Whether you’re indulging in Lisbon’s bashful beauty from the window seat of iconic Tram 28E. Or her posh panorama from the countless miradouros (viewpoints) located atop her seven steep hills. Her seductive aura will captivate and enthral the gay traveller.
Find our gay guide to Lisbon below.
Where to Sleep
As a major tourist hub, Lisbon has endless accommodations available in nearly every neighbourhood and price point.
Brown’s | Central Hotel is an eclectic little spot ideal for the traveller keen on value, location and comfort. The beds are plush, stylings are fun and the staff helpful.
The most discerning homos amongst us will love Valverde, a 25 room townhouse turned boutique hotel. While the classic exterior blends into its surrounds, the interior is boldly decorated with top-notch European art and finishings.
On the opposite end of the pricing spectrum is Lisbon Story Guesthouse, a very well maintained accommodation with a range of rooms.
Where to Eat
Bom Dia! Begin your day at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém where pastry chefs sling the best pastéis de nata – Portugal’s famous custard tart – in the city. NOTE: A hidden gem this is not. Expect snaking lineups along the cobblestone street.
“Para lunch?” you ask… Take a bite out of regional Portugal at Time Out Market Lisboa, a series of curated kiosks featuring the country’s brightest chefs, famous dishes and sought after products.
If you’re looking to rehydrate, hit the taps of the city’s thriving Tascas (taverns) and cocktail bars. Rio Maravilha, celebrated Red Frog or tropical Clube Ferroviário offer the best craft brewskis and impeccable cocktails in the city.
Lisbon has a wealth of dinner options that’ll appease every pallet and wallet. So we’ll just stick to recommending our favourite Portuguese restaurants.
Feitoria is a superb option overlooking the river and serving exemplary modern Portuguese plates. For a more traditional dinner, head to the Baixa & Rossio neighbourhood where you’ll find old school Pinóquio. Finally, a gloriously gourmet night awaits at chef Henrique Sá Pessoa’s restaurant Alma. The ever-changing menu is seasonally focused, regionally inspired and uses only the highest quality Portuguese ingredients.
What to Do
With it’s dramatic views, steep hills and clunket-y rumble, historic Tram 28E is a must for first timers in Lisbon. The crayon yellow streetcar connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique while racketing past many of the city’s most prominent attractions.
If you choose to jump off the Tram a few stops early, you’ll find yourself in one of the capital’s popular neighbourhoods such as Belém or Alfama. Exploring their narrow alleys, appreciating the iconic architecture and wandering into melancholic cafes and bakeries in these areas is an activity in itself.
We highly recommend trekking up to 11th-century Castelo de São Jorge. Spend the extra euro to hire a local guide who’ll relay you with tales of the citadel-turned-palace’s fascinating history.
Art Historians should visit acclaimed Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art) located inside a former palace. Alternatively Museo Do Design E Da Moda (Fashion and Design Museum) houses a striking collection of couture.
If you’re in town during the summer schedule an afternoon at Beach 19, the gay strip of sand on Lisbon’s famous beach, Costa da Caparica. It’s a bit of a trek from the city centre but the boys, booze and bola de berlim (pastries sold on the beach) are well worth the commute.
Finally, take a day in nearby Sintra, a fairy-tale municipality on the edge of Lisbon. The city centre’s colourful buildings and surprising gardens have earned it UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Where to Shop
Loja Das Conservas is a quirky little spot selling a selection of vintage canned seafood. Sardines, anchovies, muscles and more are soaked in water, oils or lemon and adorably packed in vintage designs.
For a less fishy souvenir, check out prize-winning ceramicist Teresa Pavão’s showroom, Objetos de Arte. Alternatively, Yoyo Objects repurposes important Portuguese modernist furniture from the 50s through 80s.
Where to Go Out
Lisbon’s melancholic vibe is all smoke and mirrors. As sun sets, the city’s cheap booze, open-container laws and lack of last call make it a nesting ground for raucous revelry.
The heart of Lisbon’s gay scene is in Rua Barroca. That said you’ll find other gay-owned establishments in neighbouring Principle Real.
Everyone is welcome to start their night at Side Bar for cocktails and beer. If you’re looking for somewhere hairier, try the city’s best bear bar, TR3S Lisboa. Other options include Shelter Bar and Bar Espaço 40e1.
Longing to visit Lisbon? Book your flights soon as this quickly changing hot spot continues to grow in popularity with travellers.
If you’d rather visit Portugal on a gay tour, consider our Portugal: Lisbon & Porto Gourmet Foray for a lavish taste of the coastal country.
Featured Image: Rosio Square in Central Lisbon. Purchased on Shutterstock.
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