Chiado, an elegant area of the city of Lisbon, is compact, elegant and simply alluring. This half-day tour guides you on a walk through its various attractions.
Start the day by allowing a good hour to ponder the fascinating collection inside the Museu do Chiado. A permanent display of Portuguese modern art from 1850 to 1975 is complemented by temporary exhibitions from national and international contemporary artists. Grupo do Leao by Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro at the Museu do Chiado — Photo courtesy of Public domain
Afterwards, either relax in the museum’s café or amble over to Kaffeehaus for coffee and cake, Austrian style. Chiado is known for its excellent shopping and you might want to browse nearby A Vida Portuguesa for a traditional souvenir, or pop into Vista Alegre Atlantis for a porcelain keepsake.
On the other hand, if your coffee has given you a nose for more, why not pop into A Carioca and ask them to blend a bag to go? And for something very unusual, head to Caza das Vellas Loreto, a wonderful little store of period design that sells homemade scented candles.
A gentle stroll uphill along Rua da Misericódia will eventually bring you to the Miradouro de São Paulo de Alcântara, a well-manicured square whose miradouro ("gazebo") offers an outstanding panorama of downtown Lisbon and Castelo de São Jorge. Opposite the gardens is the Solar do Vinho do Porto, a rather snazzy bar and lounge where you can taste several types of port while surrounded by shelves stacked with the biggest selection of this world-famous tipple outside of Oporto. The view from Miradouro de Sao Paulo de Alcantara — Photo courtesy of Paul Bernhardt
Suitably revived, you might want to take a look inside the church of São Roque as you make your way down the hill. Don’t be deceived by its plain façade: the interior is a fantastic riot of gilded woodwork and beautiful azulejos ("tiles").
Later, thread your way to Largo do Carmo. The church here couldn’t be in starker contrast. The Gothic remains of this religious building stand as testimony to the great earthquake of 1755, when the roof of the church collapsed on hundreds of worshipers at prayer as the tragedy unfolded.
Linger outside afterwards and soak in the atmosphere of one of the capital’s most attractive squares, where street theatre is often played out in front of the eighteenth-century fountain: the Chafariz do Carmo.
By now, you’re probably feeling peckish and wondering where to eat. There are several inviting bistros in the vicinity, such as Café Infusão and Café Vertigo. For a wider menu choice, however, consider a table at Café no Chiado.
But for a lunch to remember, arrive early for a place at Cantinho do Avillez. The chef here is one of Portugal’s brightest and most creative, and has already earned a Michelin star for one of his other restaurants. Portobello mushroom risotto with bacon and Parmesan cheese at Cantinho do Avillez — Photo courtesy of Agencia Zero