Uncover Lisbon’s secrets I Athena Advisers

15 June

Even with tourism on the up across Portugal and Lisbon there are still many places in the city that are not on tourists’ usual trodden paths. Here are a few of the city’s mysterious, delightful and relatively unknown places…

Jardim da Estrela Locals adore this garden for its exotic and traditional mix of plants and trees. It is endowed with an old and romantic wrought-iron gazebo and a pond-side café where you can recharge before resuming your exploration of the city. Children love spending time in the animal-themed playground, whilst grown ups admire palm trees, rose and cacti-beds that surround a giant banyan tree. Praça da Estrela, 1200-667 Lisboa, Portugal

Tasting Ginjinha Portuguese wine and pasteis de natas (custard tarts) definitely attract tourists, but a less known staple item is this Portuguese liqueur, which infuses Ginja berries (sour cherry) and alcohol. Served as a shot with a piece of the fruit in the bottom of the glass it is commonly drunk in Lisbon, Alcobaça and Óbidos. If you want to taste the real Ginjihna, venture to the bar ‘A Ginhjinha’ which is well known for its serving this traditional and sweet liqueur. Largo São Domingos 8, Portugal

Fronteira Palace: This is one of the most charming little places in Lisbon. Located in the Benfica district (northwest of Lisbon) it dates back to the 17th century and is decorated with tiles (the country’s finest), statues and water fountains. Designs depict hunting, battles and religious and mythological figures. R. São Domingos de Benfica 1, 1500-554 Lisboa

Ajuda – Jardim Botânica da Ajuda: This old part of Lisbon can often go unnoticed, which is perhaps a shame, as it is an impressive display of geometric and artistic achievements. It was the first botanic garden in Portugal and boasts two levels holding about 3,000 species of plants. It is easy to fall under the spell of this elegant place with its statues, impressive Baroque fountain and amazing views over the Tagus River, Belem, and the 25 de Abril Bridge. Calçada da Ajuda, 1300-011 Lisboa

The Thief’s Market If you are searching for something unusual just head for the ‘Feira da Ladra’. It is commonly called the ‘Thief's Market’ (in Portuguese "ladra" is a woman thief) but the name actually derives from "ladro," a bug found in antiques. Here you’ll find everything from hand-made artisans goods to military objects and antiques. This market is full of rarities and is located near the Campo da Sta tram stop. Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-472 Lisboa

Tease  This bakery offers an alternative menu to the typical custard tarts made in the Pasteis de Belem where tourists flock. Located in Bairro Alto the bakery cooks interesting and tasty cakes in all sorts of divine flavors, amazing textures and wonderful colors. Professional cakes-eaters from London and New York claim that this is the best bakery in the city. 1200-296 Lisbon, Portugal

Mouraria: In the Mouraria neighborhood you can experiment a vast array of aromas along the sinuous, narrow and old streets. From Africa to Portugal to Asia you can take a worldwide tour of the tongue by sampling a huge variety of hand-cooked food.

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