Chiado is one of the most visited neighbourhoods in Lisbon. It is full of charm and life with its stylish cafés, historical shops and theaters, remembering a glamorous past, a model of the Parisian fashion and style. Chiado is “Très chic!”
Chiado is surely a charming neighbourhood with beautiful decorated shops, cafés and theaters. It was fashion to go to Chiado and it still is the perfect spot to go shopping, especially at Christmas.
Historically, Chiado started from a neighbourhood with noble houses and convents, to a place which welcomed the new bourgeois, the artists, poets and intellectuals. The 19th century saw the appearance of new cafés, shops, theaters, clubs, libraries and academies which shaped the neighbourhood as it is today.
A fire on 25th August in 1988 shook the life of Chiado and it was given a new chance thanks to the work of the internationally acclaimed architect, Siza Vieira. It is nowadays a neighbourhood which has regained its spirit as a living witness of its charming past.
What to see and visit in Chiado
Largo do Chiado
If you’re asking yourself why is this neighbourhood named Chiado, you will find the answer in a curious statue in the middle of the square that also goes by its name. The statue belongs to a 16th century poet and friar whose real name was António Ribeiro. There is also another theory which defends that the nickname “Chiado” also belonged to another man who lived in the same period and owned a tavern. Probably for a place of poets, writers and intellectuals looked better to stick with the first theory…a poet named Chiado.
Also in the same square you will find Brasileira, a 19th century café which was a meeting point for the artists. If you go inside you will noticed that it isn’t just a common café, but a real art gallery. Outside you can have a chat with the café‘s most famous customer. He is Fernando Pessoa the greatest Portuguese poet.
Praça de Luís de Camões
Used nowadays as a meeting point for friends before heading to the famous bohemian Bairro Alto, it is where it stands out proudly the famous statue of Camões. He was a 16th century poet, symbol of the Portuguese language. We celebrate our national day on 10th of June which is also the day of Camões and Portuguese communities.
This is probably the neighbourhood with more churches per square meter. You look at one side and you see Nossa Senhora do Loreto church, you look at the other and you’ll find Encarnação church. You walk down the Largo do Chiado and you’ll see Basílica dos Mártires. Just to mention a few…It is also worth a visit to the stunning church of São Roque.
And besides churches we also have beautiful theaters like Trindade, São Luiz, and the opera house of São Carlos. If you are more willing to visit a museum you may find the Contemporary Art Museum in Chiado, or the archaeology museum in Carmo. Chiado is historically the artsy neighbourhood with an Arts school and music academies.
Santa Justa Elevator
It is the most visited elevator, built in 1902 and designed by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard. His name looks French but he was born in the Portuguese city of Porto. All about it you can find in our article about the elevators in Lisbon here.
Armazéns do Chiado e Grandela
They are both big buildings which used to be two big department stores like Harrods in London or La Fayette in Paris, which were destroyed by the fire of 1988 and only reopened in 1999.
They are always a pleasure to be inside the shops even for just some window shopping. We like “Paris em Lisboa” , the cute flower shop “Pequeno Jardim” and equally cute “Luvaria Ulisses” which only sells gloves. There are still second hand bookshops which are still fighting for survival, but a real pleasure for any book worm. Do you know that in Chiado there is the oldest bookshop in the world? Its name is Bertrand and it is in the Guiness book of records.
Would you like to buy some souvenirs to take home and entirely Made in Portugal? Our personal favourite is “A Vida Portuguesa”.
There are still many other places to explore in Chiado like the Largo do Carmo, but we believe that it deserves an entire article dedicated to it.
Chiado is one of the spots that we include in our tour “Relive Lisbon”. Book with us!