Feel the Soul of Lisbon's Bairro Alto

Posted June 9, 2009 by Kate Hamman

Portugal-Lisbon-Panorama-DEF Home to a rich music scene and many of the city's top artists, the Bairro Alto neighborhood thrives as Lisbon's cultural heartbeat. Come feel the rhythm at a late-night club or enjoy a cup of tea in a cafe cum art gallery. And when the night is over, relax in high style in a hip, boutique hotel where amenities reign supreme.

Tasca do Chico: For authentic fado, melancholy Portuguese music accompanied by a 12-string guitar, stop in at this hole-in-the-wall tavern and grab a seat before 9:00 p.m. Tasca do Chico quickly fills with locals and tourists Monday and Wednesday nights, as many come to sing open-mic fado. In case you need some munchies in-between songs, you can also order food. Admission costs about €5 (about $7 U.S.; check XE.com for current exchange rates).

Cultura do Chá (in Portuguese only): After a day of shopping in the Bairro Alto neighborhood, you can rest your weary feet while sipping on a spot of tea. This teahouse/art gallery displays local artist's works while serving a large variety of green, black, and herbal teas. If tea doesn't suit your taste, you can also order juice or one of the many food items, including quiches, salads, and croissants.

Bairro Alto Hotel: With countless travel awards to its credit, this contemporary boutique in the historic Bairro Alto district takes pampering to new heights. The hotel is housed in an 18th century building and offers modern amenities at a five-star level, including a 24-hour concierge, personal shopper, babysitter, and underground parking. Though it may be a bit pricey, with rates starting at €205, the hip ambience and location make it worth the splurge.

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(Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/Aleksander Bochenek)

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