WMJ

Thursday 4th September

Not-to-be-missed-knits and destination tips: Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon

WMJ’s Beth falls in love with Lisbon…

Apart from a cheeky day trip when I was much younger this was my first proper visit to sunny (if a little cloudy) Lisbon. We had five nights in the Portuguese capital but could have easily stayed for longer to explore further afield into the world of tiles, trams and custard tarts.

SLEEP

We booked ourselves into an Airbnb and were situated right by Cathedral Sé in the oldest district of Lisbon: Alfama. The owner, Pedro, is a Portuguese architect, writer and curator at the MoMA in New York. His eye for design and distinct signature style ran through the apartment. Both spacious and beautiful it was filled with an eclectic mix of antique and modern furniture, paintings, prints, pieces of art, bespoke lighting and design magazines with a stunning view of the ocean.

Lisbon Lisbon

DRINK

We spent most nights drinking in the district of Barrio Alto, a labyrinth of streets housing a multitude of bars. There’s live music everywhere and a plethora of places to choose from. It’s so easy to bar hop taking drinks from place to place, and there are even bands performing out on the street with kazoos – nothing says holiday like a kazoo, right?

EAT

A short train ride (about 30 minutes) from the capital is the old historic town of Cascais – definitely worth a visit, particularly on a hot day. We spent all day lazing on the beach by beautiful clear waters and wandering along the harbour. For dinner we sat outside at a charming restaurant sheltered by wild flowers called Casa Velha. We opted for the chef’s recommendation of the fish platter to share; an absolute feast of fresh fish including salmon, cuttlefish, swordfish, monkfish and tuna.

Lisbon

Lisbon Lisbon

Closer to home back in the district of Alfama, although it may not have been typical Portuguese cuisine, we dined at the Argentinian Café Buenos Aires. They couldn’t quite fit us in at the small restaurant we stopped at, but the woman was fab and walked us around the corner to their larger restaurant where they already had a reserved sign on a table for us. The place was buzzing and the décor was brilliant – the cats and dogs frame placed over another frame was one of our favourites. We each ordered their classic steak dish and it was possibly the best steak I’ve ever eaten – the meat was thick, tender and full of flavour, and the wine was a dream too.

Lisbon

 

SHOP

Right at the end of the street that our apartment was located on was Chi Coração; a quaint little shop that caught our eye with its huge knitting machine that dominated the main window. Inside running along every wall were swatches and samples of yarn in every colour and shade imaginable. For sale were some of the most luxurious handmade wool products, from cardigans to hats, to jewellery and blankets – each piece had its own individual design and character – we could have brought it all home if our hand luggage had allowed it.

Lisbon Lisbon

My favourite shop that we happened across was Loja Da Burel located in Chiado. Chatting to the woman in the store she explained how burel (a tightly woven wool fabric) had been traditionally used by Portuguese shepherds to brave the elements, and they were now taking this concept and reinventing it, to bring the fabric into the 21st century. As the material is so durable, the Burel Factory has combined it with art and modern design to create home furnishings, wall pieces, backpacks and jewellery, alongside the typical blankets and cushions. The shop occupies a beautiful space and is a must-see – I could have spent forever in there and come away with much more than the one blanket I bought for those GoT boxset nights!

 Lisbon Lisbon

KNIT

Tricots Brancal was the largest solo yarn shop we came across in Lisbon. The shop is basically just one huge square space with all four walls housing wool from around the world. Both staff were very busy when we visited, talking in-depth with their customers about their projects and hopping up the ladder to find their perfect yarn!

Lisbon

 

We also found Retrosaria on our last day, but sadly it’s closed on a Monday. Having done some post-holiday Googling, it looks really exciting – the shop sells wool, needles, tools, accessories, fabrics and books as well as running workshops on Saturday and Thursday mornings – it’s a textile haven. Like we needed an excuse to go back...

 

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