Most of the times when you travel, shopping is the last thing on your mind.
Except for groceries, maybe some medicine in case of an emergency, going on a shopping spree isn’t quite what you have planned, but these aren’t the places for a shopping spree.
These four options for alternative shopping in Lisbon take you off the malls, off the crowded streets and on to the chance of finding precious surprises.
These areas are located in parts of the city that can get busy at some times of the day so we suggest a combination of Metro and walking as the easiest way to get there.
They are also close enough to some must-see spots, so you can continue to explore the city when the shopping is done.
Feira da Ladra
Metro: Blue Line
Station: Santa Apolónia
Distance from Metro: Approx. 600 m walking up (12 minutes)
Quite a bland and empty space during most of the week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from sunrise to sunset, Campo de Santa Clara transforms itself into the oldest flea market of Lisbon (it’s been around since the Middle Ages).
Anyone can sell and buy anything, from things you need to the things you won’t remember why you spent money on later.
Books, vinyl, clothes, kitchenware, antiques (I fell in love with a pair of old ceramic door knobs once). All you need is some cash in hand and some pretty good negotiating skills to haggle away with established sellers or selling-their-stuff-to-buy-stuff people.
All you need is some cash in hand and some pretty good negotiating skills to haggle away with established sellers or people selling-their-stuff-to-buy-stuff.
Just resist the urge to buy vintage azulejos (ceramic tiles).
Av. Guerra Junqueiro
Metro: Green Line
Walking distance from Metro: Approx. 250 m (3 minutes)
This street on the upper side of Lisbon used to be the go-to place for shopping in the 1980’s.
It’s usually not crowded and, alongside small cafes and smaller shops, you can find most of the established stores you would find in any large shopping area.
Shop owners have started an association to promote these smaller retail chains and to bring back the customers to an almost forgotten area of the city.
If you’re looking to buy unique souvenirs, take a look at the Loja Bordallo Pinheiro (where you can find designer ceramics by 19th-century Portuguese artist Bordallo Pinheiro) and the Mercearia Criativa (where you can buy all sorts of local products from wine to cheese and from chocolates to jams).
Metro: Green Line
Station: Martim Moniz
Walking distance from Metro: Approx. 100 m (2 minutes)
The place to go to find all those delicious ingredients for Asian cuisine that you can’t find in your regular supermarket.
Definitely where I go to to buy the spices I can’t find anywhere else (or when I find them, they will be insanely overpriced).
You will also find many stores that sell electronics, clothes, and decorating items. Can’t find the most unusual tool or device elsewhere, or forgot to bring your power adapter? There’s a chance you’ll find it at Martim Moniz.
For the really great prices, just step away from shops closer to the central streets and go deeper inside the narrow streets of the Mouraria quarter — that’s where the good deals and great surprises are.
Most of these shop owners have been living in Portugal for more than fifty years, so there is an interesting blend of customs.
Continue your journey: Closer to Praça da Figueira, you can choose between continuing to shop in the surrounding areas of Baixa and Chiado, or take some time to appreciate the architecture of the theaters at Portas de Santo Antão Street — the Coliseum, the Politeama, and the Ateneu Comercial
Rua de São Bento
Vintage and Antiques
Metro: Yellow Line
Walking distance from Metro: Approx. 800 m (9 minutes)
I always feel like a kid in a candy store walking down this street.
Although some of the vintage shops may be too overstuffed and unappealing, it’s always a great adventure to walk inside one of them and find small treasures.
Not all of them affordable treasures. But still, always a fun way to get lost in time.
Further down the street, after you pass the Parliament building, there is a bookstore that only sells travel-related books and merchandise.
This is also the street where renown Fado singer Amália Rodrigues used to live and you can visit her house that has been turned into a museum after her passing in 1999.
Continue your journey: you can walk all the way down the street to Santos (with also interesting design shops) and then get to know Cais do Sodré or, when you reach the Parliament (you won’t miss it) take a right and walk up Calçada da Estrela to visit Jardim da Estrela and the Basílica opposite the square.
What are your must spots for shopping in Lisbon? What’s your favorite type of alternative shop? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re not much of a talker, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest for your daily dose of travel inspiration.