Chiado to Principe Real: Local History, City Views and Urban Cool
Introduction at Largo do Chiado
Welcome to Largo do Chiado, the starting point of this walking tour. My name is Julie Dawn Fox and I have been living in Portugal since 2007 and writing about travelling here since 2011. I fell in love with Lisbon before I even moved here and have thoroughly enjoyed exploring its nooks and crannies over the years. Today, I’m going to be leading you through some of my favourite parts of Lisbon. I know you must be eager to get going, but there's plenty to show you right here, so find a place to stand for a few minutes while I tell you about this place.
Take a moment to look around you. You should be standing outside Café A Brasileira, one of Lisbon’s most emblematic cafés.
It opened in 1905 to sell coffee imported from Brasil, hence the name. The owner used to give customers a free cup of coffee if they bought a kilo of coffee - this is where the 'bica' originated, which is Portugal's version of 'espresso'. The café's Art Nouveau decor has changed little since then and its worth popping inside to see. Once the haunt of artists and intellectuals, it's now overrun with tourists and not the best value for coffee or cake. That said, Largo do Chiado, is a popular meeting spot and an excellent place for people watching so consider returning here after the tour for a drink and a chance to watch the world go by.
At the edge of the tables outside the café you should see a bronze statue of a man seated at a table. That's Fernando Pessoa, one of Portugal's most highly regarded poets. If you see souvenirs sporting a guy wearing a trilby hat and round glasses, that will be him. Pessoa was an A Brasileira regular and would knock back an absinthe along with his coffee, which may have helped free his poetic imagination.
With your back to the café, look beyond Fernando towards the centre of Largo do Chiado where you will see a larger statue. This is another poet, André Ribeiro. He was nicknamed 'Chiado' because he spent so much time in this part of the city. He kept folks entertained in the 16th century with his satirical and jocular rhymes. These days, you're more likely to be entertained by street artists and musicians in this spot.
Now it's time to get moving. With your back to the café turn left and start walking through the square. I'll meet you at the next corner.
VoiceMap uses your location to play commentary automatically. You can put your phone away, and focus on the surroundings. There might be silence now and again, but just keep walking until I say otherwise.