Wellness for the Win: Soak up Good Vibes in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal Spa

Need a little wellness in your life? How about wellness activities in Lisbon? It’s the holiday season once again, a time of overindulgence, awkward dinner table conversations, and resolutions we never seem to keep. In this hectic season, why not find an excuse to pause and focus on your well-being? Wellness retreats have become all the rage in recent years, and for good reason. Research shows that there are plenty of long-term benefits to mindfulness and meditation. Meditation improves your decision-making skills, boosts relationships and your overall health. 

In Lisbon, Portugal’s idyllic coastal capital, the cobble-stoned pathways and general old-world charm, makes for an easy hideout from the pressures of everyday life. It’s no wonder that the European city is a perfect choice for a wellness-focused trip.

Let Wander Like Me do all the work

It’s worth noting that self-care is a very personalized thing. Some of us like saunas and bubble baths, others might relax with a glass of wine and a delicious meal. Someone else may feel most at peace staring at abstract art in a local gallery. Wander Like Me’s itineraries allow you to pamper yourself in exactly the ways that feel best to you. Imagine self-care without the headache of planning and with all the benefits of a local’s deep knowledge of a place. Check out www.wanderlikeme.com  and let us take care of you on your next trip.

Weep with the Best of ’em

Fado (or ‘fate’ in Portuguese) might be one of the saddest, oldest and most authentic forms of artistic expression in Portugal. The melancholic musical style was born in Lisbon, so it’s impossible to visit the city without at least pausing for a listen.

It’s hard to pick a favorite club, but Adega Machado certainly comes close. It been open since 1937 and this nostalgic place doesn’t just have a history of bringing in the best talents, they also has a groovy menu selection. Another romantic spot is Bela (named for the popular owner, Anabela), where the snacks are as diverse as the musicians.

They say crying is good for the soul. In Lisbon you’re bound to find a warm, dark corner to shed a tear or two. Bela, Rua dos Remédios 190, Lisboa 1100-445

Join a Local Healing Circle

Healing groups is a great way to connect with like-minded folks seeking a respite from the usual tourist traps. Beyond checking events and hashtags on traditional social media channels like Instagram and Facebook, it might be helpful to check Meetup.com, a site that links you to local activity and affinity groups.

Not only will it instantly put you in touch with locals, you’ll also find people connecting around all kinds of highly specific hobbies or identities. So if you’re looking for your wellness tribe, look no further. In Lisbon there’s a large group focused on personal development and self exploration, plus a smaller sound healing and meditation group.  

Begin with Bacalhau, and bring on more Regional Food

Portugal’s famous codfish, or bacalhau, is standard fare anywhere in the country, and Lisbon is no exception. With so many options, it might feel overwhelming and hard to know where to start. Our suggestion? Start your foodie journey at a gourmet market by the coast, like Mercado da Ribeira (also known as Time Out Market). Here you can enjoy the chic delicacies hand-selected by the food writers and curators of the famed Time Out magazine.

Taste the best bacalhau in the city at famed chef Miguel Castro’s stall, Castro e Silva (stall 10), eat the juicy roast pork sandwich at Balcão da Esquina, and stand in line to try Portuguese croquettes at the humble Croqueteria (trust us – it’s worth the wait!). 

Mercado da Ribeira, Avenida 24 de Julho 1200-479 Lisboa, Portugal

Yogis unite

Perhaps the most obvious (but no less meaningful) wellness activity, Lisbon is chock-full of yoga classes – always a safe bet when it comes to relaxation. Bend and stretch like no other at Yoga Shankara! You can also take advantage of belly dance classes, if you want a slightly different challenge.

We also recommend Escola Natha. This place is more than a studio. It’s a full-blown yoga school, teaching philosophy, tantra, and mindful cooking, among other things. Check the rotating calendar to take advantage of retreats and other unique offerings here.  

Yoga Shankara, Planalto, Largo de São Sebastião da Pedreira 48 46, 1050-205 Lisboa

Escola Natha, Praça Bernardino Machado Nº11 A 1750-042, 1050-017 Lisboa

Sweat it out at a Sauna

Saunas are like a European YMCA. They’re everywhere, and they always offer reasonably priced options for anyone wanting to sweat out the toxins. Saunas are not just relaxing, they also usually have other pampering options to choose from. Try a massage, facial, and body wrap and take your self-care to a whole new level. Our favorite is the spa at Iberostar Hotel, a 5-star hotel that allows non-guests to pamper themselves in luxury digs. They have a steam room and sauna, fancy showers, plus a pool. For anyone wanting a vacation from the little ones (we don’t judge), this place has an extra perk. Nobody under age 16 is allowed inside.

Iberostar, Rua Castilho, 64, 1250-071 Lisboa

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