Posted December 28, 2009 by Jamie Moore
Banish post-holiday blues with a little retail therapy in Lisbon, Portugal. You'll find inexpensive shops (where markdowns can be as much as 80 percent through February), cafes, and boutique hotels hidden along the city's ancient cobblestone streets. Stroll through the trendiest shopping district for made-in-Lisbon bargains, indulge in a favorite Portuguese treat at a riverside cafe, then rest easy at a converted 17th-century convent.
Bairro Alto: Lisbon may be famous for the slew of designer stores lining its main street (think Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Carolina Herrera), but for something more offbeat and less expensive, head to picturesque Bairro Alto. Here, the bohemian vibe attracts trendy boutiques and street artists. Check out the shop of Fatima Lopes, a Portuguese designer famous for her diamond bikini; and make sure to visit A Outra Face de Lua, where unconventional vintage clothes, jewelry, and even toys fill the shelves. Or just wander the centuries-old streets and window-shop the afternoon away.
Antiga Confeitaria de Belem: When shopping fatigue hits, head for the river and this gorgeous cafe with 17th-century wall tiles and arched doorways. The must-have item: Pasties de Belem tart, a Portuguese passion. Legend has it the tarts are made with a 170-year-old recipe and are the best in the city—10,000 are devoured each day. The cafe's iconic take-out tart tube (fits about a dozen tarts) makes it easy to indulge and shop.
York House Lisbon: You'll find this charming boutique hotel about 10 minutes from downtown Lisbon. The 17th-century former Carmelite convent now has designer rooms, tranquil gardens, and a courtyard bar, cozy breakfast room, and fancy restaurant. Visit the concierge and join one of the hotel's walking tours of Lisbon, or splurge on York House's special "Day with the Chef" and learn to cook a gourmet meal with ingredients from the local market. Rooms start at about $90 per night (depending on the exchange rate).
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