Rua Augusta

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Running from the grand entrance to Lisbon on Praça do Comércio to central Praça Rossio, Rua Augusta is the bustling main street of Lisbon. Pedestrianised, the street captures every aspect of Lisbon life from market stalls and street art to high end and high street shops. The road was immortalised in Gulliver’s travels. I watched this not too long ago and had no idea that Lisbon was featured. Much to my friend’s annoyance I could not stop the squeal of excitement I let out when I noticed Gulliver being wheeled through the magnificent archway (Arco do Rua Augusta). 

Assuming you have not been captured by the people of Lilliput, the first thing you will see upon entering through the giant archway from Praça Comércio is a variety of market stalls. Most of these sell bags, scarves and some jewellery. Cross the road ahead and you then come to a rash of stalls either side of the street selling paintings of Lisbon and Portugal. Be warned that some of the stall holders are very pushy. I just happened to glance at one of the pictures I liked and the stallholder was telling me his life story in seconds and then offering me a deal on two for the price of one in under a minute! I was amused as I had already decided I wanted to purchase a picture the day before and sales patter has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever.  Just so you know, this is the part of the street where the banks are so head here if you need an ATM (although there are plenty scattered around the city anyway).

augustapaints

Cross the next street and this brings you to the cafes that have seats situated in the centre of Rua Augusta. Tables and chairs abound here for the weary traveller who’s just landed in Lisbon. Food at these tables tends to be cheap and cheerful. On the right hand side of the street is a little souvenir shop selling a wide variety of nik naks.

Next to this is ‘A Chega’ which sells all things woollen. The quality looks good and not too expensive.

Note that the next street that crosses Rua Augusta is the one with the tram lines. Turn left and walk up the hill to the tramstop if you want to catch the 28 to the Castle here.

Crossing over the tram lines and continuing up Rua Augusta you’ll see a large branch of Zara on your left. A little further along is the rather lovely “Casa Pereira da Conceição” This shop has been here since 1933. It’s one of my favourite shops in Lisbon but then I am a coffee lover and of course in Lisbon you will always find good coffee! In truth I must nod to tea as well as this traditional shop sells fine teas and coffees from all over the world. There is also gorgeous porcelain china, vintage ports, ginginha and home-made chocolates Mmmmmm 🙂 The shop is still run by the same family and has another smaller outlet in Chiado. If you want to buy your loved ones a foodie gift (or yourself!) this is a nice place to look.

augustacasapereira

Just across the next road that bi-sects Rua Augusta on the corner to your right is São Nicolau Cafeteria. Stop here for traditional Portuguese pastries such as pasteis de nata, queijinhos d’ovo, tarte de amêndoa, fatias, douradas and more.

Across the way is “Monteiros e Jorge LDA”, a high class leather and suede shop. Next up on the left is ‘Madeira House’ with typical Portuguese china (might be the place to buy your Portuguese cockerel). Beside this is the familiar H&M store and opposite are an array of other high street clothes shops.

Look left as you cross the next stree (Rua da Vitória) and you’ll see Chiado-Baixa metro.

augustapitta

The heart of the street now alternates between jewellers, fashion shops and tiny tourist kiosks packed with take home goodies. Poised gracefully between these is a rather swish looking men’s clothes shop at 195- 197 Rua Augusta called Pitta. Whilst there’s little for me to buy inside, I love this shop simply for it’s fabulous carved wooden frontage. Gleaming in the sunlight this shop pitches you back to an older era when every shop was individual and owners took great pride in every aspect of their business. Beside the gorgeous wooden-fronted shop is a tiny stairway that leads to a handicraft shop.

Cross the next street and you’ll come to Gazela – a little cafe in the centre of the road. It may serve as a much needed break if you are into shoe shopping because on this part of the street you’ll be spoilt for choice. I am still always surprised at just how many shoe shops their are in Lisbon and more so because they often seem to be open later than the other shops. Beside’s being born female I’m afraid I never sucumbed to the lure of shoes but then I’m a bit of a hippy so I’d probably go bare-foot if I could.

As you cross the next street you’ll see the Elevador Santa Justa – do go for a ride.

The next point of interest is Casa Brasileira and absolutely terrific pastry shop. You can tell it’s good because the Portuguese are going in to eat. Opposite is Casa Macário which sells a huge range of Portuguese wines, sweets, honey’s and jams.

From the glorious calçadas to the traditional shops and cafes; from human statues and hustling buskers to the occassional sly hiss of “hashish” from a passing dealer. From well dressed Portuguese businessman to tired tourists, Rua Augusta is the lively centre of Lisbon. With the Tejo glittering at one end through the triumphant arch the light here falls on every colourful aspect of Portuguese life. It’s easy to rush down this street on the way to somewhere else but it deserves to be wandered and savoured and very definately tasted. Now, where next for a pasteis…

10 comments for “Rua Augusta

  1. January 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Hello Lilly, hope you don’t mind me to comment in your blog. I like it very much! This street is my favorite in Lisbon in downtown area, it’s the sense of walking and enjoy all around!
    Great entrance of yours as always!

    beijos,
    Fatima

  2. January 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Lily,

    I just wanted to leave a quick note saying how much I’m loving your blog. I am due to move to Lisbon for a year in Sept this year to work for a charity and having never been there your blog is giving me a great insight into the city!

    I’m also learning Portuguese so the language links are really helpful – obrigada!

    Kerry x

  3. Lily
    January 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Olá Fatima – obrigada 🙂

    Hi Kerry – ohh how lovely to be moving to Lisbon. I hope you enjoy discovering the city as much as I have and I look forward to reading about your experiences on your blog x

  4. Alexandre
    January 19, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Hello Lily, wonderful blog. I know you love music, so I recommed this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQqsmfQB9GM
    One of it’s founding members, João Aguardela, died yesterday of cancer, aged 39 🙁 RIP

  5. Lily
    January 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Olá Alexandre
    oh how sad he died and so young too 🙁
    Thankyou for the link to the song. I have heard this on the radio and wondered who it was by – I love it!

  6. Leo
    February 9, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Love your blog Lily. I came across your blog link on lingq.com. I’m trying to learn portuguese as I’ll be in Lisbon next week. Eeeek. Wish me luck. You have some great links on your blog to help with the language… please keep updating. Thanks, so much! 🙂

    • Seo Portugal
      May 13, 2013 at 5:22 am

      you are more then welcome to lisbon.

      near sé is very good with rustic places and history …

      you will love it

      regards

  7. Lily
    February 9, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Leo
    Thanks – good luck with Lingq. It’s a great site for learning and have fun with testing your new found skills when you go to lovely Lisbon 🙂

  8. Darren
    March 12, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    hi, I am an Erasmus student in Portalegre, Portugal.
    This saturday I travel To lisbon for a week or more. From Wednesday on I will be alone and need to fill my time. I have done the bus tours of Lisbon before and seen the old part of the city in Belem. Does anyone have any ideas as to how I could fill my time??
    Any suggestions would be appreciated:)

  9. Lily
    March 13, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Darren
    I’m glad to hear you are visiting Lisbon.
    Lisbon Walker (www.lisbonwalker.com) has guided walks everyday.
    Take a look around Bairro Alto and Alfama if you haven’t been already or alternatively I’d recommend a trip to Parque das Nações to the oceonario and the fabulous walks along the waterside. You could also either take the train to Sintra which is gorgeous and well worth a visit or alternatively discover one of Lisbon’s beaches. There’s tons to do. Oh the Gulbenkian is good too if you like museums and art galleries.

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