Vaarwell’s hometown tips - Lisbon
Lisbon-based indie-pop trio Vaarwell make music that is, in their own words, “Mellow, simple and genuine.”
The collective effort of Margarida Falcão, Ricardo Nagy and Luis Monteiro gives rise to a vibrant mix of sounds, reflecting their Cais do Sodré background – Lisbon’s melting pot of culture and nightlife.
With their debut album Homebound 456 out this month, The Red Bulletin caught up with the band to talk about the coolest corners of their town and to find out why Lisbon is one of the coolest places in Europe right now.
More information at: vaarwell.com
THE RED BULLETIN: Where’s the best place to go for breakfast?
Margarida Falcão: Pasteis de Belém. Pasteis de nata [a Portuguese egg tart] is basically our national pastry and Pasteis de Belém do them best. It’s the perfect way to start the day. Yes, it’s a very tourist thing to do, but it’s well worth it. But if you’re not into potentially long queues, then go to TEASE. They have the best cupcakes in town and we all know it’s never too early for one.
A hidden treasure not many people know about in your city?
I’d say the neighbourhood of Graça. Although it’s starting to become popular and does have some tourism, there are still lots of unknown corners to explore. It has amazing nightlife – especially DAMAS bar – and the area provides a beautiful view of Lisbon, great restaurants for every type of foodie and it’s becoming a really cool hub of talented young Lisbon-based artists. It also has that ‘small village’ mentality that you don’t get that often anymore. The locals always say ‘good morning’ or ‘good day’ to each other when the walk by. When walking through Graça, it’s not Big Brother who’s watching over you – it’s the old lady from the second-floor balcony.
The best place to go for a walk, relax, and get a bit of nature.
Sintra. It’s a very romantic, green place and has beautiful gardens and forest terrain. It is probably one of my favourite places in the world, actually. It’s part of greater Lisbon, so you’ll need to plan a bit of time if you want to go there though. It is about a 30 minute train journey away from the centre, but it is well worth the time.
What should people avoid in your city?
The 28 tram. A lot of tourists take it because of the route and because it looks charming from the outside, but it’s usually incredibly overcrowded. Not to mention there are always delays and you end up spending more time waiting for the tram than actually seeing sights. A tuk-tuk is probably a more comfortable and reliable option!
A fun fact about your city not many people know.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world – even older than Rome – and every time there’s a major construction project, they always find ruins, ancient personal belongings and, most recently, a pier and a boat.
It’s 5 am and you want to party more. Where do you go?
The tradition states that you go to LUX nightclub. It’s a very cool, exclusive and modern club. Every month or so, they invite bands to play there such as Capitão Fausto, You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown, and PAUS, and I’ve been lucky enough to see a few, but I’ve never stayed for the DJ sets afterwards. The club has a really cool vibe and it’s definitely a cool spot if you want to party until the early hours of the morning.
Personally, though, I recommend ditching the clubs and just going for pão com chouriço [bread with chorizo], caldo verde [kale soup] and a beer in Santos to guarantee a fine ending to the night.
What’s the city’s best club?
Most people agree on LUX. It’s considered one of the best in Europe, although I personally only go there to see some of my favourite local bands.
How should I get around the city?
You need to walk to really appreciate the traditional Lisbon streets – if you don’t mind going up hills – or use the subway if you’re not into hiking. You can do anything but cycle – don’t go cycling in Lisbon unless you’re fond of constantly peddling uphill.