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Song of the Sea: Fish, Seafood and Tradition in Lisbon’s Port Zone

$135 US/person
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  • Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
  • Group Size: 2-7
  • Start/End: 10:00am-3:30pm
  • Duration: about 5.5 hours

Beyond the bustling districts of the centro, Lisbon’s port and the old neighborhoods clustered around it have always had a close connection with the waterfront and its industries, especially fishing. The city’s iconic varinas, itinerant fish vendors, lived and worked on the streets here until quite recently, selling their goods from a basket hoisted on their heads. Street life still remains a big part of the port zone’s narrow alleys, which are lined with small traditional shops and restaurants, many with a big charcoal grill out front for cooking up whatever fish is in season. No less scenic than more famous areas like Alfama, this is a lesser-explored part of the city with much to offer to the hungry and intrepid.

On this walk we’ll explore the people and places around the port district, where old traditions die hard and the day’s catch is always the discussion.  We’ll spend the day in search of the very best seasonal bounty of the sea, sampling several preparations of fish and seafood in a variety of neighborhood institutions.

On this walk we’ll explore the people and places around the port district, where old traditions die hard and the day’s catch is always the discussion.

We’ll start with late morning snacks from a bakery, more than a century in business, followed by a bica, Portuguese-style espresso, at Lisbon’s last wood-fired roaster. We’ll make our way through the neighborhood down to the port for grilled fish – sardines, of course, when in season – at a hidden gem of a grill joint beloved by port workers. Finally, following the riverfront to the east, we will reach Alcântara, a working-class district where local workers nurtured a lively culinary culture that includes some of the city’s best cervejaria, no-frills seafood and beer halls, as well as venues for Fado, Lisbon’s unique musical tradition. Here we will visit a few local favorites to find the best cod cakes, the prized shrimp of the northern coast, percebes, the goose barnacles that are harvested from the rocky coast of Portugal and delicious local clams.

In these humble neighborhood institutions we’ll do what Lisboeta do best: relax and enjoy the freshest seafood in the world with a cold glass of vinho verde, letting the vibrant life of the port zone provide the irresistible background music.

What is included in the fee?

In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – almost a dozen different edible specialties – are included in the price.  A limited selection of alcohol is served on the walks and is included in the price.

Why is the Culinary Backstreet tour more expensive than some other walking tours?

Our approach is different than most tour companies. Each of our culinary walks is the outcome of considerable research. We work with academics in the field and our own team of experienced professionals – both guides and local journalists. Our ongoing publishing of articles, from restaurant reviews to features about the intersection of food and culture, constantly feeds new material into the culinary walks, so they evolve and constantly improve. Though costly, we believe that this is how to create the quality experiences we strive for.

We practice honest tourism  and would never accept a free lunch or any sort of commission. On the contrary, we are proud to know that the money spent during the culinary walk goes to support businesses that we believe in, helping to preserve the social and cultural fabric of the cities we love so dearly.

How does the payment process work?

Once you have made a reservation, we require the full fee to be paid in order to complete the online booking.   Your card will not be charged until the booking is accepted.  Our online booking system uses Stripe to process secure payments.

What is your cancellation policy?

100% will be refunded if given 1 week notice prior to walk and 50% will be refunded if given 72 hours notice or more.

Are your walks public or private? How many people are on them?

Our walks are 2-7 people and are open to the public. If you would like to do a private walk, we may be able to arrange one for an additional fee. Please contact us at for more information.

Can I get a discount if I join more than one walk?

Yes, we offer a 10% discount to those who join more than one walk. Please email us at if you’d like to join multiple walks.

Are your walks suitable for people with food allergies?

This can vary based on a number of factors, including the food item in question. Please email us at to discuss your situation before booking.

Are your walks suitable for vegetarians and pescetarians?

Pescetarians will be very comfortable with the exception of one stop.  We can also accommodate vegeterians on this walk, however, many of the Portugese classics contain meat or seafood.  Please note all dietary restrictions during booking so that your guide can prepare accordingly.

Are your walks suitable for a gluten-free diet?

This walk can be altered for gluten-free diets.  Please note all dietary restrictions during booking so that your guide can prepare accordingly.

How physically demanding are the walks?

The walk covers a few kilometers of fairly flat terrain, broken up into almost a dozen stops over almost 6 hours. Please note that Lisbon does have many hills and the streets and sidewalks of Lisbon can be cobbelstone, therefore, we do recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes.

Can children join the walks?

Of course! We offer a 50% discount to children ages 12 and under, and we do not charge for children under the ages 6 and under.

Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return, once the tour is over?

Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own.

Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.

How much food will I get to try?

This is really up to you. We generally make between 9 and 12 eating stops on our walk and try to include some breaks from eating along the way. The price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our walks often involve street food and sharing food.

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natgeo   “Exploring Lisbon’s blooming foodie scene with Celia should be on every visitor’s list.”
Annie Fitzsimmons, Intelligent Travel, National Geographic

“Portuguese feast: humor filled Eat Portugal tour leads visitors to Lisbon’s greatest tastes” 101 Reasons To Travel Now, National Geographic

guardian  “Taste of Lisbon: classic dishes and culinary surprises on a foodie tour”  Isabel Choat, The Guardian

RSP “A good value, informative and tasty” Rick Steves, Portugal Guidebook

JDF                  As well as being a well-established foodie, Celia knows the city intimately so who better to lead the way to Lisbon’s gastronomic highlights? Over the course of six hours, she took us to some of the city’s oldest grocery stores, backstreet tascas, fancy restaurants and trendy food halls. Read more

R&S           She took us round the kind of back street spots you might read about if you researched hard enough, but probably still wouldn’t have the tenacity or conviction to head to on your own.  Read more

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