Lisbon’s evolution into one of Europe’s most revered cultural Meccas

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe, which throughout its history has withstood earthquakes, fires, coups and revolutions. Its position on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula has shaped the course of the city and the country, making it a base for Portugal’s adventures in Africa, South America and East Asia. The 20th century saw Lisbon influenced by immigration and rapid growth.

Lisbon has earned a reputation as the place in Europe to work as a freelance artist or creative entrepreneur, according to the World Cities Culture Forum. In fact, Lisbon was designated European City of Culture in 1994 and 1998 when it hosted the World Expo. The Urban art gallery project has filled the city with striking large-scale street art, and the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology has created a big impact on the city’s waterfront. Urban Art Gallery is a citywide project that promotes graffiti and street art in Lisbon. Organized by the Cultural Heritage Department of Lisbon City Hall, it began in the Bairro Alto district of the city following a campaign to clean up graffiti from buildings.


Evilution Street Art Exhibition by Bordalo II, Parc des Nations

Street artist, Arthur Bordalo, also known by the creative name Bordalo II, is widely recognized in Lisbon for his quirky street art installations made entirely of trash and plastic. For years, Bordalo II has enriched the streets of Lisbon with his reclaimed trash art sculptures. With his latest exhibition “Evilution”, he presents a collection of large-scale animal sculptures he has created from urban waste such as scrap metal, trash cans, plastic toys and pipes that will adorn the new Lisbon’s Edu center in the Nations park, a district already gaining notoriety for its contemporary art. Known for her lifelong passion for art and her commitment to supporting Portuguese artists, Chitra Stern, founder of Resort Martinhal, is proud to sponsor this exhibition. The exhibition is open to the public until December 2022.

MAAT Museum

When the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) opened in Lisbon in 2016, it marked an important moment when international eyes were on Europe’s coolest new capital for a scene emerging arts and culture. The futuristic building, located on the Tagus River, was designed by British architect Amanda Levete and is unlike anything you’ll find in Portugal. The permanent collection and rotating exhibits draw art lovers from around the world to view its unique displays of pop art, ceramics, and woodcarving.

National Tile Museum

To better understand the origins of artistic expression in Lisbon, head to the Museum Nacional do Azulejo. Here visitors can learn about the history and design of ceramic tiles Azulejos, who have long played a role in the cultural fabric of the country. This specialized museum, housed in a magnificent former convent from 1509, houses a splendid collection of decorative azulejos dating from the 15th century to the present day.


Grilo’s Palace

For the first time since its construction more than three centuries ago, the Palacio do Grilo has opened its doors. Unlike any other dining destination, this is a restaurant in a living theatre, where diners are invited to feast amongst the artists, intellectuals and performers who take center stage. It occupies an 18th century palace in the Beato district, one of the most creative areas of Lisbon.


Among Lisbon’s most innovative new restaurants is Encanto, an all-plant-based restaurant by one of Portugal’s most celebrated chefs, two-Michelin-star chef José Avillez. Encanto’s tasting menus focus on celebrating seasonal produce from local Portuguese farmers, bringing the beauty, flavor and texture of forage legumes, seeds, leaves, seaweed, mushrooms to your plate. , flowers, fruits, eggs and cheeses.


A Lisbon insider’s favorite (and a small business, pandemic success story), the city’s best-kept dining secret is that of the local husband-and-wife team, chefs Marta Caldeirão and André Coelho, who are at the head of one of the most wanted in the city. after the stains. Âmago, launched in June 2020 and is known for its unique table with only ten seats and its tantalizing tasting menus, emphasizing delicious fresh seafood.

Lisbon’s Time Out Market

Can’t choose? The Time Out Market Lisbon, located in the Ribeira marketis a majestic dining hall and houses the best of Lisbon under one roof: the best chefs, restaurants, cultural events and cooking workshops.


A stay in Chiado places art and culture lovers at the epicenter of Lisbon. This neighborhood became the meeting place for Lisbon’s cultural elite after the opening of the city’s opera house, the Teatro Nacional São Carlos, in 1792. Today, it is the most popular spot in the city for shopping, fine dining, browsing independent bookstores, cafes and intimate art galleries.

Martinhal Chiado

Set in a lovingly restored 19th century building right in the heart of the city’s upscale and historic district – Chiado – Martinhal Chiado is home to 37 luxury hotel apartments. Choose to stay in a studio, one or two fully equipped apartments with their own kitchens, washer/dryers and bright living rooms. The walls are adorned with local artwork by a local Lisbon artist Kruella and decorative Portuguese rugs, plus quirky cork coffee tables and pops of color in the stylish accommodations. Spring 2022 saw the addition of the hotel launching its own Gin Bar where guests can host their own G&T before hitting the city’s nightspots. Parents will love the “Baby Concierge” and access to its own kids’ club and nursery, located in an amazingly lit vaulted cavern with exposed brick ceilings and sensory toys for their youngest guests.

Memmo AlfamaLisbon, Portugal

For a taste of old Lisbon, stay in the Alfama neighborhood known for its historic architecture, steep winding streets and charming mansions. Music lovers will also love its traditional fado clubs, playing soulful folk music from Portugal. Located in the old winding streets of the Alfama district, you will find the Memmo Alfama. Formerly a shoe shine factory, the designer boutique hotel has 42 rooms designed in a contemporary style, a swimming pool and a superb terrace overlooking the city and the Tagus. It’s only a five minute walk to the panoramic view St. George’s Castle.

James C. Tibbs