Capital Retail Therapy: Lisbon's Shopping Malls and Centers



The choice of shopping and what to buy in Lisbon is enhanced by some excellent shopping centers and malls situated in and around the city – shops, boutiques, supermarkets and department stores all found under one roof. One of the most attractive places to shop is the Centro Vasco da Gama, located at Parque das Nações east of the city center. The biggest shopping center in Lisbon is Colombo Shopping over in Benfica. In fact, this is one of the largest malls in the Iberian Peninsula. More conveniently situated for shopping in Lisbon is the upmarket El Corte Inglés, positioned near Parque Eduardo VII. The eye-catching Campo Pequeno Food Hall and Shopping Mall are housed within the Portuguese capital’s historic bullring, which also doubles up as a concert venue.

Another quirky mall destination is Embaixada, set in a former palace building in Principe Real. The postmodernist styled Amoreiras Shopping Centre is the grand dame of Lisbon shopping centers and has been catering for customers since the mid-‘80s. Probably the most conveniently placed shopping mall for visitors is the centrally located Armazens do Chiado, located in the heart of Lisbon’s elegant Chiado district. If you’re staying in and around the city’s Saldanha area, Atrium Saldanha is a useful place to shop for branded items, and there’s also a convenient lunchtime food hall. But if you’re exploring out of town near Paço de Arcos, Oeiras Parque will meet all your shopping needs. Likewise, if you’ve based yourself along the Lisbon coast at Cascais, you can stock up with all you need at the sprawling CascaiShopping, located inland from the resort. 



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Outside the City


 

Set west of the city center near the coastal resort of Cascais, this sprawling mall serves Lisbon's Estoril coast and even Sintra, such is its inland location. It's a favourite out-of-town meeting place and very popular at weekends, especially during evenings when families gather for dinner in any one of the dozens of restaurants lining the Food Hall perhaps before heading for the multiplex cinema (all films are screened in their original language). Just about everything the average shopper will need is available here: furniture, home decoration, fashion and accessories, toys, presents and gifts, jewelry and watches, books, stationery, telecommunications and computers. Anchor stores include a huge hypermarket, the FNAC store (cameras, tablets, CDs etc) and a Portuguese version of the C&A store.


9
Outside the City

 

The huge Continente hypermarket provides one of the anchors for the 162 retail outlets housed within this modern and attractive mall. Located outside the city in the suburb of Oeiras, the shopping center is set over two floors, with the 2nd floor featuring an 11-screen cinema complex. Stores devoted to home decoration and health and beauty sit alongside fashion boutiques, TV and telecom outlets, bookstores, jewelers, and other dedicated stores, such is the diversity of the shopping experience. A food hall serves up a mixed menu of fast food and local delicacies, and there are plenty of coffee shops to unwind in. Special play areas provide anti-boredom facilities for kids. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout the building, and there are excellent facilities for shoppers with mobility issues. The underground car park has free space for 2500 vehicles.


8

 

A smart, modern facility situated in the heart of Lisbon's business district, the Atrium is perhaps better known as an office complex â€" the business suites occupy the top nine floors of the building. The shopping gallery, located on the first three floors, comprises 78 stores and restaurants. The retail experience is limited â€" this is more a lunchtime drop-in for browsing perfumes, cosmetics etc. and picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy. The real draw is the Food Hall, where several restaurants and cafes do a roaring trade, again especially during lunch hour when executives from the offices above and beyond take their 60 minutes over plates of regional cuisine, fast food burgers or oriental sushi. Afternoon tea is accompanied by live piano music!


7


 

The Armazens do Chiado, literally, the "Chiado Warehouses", is the collective name for Lisbon's boutique shopping mall in Chiado, one of the city's most elegant neighbourhoods. The commercial center houses 54 shops, and there are 12 restaurants gathered together on the top floor food hall. Also incorporated into the building is the four-star Hotel do Chiado. The anchor department store is photography, sound and video retailer FNAC. Books of all kinds are also for sale here, and users of Mac computers have their own dedicated sales area. A desk near the entrance sells concert and theatre tickets and is a good place to find out what kind of live entertainment the city is hosting. Ladies' and men's high-street fashion is well represented, as well as perfumes and cosmetics.


6

 

Inaugurated in 1985, this is one of Lisbon's most iconic shopping complexes. Its distinctive architecture remains the antithesis of sleek â€" blocks of chunky, ungainly post-modernist towers of steel and glass set over a two-tier arcade comprising 238 shops, stores and boutiques, six banks, a post office and a multiplex cinema. There are also two beauty centers and 50 restaurants. And all this set over a car park for 900 vehicles! Anchor stores include the Jumbo-Pão de Açúcar hypermarket, FNAC music and bookstore, and sports and outdoor clothing brand Sportzone. Among the upscale fashion brands represented are Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss. If you're shopping for kids there's plenty of choices, with shops like Imaginarium and Lanidor Kids catering for youngsters. And this is also a good place to browse for TV and telecom solutions: Vodafone has a store here as does Bang and Olufsen.


5
Bairro Alto/Principe Real

 

The salons in the 18th-century neo-Moorish palace located in the city's trendy Principe Real district have been transformed into a series of attractive pop up boutiques, over a dozen, in fact, each selling a different range of independent fashion, eco-friendly cosmetics, handmade jewelry and chic interior décor, most of it created by Portuguese designers. The former palace building, now known as Embaixada ("Embassy" in English), has been completely refurbished and the gallery occupies two floors. Access is gained via a grand marble staircase and much of the Art Nouveau detail has been carefully preserved. Temporary art exhibitions are held here on a regular basis to add even more vibrancy to an already creative environment.


4

 

Certainly, one of the more unusual destinations to shop, the subterranean food court and mall at Campo Pequeno lies under the city's bullring, a Lisbon landmark and an architectural gem that dates back to 1892. Built in a Moorish style and characterized by the onion-top cupolas crowning it's four towers, the eye-catching arena is also a concert venue, replete with a retractable ceiling, that can accommodate 9,000 spectators. Hidden away is a supermarket, an attractive mall lined with shops and boutiques and several restaurants serving anything from sushi and pasta to burgers and crepes. An unusual feature is a museum dedicated to the history of Campo Pequeno's bullring and Portuguese bullfighting. A multiplex cinema screens the latest Hollywood blockbusters in their original language. There's also parking space for 1,200 vehicles.


3

 

Upscale Spanish-owned department store El Corte Inglés is renowned for its choice of leading designer fashion, with exclusive brands such as Carolina Herrera, Hugo Boss, Escada, Ralph Lauren and Burberry, among others labels, attracting the more discerning customer. Besides clothing, the store is known for its bespoke range of accessories, items such as watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre and TAG Heuer, handbags made by Loewe, Michael Kors, Longchamp, Bimba & Lola, and Bvlgari, and jewelry from Versace, Pasquale Bruni and Gucci. Shoppers can also browse for cosmetics (Customers can enjoy a brief information session with a free make-up demonstration using products by Dior, Chanel, La Prairie, Lancôme, MAC, La Mer or Lancaster) and home decoration. Another alluring feature of El Corte Inglés is its Club del Gourmet stocked with ample and varied selections of homemade delicacies, vintage wines, whiskeys and champagnes, organized in association with some of Portugal's top chefs.


2
Sete Rios/Benfica

 

One of the biggest shopping malls on the Iberian Peninsula, Colombo features over 370 stores offering an incredible variety of choice for the shopper. Among the most frequented retails outlets is the Disney Store, a big hit with the kids. Another favorite is Toys "R" Us. But there's also French retailer FNAC for books, CDs and everything electrical, including the latest computers and smartphones, among other crowd-pullers. Primark is the discount crowd pleaser. A huge hypermarket anchors the center, and nearly 70 restaurants are on hand to provide hungry customers with anything from burgers and fries to authentic Portuguese gastronomy. Leisure facilities extend to a multiplex cinema (all films are sub-titled, never dubbed, unless it's an animated feature) and there are a dozen customer service points and several ATMs located over three floors. There is plenty of underground parking.


1
Parque das Nações


 

The maritime-themed Vasco da Gama Centre is one of the most modern and eye-catching of Lisbon's shopping malls. Located in Parque das Nacoes east of the city center, the center features 164 stores and boutiques, including 36 restaurants. A multiplex movie theatre with 10 cinema screens and a health club provide further distraction for the discerning shopper. Well-known international chains mingle with Portuguese retail outlets, and the choice is what you'd expect from one of the biggest and most popular malls in the capital. A huge hypermarket on the ground floor acts as a suitable anchor. Visually, the building is stunning, particularly at night when cleverly placed lighting illuminates the facade and the three-story interior. For non-shoppers, a table on one of the upstairs cafe terraces offers respite and a fine view of the immediate vicinity and the river beyond.


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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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