Luxury Hotel Bairro Alto’s roof terrace, light snacks & lovely views over Lisbon

Even if you don’t stay in Lisbon’s boutique hotel Bairro Alto , you can take the tiny golden lift up to the sixth-floor roof terrace and enjoy amazing views by having a light lunch, or just an afternoon tea or a cup of coffee.

Hotel Bairro Alto roof terrace1

March 2010, a cloudy day.. roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

The roof terrace, giving long views over the river and the city, is very popular. The hotel is on the arty side of town, located in the ancient quarter (Bairro Alto)  and Chiado, a nice traditional area and an elegant shopping district.

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace2

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

Strechted out on one of the chairs, you can watch night fall while savouring a glass of wine… A lunch is also available, but don’t expect a typical Portuguese lunch: ‘just light snacks’, according to the very friendly waiter.

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 3

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

Caesar salad (€12.50), sandwich (€9.50). Glass of white wine (€5.00). We liked the food but we were still a bit hungry 😉  mixed cheese platter (€12.00)

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 4 view river Tagus

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

The other side of the River Tagus and the famous Cristo Rei StatueHow to get there?

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 5 view city

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

Chiado city view. Nearby the hotel: cafe ‘A Brasileira’ and the statue in bronze of Portugals famous poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), once a regular customer, still mobbed by lots of tourists

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 6 view city

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

The 1845 building of hotel Bairro Alto started life as the Grand Hotel of Europe. It became a favourite haunt for writers and artists. Its 18th-century façade forms part of the historical Luis de Camões square, named after a very famous Portuguese poet.

Hotel Bairro Alto Praça Luís de Camões Bairro Alto

Square Praça Luís de Camões . On the background Hotel Bairro Alto. The location is perfect for sightseeing and nightlife.  Bairro Alto by night

Bairro Alto Hotel window dressing champaign

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa de Santa Catarina’ Lisbon near Bairro Alto & great cheap Portuguese food

One of my favorites and a very popular restaurant by ‘Lisboetas‘ (Lisboners) is restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ (The Peasant), a cozy place serving great Portuguese food.

Cheap traditional Portuguese restaurant A Camponesa Santa Catarina Lisbon

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’  Lisbon

‘A Camponesa’ is located in Santa Catarina near Bairro Alto ‘s nightlife, 5 minutes walk from miradouro (view spot) Santa Catarina with spectacular views across the River Tejo to the 25 April Bridge and the Cristo Rei statue.

Lisbon restaurant A Camponesa cheap traditional Portuguese food

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ Lisbon

We had a very nice time, enjoyed our meal (with 7 people), including starters and 2 bottles of good Portuguese wine (Pegões, € 5 a bottle). The bill? € 105.80.

Lisbon A Camponesa traditional cheap restaurant Santa Catarina

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ Lisbon

Try their own recipe ‘Picanha no forno’ (oven-roasted meat), € 10,50. Picanha (meat from Brazil) is generally considered to be the number one cut, even better than beef fillet. Picanha (pick-ahn-yeh) is much better than a steak, meltin -in-your mouth !

Lisbon Restaurant A Camponesa traditional Portuguese food owner and famliy

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ Lisbon

CéliaPinheiro, Miguel Ferreira (owners of ‘A Camponesa’) and Nadia Morais (a niece) enjoying a delicious ‘sopa de peixe’ (fish soup), just before the restaurant opens at 20:00. Sometimes a lot of friends join them, they all like Miguel’s cooking, inspired by traditional Portuguese dishes!

Lisbon Restaurant A Camponesa near Bairro Alto entrance kitchen

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ Lisbon

Miguel Ferreira: “For many years I worked as a journalist in Lisbon, but besides I always had a real passion for cooking. My wife used to work as a commercial sales specialist for Unilever. We have 2 daughters, it was a stressfull life. About 4 years ago we decided to start all over again: we opened restaurant ‘A Camponesa’. It was a huge risk, but now we are very happy!”

Restaurant A Camponesa Santa Catarina cheap traditional Portuguese kitchen

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ Lisbon

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa de Santa Catarina’, Rua Marechal Saldana, 23/25, Lisbon. Open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday. Saturday: open for dinner. Closed on Sundays. Phone: 00351 213464791.

Lisbon Restaurant A Camponesa cheap traditional Portuguese kitchen wine

Restaurant ‘A Camponesa’ Lisbon: Rob Plews

Stylish Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon, great spot near vibrant Bairro Alto & champaign

Cool lounge bar in Lisbon with a laid-back vibe. Bicaense is very popular with a youthful and stylish, Portuguese crowd. Located on a rather steep street, Rua da Bica Duarte Belo, 38-42, Santa Catarina, climbed by the famous Bica funicular. Bairro Altonearby, is a fantastic area to explore the vibrant and alternative nightlife in Lisbon.

The Bicaense bar is split into two rooms.

Bicaense Bar Lisbon champaign birthday Laura

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

Cheers! Laura’ s (second right) midnight birthday surprise: champaign.

Bicaense bar Lisbon Champaign birthday Laura

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

Caipirinhas and champaign: we had a great time that night!

Bicaense Bar Lisbon near Bairro Alto room 2 dancefloor

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

In the second room the resident DJs pumping out hip house to really get people in the mood for dancing.

Bicaense Bar Lisbon dancefloor room 2 DJ

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon DJ Rycardo

This bar is a great spot to hit before visiting Lisbon’s clubs like the Docas de Alcantâra, or world famous club Lux , Website

Bar Biaense Lisbon street at night

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon

In case the bar is too crowded: you can always take your drinks outside!

Bicaense Bar Lisbon near Bairro Alto street at night

Bicaense lounge Bar Lisbon   Facebook

Bairro Alto Lisbon at daytime: trendy shops, art galleries & fashion queen Fatima Lopes

Lisbon Bairro Alto (high neighborhood) or just Bairro, in the afternoon.

Bairro Alto by day beautiful flowers

During the day Bairro Alto is very quiet.

Elder people with coloured plastic bags are coming back from the market, having a chat with eachother while they slowly climb the steepy streets. The atmosphere is very relaxed. In the shops and in the cafes people take their time to make a friendly neighbourly talk.

Bairro Alto by day

The area has traditionally been Lisbon’s bohemien haunt of artists and writers.

All the major Portuguese newspapers had their offices in Bairro Alto. This picturesque heart of Lisbon’s youth culture, nightlife, shopping and entertainment district, is one of the oldest districts of Lisbon dating from the 16th century.

Bairro Alto Rua da Rosa by day

(Rua da Rosa).

Since the 1990s, Bairro Alto went through major changes. Lisbon’s city council made extensive repairs, and dozens of new restaurants and fado singing clubs animated the area. Trendy shops were opened. Many young people moved into the area. Cars were banned (except for residents and emergency vehicles).

Bairro Alto by day trendy shop

Agência 117, Rua do Norte 117, ‘skunk funk’ fashion.

Nowadays, in Bairro Alto Lisbon’s punk, gay, heavy metal music, goth, hiphop and reggae scenes all have the Bairro as their home, due to the number of clubs and bars dedicated to each of them.

BairroAlto at by day graffiti

During daytime, the Bairro is a traditional district where older people shop for groceries, and the younger generations visit art galleries like Zé dos BoisRua da Barroca 59, bookshops like Ler Devagar (litt. read slowly, nowadays this wonderful shop is situated in LX factory), arty gift shops like Hold Me, Rua do Norte 33, offering a collection of bags and luggage.

Bairro Alto by day shop Fatima Lopez

Local fashion queen Fatima Lopes’ shop , Rua da Atalaia 36.

Grandma Duck

Beautiful clothes, but according to me the window mannequins look like grandma Duck injected with lots of Botox shots…. 😉 😉

Bairro Alto by day graffiti

Despite the police presence, illegal drugs are sold in the streets. Bairro Alto struggles with a problem of graffiti, destroying historical buildings . More……Bairro Alto by night

Erika Reusens’ (Belgian origin) favorite places in Lisbon & short ferry trip to restaurant Farol

Bom dia! My name is Erika Reusens, I was born in Belgium, I moved to Lisbon in 2004, which was quite an adventure, because I had to start all over again.

Lisbon people Erika

Erika Reusens (Belgian origin)

“I live in a quiet part of the historic area Bairro Alto, but ‘the place to be’ when it comes to nightlife! Bairro Alto means ‘High neighborhood’, as it is on top of one of the seven hills of Lisbon. It is a maze of narrow streets filled with trendy shops, galeries, charming grocery stores, small restaurants and bars”.

Bairro Alto Rua da Rosa

Lisbon, Bairro Alto area in the afternoon

“During the day it feels like living in a small village. Old people with coloured plastic bags are coming back from the market, having a chat with eachother while they slowly climb the steepy streets. The atmosphere is very relaxed. Typical Portuguese is the hanging laundry, drying in the wind. In the shops and in the cafes people take their time to make a friendly neighbourly talk.

For me Lisbon’s Tagus river is a very important part of my life. When I wake up the first thing I do is look out of the window to see the ‘mood’ and the colour of the river: sometimes wild or as smooth as a mirror, sometimes blue or ominous dark grey. In summertime the weather is gorgeous, and, thanks to the nearby river, there’s always a nice breeze!

Lisbon and the Tagus river are inseparable: I like it very much enjoying the calm water’s river on a Cais do Sodré’s terrace, reading a bit while slowly sipping a glass of Sangria and then take a (10-minutes) ferry trip to Cacilhas to the other side of the river”.

Ferry Lisbon Cacilhas

Lisbon ferry from Lisbon to the other side of the river: Cacilhas

Cacilhas is a picturesque neighbourhood in the banks of the river best known by its Cervejarias (popular beer houses) also offering shellfish, seafood, and fresh fish.

How to get there

I can recommend restaurant/Cervejaria O “Farol (lighthouse) just by the boat stop, the food is ‘finger licking’ good! From restaurant ‘O Farol’ I like to make a walk along the river, after passing some abandoned and ruinous warehouses you can have lunch or enjoy a drink at the outdoor terrace of ‘Atira-te ao rio’, a small paradise with wonderful views!

Restaurarant Attira-te ao Rio

Terrace ‘Atira-te ao rio’, Brasilian cafe/restaurant: wonderful views! (2008)

More about this restaurant (2019)

“The cemetery of São João (Cementerio do Alto de São João) is a very impressive and beautiful old graveyard: the alleys, the graves, the tranquility….one of the most attractive places to admire the river Tagus as well!

Cementery Sao Joao

“For me, Lisbon is an authentic, unique city!”

Rob Plews’ (teacher and writer) favorite places in Lisbon: Botanical garden & Tapada das Necessidades

Rob-plews-lisbon-writer-teacherI set foot in Lisbon back in 2001 after 9/11, and how refreshing not to understand a word as I went from café to café drinking galão, with TVs blaring in the background. I overheard an eager tourist trying to sum up this city as he scrunched his eyes under the vivid Atlantic light and scanned his vocabulary for words that fit. Faded elegance, he said.

I worked as an English teacher, moved to the Bairro Alto, opened a café, wrote two books, closed the café, and now I’m writing a third and learning to surf. For me, Lisbon is a living city. She’s female, she’s choosey, she’s testing, but if she likes you she’ll open up and share her secrets. Best thing to do is leave the guide book at home and take to the streets with an open mind. It still amazes me how people here so easily strike up conversations, and they’ll happily tell you their life story in a nutshell before giving you directions.
Lisbon is a small city, but so rich in nooks and crannies that, after almost seven years, I’m still upturning new stones. Here are two of my favourites:

Lisbon botanical Garden 3 Bairro Alto

Botanical gardens

Rua da Escola Politecnica 58 in Principe Real. Trees from all over the world, a family of squawking parrots, tiny terrapins, leafy shade, abandoned observatory and boundless inspiration.

Tapada das Necessidades.

Guarded secret even the Lisboetas don’t know about. Beautiful grounds and palace peeling pink paint, with an incredible cactus garden and a setting for a picnic you usually only see in films. Take the 28 tram to Prazeres.

tapada-das-necessidades-lisbon

Pink painted Palace  &Tapada das Necessidades

 

SNOB bar restaurant Lisbon: elegant British sixties style & best steak in town

In Bairro Alto, near Principe Real square, you will find bar/restaurant SNOB.

Restaurant SNOB Lisbon Rua do Seculo 178

Restaurant ‘SNOB’ Rua do Seculo 178 , Lisbon

Ring the doorbell

If you are looking for this restaurant, don’t walk away thinking it’s closed. You have to ring the doorbell, like in many other Portuguese places. ‘SNOB’ is not a club, however. The reason for the closed doors is that the owners want to welcome you personally. Many foreigners are unaware of this and miss out on a great experience!

SNOB restaurant is a favourite of politicians, journalists, actors and artists. The restaurant is decorated elegantly in a British sixties style.

SNOB-Restaurant-Lisbon-Bairro Alto

Bar/restaurant SNOB Lisbon

The traditional Portuguese kitchen serves the best steak in town (according to many experts): the bife à SNOB. We can recommend the carne estufada (beef stew) and the feijoada a transmontana (a traditional dish of beans and pig meat).

SNOB-Restaurant-Lisbon-Bairro Alto-Owner

Bar/restaurant SNOB Lisbon: senhor Albina Oliveira

Clock without hands

Senhor Albina Oliveira and his brother are the proud owners for already 43 years. And they have every right to be proud to! The restaurant is open every day of the year, except December 24. The clock in this restaurant is famous, because it doesn’t have any hands. In other words: time is completely unimportant when you are enjoying a good meal…

Klok-SNOB-Restaurant-Bairro Alto-Lisbon

Restaurant ‘SNOB’ Rua do Seculo 178 , Lisbon.

Website

Brief introduction to gay bars in Bairro Alto Lisbon & Gay Clubs and Parties

Bairro Alto is a fantastic old neighbourhood in the center of the city. One of the oldest parts of town. Literally, Bairro Alto means ‘High neighbourhood’, as it is on top of one of the seven hills of Lisbon. It is a maze of narrow streets streets filled with old fashion and charming grocery stores during the day, but at night, bars suddenly appear everywhere from behind the shutter doors.

Bairro Alto_Lisbon_gay_neighbourhood

Since the eighties Bairro Alto has become ‘the place to be’ when it comes to nightlife. When the locals go out and say they go ‘ao Bairro’ (‘to the neighbourhood’) they can only mean Bairro Alto. Don’t expect big clubs though, you will find these in other parts of the city.

Journalists

Bairro Alto was well known as the center of journalism in Portugal, all the main newspapers had their offices in the neighbourhood. And journalists need bars to get inspiration, and well, one thing let to another. The neigbourhood now attracts people from all walks of life even with the publishers all long and gone.

The Portugese tend to go out very late. They’ll leave the house at about midnight and start the night of easy with a drink in one of the bars, and when it’s warm out they prefer the streets. In summertime it is hard to move in Bairro Alto, all the little streets are crowded with people. The first days you will think a local holiday is being celebrated, but it’s just normal summer madness. Most places in Bairro Alto close at 02:00. For people heading for the nightlife, Bairro Alto is a pleasant warming-up.

Picture: Rene van Gijn

Gay bars

Now that you know something about Bairro Alto it’s time to get down to business: Where can you go and meet new friends? The Portuguese are not so open about their sexual preferences and the few people that are ‘out’ you’ll probably find in Bairro Alto. But don’t worry, the neighbourhood is very famous across the globe and you are sure to meet many nice guys when you hit the streets.

Bairro Alto has about 50 different bars and small clubs and the majority of the places is not gay, but most of them are ‘gay-friendly’. Cruising however is not recommended. Gay Clubs and Parties in Lisbon .

Beach 19, Portugal’s most famous and popular gay beach & how to get there

Portas Largas

The best place to start of is Portas Largas as it opens early (at about five already), it’s in the heart of Bairro Alto on Rua da Atalaia. The bar is very international and you’ll most likely be served by some cute muscly Brazilian guys that already work there for years. The owner of Portas Largas has his own hotel round the corner of the bar ‘Anjo Azul’ where you will be very welcome as well.

In Portas Largas you can drink caipirinha’s (they’re quite good) and jars of Sangria. From early on the place attracts an international crowd.

Fragil

This is a small but very cool club facing the entrance of Portas Largas. Famous for it’s enormous influence on Portugese club life and music. Many famous Dj’s have played here.

The audience is 90% gay on most nights, the door policy is friendly but not everybody is allowed in.

Fragil_club_gay_lisbon_Bairro Alto