When it comes to the great European shopping capitals, Paris, London, Rome, and Milan all likely spring to mind. But overlook Lisbon at your closet’s peril – the city is one of the continent’s richest and most ineffable retail hubs. Here, old-world Portuguese leather shops that haven’t changed in decades sit alongside thoroughly contemporary concept stores; given its diversity, the city’s shopping-scape can barely be tackled in a single week, much less a single day. Hop on a tram, then, and keep this Lisbon shopping guide close at hand – whether it’s port, azulejos, or Portuguese fashion that you’re looking to score, your wallet may emerge happily battered by holiday’s end.
Lisbon may have largely old-world looks, but the city is rife with cutting-edge concept stores that can stand alongside some of the world’s coolest retail addresses. Embaixada in Príncipe Real combines old and new – set within a 19th-century palace, its two storeys are filled with wares ranging from handmade jewellery and ceramics to organic cosmetics and edgy fashion. Also in Príncipe Real is 21pr, which stocks chocolates alongside perfumes and textiles next to art books. And then there’s the real hub: the sprawling LxFactory, located in an ex-industrial space, which merits is own half-day of wandering.
No Lisbon shopping guide is complete without comestibles – this is a city that knows how to eat. But even when the holiday comes to a close, you can bring those Portuguese flavours home with you, thanks to the 80-year-old Conserveira de Lisboa and its colourful, retro-inspired tins of seafood. Then, of course, you need something to wash it down with – happily, it’s only a three-minute stroll over to Napoleão, which hosts one of the city’s best stocks of port, madeira, and other Portuguese vintages. Fancy pudding? The old-world Confeitaria Nacional is a dream for pastry lovers. Tuck into a pastel de nata in the store, and grab a box of something special to go.
Appreciate good design – with a bit of an edge? Lisbon’s many boutiques and independent designers stock pieces that fall well outside of the high street’s radar. For one-of-a-kind, graphic pieces, the Fátima Lopes boutique is the ideal place to begin (she earned fame as the first Portuguese designer to show a collection in Paris Fashion Week). Designer Alexandra Moura’s boutique is another must for visiting style seekers – you certainly won’t run into anyone from home with the same look.
Skip the tourist scrum when searching for souvenirs by making a beeline straight for the inspiring A Arte da Terra, which curates traditional Portuguese handicrafts in a renovated stable space. A Vida Portuguesa fosters a spirit of saudade with old-fashioned Portuguese products ranging from soaps and coffee to embroideries and notebooks. And for those essential azulejos, the charming Cortiço e Netos showcases a wide collection of painted tiles – many of them antiques, as the original factories that produced them no longer exist.
In Lisbon, it’d be a shame not to be a bibliophile – the city isn’t just host to the world’s oldest bookstore, it’s also home to what may well be the world’s coolest bookstore, too. The former, the Livraria Bertrand, has been a Chiado fixture since 1732. Then, there’s the much more modern, gorgeously designed Livraria Ler Devagar. You can’t miss it – not only because of the wall of books, but also because of the flying bicycle.
No Lisbon shopping guide worth its stitches would leave out Portugal’s beloved artisanal goods. Like cork – a frequently used material around these parts, it features heavily in the wares sold by Cork & Co (pick up smaller, suitcase-friendly pieces like pencil cases, bracelets, and bottle holders). For ladies seeking fine Portuguese leather, the timeless Luvaria Ulisses is a local legend – the historic glove shop is hardly bigger than a shoebox, and has created the finest bespoke products since 1925.
A family break to sunny Lisbon. Make it an Easter to remember.