We have all moaned and prayed for the end of lockdown. We have shared intermittent bouts of boredom-induced hissy fits with partners and friends over our shared NEED to sit at a café. “I didn’t move to Lisbon to watch Netflix all day!”
Truth? I have grown quite accustomed to being a reclusive turtle, poking my head out for a stretch before gingerly retreating back into my mask-free shell… where bi-weekly showering is quite acceptable. Taking off my mask is better than taking off my bra at the end of a long day, but mainly because there’s little need for the latter whilst in lockdown. Now that I’ve gotten this admission off my chest (ahem)… let’s get out of this funk, shall we?
I am ready.
For the end of lockdown.
We are all ready.
Step away from the television remote control because it is time to enjoy our town’s endless bounty – beaches, food, music, food, museums, food, architectural wonders, and more food. It truly does make you want to shout, “I’m coming out”!
Before we kiss goodbye the lazy-ish, crazy-ish nothingness of lockdown life consider taking advantage of these final days – during the reopening of Portugal – and before the tourists come flooding back to our home-away-from-home once again.
On that note, here are few things to do in Lisbon during the final days of lockdown. Mask (and bra) at the ready.
Take up space
Savour the airiness in central locations now, while you can. Soon enough, summer will see us packed in like pigeons (only these tourists don’t scatter or move out of your way), this is your time to take up space while walking the death-defying hills and wayward cobblestones of Lisbon without bumping into a million Google Mapping, selfie-stick carrying travellers. This way, you will be ready to navigate through them like a local, sem problemas!
Go to the beach … on a weekend
I do not do the beach in Lisbon on the weekends. This is something I learned instantly after moving here. Boasting so many beaches close by like the savagely popular Praia do Guincho or Fonte da Telha, and the other dozens of beaches spanning from Cascais to Estoril to Carcavelos and so on. However, these are all jam-packed every single weekend all summer long. If you drive, parking alone could take some nifty 12-point turns to find a spot, and don’t get me started on trying to get back out. What should be a 25-minute cruise can take over two hours, easily at peak season. It’s warm out right at this moment, readers. Grab a towel, and a copy of The Portugal News and go sit on a praia of your choice.
Go in cycles
If you don’t own one, no worries. Renting a bicycle has always been easy in Lisbon, with various companies offering very affordable cycle rental. Also, since the arrival of Uber’s bikes, which can be taken from the street and rented with an app (similar to the city’s famous scooters) travelling Lisbon on two wheels has become even easier.
Pro tip: Try biking from Cais do Sodré to Belém. Following along the riverside for the entire trip, you will be greeted by astounding views, and a plethora of bars and cafes if you feel the need to stop for refreshments along the way, you will see some open already for take-away along the way. Belém is a beautiful part of Lisbon, and has become a tourist spot for good reason, but not today because there’s still time for this stunning journey to be (mostly) all yours.
Breeze down Pink Street
Not quite the Red-Light District of Amsterdam but Pink Street is always packed with tourists and locals all searching for a good time. Most of the restaurants, and especially the bars and clubs are usually supercharged with partiers all night long. With this Pepto-hued nightlife hub being forced to adapt to daytime laws, go find a drink on the Pink… at least once or twice while it’s not so buzzy.
Make a Miradouro (Viewpoints) tour for yourself
It never gets old.
Check out Jardim do Torel in Colina de Santana where you can sit on the upper-level garden and read, or just stare out at vast city sights. If you prefer more walking, Miradouro de Santa Luzia is an area for strolling with far-reaching views of the river’s coast on one side and the historical Alfama on the other. Or go to the hip Mirador de Graça with its dramatic, panoramic views of city rooftops, the river and beyond. You’ll see some local skaters rocking out here already, say “Olá”! There are muito MUITO viewpoints in Lisbon so why not try and have the whole city to yourself? Quite literally.
Start making your restaurant list, go the moment one opens
We all have our favourite eats, of course, even if you’re relatively new to Lisbon. Living here means you are always ready to try something new. Now is the time to be thinking about where to dine out in a matter of weeks when restaurants start opening. Give it a think, a meal out is a huge luxury after months of confinement. Where will you go?
Pro tip: I love the “secret” back room, cabaret-vibe at the Mini Bar inside Chiado’s Bairro Do Avillez. It’s literally hidden behind a wall, where a mannequin leg doubles as a door handle. Once you’re in, the dramatic ambiance is only a bonus to the tastiest 10-courses at 60euros (sem alcohol). Careful not to get lost… a main restaurant, patio, tavern and adjoining pizza place are all in this one location, but it is the Mini Bar where the magic happens, thus top of my list on the higher-end. I also love me some of the cheapest Chinese (and so tasty), boasting fabulous rooftop views in Martim Moniz. Once again, you’d never know it was there, like ever, but unlike Mini Bar’s chicness, the entrance looks like the front to a crusty shopping mall or office building. Until you reach the top, then be dazzled as you dine until you are full - two people can eat their fill and share a bottle of wine at 10 euros each (no joke, only caveat is cash only) - add Hua Ta Li to your list and thank me later.