Send us an email or Whatsapp.


Do’s and don’ts of Lisbon

Watch Lisbon Sunsets

Lisbon is famous for its light and kaleidoscopic sunsets which arrive between 17h30 and 16h30 during winter and 20h30 and 21h30 in summer time. Whether you’d rather laze on the beach with a beer or sipping a cocktail high above the waves, in a viewpoint bar, Lisbon and its surroundings are packed with great spots to kick back and watch the sun sink into the sea or river end.

Sunset in Lisbon – Miradouro de Santa Catarina via LisboaLux

 

Stay longer – go beyond the city

Visit Sintra, Mafra, Cascais, Serra da Arrábida and Troia.

Anyone who doesn’t is missing out big time. Also check the not so touristic famous Costa da Caparica, taking the scenic route on the ferry (then bus) via the charming little fisherman’s town of Cacilhas.

Then head to the beaches. You’re not going to find the perfect landscape for a postcard but you will find miles of sandy beaches with some restaurants on the sand where you can have delicious grilled fish and sea food.

Portugal is known for its beaches, with surfers riding waves. Go to the beach early in the morning and have a surfing class just to brag at home that you’ve become a surfer.

Pena Palace in Sintra.

 

Explore the wine

Portuguese wine is more than culture. It’s a heritage.

From Algarve shores to the breathtaking mountains of the north, Portugal is a land of contrasts. The weather and terroirs are so diverse in such a small country. From north to south, from mountain to maritime vineyards, from hot and dry to cool and wet weather, Portuguese wine absorbs the different characteristics from where was produced.  In every style, from fizz to port, from crisp dry whites to elegant reds, in so many diverse ways, Portuguese wines are unique.

Of course we’re biased, but we have tasted wines from all over the world. We can surely say that, regarding price/quality ratio, Portuguese wines are the best in the world.

 

Do try salted codfish – unique in world

The story of codfish is intimately connected with the history of Portugal, with records of Portuguese fishing fleets as far back as the sixteenth century. Long before refrigeration was made available, salted cod fish was, for a long time, one of the few kinds of food that could be easily stored for a significant amount of time. It played a very significant role in triggering the Age of Discoveries, since it could be stored in ships for the long oceanic voyages.

From this conservation method, Portuguese ended up creating so many stupendous ways to cook with it that it became a central ingredient of the Portuguese gastronomy. To talk about codfish in Portugal is to talk about family, dinners with friends and the Christmas night.

There are books with more than 1000 recipes with cod, but that’s just the tip of the “Cod-berg”.

“Bacalhau à Brás”, Portuguese tradicional dish.

 

Have a traditional Portuguese night out.

Please don’t come here and try to drink like you are sprinting to the finish line.

On a Saturday night if you look around and realize you already drank six and your Portuguese friends seem to be on their third, it’s probably midnight.

Remember Portuguese have a late dinner around 9 PM, leave the restaurant at 11PM and go for some drinks at a bar. After 2 AM, Portuguese leave the bars and head for the clubs, have a few drinks there, dance the rest of the night away. At 6 AM, head out for a Bifana (pork sandwich) or a hot dog, have a few drinks there watching the sunrise. Then, we look for desert after the Bifana and wait for a bakery to open, eat a cake and either go to an after-hours party or have a little rest, before meeting you at the beach after lunch.

 

DON’TS

Don’t come here on a diet

Lisbon is a city full of pastry shops, bakeries and cosy restaurants serving truly spectacular traditional food. Food and wine is part of our culture. More, than that, we are obsessed with our food. If you arrange a meeting with locals, chances are it’s going to be in a restaurant. And they probably spent the last days thinking of the perfect place to take you.

We are proud of our gastronomy and we love to share it with foreigners. If you ask any Portuguese what is the best food in the world they will say it’s Portuguese. Therefore, coming to Lisbon on a diet is a sure way not to experience everything that it has to offer.

Portuguese Rice Pudding (“Arroz Doce”) via home.made.interest

 

Don’t take tram 28 at rush hour

It’s almost in every Lisbon tourist guide. The 28 tram is one the best and most inexpensive ways to get to know the more traditional neighbourhoods of Lisbon. However, it’s still a public transport used by locals to commute. Therefore, it is better to avoid between 6 PM and 8 PM. You’re not going to enjoy the ride if you’re packed like a canned sardine in rush hour.

It’s practically empty between 9 AM and 11 AM (except maybe in August when it may be packed with tourists at all times). During these hours you’ll be able to enjoy the mellow, laid back feeling as you look out the window, sit down on the old leather seats, feel the breeze, and listen to the creaks and squeaks the old rail makes, as it has been for the last 70 years.

Don’t say ‘gracias’

The word for “Thank you” is “Obrigado” pronounced ‘oh-bree-ga-do’ with a slight roll of the r. Portuguese people speak Portuguese, not Spanish, so you aren’t doing anyone favour by practicing your “Espanhol” skills. You’re not going to insult anyone, since Portuguese are not insecure about their culture and language, but you’ll look ignorant. It makes more sense to say “gracias” in the USA where 20% of the population speaks Spanish than in Portugal. It would be the same thing like going to England and say “Danke shoen”.

Don’t drink Port wine with your meal

Although Port wine is internationally renowned and you might be eager to try it, just remember that it is a dessert wine or an aperitif. If you’d like to mix it with food, then find yourself a platter of traditional cheese or maybe some chocolate and/or berries. If you still decided to pair it with a meal, don’t blame us when locals look at you with disgust.

He Knows Wine: Port Wine Episode by Jay Lively (youtube).

Don’t pay a fortune for Fado houses that are targeting tourists.

There’s still traditional Fado houses that keep their standards and you can listen for free.

In Cais do Sodré, o Povo is kind of a musical residency for young Fado singers/players. They usually perform on weekdays, around 10 PM (Portuguese time, so it can start later). To attend, you just have to drink or eat at regular prices (around 15 Euro for a couple of plates of traditional snacks). The Fado museum on weekends have small events for visitors, where you have a short Fado session with a tour of the museum. There is no extra to the admission price. There are also bigger and main events with good “Fadistas” if you really love our national music.

Our favourite is Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto. They have “wild” Fado on Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s a good place to have a drink and petiscos (Portuguese tapas) at a fair price (and their quite good either). Since you’re there ask for a “firefighter” chouriço. It’s a Portuguese Delicatessen roasting in burning alcohol.  

Tasca do Chico – Fado House in Bairro Alto via Zomato

 

If there’s anything else you’d like to know just drop us a line or send us a whatsapp (+351) 932 32 32 96. We’re glad to help.


5 simple things to know before visiting Lisbon

Lisbon has been recently re-discovered by the rest of world but there are a few simple things to know before visiting Lisbon that will make your trip even better. From the many guests we’ve receive over the past years, we realize that there are some things that if the knew before hand, they would have enjoyed even more their visit.

Altough it’s located at the southwest tip of Europe and isn’t as centrally-connected as other countries, Portugal has a life vibrancy that is infectious. Everyone is happy and friendly, the food is delicious, and the weather in Lisbon is amazing.

discover-lisbon-again

How to get around Lisbon

transports-lisbon-tram-28You should know before visiting Lisbon that public transportation is quite good nowadays. The underground fares start at 1.45€/single ticket and will take you basically anywhere within a comfortable walking distance. Taxis are quite cheap and you can always call an Uber.

The bus system is a bit tricky but it’s cheaper than taxis and quite extensive.

If you want to visit Cascais or Sintra, there are fast trains that will drop you off at the centre of these villages in a half an hour journey.

There’s also car sharing, bicycle renting and even Asian style tuk-tuks.

You can get a Lisbon Card that allows you to travel for free and enjoy free access to Lisbon’s best museums and attractions.

Obviously you cannot forget Lisbon Trams. They are not just for tourist rides. They serve the public and are use by locals to commute. But, besides being a good way to get you from A to B, a tram ride is also a good experience.

How do I get money, money, money!

Portugal is in the Euro zone. The currency is Euros and it will be very difficult that any business will accept other currencies (except some hotels). In case you arrive at the airport without Euros, there thousands of ATMs (look for Multibanco signs) in all international airports and towns. So you can withdraw Euros directly from your bank account. Also, Portugal was the first country in the world to have a unified banking system where you can withdraw cash from any ATM machine. So all country is well covered with these machines and, except a few small restaurants, almost every business accepts credit and debit cards. Just check your banking fees first.

If you exchange money at home, avoid bringing bills larger than 50 Euros. If your currency exchange provider has given you a stack of 100, 200 or worse, 500 Euros notes, take them into a local bank when you arrive to get a stash of smaller notes. Not all places accept bills over 50 Euros.

Do I need to learn some Portuguese words/phrases.

No need! You don’t need to take portuguese classes before visiting Lisbon.

Funny popular portuguese saying translated to english.

Portuguese take a lot of pride in their culture and language, but they always speak either English or try some sort of Spanish or French in order to help you. Nothing gives more pleasure (except food and wine, of course) to a Portuguese than helping tourists, giving them directions and best restaurant tips. There is however a bit of cultural shock that you can avoid if you try to speak portuguese.

A lot of people speak English and will communicate with you in some form or another. You won’t ever feel lost or misguided.

Safety in Lisbon

Different outlets and indexes rank Portugal repeatedly in the top 10 of the most peaceful countries in the world.

According to 2017 Global Peace Index Portugal is the 3rd most peaceful country in the world.

Having said that, here are some pointers you should know before visiting Lisbon:

  • Large cities (Lisbon and Porto, essentially) are metropolitan areas, with all the characteristics of such. You can go anywhere and walk around freely. Areas near the centre are perfectly safe to wander day and night, because there is always someone out as well.
  • Be aware of pickpockets, many of them are not even Portuguese. Tourists also attract this kind of thieves from other countries.
  • On other Portuguese regions/cities that are not particularly touristic, you’ll find that people tend to mind their own business. At night it should be rare find anyone roaming around, unless it’s on those hot summer nights.
  • Violent crime ratios are low and occurring incidents are mostly passion related.
  • There is little worrying about displaying jewellery. It’s very rare to have someone pointing a knife (even rarer a gun) at you. Just beware of those damn pickpockets.
  • If someone leaves a tip (generally coins) to a waiter, they generally tend to stick around to wait it’s collected (and not stolen). In any case, it’s fairly common to see coins on top of the table and the next visitors will sit down without touching it.
  • Police forces are generally peaceful and act when necessary.
  • People will help you if you need assistance.

Drug dealers

As you probably know, drugs are decriminalized in Portugal. That doesn’t mean all Portuguese take drugs. In fact, it’s very rare to see even someone smoking a joint in public. The only difference is that we see drug addiction as a disease and try to help these people get treated, instead of turning them into criminals.

DRUGS SOLD ON THE STREET ARE A SCAM

Recently, in tourist areas, there has been a big increase of drug dealers offering drugs to tourists. This is very annoying and even considered a shame by Portuguese people. Unfortunately, the Police can’t even arrest these dealers because they don’t sell drugs. They sell flour instead of cocaine and pressed laurel instead of hashish. They could only arrest them if someone would press charges against them for fraud, since it’s not a public crime. But who’s going to officially complain that they got scammed when buying drugs?

These “drug” dealers don’t harm anyone. They are just incredible annoying.

Keep an eye on personal items

Travellers should always keep an eye on their personal items like purses and backpacks. It is crucial to keep this in mind in the more tourist-filled spots. Don’t place purses on the floor, especially while sitting at café terraces and even waiters may remind you to place personal items on empty chairs beside you (but don’t rely on them to warn you). Theft isn’t a major problem in Portugal, but it’s also not immune to it.

Car parkers

That nice person helping you park your car is looking for a tip.

Portugal is incredibly car-friendly but the cities experience a bit of a parking problem. At times, a man may begin waving you into an open spot. It doesn’t matter if you saw it first or if there’s plenty of vacant places. You may be approached for a tip. If you don’t give them anything usually nothing happens, but just give the man 50 cents to help him buy some wine.

Urban hikes

Bring your walking shoes!

If you love to hike, then Lisbon is perfect for you.

Also known as the beautiful 7 hills city, you can have really interesting urban hikes, from going up to the castle down to the riverside in minutes, climbing up again to a great sight seeing viewpoint.

“São Jorge” Castle in Lisbon, a good option to a hike. Via Dicas de Lisboa.

 

From street art hikes to incredible top viewpoints where you can see the entire city, the river and even the ocean, you can find hiking routes in Lisbon and discover the city in a healthy way.

Enjoy the sun, light and weather while visiting the traditional and picturesque Lisbon neighbourhoods and hike in one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe. The winter is perfect for long walks and remember, that Lisbon is one of the safest cities in the world, so if you get lost, you can always find someone to point you the right direction.

Sun and light

Lisbon light is bright and famous. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, you can understand why so many cinematographers and photographers love to work or visit Lisbon.

If you are an amateur photographer, bring your gear. From the viewpoints you can find some perfect scenic and landscape spots and during the day, when the sun is high, you’ll find it perfect for some black and white street photography.

Too much light can also be a problem, especially if you have a whiter skin. Don’t forget to bring sun screen and sun glasses. Even in winter.

“Miradouro da Graça” in Lisbon via Vida Ativa.

 

These are 5 simple things you should know before visitng Lisbon will make your visit perfect. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, drop us a line or send us a Whatsapp . We’re glad to help you.


How to avoid a cultural shock in Lisbon

Although Lisbon has lots of similarities with other European capitals, you should know how to avoid a cultural shock in in Lisbon.

Lisbon is a mix of stunning urban landscapes, amazing light and old trams. The city sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean where Tagus river ends, under the warm Portuguese sun. There are plenty of activities in and around Lisbon that will make your visit worthwhile.

If Portuguese cooking doesn’t charm you, at least the Portuguese people will!

Food

Bring large clothes because you’re gonna gain weight.

We are proud of our food and don’t be surprised if the first place a local wants to take you is a restaurant.

pastel-nata-lisbon

Lisbon, nowadays, has restaurants from every region in Portugal. So, you can take a gastronomic country tour inside Lisbon. Just, loosen those belt loops and brace yourself to eat like you’ve never eaten before.

Portuguese cuisine is one of the most diverse in the world, considering our population and country size. According to Ferré Adriá, the famous El Bulli chef, we have the best fish and see food in the world.

Breakfast may be considered the most important meal of the day, but in Portugal, so is lunch and dinner. We love and live to eat.

You don’t have a sweet tooth? You will now.

Besides the famous Pastéis de Belém, Portuguese pastry is sweet and delicious and, usually, we always have desert after lunch and dinner at a restaurant.

Speaking of restaurants here’s some pointers, so that you know how to avoid a cultural shock in a Lisbon restaurant:

  1. Appetizers or Couvert

The bread, olives and butter that are presented to you when you sit at your table are not free. Some tourists think it’s complimentary and complain about this. This is common practice and it’s not intended to cheat foreigners.

  1. Tips

Tipping is optional. Usually we give between 5 to 10%. It kind of depends on the service you had. Just remember that waiters usually are paid minimum wage (580€ per month) and all the spare change you have will be largely appreciated.

  1. Service

Some tourists, especially American, complain about Portuguese service at restaurants. Remember that firstly, if you’re having a cheap meal it’s mainly because wages are low. Secondly, Portuguese don’t like to be bothered all the time with a “is everything ok?” question. If we want something, we’ll ask for it. For the rest of the time, we like to be left alone.

  1. Hours

Traditional restaurants lunch time is between 12h30 (sometimes 12h00) and 15h00 and dinner time between 19h30 and 22h00 (some restaurants now serve later than that). The kitchen is closed for the rest of the time and forget about large meals in these places.

 

Coffee

In Portugal, an expresso in a gas station is better than in the best American specialized coffee shop. Seriously, coffee in Portugal is that good. And remember, regarding coffee, size doesn’t matter. Don’t drink to many or you’ll only get some shut eye when you’re back home.

best-coffee-in-lisbon

ATTENTION: If you ask for a Café (coffee) you’ll get an expresso. If you want a variation you have to ask for a “meia-de-leite” (a cappuccino without foam) or “abatanado” (bigger, but still a lot smaller than a regular American coffee).

vinho-porto-portugal

The wine

Due to it’s diverse climate and terroirs, Portugal is a country with a lot wine differences. From smooth and bodily “alentejanos” to fresh and light “verdes” from Minho you can try, but you won’t have the time, to taste the more than 10 000 wine references that currently are being sold in Portugal.

Having said that, don’t drink Porto wine with your meal. You’ll be the laughing stock of everyone at the restaurant.

Portuguese kiss a lot

The Portuguese are quite formal, but greeting norms are relatively complex, especially for foreigners. It may look simple, but even for us it can lead to awkward moments.

The norm:

  • Men greet each other by shaking hands.
  • Women greet man or other women with two kisses, the first on the right cheek and the second on the left.

Easy right?

If it is a professional meeting it might be just a handshake or even just a distance “how do you do?”.

In Lisbon there are some tricky exceptions. For instance, close friends kiss only once, on the right cheek. So, as you start making friends in Portugal, you might go through a period of hesitation: should I greet them with one or two kisses? It’s a price well worth paying for the joy of having Portuguese friends.

Usually foreigners are a bit lost in big gatherings. If it’s family reunion, everybody kisses everybody. If it’s just friends it… depends. Some kiss, some just say hello.

We’ve seen some of our foreigner friends greet everybody with a kiss when arriving at the restaurant, including the waiters.

In doubt, just kiss everybody. No one is going to be insulted and at very worst, you’ve stolen a couple of kisses.

 

Portuguese punctuality

There’s a reason there isn’t a famous world expression regarding Portuguese punctuality, like “British punctuality”.

familia-portuguesa-simpsons
Simpson Portuguese Family steriotype via flickriver

In Portugal you’ll re-learn time. Remember Einstein relativity theory? Well, he never visited Portugal, otherwise his equations might have been proven wrong. Time has a different pace in Portugal and Portuguese loose track of time easily. According to some psychologists, people who are always late are very optimistic. If that’s true, then optimism is our middle name.

This sounds confusing, I know. If you’re the kind of person who plans every minute of their day, you’ll have a hard time in Lisbon. Southern Portuguese are quite laid back. Opening hours are just a suggestion. Don’t expect them to apologize for opening a store or if the waiter said the waiting time for a table is 10 minutes and turns out to be half an hour. Just go with the flow. You’re on vacation!

 

Can I go to the beach and veggie out?

You should!

This is not actually a cultural shock, but don’t plan your entire vacation to just try out our cuisine, learn about heritage or hike our 7 urban hills.

Portuguese love the beach. So, take a day to enjoy the sandy beaches!

All surrounding beaches are perfect for a relaxing day doing nothing. There’s beautiful urban beaches in the Estoril coast line and some colder Atlantic beaches of Guincho and Praia Grande. A lot of locals from Lisbon go to the almost always sunny Costa da Caparica, with its own microclimate.

Praia do Guincho, west coast of Portugal.

It’s quite common even in January to see people just walking around or laying on the sand embracing doing nothing.

If you want to have a local experience, what better than that?

During summer time, some beaches are a little crowded over the weekends but, if you go either early in the morning or just before sunset, you’ll find a place to relax and splash for a while.

 

Don’t confuse us with Spanish

The old rivalry between the two Iberian countries is long gone and we even call Spaniards “nuestros hermanos” (our brothers). So, nobody will be offended if you consider us Spanish, but you’ll look ignorant.

If you speak a little Spanish, Portuguese will talk something called “portunhol” (a mix between Portuguese and Spanish/Espanhol) in order to help you.

Just a few tips of things that are quite different:

  1. No siesta.
  2. There’s no paella.
  3. Bull fighting is different. We don’t kill the bull. We try to catch with nothing but our manly arms dressed in gay looking pants and leprechaun’s green hats.
  4. We can understand Spanish but they don’t understand Portuguese.
  5. Portuguese people are more introspective, but paradoxically friendlier. Usually, foreigners feel more welcome in Portugal after breaking the small introverted barrier.
  6. Portuguese cuisine is simpler than Spanish, but the bakeries and pastries are better in Portugal.
  7. Portuguese are more nostalgic while Spanish are more extroverted.
  8. Fado is our national song, but that’s not the only thing we listen to. We are more open to foreign music than Spanish. Regarding flamenco, we listen to it as much as a Finnish.
  9. Surf beaches are better in Portugal.
  10. Portuguese wine is far better and cheaper. Don’t tell Spanish people this. It will be our little secret :).

 

Portuguese drivers

Portuguese drivers have a bad reputation but a lot has gotten better over the past years. Actually, Portugal is doing very well to reduce what used to be a truly horrific record, having the greatest reduction in deaths in the EU over the last 10 years. Still, every life is worth saving and we realize that a lot still has to be done.

Speed limits are sometimes ignored and if you’re a pedestrian don’t confidently start crossing the road. Drivers will stop and let you pass, but there are still some drivers that don’t pay the necessary attention.

Despite appearances, it’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless it’s hands free. Stopping your car in the middle of the road to take a call isn’t an option either, although some people don’t seem to realise this.

In rural areas, don’t be surprised to find a car stopped in the middle of the road and the occupants catching up with local gossip. They will usually wrap up their conversation and drive off when they see you, but may need a little encouragement in the form of a gentle beep.

Portugal is well-known for our sluggish approach to life: a relaxed, slowed down pace that usually sounds appealing. So, remember to take a breath before it leads you to frustration and exasperation.

Culture shock can be overwhelming but once understood it’s easily avoided. Portugal share’s its culture with all the western countries. It’s just the little things you have to consider.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know, drop us a line or send us a Whatsapp. We’re glad to help you.

See you soon.

 


How to create a pop art style interior design

To create a Pop Art interior design you need to be bold, irreverent and funny. Pop Art is instantly recognisable and rarely tasteful.  This is probably the most recognizable artistic style in the world and it never muted. In this post, we are not going to go over “what is Pop Art”, but rather how can we apply this Pop Art style to create a comfortable and stylish Pop Art apartment.

A bit of Pop Art history

As we said, we’re not going to bother you with historical facts. You can learn more about Pop Art History in so many other sites. We just want to contextualize our thoughts. When we’re decorating our apartments we think of every little detail and we like them to be in tune to the style we were inspired from.

In our Cozzy opinion, Pop Art emerged as a combination of a couple historical events. The economic prosperity after the war, probably for the first time in human history, created the highest disposable income for middle classes and lower classes. Combining this extra money with the massive factory infrastructure and mass media advertising, consumption saw exponential growths.

This new obsession with material goods and advertising reached its peak in the United States. Pop Art glorified this “feasting frenzy” to an extreme that was, at the same time, a political and social critic.

 

Punk pop art – no one is innocent via Visual Hunt

Pop art applied to interior design

What about today? Did Pop Art evolved through the past decades? The answer is no. Pop Art didn’t mute at all and is still about colour, humour and taking the pop consumer culture to the extreme. Pop Art interior design is not common, but certainly distinguishable.

It is quite easy and cheap to adapt this art movement to an interior design style, turning a standard home into an art gallery with colourful furnishings.

Don’t get us wrong. There’s nothing wrong with an accent colour (or three), but don’t feel obligated to add colour to a neutral room. Shades of white mixed with metallic, mirrors, furniture, and accessories in a variety of textures and materials can have as much impact as a room full of bright colours. In our Pop Art Apartment in Porto we hanged a bicycle on a white bedroom wall. If the wall was red, this piece of art would not stand out as we intended. Moreover, the human eye gets easily tired from bright coloured spaces, so we have to use them wisely.

But having said that, Pop art is a combination of colour and art.  Do not be afraid of colour and do not limit yourself to express your emotions.

Having said this, where do you start?

Have a Pop Art attitude

Pop Art is attitude. If when picking you Instagram filter people say, that’s not that realistic, then you’re pretty much on the right track. It’s not about realism. It’s about Pop. And Pop can be as much a derivative from popular as well and standing out. So, your attitude is what makes something ‘pop’. In fact, Pop Art isn’t really about cartoons and plastic at all. It’s about making the familiar look different. You can go subversive and over the top, but you can’t forget that colours remain crucial.

Pop is never polite and never beige.

So just paint your bed yellow and orange and have a huge ‘boom!’ mural in the living room if you’re in the mood. Warhol would have liked it.

Cozzy Pop Apartment – Grafitti on the wall inspired in pop art

 

Don’t be boring

Taste? Who needs it? Pop Art is defiantly against “good taste”. Better yet, it defies those who create the “good taste” label. The boring and dull houses, where the creeping beigeness transforms a home into a military uniform.

Take this style to extremes and you’re still half way to go. Remember that this contemporary art was designed around cartoonish murals and startling, colourful and completely over-the-top consumer objects or popular icons. We all know that ‘bad taste’ appears when something is shaking up the status quo.

Humour

From why looks at advertising like Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage Just what is it that makes todays homes so different, so appealing? and Dorothee Selz’s recreations of pin-up girls, Pop Art was wry, irreverent and funny. Make a statement with a satirical poster and embed in true Pop style, when bored of it, buy another.

Cozzy Pop Apartment Decoration – Bicycle on the wall

 

Decorating when your renting

If you’re renting and can’t make profound modifications, don’t worry. Pop Art interior design is more about adapting the style to the structure than the other way around. If painting walls is out of the question, there is plenty of paintings and pictures you can hang. There is furniture you can use and misplaced accessories to give the humorous touch. If you want to save money you can just paint a bright pink over a cheap wardrobe and place it in the spot light of your room.

How to choose colours in Pop Art Interior Design

From what we’ve written so far, we learned that it is okay to push and test your colour boundaries. The colour palette in Pop Art style is bright and clashing. Choose two bright contrasting colours and a neutral to balance them out. For example, Roy Lichtenstein’s work renders that comic book style by using thick black lines.

Applying this to interior design we can use colour blocks in furniture as well as in walls with prints and patterns. For example, a couch can become a white canvas turning some pillows the paintings.

Using 60′s style furniture will look great in a Pop Art style interior design. Retro-futuristic chairs, minimalist sofas and egg armchairs can be used in any living room and any combination.

Since colours are often vivid, you can’t go wrong using primary colours. Red, blue and yellow were predominant colours seen in different pop art works. These colours were used to reflect the state of pop culture aesthetics and not the artist mood or emotional state.

Be creative and think out of the box. More than that, leave the box and let this pop art interior designs open your mind and your heart.

Therefore, you can go beyond colours by using contrasting elements. In a painting you’re restricted to shape and colour. But in Interior Design you can use your elements in space like a 3 Dimensional canvas.

 

Pop art living room by Memphis Group

Neon

Neon lights impacts a certain environment. They help to create a more abstract and unusual world. Neon can have that retro-futuristic that never occurred look that screams Pop Culture. Lamps with bright glossy surfaces and lamp shades, LED spotlights and a coffee table decorated in Pop Art style define interior decorating in pop art style with a fantastic aura and extraordinary light.

Optical illusions

Optical illusions are a pleasant and captivating way to give that different look to the familiar element. You can create optical illusions and stunning lighting effects using plastic surfaces, furniture and decor items, of course, big mirrors in wall panels add that image repetition, giving your apartment that fabulous and original look.

If you want to play it safe, use wallpapers with pop art images, like portraits in the style of Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. But if you’re feeling artistic, you can use graphics, industrial images and stylized female images and giving them your personal combination. Remember, all that is not appropriate in the “normal” home interior design is probably a cool Pop Art scene. The main goal is to create a spatial illusion, making the space bigger or smaller that it is.

Memphis Group pop art furniture

Prints and images and paintings

Paintings and prints are the elements most associated with Pop Art Style. It’s common to use famous people pictures, brand logos, prints from comics and pretty images. This gives unique touches and creates a personal design style.

If you have a print that you love, become a Pop artist yourself. Just print it several times and repeat it along your walls. Repetition of the same image (or similar pictures used in chronological order) or even a mixing themes with other attractive images are a simple and creative interior decor idea for your Pop Art style apartment.

Chic Interior Design Inspired by Pop Art via Architecture Art Designs.

 

Best furniture for a pop art interior design style

This is where some times we can make the biggest mistakes in this style. Sometimes a piece of furniture that we love does not fit, literally or aesthetically, in our Pop Art Style plan.

If you have a cheap boring Ikea coffee table, you can ask yourself “what would Andy do”? Would he paint it yellow? Would he saw it in half and place it against a wall? Would he do it all of this? If at the end of the day you don’t like the result, you just lost a boring Ikea coffee table. Probably you did yourself a favour anyway.

If you’re thinking of buying furniture check the Memphis Group, because their trend looks like it’s making a huge comeback.

Look at this art historian quote, about the Memphis Group movement in the 80’s:

“Good taste was the bad thing they were fighting against”

Isn’t this familiar with Pop Art in the 60’s.

You can find a lot of furniture and other interior design elements at the Memphis Milano website.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or you don’t find the piece you’re looking for, just do it yourself. For example, you can create a cheap metal wardrobe by printing some wallpaper stickers and gluing them to the doors and side panels.

The Pop Art furniture is original and retro and futuristic at the same time. As a rule, it is bright with rounded shapes. Such a geometry and colours can give plastic (the main material used) more exuberant characteristics in Pop Art furniture and other elements.  The 60′s style furniture will look great in a pop art style interior design.

Memphis Group pop art furniture

 

 

Materials used in Pop Art Design

Sometimes having no rules, regarding materials, can make it harder to create a good Pop Art environment. Any material as long as it’s not polished wood can either be the enlightenment or the fall of a Pop Art designer. You can use plastic or leather in your elements. You can even mix and combine them. Most of the Pop Art artists used materials derived from new technologies that emerged in the 50’s like foam rubber, polyester and acrylic, so plastic is more commonly used.

Look for curvy elements. Ergonomic furniture, designed for your body is always more in sync with this style. Since this art is a bit ageless in modern terms, vintage becomes more futurist that old.

Maybe the only rule is: Go round! Hard squared shapes are for other more “square” styles.

The shape and colours are the most important thing. They need to be exaggerated but never loosing the comfort. They can be exaggeratedly comfortable.

Some try a more minimalistic style while others go for a more overwhelming exaggerated use of elements. They’re both fine.

Pop art living room by Memphis Group

Conclusion

The latest big use of Pop Art was in the Barack Obama campaign “Yes, we can!”,  for the presidential race in the US. It represented innovation in visual communication of political campaigns, highlighted the youthful aspect of Obama as opposed to that of John McCain.

If you want to make the same impact with your home as Obama did for US politics, Pop Art is the best interior design for your apartment.

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