Valentine’s Day is a cheesy holiday which is difficult to avoid and its cheesiness is a big part of its appeal. It is the one day a year when there is a wide consensus on being cheesy and shamelessly romantic. Lisbon is the ideal town for romantic, cheesy, yet genuinely fun and unpretentious Valentine’s Day celebration.
Something about Lisbon overlooking the scenic Tejo riverfront, the old windy streets, and the spectacular wine which makes it the perfect location for a spontaneous, heartfelt celebration.
These are my particular favorite ideas for those planning to spend the most romantic day of the year in Lisbon:
Flowers from Pequeno Jardim
This flower shop dates to the year 1922. It is located in the central area of Chiado. Even though this is probably the tiniest flower shop you will ever see, it has some of the most beautiful flower selections in Lisbon.
They are really difficult to miss as you will see the fresh, colorful flowers laid out outside the shop. If you are planning to pick up some flowers on Valentine’s Day, waste no time looking elsewhere.
Chocolate from Arcádia
In the spirit of buying from old, family-run Portuguese shops, hit Arcádia for some of the best chocolate gifts in town. The shop, which dates back to 1933, started out in the city of Porto. Currently, it has more than 30 shops all over Portugal.
One of their beautiful Valentine’s Day includes a pack of 12 chocolate hearts, a bigger chocolate heart, and a small bouquet of colorful preserved flowers and they all cost 36.50 euros. A smaller pack of chocolate hearts costs only 9.50 euros.
I can’t think of anything better to do on Valentine’s Day than going for wine tasting especially when you are in a city where wine is not only really good, but also really cheap. The different Portuguese wine regions such as Dão, Douro, and Alentejo provide a wide range of options depending on what your wine palette prefers. For an affordable wine tasting experience, try out Chafariz do Vinho, a wine bar where you can try four different types of wine for 10 euros only. Pair that with their selection of cheese and charcuterie for an extra gourmet experience.
Love Potion Night
Hotel Evolution Lisboa is hosting its annual Love Potion Party, which includes cocktails with ingredients chosen by you, a DJ, and dancing. The event is for those who prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a crowd of people without compromising private romantic moments. It is also not expensive (20 euros minimum bar consumption) given that it is on the 14th of February itself when most events charge more. You can find out more about the event here.
If you haven’t been on a boat in the Tejo River in Lisbon yet, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for it. Nothing is more romantic than the view over Lisbon at sunset. Both sides of the river are stunning to gaze at as the sky turns into its famous reddish golden colors. A four-hour cruise with dinner and a welcoming cocktail included costs 98 euros per person.
You can book here before seats run out.
Whatever you decide to do on Valentine’s Day in Lisbon, there will be something which is exactly your taste, right on your budget and which will be just cheesy enough (as it should be).
See more about Lisbon here in Dispatches’ archives.