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Christmas shopping in Lisbon for festive gifts



Christmas shopping in Lisbon rewards the visitor with a Santa’s wish list of gift options for all the family. With the city glowing under a blanket of sparkling decoration, the Portuguese capital's shops, stores and boutiques entice shoppers with the Yuletide spirit and some wonderful seasonal gift ideas. The year's must-have gift is a duck. More specifically, those you can purchase at the Lisbon Duck Store. Look out for the special Christmas themed editions. For beauty products with a retro look, browse the range at Benamôr, located near the river. You can’t miss O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa with its glittering Christmas façade. Shop here for sardines packed in tins that will surprise you.

For wines and spirits take a look inside the well-stocked Garrafeira Nacional, which has its own in-store cellar museum. One of the city’s most attractive delicatessens is Manuel Tavares. The shop always puts on a special display during the festive season and is the place to browse for traditional Portuguese food and wine. The old-style Embaixada mall comprises a series of trendy pop-up salons housed in a former palace building. It's where to ponder independent fashion boutiques and upmarket handicraft, great stocking fillers! Similarly, A Vida Portuguesa is a highly respected craft and hardware store specializing in retro wares and merchandise, all of it made in Portugal. For festive and ecclesiastical candles it has to be Caza das Vellas Loreto, a beautiful store dating from 1789. Amar Lisboa is where to buy colorful and contemporary handicrafts, some of it fashioned by one of Portugal’s most respected designers. And finally, if you’re looking for Christmas decoration ideas, spend some time in Nickolaus, a veritable Santa’s grotto of Yuletide décor. 


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The festive season sees this home and gardens stockist transformed into a veritable Santa's grotto of yuletide gifts and decorations. Baubles and lights for Christmas trees, candles, winged angels, wrapping paper and all sorts of Biblical figurines, including wonderfully detailed nativity scenes, are available here. Lanterns and mugs, snow globes, boxes of colorful Christmas crackers and happy, smiling Santa masks and mannequins line the shelves along with soft toy reindeer, bells and artificial Xmas trees and wreaths. Particularly striking are the carved wood detachable sculptures depicting the three kings visiting Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, a scene that personifies the spirit of Christmas. And for kids, the cuddly toy reindeer with their big eyes and red antlers make great gifts. So do the Santa snow globes, a perfect stocking-filler!

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Nickolaus stocks one of the most comprehensive choices of Christmas gifts and decoration in Lisbon.

Paul's expert tip: There are plenty of Christmas gift ideas for kids in this store.

Read more about Nickolaus →


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Santa Apolonia


Portuguese designer Vera Gama lends her name to this colorful collection of gifts, mementos and souvenirs, all of which make ideal presents for special occasions. The eye-catching T-shirts carrying vivid patterns and bold logos of famous Lisbon landmarks and Portuguese symbolism are particularly striking. Among the designs are a bright yellow streetcar, a jumping sardine and even a city cab. The traditional Barcelos cock, Portugal's national symbol, is available as a stylized cockerel of vivid patterns and is a favorite souvenir. Customers can also browse all sorts of key fobs, fridge magnets and coffee mugs. There are some wonderful dolls fashioned in different colors, and lots of prints, postcards and drawings. Despite the more contemporary design slant, the collection is complemented by a range of traditional handicrafts, most of it from southern Portugal's Alentejo province.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Bold graphic design and a designer's contemporary eye lend this collection of keepsakes and mementos a refreshingly stylized appeal.

Paul's expert tip: Great for winter and a perfect Christmas gift, the shop's slippers are handmade and lined with a thick wool lining.

Read more about Amar Lisboa →




This wood-paneled shop has been selling candles since 1789, and its appearance has changed little since. The cozy interior exudes a delightful yesteryear ambiance, a mood accentuated by the refreshing lack of modernity, even the cashier's till is hidden from view! Ecclesiastical candles in all their shape and form are lovingly handmade in a workshop at the rear of the premises and then displayed in beautiful glass cabinets set either side of a polished teak counter. The different styles available is astonishing, anything from traditionally crafted taper and dinner candles to chunky pillars and dainty tea light candles. There's also an imaginative selection of specialty candles molded or sculptured into three-dimensional shapes such as fruit, birds and even cupcakes!. Many are scented and the perfume is intoxicating. For something special, ask to see the beeswax candles embellished with filigree decoration.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The store, one of the most historic in the city, is renowned throughout Portugal for its ecclesiastical candles.

Paul's expert tip: Christmas and Easter are good times to shop when the workshop produces limited editions of especially sweet-smelling candles.

Read more about Caza das Vellas Loreto →


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If you're after an original souvenir of Portugal this absorbing handicraft-hardware store is probably where you'll find it. Items on sale here are represented by brands that have been manufactured in the country for generations, and the inventory lists some of the nation's most cherished goods. There are fragrant soaps from Brito/Claus Porto (Oprah raved about them on her show) displayed in colorful and stylish retro wrapping paper, and Benamor Cream boxed in similarly eye-catching designs. For the kitchen, look out for the aromatic vinegars from Moura Alves and gourmet sea salt (Flor de Sal) from the Algarve. There are also toiletries, stationery, books, toys and even jewelry, all uniquely Portuguese and with a provenance that stretches back centuries, and they all make perfect Xmas gifts for everyone.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Ably promoting homegrown Portuguese art, craft and enterprise, A Vida Portuguesa evokes a yesteryear Portugal and a retro shopping experience.

Paul's expert tip: Look out for the special Christmas boxes where a selection of favorite products have been carefully wrapped as a Yuletide presentation gift.

Read more about A Vida Portuguesa →


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Bairro Alto/Principe Real


Set in a former 18th-century neo-Moorish palace replete with onion dome turrets, this alluring mall is a wonderful place to shop. Pop-up Ssalons set over two floors have been transformed into chic boutiques. Many are open-plan, with interconnecting doors so that customers can browse seamlessly and at leisure. Here you can shop for all sorts of upmarket wares including independent his and her clothing and accessories and handcrafted jewelry. One of the stores sells a great line in eco-friendly cosmetics, another contemporary interior design furnishings. And look no further for an attractive range of high-quality Portuguese handicraft â€" lamps, mirrors, ceramics and even chocolate, among other traditional artifacts, all of which make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Embaixada set the trend in refurbishing historic buildings and transforming them into attractive commercial cooperatives. It's run by local Portuguese artists and designers.

Paul's expert tip: There's a great restaurant on the ground floor that extends into a gin bar which overlooks a rear garden.

Read more about Embaixada →




The astonishing variety of traditional goodies stocked in this gem of a shop lures foodies far and wide, such is the quality of the goods. One of Lisbon's oldest stores, dating to 1860, this wood-fronted emporium is especially vibrant during the festive season. This is when shoppers can seek out stocking fillers such as mini bottled wine sets and chocolate snowmen. Elsewhere, the store heaves with meats, cheeses, spicy sausages, pata negra (smoked ham) and pickles, along with homemade jams, dried fruits and nuts such as almond and cashew. Canned fish and seafood, virgin olive oils, retro wrapped sweets and an assortment of herbs and spices supplement the Xmas shopping list. Stacked floor to ceiling on groaning shelves is a fabulous collection of Portuguese wines, liquors and brandies from all corners of the country. The port-wine choice is particularly alluring with several vintages dating back a full century. Wine tasting is available here, so it's possible to sample selected labels before purchasing.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: One of the city's premier delicatessens, with a wine choice and plenty of history, Manuel Tavares is crammed full of yuletide gift options.

Paul's expert tip: Overseas shipping can be arranged for most items.

Read more about Manuel Tavares →




Established in 1927, this is one of Portugal's leading specialists in wine and spirits. Of the three outlets located in Portugal, it's the premises in Rua de Santa Justa that offers the most engaging shopping experience. For the connoisseur, there are wines from every region of Portugal on offer, a fascinating and quite bewildering stock of premium and vintage examples – of red, white, rose, late harvest and sparkling wines. Anyone of these makes a perfect gift or souvenir. But it's the traditional port and Madeira wines that work so well at Christmas, as does smooth, rich liquor, and there are plenty of bottles to choose from. The yuletide- shopping list can also be extended to include New Year bubbly, with a cork-popping selection of champagnes available to help chime in 2020. The store can arrange overseas mailing, with free shipping for some European countries.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The variety of wines, spirits and liquors on offer at Garrafeira Nacional number some of the most comprehensive in Portugal.

Paul's expert tip: Look out for the in-store museum, a cellar whose shelves display a priceless collection of wines and spirits dating back as far as 1715.

Read more about Garrafeira Nacional Wines & Spirits →




The humble sardine is a favorite seafood staple and ubiquitous across Portugal. Available freshly caught this delicious fish is also sold in tins. At the "Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine" however, they've come up with a novel marketing idea whereby the lid of every tin features a year underneath which is written an important event or breakthrough that occurred during that particular twelve-month period. In addition, the names of various celebrities and VIPs born that year are also noted. For example, anyone purchasing a tin bearing "1953" is reminded that DNA was discovered that year and Cyndi Lauper, John Malkovich and Benazir Bhutto were born. Colorful and quirky, the tins are stocked in an equally striking boutique whose interior resembles a fairground attraction replete with a carnival atmosphere.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The façade of this store is one of the brightest and most festive in the city and has Christmas shopping written all over it.

Paul's expert tip: A wonderfully original Christmas idea gift idea, these tins also work as quirky birthday presents (as long as the recipient doesn't mind everyone knowing their date of birth).

Read more about O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa →


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Santa Apolonia


A Lisbon pharmacist, who created handmade 'miracle' skin ointments from his laboratory using natural ingredients, founded Portuguese beauty brand Benamôr in 1925. He packaged the results in striking art deco tubes and subsequently went on to produce an artisan range of scented oils, soaps, face creams, body moisturizers and luxury shower gels. Today, these are also sold in iconic retro packaging, vintage designs that reflect a golden era in Portuguese retail history. The premises at Rua dos Bacalhoeiros specializes in Benamôr products that celebrate not only the heyday of the revered brand but also the 21st-century renaissance the range is enjoying.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The Benamôr skin care brand is renowned across Portugal for its hand and face creams created using natural products and sold in delightful retro packaging.

Paul's expert tip: Look for the just-in NATA range, a series of skin care products that make ideal Christmas gifts.

Read more about Benamôr 1925 →




This year's must-have Christmas gift is duck. And in Lisbon, they do duck really well. Down in the Baixa district is one of the city's quirkiest shops, a store selling more than 300 different types of rubber waterfowl. In fact, the variety on offer is incredible, a regular menagerie of ducks modeled on a bewildering assortment of characters, anything from unicorns to superheroes, Elvis to the Queen, all in a kaleidoscope of bright bold colors. For the Christmas period, they have a wonderful selection of festive season favorites. There are a snowman and reindeer duck, a Santa duck and even one dressed as a Christmas tree. The store also stocks bauble ducks, which you can use as Yuletide decorations.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: A duck collector's dream, the Lisbon Duck Store is a kid's fantasy and is a pretty cool place for gown-ups to hang out too.

Paul's expert tip: Guess what the best-selling character is? It's the Darth Vader duck. Sure one day to become a collector's item, grab one now while the force is with you.

Read more about Lisbon Duck Store →


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Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul

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