Pack your bags as the Sonar Lisboa music festival returns post-pandemic at Lisbon

After Barcelona, London, Tokyo, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires, the Sónar Festival is arriving in Lisbon this year! Clarilda Sharon forays into the first edition of this pioneering cultural event in Lisbon to bring you some groovy travel ideas for a good time!

Coliseu dos Recreios

For the first time ever, Lisbon, one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, will play host to bring together creative people from different disciplines and communities from every corner of the globe to Sonar, one of the largest and most recognized music festivals of its kind in the world. It is debuting in the Portuguese capital this year. This exciting new event will showcase an eclectic mix of electronic music, visual arts, and technology for three days and two nights from the most prolific artists and DJs in the world.

Launched in Barcelona in 1994, Sónar is known as the Mecca for advanced and electronic music and has created a loyal audience in more than 50 different cities around the world ever since. Positioned at the cutting edge of the electronic music landscape and its interactions with digital culture, Sónar has rightly earned its first-class reputation as an international festival that sets an unrivaled benchmark. Attracting over 100,000 festival-goers with live shows thumping out round the clock, this festival is at the forefront of innovative music, as well as the latest trends in dance, creativity, established and upcoming talent, and music technology, making it one of the most extravagant music festivals in the world.

Set to take place from 8-10 April 2022, playing by the Sónar philosophy of unique venues and environments, the Sónar Lisboa will be split into Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night with more than 70 shows. The daytime show will occupy the fringes of the city from Factory at Hub Criativo do Beato to a Sónar Village located in the old terminal of Santos by the river. Talks, debates, workshops, immersive experiences, digital art exhibitions, conferences, meetings between professionals and the general public are the highlights of Sónar by Day, exploring intersections between technology and research, between music and science. Over three days, the programme will use virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and visual arts to explore the key theme “our planet, humanity, and sustainability”. And as the sun sets, the best producers and DJs in the world will begin the party of music and dance featuring high-quality live performances. Sónar by Night will take place at the emblematic venues of Coliseu dos Recreios, Pavilhão do Rio, Lisbon Congress Center, and Pavilhão Carlos Lopes. The sheer expanse of artists, the variety of shows, the uniqueness of the locations, and the richness of cultural texture are factors that make this that unmissable big event to bring you into revelry in a post-pandemic world.

Coliseu dos Recreios

Uniting established artists with emerging talent, Sónar Lisboa will draw attention to an outstanding array of DJs and artists with live performances and electric energy on the dance floor. Among them are two of the UK’s most prominent electronic duos Bicep and Overmono, along with Venezuelan singer Alejandra Ghersi better known as Arca.

Meanwhile, artists Charlotte de Witte, Ellen Allien, and Dr. Rubinstein will be seen pushing the techno boundaries and combining electronic music with hip-hop. You’ll witness DJ Shadow performing at the debut event and catch Jayda G and The Blaze as they bring in booming energy and boundless enthusiasm. Ugandan DJ extraordinaire Kampire, Angolan star Pongo, Plus 8 label head Richie Hawtin, Thundercat, and up to 77 renowned artists from around the world will be seen mesmerizing the audience across 73 performances.

Electronic Duo Bicep
Electronic Duo Overmono
Arca

While the city is going to pull out all the stops for three days, you can keep the party going by exploring every nook and cranny of Lisbon, Portugal. Take in the rich culture and explore the precarious streets of this coastal city spread across seven hills and straddling the Tagus River. There is a plethora of history hiding in the grand palaces and heritage districts, but there is scenic beauty too.

Here’s how you can make the best of Lisbon:

HOP ON THE TRAM 28

Lisbon is a city famed for its historic, rattling Tramlines, and no journey would be complete without riding the famous Tram 28! Inaugurated in 1914, these singular yellow “boxes” are a part of the city’s soul, and a ride on this wooden tram with its signature ringing bell is sure to bring you back in time. Starting from the Praça Martim Moniz, the tram passes through the districts of Alfama, Baxia, Chiado, Graca, and Estrela, taking you through the narrowest of streets past some of the finest monuments and lookouts Lisbon has to offer.

Tram 28, Lisbon
Café-Restaurante Martinho da Arcada

You’ll capture the most gorgeous views of Lisbon and discover decades of history as the tram rumbles along and navigates the sheer gradients. The richly-decorated Mosteiro De São Vicente De Fora built in the 17th century dedicated to St. Vincent, 18th-century church Basilica da Estrela known for its huge dome and fine multi-colored marble interiors, and the Rua Augusta Arch adorned with statues of various historical figures are sights you’re going to want to look out for. Grab a sip at Lisbon’s oldest café – Café-Restaurante Martinho da Arcada as the Tram 28 ambles through Europe’s most picturesque plaza Praça do Comércio, with canary-yellow facades and home to a plethora of gorgeous 18th-century architectures,
en route.

While you may have to wait for an hour for Tram 28 to arrive and squeeze-fit yourself in during peak tourist days, the views from the windows and the ride itself are sure to provide you with one of the best tours of Lisbon.

Mosteiro De São Vicente De Fora

VISIT THE PICTURESQUE ALFAMA

With a history dating back to the Moors of Africa, Alfama, the district between the Castle of São Jorge and the river Tagus is the historic heart of Lisbon. Today, Alfama glimmers with a charm like no other as its narrow streets and small squares brim with historical attractions along with excellent bars and restaurants. You’ll see great cathedrals like the Lisbon Cathedral, remains of old city walls, and hidden squares as you stroll through the colorful cobblestone streets. Don’t forget to grab a drink at the alfresco cafes that are aplenty and hit the cozy little restaurants and dozens of quaint shops. Take the Tram 28 that’ll drop you off at the highest point of Alfama!

Alfama

TAKE A RIDE ON THE ELEVADOR DE SANTA JUSTA

Designed by a former student of the creator of the Eiffel Tower and finished in 1902, Santa Justa Elevator flaunts a distinct turn-of-the-century French style and is one of the most famous tourist attractions for its sweeping views of Lisbon. While Lisbon has so many incredible viewpoints, this elaborately Gothic wrought-iron lift crafted from cast iron and adorned with filigree reaches seven stories high with two old-fashioned cabins that’ll take you up to the nearly 150-foot-tall. It connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Carmo Square, and the top gives a close angle of the Carmo Convent ruins, standing as the monumental reminder of Lisbon’s devastating earthquake of 1755.

Elevador de Santa Justa

MEET OVER 15,000 SEA CREATURES AT OCEANÁRIO DE LISBOA

If the many historic sites of the city have left you overwhelmed, relax by visiting one of the world’s largest aquariums and be blown away. With puffins, penguins, jellyfish, sunfish, stingrays, and playful sea otters all splashing around in enormous tanks, this expansive aquarium is inhabited by 15,000 animals and plants representing over 450 different species, in 30 tanks containing more than 7000 m3 of seawater recreating the Earth’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Discover all fascinating things about the ocean as you tour the aquarium and hang out with these adorable animals. Along with a peek into life under the sea, the Oceanarium also offers a variety of activities, from guided tours to a sleepover with sharks and even a Fado show.

Rua Augusta Arch

THE CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE

Set high on one of the highest hills in Alfama, Castelo de São Jorge (St. George Castle), an impressive monarch castle, offers both excellent history and views of the city. Built by the Moors people in the mid 11th century, it served as the Royal Palace from the 13th-15th century and was later used as a fortification for the Romans. With its oldest parts dating from the 6th century, the attraction has kept much of the building’s relics intact, including canons spread throughout underground chambers and eighteen towers. Castelo de São Jorge is now an oasis of peace housing a restaurant and a small archaeological museum in three underground chambers. You can climb the towers and walk along with the most breathtaking views of Lisbon or relax in the gardens where wildlife frequently makes appearances and struts around.

View of Christ the King Statue, Lisbon, Portugal

MARK LISBON ON YOUR CALENDAR!

When you ask people about their favorite cities in the world, Lisbon pops up in the conversation because it’s more than just a super instagrammable city located on the Iberian-Atlantic coast. Especially during fests, you’ll be fascinated to see everyone on the streets, eating, drinking, singing and dancing, and having a jolly good time. Loaded with a wonderful atmosphere of friendliness, charm, great food, and nightlife, Lisbon is worth a tour to be put up on your calendar along with the Sónar Lisboa 2022.

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