Cais do Sodré or how to tour the Lisbon of yesterday and today


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Wake up and go for a walk along the riverbank with the first lights of the day on the Tagus? A place to take 'uma bica' while market stalls prepare to start the day? Take a bike and travel the shore at dusk about seven kilometers to Belém? Do you drink one (or a few) very fresh Sagres on a terrace while your children play in a little park surrounded by trees?

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The essential addresses of Lisbon

For this endless list of reasons (nightclubs included), yes, Cais do Sodré is the perfect equation to stay in Lisbon and feel like a sardine in the water.

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

Bohemian, wandering and carefree. Welcome to Cais do Sodré! © Alamy

Bohemian, wandering, carefree, with a night owl fame but with a light projected by the banks of the Tagus from which it boasts in front of all the other Lisbon neighborhoods … (Does anyone have this horizon?), Cais do Sodré has become the last decade in a place of forced passage if you are in Lisbon and, in recent years, in the key site where to locate your base of operations in the city.

It has everything and is close to everything.But in addition, the old neighborhood of sailors and prostitutes has not lost bellows over the centuries and remains a boiling point, an open, multicultural place where life is still drinking at large sips and Lisbon, what remains of that port city, still has that opening point.

His conversion into a safer space began more than 30 years ago, with the call of mythical bars such as Jamaica (Rua Nova do Carvalho, 6-8), which are still open and playing rock classics, which forced pilgrimage here from the most bourgeois neighborhoods.

However, it was not until the year 2000, in a three-way neighborhood bet, the private and public initiative that was given the final boost. Historic buildings and old port warehouses were rehabilitated (in the neighborhood they are counted by tens) and became spaces of the 21st century.

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

Pensión Amor, a classic in the neighborhood © Getty Images

The flagship project, the famous Pensão Amor (Rua do Alecrim, 19), had its multiplier effect: an old 17th-century building transformed into a bar, burlesque shows, art, rooms and events in 2012 definitely put Cais do Sodré on the map of All the guides.

The next blow of effect came in 2014 with the reopening of Mercado da Ribeira (Avenida 24 de Julho, 50), a 19th-century building that became the city's new gourmet space after Time Out magazine won the contest public to launch it. Today positions of Portuguese chefs such as Alexandre Silva, Marlene Vieira, Vítor Claro, Miguel Castro e Silva or Henrique Sá Pessoa are mixed with others of Asian cuisine, fish, ice cream, fruit and a lifetime, in a non schedule -stop that allows you to taste delicious snacks in a relaxed way at any time of the day and at affordable prices.


There are flirtatious hotels in the area, such as LX Boutique Hotel (Rua do Alecrim, 12), whose suite overlooking the Tagus is to think about if you come in a romantic way. However, Lisbon hostels always pleasantly surprise and are much cheaper to come as a group, such as Lost Lisbon Cais do Sodré (Travessa do Corpo Santo, 10).

Equally recommended in the area are the luxury apartments of the 8 Building . It is a renovated and modern building, with a large clock in the highest part, which cannot be better located: in Praça Dom Luís, authentic G-spot of the neighborhood, where you can take the pulse of the modern life of Cais do Sodré and on an underground car park (€ 22 / day to forget the car) next to the Ribeira Market. The building has a terrace on the top floor with spectacular views of the Tagus for a drink or a cocktail.

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

And that terrace… © LX Boutique Hotel

In this same square, a children's playground surrounded by flowering trees and a kiosk to drink those little coffee and those beers (sandwiches and salads included) while your children play, make the place the perfect place for a parenthesis between one plan and another.


As you are in the gastronomic neighborhood par excellence of Lisbon, the recommendation is that you take advantage to try the variety of exotic kitchens of the Mercado da Ribeira, the proposals of the media chefs in their positions and that you enter and go out to peck what you want to time you prefer

If you have a craving for sushi, Confraria's position is highly recommended; if you want to buy the classic cream cupcakes, in Manteigaria (on the sides of the market that overlook Avenida 24 de Julio); and if you prefer ice cream, do it in Santini .

But beyond all the incredible offer that is inside and around the market, for a special dinner, in a charming, scenic place, with ferries coming and going through the Tagus and sailing boats greeting us from the far away, the Ibo restaurant is unrivaled (Armazém A porta, Cais do Sodré 2).

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

Ribeira Market © Getty Images

First, because of the romantic and suggestive location: from where this restaurant is, the boats left for Mozambique (and the African, Hindu, American colonies …). And second, because here you will taste the best Mozambican cuisine in the city: well articulated in an old warehouse converted into a trendy terrace on the banks of the Tagus. That said, unbeatable.

For a breakfast of kings in a warm and suggestive space (yes, late, opens at 11.00), Café Tati, just behind the Mercado da Ribeira, will conquer you (Ribeira Nova, 36). In addition, some afternoons, usually Wednesdays and Sundays, jam sessions are held with local jazz musicians.

To snack something in a casual and Portuguese style, a can and a glass of Piriquita (from its canned menu try the sardines in lemon oil and the spicy mackerel pate), and in a lovely terrace choose Tirza Bar (Avenida 24 of July, 2). Attention, here, what matters is the comfort of this informal terrace where you can spend hours.

If you are looking for an infinite variety of preserves to try and buy, your site is Sol e Pesca (Rua Nova de Carvalho, 44).

Open the desire to continue investigating the palate of the Portuguese neighbor, its wines are worth mentioning separately. Therefore, Vinharia wine cellar (Rua de São Paulo, 18) is another must see. You will feel that you enter a time machine (here the wines can be carried in carafes at home, as in the past) and while you try a few, you can soak them with delicious tapas.

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

Sun and Fishing © Alamy

When the body asks for a more substantial meal, you will only have to take a few steps and enter the next door, Casa de Pasto (Rua de São Paulo, 20), to try authentic homemade Portuguese cuisine from chef Hugo Dias de Castro .

Putting sweet icing on this gastro tour of the neighborhood is called artisanal ice cream with views of the river, in the Gelateria Fiori (21, Cais do Sodré). The perfect brooch presents in your apartment. Its flavors are including novelties of the most exotic.


If the kids are old enough to rent a bike, touring along the banks of the Tagus (seven kilometers to Belém) is a fun adventure for everyone. You can rent in the neighborhood, by Bike Iberia (Largo Corpo Santo, 5) and get to the Torre de Belém where people sit down for a picnic, eat yogurt ice cream from food trucks and take the classic photo next to the tower.

If your children are younger, riding a ferry to cross the Tagus, from the Cais de Sodré River Station to Cacilhas, is a round plan and a perfect excuse to eat well-roasted sardines outdoors or seafood at a good price . The journey does not last more than 15 minutes and you can take advantage of a leisurely stroll through this neighborhood in a Lisbon, which, being outside the tourist circuits, has a more relaxed atmosphere.

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

St. George's Castle © Getty Images

A lap in one of the tuctucs that park next to the Mercado da Ribeira and go up to the Castle of San Jorge (or as far as it is third) will also seem like a plan between the comings and goings of adults.


Of course, a visit to Pensão Amor is essential (much and almost everything has been written about this place). And take a leisurely walk around the fabulous and bright Commerce Square, where the Royal Palace was destroyed by the Lisbon earthquake before the Marquis of Pombal decided to rebuild the city. There you will not only find a tourist office, but also the oldest café in the city, Martinho da Arcada, a place of pilgrimage of Lisbon intellectuals of all time.

Another visit in this historical and inspiring line, although it is not properly in Cais do Sodré, but very close, in Lapa, is the National Museum of Ancient Art, in the Rua das Janelas Verdes. A couple of hours there and you'll get a clear idea of ​​the weight of the old Portuguese empire (present in almost every continent).

The building itself is already a jewel: it was a convent of the former Távora family (17th century) and was acquired by the Marquis of Pombal as a palatial residence before it was dedicated to conserving pieces of ancient art from the Middle Ages to the XIX century. Curiosities like the Namban screens (the Portuguese were also in Japan) deserve the visit by themselves. By the way, the garden and the terrace have wonderful views over the Tagus so as not to lose the connection with the river.

Cais do Sodré o cómo recorrer la Lisboa de ayer y de hoy

Martinho da Arcada, the oldest café in the city © Getty Images

A few drinks and some dances

The afternoon is falling and the neighborhood is full of people drinking all kinds of spirits, ginjinhas included, of course.

The atmosphere begins to warm up and mixes with couples and families who walk along the riverbank with the last rays of sun. Everyone in their plan without bothering, living together. But it is evident that here, in less than a couple of hours, the luminosity of the Tagus will give way to the magic of the Lisbon night.

The Rua da Rosa warms up engines to give everything in the early hours of the night, the bars (there are many to choose from) with terrace on the street begin to make their August.

Once the clock hits early in the morning, the legendary MusicBox room (Rua nova do carvalho, 24) , for lovers of electronics and urban music ; or Sabotage (Rua de São Paulo, 16), for those who bet on a rock night, are the most popular in this shameless and cool neighborhood.

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The essential addresses of Lisbon