{take me away № 33 | lisbon, portugal}





Lisbon, or Lisboa, meaning “serene harbour”, located on the river Tagus, is Europe’s second oldest capital. It is also considered to be one of the most livable cities in the world, according to Monocle Magazine, and one of the most traveled to destinations, having welcomed approximately 1.7 million tourists in 2009 alone.


And what may be most enlightening about Lisbon, is not necessarily what one may see of life today, but what is remembered today. For within the walls of classic architecture — traditional Portuguese, Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic, and the ever-bewitching Manueline lies the stories of citizens from long, long ago; citizens who helped shape the very city that stands today.


Indeed, not a single detail is too great or too small, for precise modern architecture sits amoungst the ancient walls formed centuries ago, reminding its visitors and inhabitants of a rich history that lives on, and is preserved today. For as the days pass, the culture is enriched with yet another layer of history and culture.


Walk to the iconic Belém Tower, built in the early 16th century, signifying “the age of discovery”, that sits on the bank of the Tagus River, and you may become lost forever within its soaring structure, curves and points. Or pause to snap a picture of the stunning fountains along the way, and venture to the unmistakable Commerce Square, buzzing with excitement, followed by people watching in a lovely café to while the afternoon away . . .


And for certain, a stop to St.George’s Castle is a must. One might also catch a train to Sintra, in very close proximity to Lisbon, where enchanting architecture and postcard-perfect beaches meet, such as Palácio da Pena / Pena Palace, considered to be one of the greatest palaces in the world. And for those who adore the beach, the coast is simply breathtaking . . .



Twenty centuries of rich history, narrow cobblestone streets offset by vast hills, incredible boulevards, colourful 18th century squares, magnificent castles, cathedrals, museums, and domes that peak throughout the city, pointed to the sky, await. And so, immerse yourself in the details of culture, history, and life, and come along with us to one of the greatest cities in the world . . .




01 | Palacio Belmonte

“Christian Louboutin loves the Palacio Belmonte for its ‘view from the terraces, and the frescos’, while we also love it for its beautiful swimming pool – which is surrounded by beautiful orange trees.”— Vogue, May 2011

Surrounded by medieval streets, this unique historic and award-winning boutique hotel is a true delight. Guests will be entranced by the artistic and significant azur-hued tiles that grace the interior walls of the establishment, their stories told in lines and gestures, as well as the stunning oil paintings and antique pieces that mingle beautifully with contemporary choices. Guests can select from eleven refreshing, bright and luxurious suites, and enjoy terraces with picturesque views, sitting rooms, an organic garden, and even libraries — perfect for an evening in. Indeed, it is said that guests have been known to arrive and not want to step out of the hotel for being completely captured by its beauty.
hotelAbove, Pestana Palace hotel


02 | Pestana Palace

Considered to be both a hotel and a national monument, Pestana Palace is a carefully restored 19th century palace Valle-Flôr. This elegant five-star hotel has received a number of awards and numerous words of praise from visitors and locals alike, and is a member of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ group. Guests will arrive to a lush, private park that surrounds the property, with panoramic views, and a grand entrance that stops one in her tracks. Here, not a single foreseeable luxury has been spared. Gold gilded walls, painted ceilings and extraordinary chandeliers create an enchanting interior. Rooms and suites [there are 194 in total, with four being royal suites] are equally as decadent, dressed in works of art, decorative walls and furnishings, and floor skimming draperies. One can also enjoy the grand salons, chapel, outdoor areas, as well as a most lovely restaurant.



03 | Fortaleza do Guincho

The perfect accommodation for a traveler seeking a unique experience — one of quiet refuge and comfort. Indeed, this five-star hotel is in fact set alone within a 17th century fortress; the hotel affords breathtaking, south-facing views towards the sea, “or towards the most westerly point of mainland Europe, the marvelous Cabo da Roca.” Inside, one will discover warm wood tones, decadent details opening to the earth and sky. And as for guest quarters, one may select from eight courtyard rooms, sixteen superior rooms, and three junior suites, each space carefully and thoughtfully decorated with traditional pieces and the most lovely of linens. Visitors may also arrive for a dinner at the famous restaurant located within the hotel for an inventive and unforgettable dish.

{additionally : three fabulous vacation apartments : Mercador Luxury Apartments}



01 | Tavares

A jewel box of sheer glamour, complete with entirely golden walls and ceiling, with inset mirrors, fascinating statues, and shimmering chandeliers, this grand Baroque dining room has been highly successful since its opening over 200 years ago, and makes for such a memorable experience. As for the cuisine, chef José Avillez creates many classic Portuguese dishes to celebrate and enjoy, including a”fillet of sea bass cooked at low temperature … [and] draped in samphire and assorted seaweeds garnered from the nearby coast” — perfect for a true taste of this beautiful country and for a decadent evening.



02 | Largo

According to some, Largo is Lisbon’s “next generation restaurant”. Incredibly sultry and stylish, a meal at this restaurant is a must, both for its talked about design, as well as the delectable dishes. Designed by the renowned Miguel Câncio Martins, well-known for his design of Paris’ famous Buddha Bar, the interior is enclosed under a coffer ceiling and features old columns, and is finished with imported furnishings and tanks filled with exotic sea anemones. Dishes offer a slight international flavour, but primarily Portuguese cuisine can be expected, with the exception of the chef’s signature foie gras terrine.

* note: due to the popularity, it is best to book a table in advance



03 | Eleven

A striking, modern and sophisticated restaurant that is beautifully lit, with a fresh, light and bright ambiance. Surrounded by vast and lush green, and overlooking the city, Eleven prides itself in being a restaurant of both art and culture. Inside, one can enjoy the natural and uplifting look and feel, complete with the use of plenty of natural materials such as wood and stone, vast and seemingly endless windows, and soft touches of candlelight, drapery and lighting. Though considerably new to the city, Eleven is becoming quite well known and respected for its contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, including fresh, natural produce, prepared by chef Joachium Koerper, who also has a Michelin star restaurant in Spain. And with dishes such as smoked mackerel with shrimp ravioli, green curry vinaigrette and coconut; roasted lobster on a bed of fettuccine and spring mushrooms, and chocolate créme brûlée with baked pineapple sorbet and ginger, a visit to Eleven is certainly a must.




Lisbon enjoys a lovely Mediterranean climate, with a Summer season that lasts for about six months [from May to October], making packing for such a journey a breeze. We suggest a few pairs of chic espadrilles and flats, ideal for exploring, as well as light and breezy dresses, a few cozy things for the evenings, sunglasses, and swimwear—particularly if the beaches and pools just outside of the hotel await . . .


{p.s.} also : the pink fountains of lisbon

lisbon5 lisbon3

p r e v i o u s l y

* take me away № 01 | perfectly packed
* take me away № 02 | luggage to last a lifetime
* take me away № 03 | tips for buying luggage
* take me away № 04 | vintage & antique luggage
* take me away № 05 | the travel file
* take me away № 06 | an equestrian escape
* take me away № 07 | la maison du chocolat
* take me away № 08 | holiday etiquette
* take me away № 09 | st. petersburg, russia
* take me away № 10 | holiday etiquette, part two
* take me away № 11 | travel by train
* take me away № 12 | venice, italy
* take me away № 13 | a wintry escape
* take me away № 14 | the magic of winter gardens
* take me away № 15 | bora bora
* take me away № 16 | valentine’s inspiration for a romantic getaway
* take me away № 17 | the most beautiful rose gardens around the world
* take me away № 18 | a glamorous guide to champagne
* take me away № 19 | barcelona, spain
* take me away № 20 | a tour of a few of the best millinery studios around the world
* take me away № 21 | city guides № 1 : paris
* take me away № 22 | what to pack for paris
* take me away № 23 | dublin, ireland
* take me away № 24 | hong kong, china
* take me away № 25 | the enchanting world of lace
* take me away № 26 | the cherry blossoms of tokyo
* take me away № 27 | mykonos, greece
* take me away № 28 | the lavender fields of provence
* take me away № 29 | city guides № 03 : london, england
* take me away № 30 | sail away with me
* take me away № 31 | gelato tasting in italy
* take me away № 32 | the best beach cottages to stay around the world

[image sources & credits : photography by gijlmar /// photography by liivia s via sarah /// ferknot /// iphone photography by carrie harwood /// statement shoes /// wish wish wish /// iphone photography by carrie harwood /// photography by olissiponense /// photography by michelle may /// norocl /// what do i wear? /// wish wish wish /// the place to be seen /// photography by ondasderuido /// lisbon luxury hotels /// for the love of pretty /// photography by michelle may /// photography by gijlmar /// photography by pedrosimo via sarah /// wikipedia via sarah /// photography by gijlmar ///
fountain /// photography by mikel.hendriks via sarah /// photography by liivia s via sarah /// ♥ania. via sarah /// wish wish wish /// photography by carrie harwood]

Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curled up in her home library, exploring enchanting tales, lands to be discovered and explored, intriguing stories, and timeless beauty. What resulted is a lifelong passion for love and authenticity, delightful simplicity and beautiful moments. Educated in design, marketing and English, Sarah’s keen eye and aesthetic allow her to immerse beauty and heartfelt passion into both her personal and professional projects.

17 Notes
  • I’m in love with your post… I’m portuguese, so… THANK YOU! I love this city, i love my country! Big kiss!

  • I adore Lisbon! One of my favourite cities in the whole world.

  • great post! cannot get over that plane…. can you imagine?!

  • Oh my! Just another thing to add to the Bucket List. Thanks for the lovely images!

  • Just been showing Avidcruiser round the city last weekend. We sampled the hazel nut ice cream that Anthony Bourdain loved at Jose Avillez Cantinho. Tried this years best custard tarts at Aloma Cafe & hotly pursued the tram cars through Lisbon’s Alfama quarter – this “Lisbon Tour Designer” just loves her city & we love that you love it too: Lisbon the Lovely, Lisbon the Fair, Never to have seen Her
    Is to miss something Rare!

  • Obrigada pela linda reportagem LiSboa é Linda.
    Thank you for the lovely photos Lisboa is a beautiful city.

  • I love Lisbon and your images brought back wonderful memories. Love those Portugese tarts too!

  • Portugal is so beautiful! I’m so happy to be Portuguese! I can’t wait to go to my family in October!!

  • I do visit your blog every week and today my chin dropped when I saw the city where I live!! And You did a beautifull job with the pictures and mentioned the most important! Amazing post as allways but this one even better because I know all those details. I’m an interior designer, I own a shop and my house is in Chiado, the historical part of downtown. I also have a blog and if you need something from Lisbon I’ll be more than happy to help you! Cheers, Ana

  • Such a beautiful post! x

  • Dearest Sarah,

    Great post, did bring back fond memories from our trip to Spain Portugal. It is a lovely city indeed, so rich in culture. Loved to see the blue tiles…
    Restaurant ‘Eleven’ is serving ‘Roasted lobster on a bed of fettuccine and Spring mushrooms’
    Would love to know more about their definition of ‘Spring’ mushrooms…
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette’s Back to Basics

  • A beautiful and inviting post. Superb images
    Thank you for sharing

    Helen xx

  • mafalda muffins — thank you! & the fourth is at the lisbon zoo :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Adorable post about one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

  • This looks incredible. I just love the architecture — such attention to detail! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  • lovely post like always!!
    I’m from Portugal and i can’t recognize the fourth place, can you tell me where is it?

  • I’m so glad about this post as I just booked a trip to Lisbon. I’ll be leaving in six weeks & this post is very inspiring. Thanks!

Comments are closed.

  • Thank you for stopping in to say hello — it's lovely to hear from you!

    Please note that comments are moderated for spam, profanity, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business.