Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shopping in Lisbon

Baixa, the city center of Lisbon, Portugal, with elegant squares, pedestrianized streets, cafes, and shops. Old tramcars, street performers, tiled Art Deco shopfronts, elaborately decorated pastry shops, and street vendors selling everything from flowers to souvenirs, all lend a special charm to the area. Watch it all from a table outside Nicola Café in Rossio Square facing the monumental National Theater and Saint George's Castle, and as you stroll down the pedestrian Rua Augusta, past the triumphal arch, into the majestic Comercio Square. Look down at the cobbled mosaic pavements as you walk down Avenida da Liberdade, past Restauradores, Rossio, and Rua Augusta. It is hardly a secret but the nondescript façade of "Casa do Alentejo" in Rua das Portas de Santo Antão may prevent you from finding its beautiful Moorish interior.

Baixa literally means “low” as it is situated in the gulf between the two main hills of the city. Owing its neat rows of stately neoclassical buildings to the devastating earthquake of 1755, it is said that it is almost impossible to get lost in downtown Lisbon.

Baixa is the central shopping and business district of Lisbon. Portuguese handcrafts often exhibit exotic influences, in part because of Portugal’s vast history as a seafaring nation. The Baixa shopping district lies between the Rossio and the river Tagus. The three main shopping streets are the Rua Aurea, or Street of Gold, the Rua da Prata, Street of Silver and the Rua Augusta.

Don’t forget to check out the famous Feira da Ladra, or “Theives Market” where you can experience haggling for bargains. Today, the traders here are perfectly legal, and they show their wares every Tuesday and Saturday. This open-air market is about a 5 minute walk from the waterfront, close to the Alfama district. Start browsing at Campo de Santa Clara, portable stalls and individual displays climb the hilly street. Nearly everything you can imagine is for sale here, but come early for the finest pickings.

From pottery and ceramics to fashion, art and handcrafts, Lisbon’s business and shopping district is not to be missed. Plan your Lisbon shopping day with your favorite group of people on Celtic Tours Experience Portugal Group Tour.

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