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Exploring Santos

Get to know the countries key areas

Santos is an elegant neighbourhood located in the Estrela parish. In the 18th century, it was home to mansions of the upper-classes, just as the Lapa neighbourhood. In this period, the nobility and the bourgeoisie chose these areas to settle in. Nowadays, many of the palaces are hotels, embassies or museums. Rua das Janelas Verdes is the street that mostly lives up to this heritage. It is home to one of Portugal's most important national museums - the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA) - located in a magnificent palace.


Santos has also been assuming itself as the design district of Lisbon, hosting well-known décor stores, such as Paris-Sete, AR interiores, Re-Use, Roche Bobois, galleries, museums and artists' cooperatives. The district was officially branded as the Design District of Lisbon in 2005.


Besides its artistic role, Santos also takes part in the political life of the country. It is home to the parliament of Portugal, hosting the emblematic Assembly of the Republic building

Use the map above to get to know a bit of Portugal's geography

Things to do in Portugal

Monuments and locations you want to visit
Chafariz da Esperança

Built in the 18th century, Chafariz da Esperança is one of the thirty fountains connected to the Águas Livres Aqueduct. The construction of the fountain was part of Lisbon's public water supply policy, outlined in the reign of D.João V, which aimed to solve the water supply issues of the capital.

Chafariz da Esperança was designed by Carlos Mardel, the same architect responsible for the aqueduct, but it was Miguel Blasco completing its works in 1768. The fountain is attached to a building and consists of a stone structure with two floors, served by side stairs of a remarkable Baroque scenic character. On the 16th of June, 1910, it was classified as a National Monument.

The fountain is inserted in one of the major streets of Santos, Avenida Dom Carlos I, where a lot of restaurants, bars and attractions of this neighbourhood are located as well.

National Ancient Art Museum - MNAA

The National Ancient Art Museum is one of Portugal's most important art museums, as it hosts the most relevant public collection of ancient art in the country. Its collection is composed of 40.000 pieces that include: European painting, sculpture, drawing and decorative arts, but also art pieces from Asia (India, China, Japan) and Africa, which represent the relationships that were settled between Europe and the East during the Discoveries period, in the 15th and the 16th centuries. In other words, this “national gallery” houses treasures from the 12th to the 19th centuries, from around Portugal, other European countries, and the lands colonised by Portugal or that traded with the country. At MNAA, you can find Portuguese and European paintings of reputable artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Albrecht Dürer. 

The museum is housed in a 17th-century beautiful palace and has a delightful garden overlooking the Tagus river, where you can enjoy a drink or a light meal from the café.

Check more Museums in Portugal here.

Museu da Marioneta (Museum of Puppetry)

Lisbon’s Museum of Puppetry is located in the Bernardas' convent in Santos. It is entirely dedicated to the interpretation and dissemination of puppet theatre, covering the history of this artistic expression throughout the world, presenting the different types of puppets and the different approaches they might undertake, with particular emphasis on the Portuguese puppet theatre. 

The Marionette Museum was created in 1987 by the S. Lourenço Puppet Company, which was dedicated to itinerant shows throughout the country and abroad.

The Museum's collection consists of more than a thousand pieces, with puppets from all types of manipulation techniques and masks from the most diverse parts of the world. The Museum also displays, since 2008, a collection of African and Asian puppets, which belongs to the private collector Francisco Capelo.

In this ancient convent of the 17th century, there is also a fine dining restaurant, popular among politicians, artists and intellectuals. Its pleasant terrace in the cloister is one of the highlights that attract people there.

Decor stores

Known as the Design District since 2005, Santos is the neighbourhood that brings together a considerable number of decoration and design stores in the city. Not just a significant number of stores, but also the most reputable ones. 

Paris: Sete is one of the best-known decoration stores in Lisbon. Tables, Eames chairs, E27 lamps designed by Mattias Stahlbaum… here you will find design classics covering 35 years of design furniture history.

Fermob specialises in garden furniture. Some fancy outdoor spaces in Lisbon are furnished with Fermob’s pieces, such as the terrace of the Memmo hotel in Príncipe Real.

Gandia Blasco is a Spanish brand born in 1941 in Valencia and is also a landmark player in outdoor furniture. Pool chairs, huge cushions, tables and even carpets, you can find all kinds of items there. Domo is a store that gathers decoration pieces from the leading international art décor brands, such as Minotti, Fornasetti and Edra. Re-Use is a second-hand shop of furniture, lamps, tiles, among others. Finally, Donker&Guests is a store mainly specialised in lighting solutions for both indoors and outdoors spaces.

Jardim de Santos

Lisbon is one of the greenest capitals in Europe. The city is filled with beautiful parks and gardens, where you can catch your breath amidst the hustle and bustle of the daily routine. Jardim de Santos is a relaxed and peaceful place to stroll and spend time with the kids. 

The garden was refurbished recently by the Lisbon City Council, having now a brand-new grass area, new urban furniture, a bicycle path and new wide sidewalks. In the centre, you can find the everlasting bronze statue of the journalist and writer Ramalho Ortigão (1836-1915) and the splendid sculpture designed by the Azorean artist Numídico Bessone in 1957.

Discover the best parks and gardens around Lisbon here.

“A Barraca” Theater 

“A Barraca” is a historical Portuguese theatre company founded in 1975 by the actress Maria do Céu Guerra and the stage director Mário Alberto. Having over forty years of activity, the company was created as part of a movement of rising experimental and independent theatre companies in that period. It was considered one of the most critical independent theatrical companies of the post-April 25th period by the Europa World Year Book of 1983.

You can either watch classical plays on this theatre stage, fresh new ones, book presentations, or even imaginary conversations between notable figures of history. “A Barraca” Theater offers a wide range of different performances. The theatre company also has a café-concert: a stylish bar with a party scene. On Sundays, there are usually milongas (tango dance parties), and it is a great place where teenagers like to hang out.

Assembly of the Republic

The Assembly of the Republic is the parliament of Portugal, and one of the country’s organs of supreme authority and represents all Portuguese citizens.

The Palácio de São Bento (Palace of Saint Benedict) has served as the seat of the Portuguese Parliament since 1834. The historical imponent building was once a Benedictine monastery that was dissolved after the Liberal Revolution. From then on, the old monastery has been systematically adapted to its current functions. In 1895, after a fire that destroyed the session room of the lower house, the Parliament building was repaired and expanded. The Portuguese architect Miguel Ventura Terra was put in charge of the remodelling project, which lasted until the 1940s.

In the 1940s, during Salazar's Estado Novo regime, the Parliament’s monumental stairway was completed. The stairway was designed by Cristino da Silva, who was also responsible for the project of the gardens in the back of the Palace. Since Portugal became a democracy, the area in front of the palace has been the most popular location for protests held in Lisbon.

If you're looking to invest in Portuguese property, you've come to the right place. The property market in Portugal continues to go from strength to strength, with now being a great time to purchase home here. European buyers flock here every year, but the Golden Visa scheme allows people from further afield to get their hands on Portugal real estate. This gives overseas buyers the right to live, work and study anywhere within the European Union.

Local Information

Key details you must know about Portugal


Being a riverside district close to the most central neighbourhoods in Lisbon, Santos offers good transport links. The metro station of Santos is still under construction, but you have the Cais do Sodré one nearby, right next to the train station of Santos. There are also frequent trams and buses passing by through the day that can take you from northwest to southeast central Lisbon.


Considered Lisbon’s design district, Santos is known for sheltering the best decoration and design stores of the city. Paris:Sete, Fermob and Gandia Blasco are some examples of those.

If markets are your thing, you can also find the Time Out Market Lisboa close by, in Cais do Sodré, offering a range of Portuguese handmade and fresh products.


Located 7 kilometres away from the capital, Lisbon Portela Airport is the main international airport in Portugal and is one of the largest in southern Europe. Because of its close location to Lisbon city centre, getting from the airport to Lisbon is straightforward using a metro taxi or bus service. Lisbon Portela Airport is the nearest airport to Santos. It takes 16 minutes via car (follow IP7 and E1) to get to the Airport from Santos and around 40 minutes via tube, if you take the nearest metro station in Cais do Sodré.


Similar to the other southern European countries, Portugal typically tends to see warm temperatures and nice weather conditions throughout the whole year. Santos has a mild climate. You can expect to find 25°C during the summer months and, as the colder months start to creep in, the temperatures will drop to around 11°C. November is the month that sees the most rainfall, which can be around 128mm on average.

Restaurants & Bars

Santos is home to some of the most stylish restaurants, trendiest cafés, bars and brunch spots. There is much to explore on this almost endless list of attractions in Santos and neighbouring Madragoa. You can either have a drink at Le Chat, an elegant bar overlooking the Tagus river or delight yourself with the best steak of Lisbon in Café de São bento (title awarded by the Time Out Magazine).

Here are our suggestions of bars, restaurants and cafés in Santos:


  • Alfaiataria

  • Flat Bar

  • Bar A Barraca

  • Matriz Pombalina

  • Le Chat


  • Café de São Bento

  • El Cabrón

  • COW Beef & Cocktails

  • Contrabando

  • Estado Líquido - Fusion Sushi


  • Fauna e Flora

  • Heim Café

  • Pachamama

  • Local Your Health Kitchen


Santos is located by the Tagus river, having different beach coastlines nearby. To the west of Lisbon lies the Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais coastline, where there are beautiful sandy beaches, blessed with a calm sea in the summer months. In the northwest of Lisbon, you can find the Sintra coastline, which is made up of cliffs and embodies wild scenery, where you can truly immerse yourself in nature. The Costa da Caparica coastline is in the south of Lisbon and is sought-after for its wide-open beaches.  This coastline comprises a large stretch of beaches, spread along to the western coast, highly popular among surfers all year long.


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