Its people and atmosphere are reminiscent of Madrid, its affordability reminds us of Berlin, the Portuguese language and warm weather brings us to São Paulo, and the trams « Cable Cars » that line the steep streets are San Francisco worthy. All of this is Lisbon, a tasty mix nestled in southwest Europe.
Lisbon is a beautiful city with a picturesque charm that is becoming more popular on the international gay scene. The majority of the gay locations are in the Bairro Alto or the Principe Real, two neighborhoods near each other in the historical center of Lisbon. Bairro Alto is thusly dubbed the gay district of Lisbon.
There is a subway but not too many lines to get around, but you will easily be able to get to the essential points of interests. Buses are much more frequent, and you can navigate the entire city. Whichever you decide, don’t drive! It is extremely dangerous and more so for those not used to driving. What is good to know, is that taxis are prevalent, and cheap!
To get to the Bairro Alto, the best way is to take the the funicular « Elevator da Gloria » which starts from the city center (Restauradores Square). Once you’ve reached the top, go to Miradouro de San Pedro de Alcantara (Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara) which offers breathtaking views of the city, including all the many monuments.
Just opposite is the Solar do Vinho do Porto (45 Rua de S. Pedro de Alcântara) situated in the magnificent Ludovico Palace. You will find a warm and comfortable atmosphere, as well as discover different types and brands of Port Wine ; wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts will not be disappointement.
Spend the day shopping, as the Bairro offers boutiques such as the Men Spot (Rua São Marçal 168A), which has everything you’ll need for your Lisboan holiday. The local way of life is as follows: dinner starting at 9pm, hit the bars around 11pm, and the club at 2am.
Most of the gay bars Lisbon are small. The narrow streets (where it is allowed to wander with beverage in hand) fill up quickly, and the warm weather is ideal to stay outside, chat and make new friends. Most of the gay bars are found on and around the Rua da Barroca, but one of the places to be is the Sétimo Céu (54 Travessa da Espera), probably the biggest gay bar in the Bairro Alto. Upon leaving the bar, take a left and stop at the corner, which is the meet up spot for the hottest guys in the city—a true place to be seen, in the open air. 10 minutes away walking is the Marais Lisboa (28 Rua Santa Catarina). Though out of the gay area, it still remains a must.
For clubs, the Trumps (104 B Rua da Imprensa Nacional) is one of the largest, and attracts a young and trendy crowd. Construction (84 Rua Cecilio De Sousa) attracts an older and hairy ‘manly’ crowd and their fans. Finalmente (38 Rua Da Palmeira) is a very small but legendary bar, and is considered to be the first Lisbon gay club (the drag shows are not to miss!).
And finally don’t forget to check out the beach Costa de Caparica, 15km south of Lisbon (n°17 et 19), which is without doubt one of the most beautiful gay beaches in Europe.