World Cup football 2010: Portugal vs Brazil, Holland vs Brazil, Big Screens & fans in Lisbon’s city center

Football is very important in Portugal. A lot of the Portuguese even watch a match on TV while eating their dinner in a restaurant…. At the moment football lovers and tourists from all over the world  follow the matches in Lisbon’s city center. According to the Portuguese and Ronaldo Portugal should be considered among the favorites to take the title in South Africa……

Football Portugal vs Brasilia screen Rossio

A big screen at Praça da Figueira Square, near Rossio, a very popular tourist attraction, June 25, 2010.
 
On the background one of the main historical and tourist sites, the Castle of Saint George (São Jorge)

Football Portugal vs Brasilia big screen2

Praça da Figueira

Remarkable: from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Brazil was a colony of Portugal

Football Portugal vs Brasilia Rua Augusta1

Rúa Augusta, Lisbon’s famous boulevard and one of the best-known shopping streets

Football Portugal vs Brasilia beautiful girls

Beautiful Portuguese girls

Football Portugal vs Brasilia Rua Augusta3

Catarina Tomais da Silva and Rui, waiters in Pastelaria Casa Brasilia.Very popular and delicious food! Rua Augusta 267

In case you visit Lisbon for a football event I recommend restaurant/Cervejaria ‘Adega de São Roque’ , decorated with European football team scarves, remarkable!

 

Football Portugal vs Brasilia cafe near hotel Mundial1

Pastelaria and restaurant “D. João I”, Rua D. Duarte 1-B

Near Praça da Figueira . In the month of June all the streets in the historical center are decorated with garlands and lights (Festas Populares)

Football Portugal vs Brasilia cafe near hotel Mundial 2

Inside the restaurant……

Football Portugal vs Brasilia street near Munidal

…and of course the elephant 😉 sound of the vuvuzelas!

Football world cup Lisbon after the match

After the match…..Portugal vs Brazil: 0-0: both countries happy 😉

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio1

Holland vs Brazil, near the famous Rossio Station.

A big screen at Largo Duque de Cadaval, a beautiful place, full of open sunny open-air cafes and restaurants.

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio2

Holland vs Brazil: 3-1. Dutch and Brazilian football fans are watching the match

Lisbon World Cup 2010 Holland vs Brazil Rossio4

Visit the ‘Palace of Independence’ Rossio Lisbon & conspiracy against Spanish occupation in 1640

The beautiful Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence), located in Lisbon close to the Rossio Square (near national theatre D. Maria II ), on the north side of the Largo de São Domingos , is known by two names.

Lisbon Indepence Palaca near Rossio Suqare Entrance

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

It was given its original name of Palácio de Almada in honor of its former owner, the Count of Almada. The name Palácio da Independência (‘Independent Palace’) recalls a curious event that occured in 1640. Philip II of Spain had occupied Portugal in 1580, a year later he was recognized as King of Portugal.

Independence Palace Rossio entrance1 restaurant

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

The loss of some colonies and the intense pressure of taxes levied to finance the Spanish wars led about 60 years later to a conspiracy among several of the Portuguese nobility. On December 1st, 1640 there ensued a successful rebellion, followed by the restoration of Portugal’s independence.

Independence Palace Lisbon near Rossio the conspiracy room

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

About 40 conspirators prepared for the action under the leadership of the Duke of Bragança (or Braganza) in the grounds of this palace.

Lisbon Independence Palace near Rossio garden azulejos

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) & garden Lisbon

The Duke, from who’s grandmother the royal family descended, was crowned João IV, King of Portugal. From a neighboring monastery the nobles reached the palace garden from across part of the old 14th C. city wall and gathered there in a small, isolated pavillion. It has even been suggested that there was an underground path linking the garden with the Baixa along which people could pass unseen.

Independence Palace Rossio garden azulejos 1

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

Beautiful azulejos (tiles) representing the story of the conspiracy

Lisbon Independence Palace near Rossio

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

The building’s foundation stone was laid in 1509 and some of Manueline details from this time can still be detected in the inner courtyard, for example the door decorations. Two conical kitchen chimneys are reminiscent of the royal palace at Sintra.

Independence Palace Lisbon near Rossio kitchen chimneys

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

The Sociedade Historica da Independência de Portugal has its seat in this Palace. This society has awarded itself the task of keeping alive the memory of the happenings of December 1st, 1640 and the general consciousness of Portugal’s national history.

Every year on December 1st official memorial events take place both in the Palácio da Independência and at the nearby square Praça dos Restauradores

Independence Palace Lisbon Ana Maria Proserpio

Palácio da Independência (Palace of Independence) Lisbon

Ana Maria Proserpio, Directora dos Serviços Culturais (Director of Portuguese Cultural Services). In Ana Maria’s hand the keys of the palace. If you are in Lisbon you can visit the palace .

Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm | Sat. and Sunday is also possible  (visits have a minimum of 5 people).
Price: € 3 per person or € 25 per group.

Palácio da Independência
Largo de São Domingos, 11
1150-320 Lisboa

Phone: 21 324 14 70 Facebook  Email: ship.geral@ship.pt

The strange history of National Theatre Doña Maria II Lisbon & backstage guided tours

Teatro Nacional Doña Maria II has a strange history, like a lot of historical buildings in Lisbon. It was built on the ruins of one of the city’s finest buildings, the Palácio dos Estaus, which had burned down and which had housed the court of the Holy Inquisition. The liberal revolution and the end of the civil war created a climate in Portugal that was conducive to the development of arts in general and the theater in particular.

National Theatre Dona Maria II Lisbon 1 Teatro Nacional

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon

In 1836, by order of Queen D. Maria II, Almeida Garrett (famous author and poet) was charged with creating a conservatoire for the dramatic arts. The site chosen for this colossal task was the finest in the city at Praça Dom Pedro IV, commemorates Portugal’s first liberal king. The square is usually simply referred to as Rossio (big square).

National Theatre Dona Maria II Rossio and wave pavement

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon

The theatre opened to the public on April 13 1846, the date of the anniversary of the queen it is named after, but the acoustics were poor and the theatre closed the very next day for improvements. It reopened several years later to notable success. In late November 1964, the theatre staged Shakespeare’ Macbeth. A strange superstition, or more appropiately a curse, hangs over theatres that perform this play: one week after the first show the whole building burned down except for its outer walls. It was reopened in 1978. Since then, countless plays, by the finest playwrights of the past and of today, have been performed and staged.

Rossio Lisbon Theatre National Dona Maria II and ginja cafe

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon

Today, Teatro D. Maria II is not merely a concert hall. Besides its majestic Garrett room, it also has a smaller room, while the great hall has been turned into a theatre/ studio, covering a whole world of activities that very often burst out from behind its venerable walls.

Theatre Dona Maria II Lisbon near Rossio Station

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon

On the other side of the theatre you’ll find the unique Rossio train- and metro station (Estação do Rossio)

National Theatre Dona Maria Rossio Lisbon hall

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon

You can discover the theater (or take the time to enjoy a good show). From Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 13:00/ 15:00 to 17:00 there are guided tours, in several languages, to the backstage of the theater. A journey that reveals the secrets and stories of Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. Price 6 euro.

Lisbon National Theatre Dona Maria II view from cafe Garett Rossio Christmas

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon: view Rossio square

Christmas time. Café Garrett, beside the theatre’s foyer, one of the most perfectly located cafés in Lisbon, facing the lively Rossio Square

Lisbon cafe Garrett Theatre Dona Maria II facing Rossio

National Theatre D. Maria II Lisbon

Charming Rua dos Sapateiros in Lisbon: traditional restaurants, Art Nouveau, strip club & peep shows

In the 19th century, Baixa was Lisbon’s commercial heart, with streets named according to their trades. Rua dos Sapateiros means ‘the shoemakers’ street.

Lisbon Rossio Rua dos Sapateiros1 Arco do Bandeiro

The entrance to the Rua dos Sapateiros is spanned by the decorative arch Arco do Bandeiro.

This bears the name of the wealthy sponsor Pires Bandeiro who commissioned it at the end of the 18th C.

Rua dos Sapateiros2 Art Nouveau old Cinema peep shows

Strip Club Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

Strip club & Art Nouveau style

Passing through the arched gateway on Rossio you see one of Lisbon’s remaining examples of Art Nouveau: this old movie house, the Animatógrafo , is a strip club nowadays. Lisbon’s earliest cinema hall opened in 1907, by brothers Ernesto and Joaquim Correia Cardoso. It has remained unaltered since then. The beautiful facade is adorned with a highly detailed Art Nouveau style, which consists of Azulejos tiled panels, which depict Edwardian styled females surrounded by fruits and flowers.

Rua dos Sapateiros: cafes, cheap traditional Portuguese restaurants & peep shows2

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

It was not easy to make a picture without snapping visitors going in and out, because this beautiful house is rather popular….. 🙂

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon: cheap traditional cafes, restaurants & peep shows5 Restaurant Adego Mo

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

Restaurant ‘Adega da Mo‘, a typical Portuguese restaurant . Almoçar (lunch): 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…. € 7.50, a glass of red wine (€ o.50)

Lisbon Leitaria Camponeza22

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon

Another beautiful example of Portuguese Art Nouveau in this street is Leitaria ‘A Camponeza’

Rua dos Sapateiros Lisbon: cheap traditional cafes, restaurants & peep shows street

Rua dos Sapateiros, Lisbon

Largo Duque de Cadaval Lisbon near Rossio Station, full of sunny open-air cafes & Italian ice cream

Right on the leftside of the Rossio Station, close to the Restauradores square, you find Largo Duque de Cadaval. It is a bit hidden behind the recently-renovated Rossio train station, and full of sunny open-air cafes.

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station3

Largo (square) ‘Duque de Cadaval’ Lisbon near Rossio Station

This place is a good idea for a break or a romantic moment, a chat with some friends or while you’re waiting for the train and want to check your e-mails. Even in wintertime when the sun is shining you can sit outside, the terraces are protected from the wind.

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station8

Largo Duque de Cadaval Lisbon near Rossio Station

Restaurants and cafés has been created here, apart from all the noice and traffic. A coffee (bica, 0.95 euro).

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station4

Largo Duque de Cadaval Lisbon near Rossio Station

On the background you see Calcada do Duque, the beginning of the more than 300 stairs leading to Bairro Alto

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station7

Square ‘Largo Duque de Cadaval’  Lisbon near Rossio Station

The ice cream shop Gelateria Finzi Contini. From outside it does not look like an ice cream shop, but it is, and a good one.

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station6

Square ‘Largo Duque de Cadaval’  Lisbon near Rossio Station

Natural ingredients and recipes are an Italian/Argentinian fusion. 4.00 euro and delicious! Besides they serve home made pastry, sandwiches and crepes.

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station9

Square ‘Largo Duque de Cadaval’  Lisbon next to Rossio Station

After all the renovations this place is this really beautiful.

Lisbon Largo Duque Cadaval Rossio Station11

Square ‘Largo Duque de Cadaval’  Lisbon near Rossio Station

Finzi Contini ice cream shop, Gislaine Nazario. Largo do Duque, de Cadaval Lisbon

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon: spectacular courtyard, former Moorish Palace & great traditional food

A few minutes walk from Rossio Square, a little bit hidden behind a small door in a popular tourist street in Lisbon Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, there’s Casa do Alentejo: suddenly you step in an amazing Moorish palace, with an impressive courtyard!

Lisbon Casa do Alentejo 2

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace

‘Casa do Alentejo’ was created 85 years ago, as a purpose to be a meeting place for people from Portugal’s historical province Alentejo (além Tejo means beyond the Tagus) and to cultivate its unique culture. At that time many people from this region left home in search for a better life in Lisbon.

Lisbon Casa do Alentejo 2

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace

The palace dates from the last quarter of the 17th C., but its current appearance is a result of considerable alterations carried out in 1918. Nowadays here’s the headquarters of the association of the Alentejo people.

Lisbon Casa do Alentejo Palace room

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace: the ballroom

Today many activities take place here: on Saturdays the ‘Alentejo afternoons’ (tardes Alentejanas), with choral groups. On Sunday, the dancing begins at 3;30 pm. Mostly elderley people come here to socialize. There’s also a library and a handicraft shop of typical products of Alentejo (downstairs).

Lisbon Casa do Alentejo 7 Restaurant2

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon, a former Moorish palace: restaurant

Beautiful tiles (ajulejos) & Portuguese history

The dining rooms are picturesque, with open fireplaces and decorated with beautiful tiles (azulejos). The azulejo is a form of Portuguese painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework. They have become a typical aspect of Portuguese culture. Azulejo comes from the Arabic word az-zulayj, meaning polished stone. Wherever you go in Portugal, azulejos are to be found inside and outside cafes, churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even ceilings, train- or subway stations. Many azulejo chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portuguese history.

Average price 3-course meal: 25 euro

Portugese appetizers are on the table when you arrive. The restaurant in Casa do Alentejo is very popular, all the ingredients are straight from the Alentejo.  The average price of a 3-course meal is 25 euro. Small bottle of wine: 4.50 euro.

My choice: ‘bife de atum‘, (tuna fish steak), 11.50 euro and really good!

Lisbon Casa do Alentejo 7 Restaurant library

Several elderly Portuguese are reading, talking or snoozing peacefully in the library…..

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 58.

Opening hours: 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm every day. 
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Short term rentals: my 3bedroom authentic apartment (110 m2) in the historical part of Lisbon with a lovely patio, 10 minutes walk from Casa do Alentejo

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo Lisbon street

Restaurant Casa do Alentejo is a wonderful exception in this street: no tourist trap! More….

Lisbon Rossio Square: cafe/restaurant Suíça, shoeshine boys, street traders & begging hands

The beautiful and very popular tourist attraction Rossio Square, the popular name of the Pedro IV Square (Praça de D. Pedro IV), is located in the Pombaline Downtown of Lisbon and has been one of its main squares since the Middle Ages. It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions.

Rossio Lisbon Shoe shine boy

Rossio, December 2008

Nowadays Rossio is a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike and the most congested area for traffic in the city center.

Lisbon Rossio Square

Rossio Square Lisbon

This square has been a meeting place for people of Lisbon for centuries. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where Barbosa du Bocage , a Portuguese poet, used to meet friends.

Lisbon cafe Nicola Rossio Square

Famous Café Nicola, Praça Dom Pedro IV 26 (founded in 1929).

It was here that the first Portuguese women dared to break the male stranglehold on cafe-going.  Rossio’s cafes are popular for sitting and watching the world go by.

Lisbon Rossio Pastelaria Suica inside

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

Traditional Portuguese cafe/restaurant, famous for its huge variety of delicious cakes and pastries.

Lisbon Pastelaria Suica delicious cakes

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

Most locals prefer to sit inside. During World War II this place (Suíça means Switzerland) was the meeting point where those in exile negotiated their tickets to freedom.

Lisbon Patelaria Suica Rossio

Pastelaria Suíça terrace, Praça D. Pedro IV 96/101.

Be aware of pickpockets

Locals appreciate this cafe/restaurant just as much as tourists. The waiters are not always very nice. Being a tourist, be aware of pickpockets: while enjoying a delicious cálice de vinho do Porto (a glass of Port Wine), somebody tried to steel my friend’s bag from under her chair. Happily a friendly waiter warned us just in time! Be aware when you visit touristical attractions and terraces.

Nearby you can taste a Ginjinha, a liqueur made of a cherry-like berry, a typical Lisbon spirit.

Kisbon Praca da Figueria view from terrace Suica

From cafe/restaurant Pastelaria Suica ‘s terrace at the back a view of the square Praça da Figueira (English: Square of the Fig Tree) and the São Jorge Castle.

Lisbon Suica Pastelaria street performance living statue

Street performances (‘living statue’), newspaper vendors, street traders (offering cheap watches or ‘jewellery’), lottery ticket sellers, ‘psssst drugs’ sellers and begging hands……….also some lovely shops, like the unique hatmakers shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua (opened in 1886)

And, of course, in wintertime, the unmistakeable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas)

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket sellers

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket seller 

From unique Rossio train- and metro Station Lisbon to Pena National Palace in Sintra/ Queluz Palace

Rossio train- and metro station (Estação do Rossio) is incredibly unique, located between Rossio and Restauradores in Lisbon. Formerly known as Central Station (Estação Central), and that designation still appears in its façade. The beautiful neo-manueline architecture was designed by architect José Luís Monteiro, completed in 1887.

Lisbon Rossio Station at night

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

The Neo-Manueline façade dominates the northwest side of the square and is a Romantic recreation of the exuberant Manueline style, typical of early 16th century in Portugal. Its most interesting features are the two intertwined horseshoe portals at the entrance, the watch in a small turret and the abundant sculptural decoration.

Rossio station, Largo do Duque de Cadaval, Lisbon World Cup Football 2010

Near the station you can have a drink at Largo do Duque de Cadaval, which is a really nice square full of open-air cafés.

Lisbon Rossio Station inside Train

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

The Station had been closed for almost three years while it was undergoing repairs, in spring 2008 it was re-opened again.

Lisbon Station Rossio inside

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Inside the station, the platform is connected by ramps to the façade level and is covered by a cast-iron structure.  The station is an important example of Romantic (façade) and Cast-iron (platform cover) architecture in Portugal.

Downstairs is Rossio’s metro station (green line). Metropolitano de Lisboa, Lisbon Metro official page (also in English), you’ll find a map with a network diagram and explanation of the metro lines.

Lisbon Rossio Station train to Sintra

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Visit Sintra and Queluz, easy to reach by train from Rossio train- and metro station

The wonderful Rossio train- and metro station is a must see if you visit Lisbon.

If you like to visit Sintra, the famous World Heritage town and the Pena National Palace just outside Lisbon or the National Palace in Queluz, you can take the train here for a cheap price.

From Rossio Station to Sintra station

Sintra Station.

Trains to Sintra (and vice versa) leave every 15 minutes, for the low price of E 3.90 (return ticket), a 45 minute trip. The access of trains to the Rossio station is made by a tunnel more than 2600 m long. This tunnel was escavated under the city and is considered one of the most important works of engineering of Portugal in the XIX century.

From Rossio Station Lisbon to Sintra station

Sintra Station

Besides: if you prefer to go by car to visit Sintra, the IC19 superhighway takes you directly from the city and it comes to an end at Sintra – so you don’t have to worry about any turnoffs! Parking is for free, 10 minutes walk from the center of Sintra.

Sintra Palacio da Pena

The Pena National Palace, built by a noble man for his Portuguese wife

Useful information about tickets and buses in Sintra .

A one-day ticket (around 7 Euro) can be bought at Sintra station and will allow you to get on and off at all the main attractions, like f.i. Pena Palace and The Moorish Castle.

Sintra National Pena Palace July 2011. Picture: Maurits Benschop

Lisbons’ unique hat makers shop: The story of Chapelaria Azevedo Rua & famous Portuguese poet Pessoa

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua is a traditional hat shop (opened in 1886) on Rossio, one of Lisbons’ famous squares, creating tailor-made hats (chapéus) on request.

Rossio Lisbon people are fond of hats

Portuguese people are fond of hats!

Rossio January 2009.

Rossio hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua window dressing

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

Typical Portuguese hats, bridal hats, Panama- and Cylinder hats. In this well-known hatter’s you can find handmade hats for all occasions and top-hats, bowler hats, high-hats and all kinds of regional- and traditional hats.

Hat shop Azevedo Rua, Chapeus1 street shop2

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua

All levels of society buy their hats from here, from labourers to the president, also in the past, like the famous Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa.

Azevedo Rua, Azeveda Rua Chapeus1 Maria Fonseca Fernando Pessoa hat

Maria Fonseca shows ‘Fernando Pessoa’s (1888 – 1935) favourite hat.

“This type of hat is still very popular nowadays”. Price: 60 euro, tailor-made.

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon, beautiful hat boxes

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua

History

Maria Fonseca: ” In December 1886, the grand grand father of my husband, Manuel Azevedo Rua opened this shop in Lisbon. Before that his profession was a wine producer. He lived in Nogueira, district of Vila Real Trás-os-Montes, in the north of Portugal”.

Azevedo Rua, Chapeus Precos Fixos

Hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

No discount (‘precos fixos’) & president Mário Soares

“Due to vintage problems Manuel decided to move to Lisbon. His uncle, a rich priest, supplied him the money to finance the shop, only on this condition: no discount (‘precos fixos’), but with the exception of hats for priests”.

‘Sorry sir, no discount’

“One day, the Portuguese former President Mário Soares (son of an ex-priest) 😉 , came here to buy a hat. But no discount for him: “Desculpa senhor, precos fixos’ (Sorry sir, no discount)”. And: “D. Duarte de Bragança, the Duke of Braganza ordered his hats here”.

Azevedo Rua, Chapeus hat shop Pedro Fonseca

Hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

Pedro Fonseca, owner

Azevedo Rua, Chapeus December 2008 Chrismas shopping Lisbon

Hat shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Lisbon

December, Christmas shopping

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua Rossio

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua. Address: 72-73, Praça Dom Pedro IV, Lisbon, 1100-202. Open Mon. – Fri.: 09:00 – 19:00hr. Sat. 09:00 – 13:00hr. Owners: Teresa and Jose Manuel, Maria and Pedro Fonseca.

Lisbon & chestnuts: the unmistakable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas) & November 11 St Martin Day traditions

The unmistakable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas) is announcing autumn’ s arrival in Portugal. ‘Quentes e boas’! ‘(Get’ em hot!). This cry goes out on the Lisbon streets.

chestnuts in Lisbon December 08 quente e boas

‘Hot and good, a dozen for € 2“.

Much to the chagrin of many, the traditional paper cone made out of the Yellow Papers has been replaced by soulless paper packages, which takes something away from the ritual of chestnuts.

Chestnuts in Lisbon white paper bag instead of yellow papers

Baixa area, the commercial heart of Lisbon

Saint Martin Day, is celebrated on November 11.

It is called Magusto. This day is the peak of three days, often with very good weather, known as Verão de São Martinho (Saint Martin’s summer). The Portuguese celebrate it with jeropiga (a sweet liqueur wine) and roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas).

Tram Lisbon Feliz Natal and roasted chestnuts

Rossio, Lisbon in December

On Saint Martin’s Day traditions dictate that family and friends gather around a glowing hearth or bonfire, where they roast chestnuts and drink água-pé (a watered kind of wine), jeropiga, vinho novo (young wine), or the slow smooth burn of aguardente (‘firewater’, alcoholic drinks between 29 and 60 percent alcohol).

Chestnuts and Jeropiga

Chestnuts and jeropiga

Because this pagan festival is a celebration of life, there is food and drink and plenty of fun: in some regions people smother themselves with ashes, black themselves up and sing around the fire.

Largo do Chiado chestnuts

Largo do Chiado, Lisbon