Though craft enthusiasts often flock to Portugal’s many and varied regional destinations, the capital, Lisbon, has traditional craft spilling out of almost every nook and cranny, from the intricate tile murals covering buildings to the handtatted lace adorning shop The Lure of Lisbon windows. Alongside this rich artisan heritage, the city also has a thriving contemporary craft and design community. A densely populated metropolis (a half-million people live in the city proper), Lisbon is divided into distinct neighborhoods, each with its own appeal.
Alfama, one of the oldest and most charming districts, is a maze of winding medieval streets leading to some of the city’s most important landmarks, including the Praça do Comercio (Market Square) and the National Pantheon; it’s also where you are most likely to hear authentic fado, the melancholy music born in the city. The Baixa, Rossio, and Belém districts also contain dozens of museums and historic sites, while the lively Bairro Alto, a hilly neighborhood with a bohemian vibe, is full of cafés and bars.
There are also a number of trendy revitalized areas to explore, such as Principe Real, a chic shopping destination popular with locals, and LXFactory, a complex of industrial buildings that have been converted into some of the coolest artisan workshops, galleries, boutiques, co-working spaces, and coffee shops in the city. In these locales and beyond, modern life and cutting-edge art exist alongside centuriesold tradition, thanks in large part to the craftspeople who are adapting those forms for today’s market.
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