Lifestyle & Culture

Sarah Nagaty: Affordable artisan goods and Old School personalized shopping define Lisbon

It is true that there are more shopping options in places like London, Milan, Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona (to name just a few European cities) than in Lisbon. However, Lisbon doesn’t stand out for its high-street shops, but rather for the Old School ones. 

For example, Lisbon is one of the few remaining cities in Europe where high-quality leather products could be purchased for affordable prices right in the heart of the city center (Baixa-Chiado).

Similarly, vintage trinkets for the house are easily accessible in Feira da Ladra market for unbelievably affordable prices. I found a map of England from the 18th century for 30 euros! 

Some of the things I shop for in Lisbon carry a spirit similar to the stories of my grandmother about her own shopping trips in the past: small shops, meeting the owners every time you walk in, affordable handmade and artisanal options, etc. 

My major advice for shopping in Lisbon is not to hit giant malls for brands such as Massimo Dutti, Zara, or H&M, but to actually look for items and shopping experiences which are unique to Lisbon.

Leather goods

Portugal has a long-standing tradition in the production of leather goods and is known for its high-quality craftsmanship.

A shop like Casa das Peles offers Portuguese women leather bags for 60 euros more or less. Belts for men start at 14 euros. There are also several leather shops in the area of Martim Moniz. I just don’t happen to remember their exact names.

Soap, body lotions and candles

It is super easy to find very good quality olive oil soap in Portugal as it is known for its olive industry. Artisanal soaps, body lotions, creams and candles cost only a few euros more than supermarket prices for more commercial options. 

My favorite brand is Castelbel Porto. They specialize in the production of luxury soaps, home fragrances, and other bath and body care products. Castelbel is recognized for its use of premium ingredients. They have a few stores in different locations in Lisbon. 

Decorative home accessories

It is still possible in this European capital to find vintage trinkets for the house at affordable prices. There are several small shops in both the areas of Anjos and Arroios which sell second-hand cute items such as teapots, frames and chairs from the 1950s and 1960s (refurbished and sold at 30 euro per chair). 

Another amazing place for similar options and much more (as it also includes clothes, jewelry and vinyls) is Feira da Ladra market. It is also known as the “Thieves’ Market.” Feira da Ladra is the most famous flea market in Lisbon with a wide variety of items for sale, including both new and used goods. 

Everyday clothings brands

While local brands keep receding in the increasingly globalized market, you can still find local Portuguese brands which offer high quality material at a fraction of the price of their “more international” counterparts.

For example, Quebramar is a Portuguese brand that specializes in casual and nautical-inspired fashion. The brand offers a range of clothing and accessories for men, women, and children. While my Timberland rain jacket leaked water after a month of usage, Quebramar’s has been fully rain and wind proof for a few years now. 

There is also Lanidor, another Portuguese brand for women’s clothing. Lanidor goes all the way back to the 1960s. When you enter a Lanidor shop, you definitely encounter a different customer service experience from anywhere else. Lanidor is certainly not as cheap as Zara or H&M, but is quite affordable during the sales seasons.

It has both elegant and casual options for everyday purposes. 

Humana

Thrift shopping

I would have liked to tell you how amazing thrift shopping in Lisbon is, but unfortunately, secondhand items are not as cheap as one would expect in the Portuguese capital.

The one exception is Humana. Humana is probably the most popular thrift shopping option in Lisbon, with shops all over town. 

Items in Humana are really affordable, but you need to look carefully to find what works for you. They also do a lot of sales and things become really cheap then ( you can find a dress for 5 euros or a pair of fancy shoes for 10 euros). For an even better shopping experience, go to the Humana Vintage in Baixa. There, they sell vintage items which are slightly more expensive than the stuff in the regular Humana, but it is totally worth it. 

Overall, what is different about the shopping scene in Portugal is how it mixes the well-known international brands and designer boutiques, with traditional craftsmanship and local products. Try not to miss out on the latter as only a few cities still manage to offer a unique shopping experience.   

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Sarah Nagaty has a PhD in cultural studies, She’s lived in Portugal for six years.

As a student of cultural studies, Sarah is drawn to what connects people from different backgrounds to new cultures and places, how they relate to their new surroundings and what kind of activities they could engage with in their new hometowns.

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