The greatest pleasure of shopping in Lisbon is that the big international brands haven’t taken over the retail scene, allowing independent local talent to shine. While the usual luxury suspects are clustered on Avenida da Liberdade, the shopping areas of Chiado and Príncipe Real are lined with small boutiques that showcase unique design sensibilities as well as Portuguese excellence in textiles, ceramics and leather. While not all of these are “concept shops” per se, they sell a variety of goods by different makers and merit a poke around.
The rooms of this ornate 19th-century neo-Moorish palace in Príncipe Real are now occupied by small boutiques featuring exclusively Portuguese-made products: fragrant Castelbel soaps, wool capes and ponchos from heritage brand Ecolã and baby clothes by Organii. The menswear offerings are especially strong, with locally designed shirts and scarves at A Indústria, Armando Cabral leather shoes and sneakers, and organic cotton T-shirts and loungewear at Isto. The impressive central courtyard is enlivened by a gin bar.
Praça do Príncipe Real 26. Tel. (351) 965-309-154
Enter the 18th-century Palacete Castilho and you might think you’re in Ipanema, not Príncipe Real. Jobim plays on the soundtrack, piles of coffee beans crowd the stairwell, a mobile of plush yellow parrots dangles overhead. This is Casa Pau-Brasil, a concept store that brings together multiple brands from the former colony. Taken collectively, the Osklen sportswear, Lenny Niemeyer bathing suits, Granado cosmetics and Sergio Rodrigues furniture create an air of tropical sensuality.
Rua da Escola Politécnica 42. Tel. (351) 213-420-954
A disused manufacturing complex in the Alcântara neighborhood, under the 25 de Abril Bridge, was converted in 2008 to this “creative quarter” with shopping and dining — not unlike the ROW DTLA in Los Angeles or the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town. Now the brick industrial buildings are covered in colorful murals and occupied by dozens of boutiques and restaurants, many with alfresco tables. The merchandise is more hip than high-end, but it makes for enjoyable browsing, especially during the Sunday flea market. Be sure to pop into Ler Devagar, a multilevel bookstore housed in a former lithograph shop, and Landeau Chocolate, which makes a standout chocolate cake. The funky rooftop bar at Rio Maravilha, with its sculpture of a woman facing off against the Christ statue across the Tagus, is a hoot.
Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103. Tel. (351) 213-143-399
This charming shop in Chiado specializes in heritage Portuguese brands, its wood apothecary-style cabinets displaying a well-edited selection of products. You’ll find beautifully packaged soaps and perfumes, naturally, but also wool blankets, notebooks, aluminum cookware, ceramic dishes, every imaginable food product, even colorful spools of wrapping twine. The shop also sells andorinhas, the delicate ceramic swallows first designed by Bordallo Pinheiro in 1896 and a beloved symbol of Portugal.
A Vida Portuguesa
Rua Anchieta 11. Tel. (351) 213-465-073