Looking for recommendations of things to do and places to stay in Lisbon, Portugal? Here our tips for eco-friendly hotels, tours, activities and restaurants in the Portuguese capital.
Eco-friendly Lisbon hotels
Inspira Santa Marta
A sustainability champion known well beyond Lisbon city borders, Inspira Santa Marta is a four star boutique hotel with five-star prices, but well worth the investment. Inspira Santa Marta is well located, professional, inspiring, healthy – a design hotel built with Feng Shui in mind.
Open Brasserie, the hotel’s restaurant, is elegant and urban, uses regional produce wherever possible and caters to gluten-free and most other dietary requirements – see restaurant review further below.
Located at the outskirts of central Lisbon but with trains and metro station across the road, Corinthia Hotel Lisbon will appeal to travellers looking for distinctively “old school” five-star – luxury and elegance all the way from the recently renovated lobby, the bar, the rooms and the executive lounge on 24th floor.
As Portugal’s largest business and convention hotel, Corinthia’s award-winning conference facilities are impressive, only topped by the magnificent views from the executive lounge, the enormous spa and wellness area located on second floor, and the hotel’s friendly, efficient and superb staff.
This isn’t necessarily a green or sustainable hotel (few luxury hotels are), but has gone a long way in reducing its environmental footprint through smart design and engineering.
Urban and sustainable hotel located in a quiet area of the city but close to the liveliest streets and with fast and easy access to everywhere. For this you can use the nearby metro, buses, bicycles provided by the hotel, or choose a healthy walk through the beautiful city of Lisbon.
Lisbon tours, sights & urban adventures
Unless your mission is to simply unwind, relax and recover from a business visit – for example in Corinthia Lisboa’s spa area – exploring Lisbon will likely be the main purpose of your visit. Here are a few tips on how to make the best of your time in the city of seven hills and frequent traffic jams (yes, just like Rome..).
Eco Tuk Tuk Tours Lisboa
Get all the action and sights without the sweat and hassle: Among the trillions of Tuk Tuk tours now available in Lisbon (which can be quite annoying for both residents and tourists), Eco Tuk private tours were the pioneers in offering a four-wheeled sightseeing tour on an open, electric vehicle which gets you close to all the inner-city highlights but without the noise and pollution of the older tuk tuks. Our tour with Joao lasted for two hours – highly recommended.
Gulbenkian Museum & Garden
Gulbenkian museum and garden: an oasis of peace and tranquility in bustling Lisbon. Enjoy a walk around the garden, get a refreshment in the café, and of course check out the latest art exhibitions. More info here.
Monsanto Forest Park
Lisbon local Sandra Henriques Gajjar of travel blog Tripper: “Monsanto Forest Park is typically unexplored by tourists, unless they’re looking for its most famous abandoned viewpoint (Panorâmico de Monsanto). There’s an interesting 14km route, that starts and ends in Belém, that shows you a completely different side of Lisbon, connecting the riverside to Mata de Monsanto (a small forested area that’s part of the Monsanto Forest Park).”
Just 35 minutes from downtown Lisbon by train is Cascais, a city which is much more tranquil, cleaner and less noisy than the capital. The city has invested considerably in its environmental management and is easily reachable by train. Great coastline to check out, swim or surf. Some great museums as well, and just so much more breathable. More about Cascais here.
Insider tip: next to Lisbon Cathedral is Aljube Museum of resistance and freedom. This has nothing to do with sustainability, but is a must visit for anyone interested in the history of Portugal, especially the rather ugly side of it – 20th century dictatorship. Housed in a former political prison of the Salazar dictatorship and spread over three floors, this small museum will open your eyes to events which many Portuguese still find difficult to stomach or talk about.
Healthy eateries in Lisbon
When it comes to restaurants, Lisbon really has everything on offer, including plenty of vegetarian options. Our favorites:
Open Brasserie Mediterranica
Located within Inspira Santa Marta Hotel but open to everyone, Open Brasserie is a restaurant with a relaxed, urban atmosphere and excellent service. The mouth-watering dishes on offer are created with sustainability in mind.
Jardim dos Sentidos
Where: Rua da Mãe d’Água, nº 3 (walking distance from Inspira Santa Marta Hotel) | Website (Portuguese only)
A distinctly vegetarian restaurant in the very heart of Lisbon – great terrace and relaxed ambiance off the tourist path. A restaurant conscious about the nutritional and therapeutic values of food, which is a fusion between South American, European and Oriental with lacto-vegetarian and vegan options.
PSI Restaurante Vegetariano
Where: Alameda St. António dos Capuchos (walking distance from Inspira Santa Marta Hotel) | Website
Recommended by our local Airbnb host. Beautiful setting, great place for a romantic dinner. We had cannelloni with ricotta and spinach, seitan with vegetables and creamy sauce and a delicious lentil soup.
Where: R. 1º de Dezembro 51 (walking distance from Inspira Santa Marta Hotel) | Website
We discovered this vegetarian cafeteria by chance. Located in basement of Celeiro bio-supermarket, popular with workers and locals. Avoid pastries, go for fresh salads, soups and cakes.
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