In the homeland of explorers, your best bet is to keep looking.Explore
From one-of-a-kind shops to hidden courtyards.
Lisbon boasts an unusual array of traditional and specialty shops, so spend your morning touring some of the city's unique offerings. Conserveira de Lisboa has been around since the 1930s, and has since specialized in something extremely specific: canned fish. What started as a small grocery store soon grew into a multi-generational family business that continues to attract fish lovers from all over the world. Each colorful tin, stacked on wooden shelves, holds some of the best fish in Portugal, including tuna, cod, sardines, mackerel, and eel. Watch as the staff carefully wraps up your purchase for you, just like in the old days.
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 34, 1100-016 Lisboa, Portugal
Only one person can fit inside Livraria Simão, one of the smallest bookshops in the world. The owner, Simão Carneiro, took over this former tobacco shop in 2008 and turned it into a whimsical, tiny store. While the majority of the shop's 4,000 titles are in Portuguese, you can also find books written in Spanish, English, Italian, and even Chinese. If you want to see any of them up close, Simão will need to step outside, but that’s a ritual he’s used to by now.
Escadinhas de São Cristóvão 18, 1100-119 Lisboa, Portugal
Also known as the Doll Hospital, Hospital de Bonecas has been fixing broken dolls since 1830. Dozens of detached heads, eyes, and limbs are piled up in drawers of this unique repair shop. As customers arrive, each doll is registered as a patient and distributed to the "doctors" according to their “illness.” This unusual practice began with a woman named Carlota, who repaired dolls for local children back in the 19th century. Her services as a doll doctor became so popular that she eventually opened a doll hospital, which has remained in the same spot ever since.
Praça da Figueira, 7 1100-240, Lisboa, Portugal
It’s easy to miss Casa do Alentejo, as it hides behind a plain white façade. Step inside though, and you’ll find a gorgeous Moorish-style courtyard. There are two restaurants here, a more formal one upstairs, and a smaller tavern serving lighter meals downstairs. Both menus feature traditional dishes from the Alentejo region of Portugal. It’s worth trying the carne de porco à Alentejana (grilled pork with clams) and the morcela (Portuguese black pudding). If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can also order the moelas em molho de tomate (chicken gizzards in tomato sauce). Pair whatever you choose with a glass of Alentejo wine.
R. das Portas de Santo Antão 58, 1150-043 Lisboa, Portugal
For more than 100 years, the Lisbon Geographical Society has been collecting objects related to the Portuguese colonization and expansion period. The society’s museum is spread out over three different rooms, focusing on Africa, China, and India. Among the permanent collection are 16th-century Italian globes, African masks, and rare musical instruments. It’s also worth visiting the library, which holds the largest collection of books about Portugal's complicated colonial past.
R. Portas de Santo Antão 100, 1150-265 Lisboa, Portugal
Walls covered in old newspaper, retro furniture, and many unconventional treats await you at Taberna Anti-Dantas. The restaurant is named after a manifesto written by the Portuguese artist Almada Negreiros against the writer Júlio Dantas. Here, traditional Portuguese food comes with a twist, from the octopus tentacle resting on a sweet potato to the fish soup served in a huge rustic bread. Before you delve into the main dish, there are many appetizers, or petiscos, worth trying, particularly the look-a-like pastéis de nata made with cod. Finish off with a shot of port wine served in a chocolate cup. Once you’ve sipped the wine, you can eat the cup.
R. São José 196, 2610-002 Lisboa, Portugal
Charming green spaces lead to relics of the past.
Long gone are the days where a lion scared off visitors of this garden. Donated by the African explorer Paiva Raposo in 1870, the lion of Estrela lived a solitary existence, having lost his mate on the journey to Portugal. When he first arrived, thousands of people lined up by the gates of his cage to see him roar. Unfortunately, out of fear, many of them would also throw stones at him. A lot has changed since then, and the only animals roaming the garden today are ducks and pigeons. Amid exotic plants and sculptures, there's also a playground for children, two lovely cafés, and a wrought-iron bandstand that hosts live music in the summer. Anyone is welcome to rent a book at the garden’s kiosk library.
Praça da Estrela, 1200-667 Lisboa, Portugal
Across the street stands the Basilica of Estrela, with its striking white dome. This neoclassical church was completed in 1790 by order of Queen Maria I in gratitude for the birth of her son. Today, you can find her tomb here. Beyond the tomb, there is a remarkable nativity scene featuring over 500 terracotta and cork figures created by the sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro. The walls of the basilica are covered in multicolored marble and embellished with paintings by the Italian artist Pompeo Batoni, among others. But the real showpiece here is the terrace, which offers staggering views of the castle and the 25 de Abril bridge, a Golden Gate doppelgänger.
Praça da Estrela, 1200-667 Lisboa, Portugal
From Portuguese monarchs to Édouard Manet, picnics at Tapada das Necessidades are a longstanding tradition. Manet visited the park in 1859 and it's said that it inspired him to paint Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, now displayed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. This hidden oasis is surrounded by rare trees from around the globe and has one of the world's biggest cacti collections. Ducks and geese greet you as you arrive, as do a handful of peacocks, if you’re lucky to spot them. Once a privileged spot for Kings and Queens, today Tapada das Necessidades is enjoyed by all.
Beside the park, you’ll find the Necessidades Palace, a pink building that was the only royal residence to remain standing after the earthquake of 1755. It is currently home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is there not open to visitors.
Calçada Necessidades, Lisboa, Portugal
Beneath the Amoreiras garden hides one of Lisbon’s best-kept secrets, the Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras Reservoir. Grab a quick coffee at the garden’s kiosk and then venture down into this unique water temple. Fed by the Águas Livres Aqueduct, Mãe d’Água (Mother of Water) was once the main source of water in the city. While no longer in use, the reservoir continues to impress visitors with its echoing interior and water displays, from the huge tank to the ancient rocky fountain. Steps lead the way to the reservoir’s terrace, where you can spot many of Lisbon’s landmarks. If you're up for it, continue through the underground tunnels that take you all the way across town to the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint.
Praça das Amoreiras 10, 1250-020 Lisboa
Back in 1870, Dona Quitéria opened a small grocery store in Príncipe Real. Little did she know that centuries later, her portrait would be decorating the walls of a restaurant in the exact same spot. The décor hasn’t changed much, but the offering certainly has. Specializing in petiscos, Dona Quitéria is famous for its peixinhos da horta, delicious tempura green beans that literally translate to “little fishes from the garden.” There’s much more worth trying in this cozy restaurant, including the game meat croquettes and the pork cheeks. On Sundays, Dona Quitéria turns into a stage for Fado shows. The restaurant is tiny, so make sure to book a table in advance.
Tv. São José 1, 1200-192 Lisboa, Portugal
A wooden door opens and vintage wallpaper is revealed as you squeeze into the tiny elevator that leads to The Insólito. At the top floor, you’ll find two spaces, an interior dining area and a terrace offering sweeping views over Lisbon. Featured on the menu are typical Portuguese dishes, classic cocktails, and a vast selection of wines sourced from all over the country. Try the Pêra Rocha Daiquiri, made with native Portuguese Rocha pear, or the Gimlet Insólito, a mix of gin, Granny Smith apple, syrup, and fresh lime juice.
R. de São Pedro de Alcântara 83, 1250-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Just a few steps away from the Ancient Art Museum, this 18th-century townhouse has turned into a charming boutique hotel. There are 29 rooms, all decorated in classic style with dark wood furniture and floral fabrics. Guests are invited to visit the rooftop library and relish the river views or even the moon through the hotel’s telescope.Check Prices Or Availability →
Housed in a 400-year-old palace that survived the 1755 earthquake, Palácio das Especiarias is one of Lisbon’s jewels. The name "Palace of Spices" comes from a story that two vice-kings of India and two vice-kings of Brazil were born here. Inspired by this tale, the hotel’s decoration alludes to remarkable characters from Portuguese history.Check Prices Or Availability →
If you thought Pensacola, Florida—with its powder-white sand beaches, near-perfect weather, and fresh seafood—was just a place to soak up the sun, think again. In fact, the city and beach of the same name is the site of the first European settlement in the continental United States. Established by Spanish explorer Tristán de Luna in 1559, it was christened Panzacola, a name of Native American origin and the precursor to the city’s modern name. The destination is also the birthplace of U.S. naval aviation and is still home to a naval air station and the thousands of service members stationed there, as well as the Blue Angels, the flight squadron famous for their death-defying fighter plane stunts. This delightful coastal city is an ideal, if somewhat quirky, blend of historical sites (on land and underwater) and activities to get your adrenaline flowing.
The people of Tucson have been eating off the land for 4,100 years. From grains to livestock to produce introduced by missionaries in the 1600s, this UNESCO City of Gastronomy is home to some of the oldest farmland in North America. What once was old is new again in The Old Pueblo where ancient flavors are found in nearly every dish — trendy to traditional.
Any travel enthusiast would be hard-pressed to open any social media channel and not see photos of Iceland, with its jaw-dropping peaks, natural hot springs, pure glaciers, northern lights and snow-covered landscapes. But the island nation’s appeal goes well beyond the well-worn paths of Reykjavik, the Golden Circle and the southern region's countryside. Travel to the untamed north along the Arctic Coast Way to discover otherworldly beauty—sans crowds—around every bend.
Crowds clog Edinburgh's Royal Mile, the main artery between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The road is dotted with stores selling Nessie trinkets and lined with bagpipers and street performers pulling off dazzling tricks. But look beyond the tartan tourist traps, and you’ll discover tucked-away gardens, remnants of the city’s medieval past, and much more.
In 1967, 100,000 artists, activists, and hippies gathered in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood for the Summer of Love. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix played free concerts for fields of college dropouts, and San Francisco established itself as a countercultural capital. More than 50 years later, in a city increasingly known for Twitter and tech rather than art and activism, travelers who come on a pilgrimage are often disappointed to find expensive, skin-deep psychedelia. But if you know where to look, you’ll find a walk down Haight Street to be wonderfully weird, full of historic links to hippiedom and modern takes on the vibe.
More than eight million diverse individuals call New York City home, and many of them share their heritage through food. Whether it’s a billiards hall that serves stellar Bhutanese fare or a mosque where Malian vendors sell snacks for just a few hours each Friday, the city offers a vast culinary landscape for those willing to explore it. Venture beyond the flashy hotspots with months-long waiting lists and you’ll find New York’s true flavor lies within the small restaurants and stands rooted in its thriving immigrant communities.
It may be famous for Mardi Gras, but New Orleans has subtle, surprising wonders on tap all year long—even in the touristy French Quarter. Around every cobblestoned corner, you’ll find historic ephemera, bits of Creole culture, environmentalism, and no shortage of spooky stories, whenever you happen to visit.
From the street, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is hard to miss: The institution’s two-million-square-foot main building, at 1000 Fifth Avenue, spans four New York City blocks and stretches into Central Park. Inside the galleries, you’ll find thousands of objects spanning 5,000 years of world history. With so many treasures under one roof, it's inevitable that some fascinating pieces are tucked into the museum's lonelier nooks and crannies, hiding in plain sight. The next time you spend a day at the museum, keep an eye out for these overlooked wonders.
Detroit and Nashville are synonymous with two all-American music genres. It’s no surprise that visitors flock to these cities each year to get a feel for the places where artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton began their careers. A (relatively) straight, north to south route connects the two cities, as does musical heritage. Load up the RV, make sure your speaker system is in tip-top shape, and create a playlist filled with old-school Motown and Country hits. If you're not driving on the trip down south, you should be dancing.
The terrain along the Gulf of Mexico is sometimes called the “Third Coast,” but for an offbeat road trip, it’s second to none. Starting in Houston and ending in Pensacola Bay, this journey takes you through some of America’s most diverse landscapes. You’ll cross Cajun swamps, drive along sparkling white sand beaches, and even spend some time in the Big Easy. Take an RV and camp along the way to truly immerse yourself in this wondrous region. The world’s largest gulf, it turns out, holds some of America’s best-kept secrets.
The Coachella Valley and its environs boom in the spring, when tens of thousands of music lovers flock to catch their favorite artists perform in front of a dramatic, mountainous backdrop. But this region stays wonderfully weird all year long. If the festival drew you to the area and you only have a day to explore, choose a direction: Either head north, toward Joshua Tree and Landers, or southeast to the Salton Sea and nearby oases for a blissful respite. If you can spare a couple of days, lucky you—go forth and see it all.
Los Angeles’ Highland Park is a diverse, eclectic neighborhood that Native Americans and Latinx communities have inhabited for centuries. Celebrated for its history, art scene, ethnic diversity, and cuisine, Highland Park is filled with surprising delights that more and more people are discovering every day. Exploring the neighborhood's nooks and crannies is one of the most rewarding ways to spend a day in L.A.
Once referred to as “The Coney Island of the Pacific,” L.A.’s beachfront neighborhood of Venice has long been a popular tourist destination. Its colorful characters, quirky architecture, and carnivalesque atmosphere are well-known the world over. But take a moment to look past the kitsch, and you’ll discover a place where artistic ingenuity thrives more than a century after Abbot Kinney endeavored to bring a grandiose version of Venice to America. The bohemian beehive has always attracted artists and performers, and everyone is welcome to enjoy the show.
The 1970s brought a wave of artists into this former industrial area in Downtown Los Angeles. They sparked a fuse of creative imagination that burned for years. Up-and-coming creators took advantage of the then-low rents and built a foundation for the creative mecca that exists here today. In its infancy, L.A.’s Downtown Arts District came to life behind-the-scenes, with artists mostly working in closed studios. Today, the art has spilled onto the streets in the form of colorful murals, attractive gallery spaces, and stylish storefronts. But the curious explorer can still find literal and figurative traces of the ‘70s. In addition to the more historic spots that remain, a creative, entrepreneurial spirit abounds.
Wedged between Charing Cross and Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square is known for the throngs of people flocking to its famous attractions. Weave around the tourists on the National Gallery stairs and dodge the crowds clogging the street corners. Instead, duck down dreamy alleys and pop into unique, overlooked museums and shops. There, a secret side of this busy area waits to reveal itself.
Few cities on Earth are as well-trodden as New York–but as any intrepid traveler knows, the more you explore a place, the more wonders you find. You may not be able to discover all of these spots in a single trip, but that could be a good thing. No matter how many times you return, the city that never sleeps never ceases to surprise. Visit NYCGo to uncover more of the city’s secret spots.
Anchored by the Zócalo plaza and the architectural splendor of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City's historic center rightfully draws scores of visitors from around the world. If you look, smell, and taste carefully, you’ll also find a universe of culinary offerings that tells stories of immigration, adaptation, and imagination. With the help of Culinary Backstreets, we assembled a primer on eating and drinking your way through the district.
Hollywood Boulevard is world-famous—for the Oscars and the Walk of Fame, for schlocky souvenir shops and crowded tour buses. But beyond the terrazzo stars and the occasional celebrity sighting, there’s plenty left to discover. Here’s how to make Hollywood’s acquaintance, whether you’re a visitor or a local who keeps a practiced distance from these busy, saturated blocks. Look closer and you'll find a neighborhood full of nature, history, and wonder.
There's the Times Square you know, full of blazing billboards, selfie sticks, and costumed characters. Then there's the less familiar one, beyond the lights—the nooks and crannies that most visitors to Midtown Manhattan overlook. They're not obvious, but surprises can still be found along this world-famous stretch of real estate.
Follow along on our 2,200-mile adventure with NPR's 'All Things Considered.'
Forge your own path in this tourist magnet, toward places that are less crowded but no less wondrous.
Find faded grandeur and vibrant street life in Argentina's largest city.
Just when you thought you knew the Windy City, it finds new ways to surprise you.
Find secret vistas, labyrinthine bookstores, and eclectic public art.
Go beyond the beaches in the continental United States’ only truly tropical city.
New York City's most diverse borough is also its most rewarding.
Southern California's second city holds plenty of sparkling secrets.
Find surprises around every corner in a U.S. city that embraces history like no other.