Could Lisbon be Europe's coolest capital?
loaded with atmosphere, great food and nightlife and packed to the brim with charm
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If you think Madrid stays out late, try a night out in Lisbon. The city is less about heaving clubs and more about a roving nocturnal flow that ends (maybe) when dawn rises over the Tagus River. The main action is in the Bairro Alto, where more than 250 appealing bars line a web of streets between graffiti-plastered walls.
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Next is the riverfront, in the hip neighborhood around Cais do Sodré railway station. Once a seedy area of Lisbon, the riverside Cais do Sodré district has been reborn as one of the city's coolest, a hub of great clubs, bars
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Typical of the offbeat flavor here is the converted brothel Pensão Amor where ace cocktails accompany erotica and DJ sets.
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Capping a Lisbon night are pre-dawn traffic jams at Santa Apolonia docks -- they're created by the popularity of Lux, the king of Lisbon superclubs
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Once known largely for bacalhau (dried cod), quaint old coffee houses and louche taverns, the Portuguese capital now claims a range of restaurants. Seafood remains a staple, but the trend is for modern, sophisticated and affordable. A high bar is set by wunderkind chef José Avillez at his Michelin-starred Belcanto
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Avant-garde European and Portuguese cuisine describes Avillez's menu, which stretches from sea bass with seaweed to lamb with vegetable puree
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Further down the scale, Lisbonites love juicy bifanas (pork buns) in backstreet eateries. No traveler to Lisbon should miss the famed egg tarts (pasteis de nata). The little bundles of caramel-y custard in chewy pastry are eaten in style at the original tiled café, Antiga Confeitaria de Belem
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Wherever you look in Lisbon, sharp contemporary design is a hallmark. Stylish leather goods, bold wine labels, interiors combining vintage with the latest designer pieces, spectacular buildings -- this is a city that loves to look good. Pritzker-prize winning architect Alvaro Siza Vieira set the modernist tone with his gravity-defying pavilion for Expo 98. Lisbonites gather to appreciate good design at MUDE, their mutant fashion and design museum, where austere low-tech blends with baroque flounces.
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Large European capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid may have blockbuster art collections, but Lisbon's half million inhabitants have access to their own rare panoply. The classic is the Gulbenkian Foundation, where superlative Oriental and Western art occupies an airy 1960s building and landscaped gardens.
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The Saramago Foundation is popularly known as Casa dos Bicos. In Portuguese, Bicos is anything that’s pointed, like the stones on this house’s façade. However, Bicos is also slang for oral sex. So now you can think of The Saramago Foundation being housed in the 'BJ house', why not, you won’t be alone.
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