Wondering what to do in Lisbon, Portugal? Here are 25 things to do in Lisbon that you need to include in your Portuguese itinerary.
Lisbon is a great destination for a long weekend escape, or as part of a longer Portugal itinerary. It’s a multicultural, passionate, multifaceted city, and it will conquer you with its mix of modern and old-fashioned. Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in Europe!
When I first visited Lisbon in 2014, this city was still underrated, and few tourists could be found roaming the streets. Over the years and during my next visits, I’ve seen the city evolve and bloom, and it’s now become one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Crowds are a real thing nowadays!
This ultimate list of Lisbon things to do has been updated countless times. Each time I return from one of my numerous visits to the city, there is something new to be added – and I love this about Lisbon! It seems to be a city much more dynamic than other capital cities such as Rome or Paris.
Buckle up because this is going to be a long list! I hope you’re spending at least a week in Lisbon to get it all done. But even if you only have one day in Lisbon or 3 days, you’ll be able to see the highlights.
IIf it’s your first time visiting Lisbon and you’re wondering what to see in Lisbon with so many choices, start out with the top-rated Lisbon Essential Tour: History, Stories & Lifestyle and then work your way through this list.
In this tour, a knowledgeable guide takes you to explore Lisbon’s most interesting neighborhoods and the highlights of the city. Plus you’ll visit a miradouro and ride the iconic Tram 28. Coffee and cake break included! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Check out my best Lisbon travel tips for where to go in Lisbon and the best things to see in Lisbon.
10 BEST THINGS TO DO IN LISBON
Check Out the Best Miradouros in Lisbon (Viewpoints)
One of the top things to do in Lisbon is to admire the view from one of many Lisbon miradouros. Over the last few years, I managed to visit most viewpoints in Lisbon.
My favorite ones are the Miradouro de Santa Luzia (pictured here above) and the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, located in the historic district of Alfama. Miradouro de Santa Luzia, adorned with vibrant azulejo tiles, offers a breathtaking view of the Tagus River and the striking red rooftops of Alfama.
Miradouro das Portas do Sol, just a short walk away, also offers a stunning, picture-perfect view.
Be warned – these viewpoints are crowded! For a chance to enjoy them without the crowds, arrive early in the morning.
Other miradouros that are worth seeing are:
- At night, from sunset on, the Miradouro São Pedro de Alcantara [get here with the Gloria funicular] gets pretty busy with students who meet here for a beer and a great sunset view.
- Miradouro do Graça [get here by tram 28], from which you have an incredible view over the city and the Sao Jorge castle. Here you can also find an open-air cafe to relax with a view.
- Off the beaten path Lisbon tip. For a less known, but equally beautiful spot, head to the Miradouro do Monte Agudo [closest underground stop: Graça]. From here you can enjoy view of the entire city.
Wander Around the Alfama District
Alfama, the oldest and most enchanting district in Lisbon, Portugal, is a maze of narrow, winding cobblestone streets, steep staircases, and historic landmarks. Alfama is one of those places where all you need to do is wander around, at your own pace.
I personally love wandering around the hilly streets of Alfama in the early morning hours and soaking in its whitewashed houses adorned with colorful tiles, blooming flower boxes, and laundry hanging from the balconies. (Yes, I’m a romantic at heart).
In the Alfama you can breathe Lisboa’s past: the neighborhood survived the 1775 earthquake and is the oldest area of the city, so put away that map and walk through the alleyways and the narrow streets.
However, when you’re done with that, there are a few things to do in Alfama that should be part of your central Lisbon sightseeing plan.
▶️The Castelo de São Jorge, but this one deserves its own section so we’ll talk about it later.
▶️ Visit the Lisbon Cathedral [Largo da Sé], also called the Sé, one of the main churches in the city. It’s also the oldest church in Lisbon, with construction dating back to the 12th century. Visiting the cathedral is one of the best free things to do in Lisbon, but if you want to visit the cloisters, there is an admission fee of €2.50.
Lisbon Cathedral Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM (Nov-May) and from 9.30 AM to 7 PM (June-Oct).
▶️ The Fado Museum [Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1] is also interesting if you want to learn more about this traditional type of music. However, if you are not familiar with it, I personally recommend listening to Fado rather than learning about it in a museum, but to each their own!
Museu do Fado Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. (Last admission at 5.30 PM).
Museu do Fado Entrance Fee: €5.
Visit Saint George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge)
The Castelo de São Jorge (St. George’s Castle) is definitely worth a visit.
This hilltop castle has been around since Roman times and has seen many battles and changes throughout Portuguese history. Going to Saint George’s Castle is not only about seeing the cool castle itself but also about learning about Lisbon’s history. As you explore the castle, you’ll be walking where people like the Moors, Visigoths, and knights walked long ago.
The castle stands on top of the tallest hill in the city, and the views over the Baixa district and the Tegus River are magnificent from here. The eleven castle towers, the lookouts, and the gardens transport you back in time, and even the kids love visiting the castle.
➤ St. George’s Castle is probably the most famous attraction in Lisbon, and the lines can be very long, especially in the summer and high season. Consider buying a skip-the-line ticket in advance. ➥ BUY YOR TICKET HERE
Sao Jorge Castle Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 6 PM(Nov-Feb) and from 9 AM to 9 PM (Mar-Oct).
Sao Jorge Castle Entrance Fee: €10. Free for children under 12.
Visit the Belém Tower + Historical Neighborhood of Belém
Belém is one of the most famous neighborhoods in Lisbon. Although not particularly central, it’s easily accessible by taking tram number 15 in the Cais do Sodré station in the city center.
In Belem, there are a few landmarks including the Jerónimos Monastery (more about that later) and the Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) that are truly must sees in Lisbon.
If you’d rather visit the area with a guide, check out the Belem Walking Tour. On this 3 hour tour, you’ll visit the Jeronimos Monastery, see the other landmarks like the Belem Tower, and even get to savor a pastel de nata. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ The Belém Tower is one of the most iconic monuments in Lisbon, and a fortified tower that was first built to defend the city. Go up the tower and enjoy the stunning views over the Tagus River, the April 25 bridge, and the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Belém Tower Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6.30 PM (May-Sep) and 10 AM to 5.30 PM (Oct-April).
▶️ A brief stroll (less than a kilometer) from Torre de Belém brings you to Padrao dos Descobrimentos, also referred to as the Monument to the Discoveries.
Situated on the northern bank of the Tagus River, this impressive monument honors the 15th and 16th-century explorers who helped establish Portugal as a leading seafaring nation.
Rising 52 meters tall, the monument features a viewing platform where you can take in stunning panoramic views of the estuary.
Padrao dos Descobrimentos Opening Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 7 PM in the summer; and Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM in the winter. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
Padrao dos Descobrimentos Entrance Fee: €10. €5 for people aged 13-25.
▶️ Time for a sweet break! Among other things to do in Belem is the Pasteis de Belem bakery [Rua de Belém 84-92], where 20,000 pastéis de nata (or custard tarts), are made everyday! The pastries are served hot, just out of the oven and they are. the. most. delicious. thing. Eveeeer.
Don’t get too scared by the long line, it goes fast. You won’t wait more than 5-10 minutes to get your hands on that deliciousness. It’s a must do in Lisbon!
The Jerónimos Monastery [Praça do Império 1400-206] is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s a beautiful work of architecture. I’m not too much into churches and monasteries, but visiting this particular landmark is one of my favorite things to do in Lisbon!
This remarkable monument was commissioned by King Manuel I to celebrate Portugal’s successes during the Age of Exploration and to honor the renowned explorer Vasco da Gama, who spent here his last night before starting his trip to Asia and who is actually buried within the monastery’s walls!
When you visit the monastery, don’t miss the opportunity to explore its stunning cloisters. Here, you’ll find an array of beautiful, detailed columns that are adorned with carvings that depict Portugal’s seafaring legacy and the discoveries made during their voyages.
You can visit the main chapel for free, but if you want to visit the monastery there’s an entrance fee of 10 euros, unless you have the Lisbon Card, in which case it’s free.
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon, and the lines can be long. To avoid wasting time in line, you can buy your skip-the-line ticket in advance.
Jerónimos Monastery Opening Hours: 10 AM to 6.30 PM (May-Sep) and from 10 AM to 5 PM (Oct-Feb).
Take a Day Trip to Sintra
Ah, Sintra, a land where fairytale castles leap straight from the pages of storybooks and into reality. This whimsical wonderland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just a stone’s throw from Lisbon. Each of the Sintra castles and palaces comes with its own unique flavor and story.
▶️ First up is the Pena Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena), a kaleidoscope of colors and styles, perched high on a hill. A blend of Disney and Dr. Seuss, it has towers and domes that look like they’ve been frosted with candy. This castle is so weird that visiting it was definitely one of the most fun things to do in Sintra for me. It looks like a kid went and designed it!
You can visit both the Palace and the Park, or just wander around the park, although for me it’s worth visiting the palace as well. Just make sure to book your tickets well in advance, especially if you’re visiting in the summer. The lines can be hours long!
Pena Palace Opening Hours: Daily from 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM. Last admission is at 6 PM.
Pena Palace Entrance Fee: €14 euros for both palace and park. €7,5 for just the park.
▶️ Don’t forget the Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros), a medieval fortress with ruins that whisper tales of ancient battles. It was built in the 8th century by the Islamic Moors, but was destroyed during the Christian invasion of Portugal, and finally restored in the 19th century.
Climbing its rugged walls, you’ll feel like a valiant knight, conquering the magnificent vistas that stretch out below. You can book your fast-track ticket in advance to skip the lines.
Moorish Castle Opening Hours: Daily from 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM.
Moorish Castle Entrance Fee: €8.
▶️ Then, there’s the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira, an estate that would make Edgar Allan Poe swoon. Its gothic façade, hidden underground passages, and eerie initiation wells will transport you to a world where dark secrets linger in every corner.
Quinta da Regaleira Opening Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 5.30 PM.
Quinta da Regaleira Entrance Fee: €11.
▶️ And let’s not overlook Monserrate Palace, a charming, ornate villa with hints of exoticism and Arab influences. Its lush and tranquil gardens feel like a magical oasis, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.
Monserrate Palace Opening Hours: Daily from 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM.
Monserrate Palace Entrance Fee: €8.
▶️ Finally, when you’re all castled out, don’t forget to visit the historical city center of Sintra! Get lost in its narrow, winding streets, and make sure to try the traditional pastries at Piriquita and Fabrica das Verdaderas Queijadas da Sapa.
HOW TO GET TO SINTRA FROM LISBON
The easiest way to get to Sintra is to take the train from Lisbon Rossio station, which runs every 15 minutes (€4.60 for a return ticket at the time of writing). The ride takes about 40 minutes.
You can absolutely visit Sintra on your own if you want, but it’s one of those destinations where going with a tour makes sense so you can pack more attractions in one day. For example, if you want to visit Cabo da Roca and Cascais as well, it will be quite hard to do on your own by public transport.
👉 I’ve written a whole post about the best Sintra tours from Lisbon, but here it’s my number one recommendation if you don’t have time to check it out.
➤ The Lisbon to Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca & Cascais Daytrip is one of the most comprehensive day tours. You’ll get to visit the popular Pena Palace with a guide and wander around the town of Sintra before heading to the rocky cliffs of Cabo da Roca and stopping by the seaside resort town of Cascais. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Ride Tram 28
Riding Tram 28 in Lisbon from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique is one of the most fun things to do in Lisbon. Tram 28 is an iconic symbol of Lisbon, with its classic yellow exterior and vintage wooden interiors.
It’s also a great way to understand the geography of the city by driving past the main Lisbon points of interest, including São Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Miradouro das Portas do Sol.
Lisbon, and especially the Alfama, is a hilly city, so this way you also get to avoid some steep uphill walking, which doesn’t hurt!
This is definitely one of the top attractions in Lisbon old town, and trams get very packed at midday and peak hours when the locals come back from work.
➤ As an alternative, you can join this top-rated Tram 28 Ride & Walking Tour that combines a ride on the historic tram 28 with a walking tour of the historic Alfama district. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
⚠️ Update 2023: I was recently in Lisbon with my partner and his parents, and it was their first time in the city, so naturally they wanted to ride the tram. I’ll put it bluntly: it was a nightmare. We had to wait in line for almost 2 hours and saw plenty of tourists giving up mid-way.
In the past, the tram was crowded but never to this point. If you really want to ride this tram, set aside half a day for it. In order to avoid the big crowds on this Lisbon must do, you can:
- Try and arrive early before 9 AM (although you might find crowds of locals going to work at this time) or after 7 PM.
- Start at the opposite end of the route in Campo Ourique.
- Consider alternative trams as other trams cover part of the same route. Trams 12 and 25 can provide a similar experience.
- Buy a Tram Tour 24-Hour Ticket. It won’t be the yellow tram, but you’ll be riding an equally beautiful vintage tram and skip the lines. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Try the Traditional Portuguese Food with a Food Tour
I truly believe that Portuguese food is underrated. You can absolutely try all the traditional Portuguese dishes on your own, but why not join a food tour with a local guide instead? I don’t know about you, but I love, love, loooove food tours! I love eating, meeting other travelers, and learn about a city’s history through food.
From delectable pastries like pastel de nata to savory classics like bacalhau and caldo verde, food tours in Lisbon offer an unforgettable journey for your taste buds.
➤ Embark on a small-group gourmet Portuguese Food and Wine Tour in Lisbon. Savor scrumptious cheese, pastries, and Port, while learning about the country’s food and wine heritage from your local guide. So, get ready to indulge in petiscos, vinho verde, and cherry brandy while uncovering the city’s gastronomic gems! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Portuguese Cuisine: 17 Tastings Lisbon Food Tour is a flavorful adventure through Lisbon’s historic neighborhoods—Alfama, Baixa, and Mouraria—on this immersive food tour featuring a whopping 17 different tastings. You’ll sample everything from pastries to seafood, and discover your favorite Portuguese dish. This small-group tour is a great blend of culture and cuisine. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Satisfy your inner epicurean with this Drinks and Bites in Lisbon Private Tour, where fine wine and scrumptious fare collide! Let your gastronome guide whisk you away to an eclectic blend of trendy bars and Fado-infused local taverns. Savor Portuguese delights like grilled sardines, fava beans, and the famous Ginjinha while sipping on carefully selected wine varietals.➥ BOOK IT HERE
👉 Wine lovers! I’ve written a whole post about the best wine tours and tastings in Lisbon – check it out!
Be Wowed by Praça do Comércio
Get ready to be wowed by Praça do Comércio, or Commerce Square, Lisbon’s grandest square and one of Europe’s largest. This square is HUGE!
This vibrant riverside square is a playground of majestic yellow buildings, buzzing cafés, and a royal statue. You can also find here the Lisboa Story Centre, a museum dedicated to Lisbon’s history.
There isn’t much to do, but you definitely need to pass by, check it out, and snap a selfie by the awe-inspiring Rua Augusta Arch. If you feel like it, climbing to the top of the arch offers jaw-dropping views of the Portuguese capital and the river.
Find a Bakery
Lisbon will certainly become a favorite destination for visitors with a sweet tooth. From the famous Pastéis de Nata in Lisbon’s Belém district, to tartes de maça, to travesseiros in nearby Sintra, Lisbon is a city in which to indulge your senses.
You don’t need to go far to find some great pastries, but here are a few recommendations to get started:
- Pastéis de Belém [Rua de Belém 84 a 92, Lisbon]
Best Selling Item: Pastel de Belém (Pastel de Nata) – A scrumptious Portuguese egg tart pastry with a crispy, flaky crust and a creamy custard filling, dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
- Manteigaria [Rua do Loreto 2, 1200-108, Lisbon]
Best Selling Item: Pastel de Nata – Another popular spot for these iconic Portuguese pastries, Manteigaria offers mouth-watering Pastéis de Nata that are freshly baked throughout the day.
- Piriquita [Rua das Padarias 1/7, Sintra]
Best Selling Item: Travesseiro de Sintra – A local favorite in Sintra, the Travesseiro is a puff pastry with a slightly crispy exterior and a soft, sweet almond and egg cream filling.
- Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa [Volta do Duche 12, Sintra]
Best Selling Item: Queijada da Sapa – This historic pastry shop dating back to 1756 is famous for its Queijadas de Sintra, a traditional sweet made with fresh cheese, sugar, eggs, and cinnamon, all wrapped in a thin, crispy crust.
OTHER TOP THINGS TO DO IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Hang Out at LX Factory
LX Factory is Lisbon’s coolest hangout spot in the artsy Alcântara district! Housed in an old industrial complex, this funky urban playground is bursting with colorful graffiti, quirky boutiques, and hip eateries.
I love spending time at LX Factory, and always try and hang out here each time I’m in Lisbon. There are always new stores of restaurants every time I come.
Get here around lunch time, there are great food options for all tastes. These are some of my favorite cafes and restaurants at LX Factory.
- The Therapist: Get your healthy fix at this cozy café, serving up nutritious dishes, fresh juices, and tasty smoothie bowls.
- La Parrilla: This authentic Argentinan restaurant serves anything from succulent grilled meats (parrilla), empanadas, chicken schnitzel, and chimichurri sauce. My partner is Argentinian and loved it!
- 1300 Taberna: Indulge in modern Portuguese cuisine at this stylish restaurant.
When you’re done eating, get lost in the magical world of Ler Devagar, a jaw-dropping bookstore that was once an old printing press.
LX Factory Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 10.30 PM. Some shops remain open until midnight on weekdays and 2 AM on weekends.
Enjoy the Nightlife in Bairro Alto
Lisbon is a city that doesn’t sleep… especially in Bairro Alto. This neighborhood during the day is absolutely desert and sleepy, but when the sun sets, the district comes to life with a vibrant atmosphere.
Sip Morangoska (a cocktail made with vodka and fresh strawberries) and Caipirinha in one of the many bars. The party here goes on until the wee hours of the morning!
You can also try Ginjinha, a typical Portuguese liquor made of a cherry-alike berry. One shot usually costs 1 euro and you can have it also with a cherry or a chocolate wafer, which makes the experience even sweeter.
The best night to party in Lisbon with the locals is Thursday, not Friday, because many students from outside Lisbon go back home on the weekends. These are some of my favorite bars in Bairro Alto:
- Pensão Amor [Rua do Alecrim, 19]: Once a former brothel, Pensão Amor has been transformed into a quirky and eclectic ba that features several rooms, each with its own distinct theme and décor, ranging from burlesque to vintage.
- O Purista Barbière [Rua Nova da Trindade, 16]: This unique bar combines a vintage barber shop with a trendy cocktail bar.
- Artis Wine Bar [Rua Diário de Notícias, 95-97]: Artis Wine Bar is a cozy and sophisticated spot, known for its extensive selection of Portuguese wines.
Go Treasure Hunting at Feira da Ladra
For a very local, Lisbon off the beaten path experience, go treasure hunting at Feira da Ladra, Lisbon’s most famous flea market.
Every Tuesday and Saturday, from 9 AM to 6 PM, you will find hundreds of stalls selling literally anything. Antiques, vintage clothing, and handicrafts to books, vinyl records,… you name it!
Vintage lovers and non will love to seek out weird souvenirs, but pay attention to your valuables while walking … there must be some reason if the name of the place means “thieves market”!
How to get to Feira da Ladra: The flea market takes place in the Alfama district. The best way to get to the market is combining it with the ride on tram 28, and getting off at Arco de São Vicente.
Check Out the Time Out Market in Lisbon
I love food markets, don’t you too? Make sure to insert at least one of these in your Lisbon to do list.
▶️ Time Out Market Lisbon [Av. 24 de Julho 49] is a vibrant culinary market, housed in the historic Mercado da Ribeira. With over 40 food stalls, it showcases Portugal’s diverse gastronomy but also all sorts of ethnic cuisines.
From fresh seafood to delicious pastries, this bustling market offers a mouthwatering array of dishes, making it a must-visit for foodies. I used to go eat at the Time Out Market in Dubai all the time when I lived there, so it only made sense for me to like the Lison one (actually, this is the original one!).
You can come here for lunch or dinner (and I suggest trying out a few dishes together with friends and family), or just for coffee and a snack.
Time Out Market Opening Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 12 PM.
▶️ Looking for something a bit more authentic? The Mercado de Alvalade Norte [Avenida Rio de Janeiro] is a daily farmer market where you can buy food directly from the local producers.
It has become trendy since Anthony Bourdain visited it during his TV show “No Reservations”, but it’s still very much a traditional market where you find fresh produce directly from the farmers and freshly-made bread. One of the most unusual things to do in Lisbon on this list.
Mercado de Alvalade Norte Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 7.30 AM to 2 PM.
Carmo Convent & Santa Justa Elevator
▶️ The Elevador de Santa Justa, (or Santa Justa Lift) a striking neo-Gothic ironwork lift, is for sure one of the most unique buildings in Lisbon.
The iron elevator connects the lower Baixa district to the higher Carmo Square and it was designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel (can you see the resemblance with his work?).
If you’re heading to the Carmo Convent, you can choose to ride the elevator right up to Carmo Square and check out the view from the viewing platform.
The return ticket costs €5.30 at the time of writing. However, since the lift is part of the public transport system, you can ride it for free if you have the Lisbon Card or you bought a 24-hour public transport ticket.
This ticket can be bought for €6.40 at any metro station (but not at the Santa Justa lift). Beware that if you access with this ticket or the Lisbon Card, you don’t have access to the viewing platform.
👉 However, if all you care about is the view from the viewing platform, you don’t need to ride the elevator. Walk up to the Carmo Convent and head to the entrance to the lift from there. At the end of the tunnel, you’ll be able to check out the same exact view without having to pay for any ticket.
▶️ The Carmo Convent (Convento do Carmo) was a religious center until the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which caused significant destruction throughout the city. The earthquake, followed by a tsunami and widespread fires, led to the collapse of the convent’s roof and the destruction of much of its structure.
Instead of rebuilding the convent, the ruins were preserved as a monument and a testament to Lisbon’s resilience. The roofless nave with its arches is stunning!
Convento do Carmo now houses the Carmo Archaeological Museum, which showcase artifacts from various historical periods, including Roman, Visigothic, and Moorish, as well as objects from the convent’s own history.
Carmo Convent Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM (Nov-April) and from 10 AM to 7 PM (May-Oct).
Carmo Convent Entrance Fee: €5.
Watch the Sunset in Cabo da Roca
Visiting Cabo da Roca was one of the highlights of my first trip to Portugal.
Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point in mainland Europe and it really feels like it’s the end of the world. There’s not much there but a lighthouse, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop but the rocky and wild landscape are totally worth the diversion.
At sunset time, when everything becomes a warm shade of orange and pink, it’s even better. But make sure you bring a sweater with you, it gets very windy up there!
HOW TO GET TO CABO DA ROCA
You can combine Cabo da Roca with either a day trip to Sintra or Cascais.
If you’re traveling by public transport, you can get to Cabo da Roca from Cascais or Sintra by taking in both cases the Scotturb bus number 403 which takes about 40 minutes from either city.
If you decide to go on a tour, here are the best ones:
➤ The Lisbon to Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca & Cascais Daytrip that allows you to explore all the best destinations for day trips from Lisbon in just one day. Packed, but worth it. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Half-Day Private Sintra Tour from Lisbon with Transfers, where a private driver will bring you to Sintra and Cabo da Roca. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Listen to some Fado
While in Lisbon, make sure to listen to some Fado, a soulful and evocative music genre that originated in Lisbon. This traditional music genre is characterized by a slow and melancholic rhythm. Fado typically features a solo vocalist accompanied by the Portuguese guitarra, a 12-stringed instrument similar to a lute, and sometimes a classical guitar.
In 2011, UNESCO declared Fado music as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, so going to a Fado show is really one of the best things to do in Lisbon at night.
When heading out for some Fado, choose carefully the venue. Most places in the Alfama district offering the dinner+fado packages are extremely touristy, overpriced, and I’ve been told that the food is nothing but mediocre.
▶️ The Fado Music of Lisbon 3-Hour Cultural Walking Tour is a great option if you’d like to combine Fado and a traditional Portuguese meal in a non-touristy way. Walk to some typical fado houses and alleys and squares off the tourist path with a live fado singer and guide, then have dinner in one of the most authentic fado houses of Alfama. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ Another good option is booking your tickets for the very popular Fado in Chiado show. At about $20 per person, it’s an affordable alternative to the typical fado and dinner show. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
▶️ I listened to a local friend and headed to A Tasca do Chico in Barro Alto [Rua do Diário de Noticias, 39], which is a simple, nostalgic small bar, and apparently one of the best Fado places in Lisbon.
Here on Mondays and Wednesdays, starting from 9 PM, you can sip some red wine while listening to fado singers alternating every 15 minutes. This is a good alternative for budget travelers. Make sure you arrive earlier than 9 PM as the place gets filled up.
Walk Down the Lisbon Waterfront Promenade
The Lisbon Waterfront Promenade is one of my favorite places to go in Lisbon on a sunny day. Stretching along the banks of the Tagus River, this scenic pathway offers stunning views of the river and the 25 de Abril Bridge.
Begin your journey in the historic Belém district. After a stop at Pasteis de Belem, walking down the promenade you’ll soon come across the Monument to the Discoveries. Make your way towards the striking MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology), a modern architectural marvel that hosts thought-provoking exhibitions.
Here, you need to stop and take some photos. Look at this view!
As you approach the Alcântara district, you’ll pass by a group of cool shops and restaurants. But I suggest you head to LX Factory instead! You could keep walking all the way to Commerce Square, but this stretch between Belem and Alcantara is honestly my favorite.
Time to Bring Out the Kid in You at the Pavilhao do Conhecimento
When you’re so tired from sightseeing that every church and every square looks the same to you, get out of Lisbon city center and head to the modern Parque das Nações area [closest underground station: Oriente].
Once a derelict industrial area, Parque das Nações was transformed into a thriving contemporary district for Expo ’98. Here, you can find a few family-friendly attractions (but adults will have fun too!).
The Lisbon Oceanarium (Oceanário de Lisboa), one of the largest and most impressive aquariums in the world, is home to a vast collection of marine life. The waterfront promenade, which stretches over 5 kilometers, offers picturesque views of the Tagus River and is ideal for a leisurely stroll or bike ride.
Parque das Nações also features a cable car, known as the Telecabine Lisboa. The cable car offers a unique and scenic way to explore the district. You’ll enjoy some stunning aerial views of the area’s modern architecture, the Tagus River, and the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
But today I want to talk to you about my favorite attraction in the area. If you have some extra time in Lisbon, visit the Pavilhao do Conhecimento [Largo José Mariano Gago, 1, Parque das Nações].
This interactive science museum was initially built for Expo ’98. The Pavilion of Knowledge covers a wide range of scientific topics, including physics, chemistry, biology, and technology. The exhibits are designed to be hands-on and fun for all visitors.
Visiting the Pavillion of Knowledge is definitely one of the best things to do in Lisbon with kids. However, as an adult traveling with no kids, I can assure you that I had great fun experimenting with science and riding a suspended bike was the highlight…yup, I’m a big kid!
Pavilhao do Conhecimento Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM; Saturday & Sunday from 11 AM to 7 PM.
Pavilhao do Conhecimento Entrance Fee: €9. €24 euros for families.
Climb the Cristo Rei Statue in Cacilhas
For a great, but off-the-tourist path, viewpoint over Lisbon, head to the Cristo Rei statue.
Take the ferry to Cacilhas, on the other bank of the Tagus river, from Cais de Sodré station. The Transtejo Cacilheiros takes only ten minutes. It departs every few minutes during the week and every 30 minutes on the weekend. A one-way ticket costs € 1.40.
Once you arrive at Cacilhas, you can either walk to the Cristo Rei statue (it takes about 40 minutes) or take the 101 bus. The whole trip from Lisbon should take about an hour.
Once here, climb the Cristo Rei, Rio look-alike, statue [Alto do Pragal, Avenida Cristo Rei] to have a great view of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate look-alike bridge (a Lisbon must-do).
But don’t leave when you’re done soaking in the views! Cacilhas is a picturesque district where you will breathe an authentic Lisbon feel. If you’re looking for non touristy thing to do in Lisbon, this is it – you can eat at one of the many good seafood restaurants or take the bus to the beach of Costa da Caparica (bus 3011).
Cristo Rei Opening Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 7 PM.
Cristo Rei Entrance Fee: €6.
Discover the Street Art in Lisbon
Lisbon is renowned for its street art – at any corner, you’ll find some treasures in the form of street art and graffiti. There’s an explanation for this.
Lisbon is so colorful because the city of Lisbon actually encourages and sponsors street art events, as street art (the good one, not the ugly tags on the walls!) is seen as a way to revitalize the neighborhoods in the outskirts.
In the Mouraria neighborhood, you can find beautiful art dedicated to fado, which was born in this are of the city. Then head to Alcantara and visit the LX Factory, a social hub for artists full of artwork.
If you want to stay more in the central areas, the Bairro Alto offers some of the best of Lisbon street art; the best can be found around Rua de São Boaventura and Travessa dos Fiéis de Deus. The Alfama and Graça also hide street art murals – search for them in the small alleys and narrow pathways.
➤ If you prefer to join a tour and learn more about street art from a street art expert, join this 3-hour Lisbon Street Art Tour, where you’ll see the best large-scale murals in Lisbon as well as the smaller, hidden murals. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Take a Cruise in the Tagus River
The Tagus River, or Rio Tejo, is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. Joining a boat tour in Lisbon is the best way to see Lisbon from a different perspective.
You’ll see get to see iconic sites such as the Belém Tower, Monument to the Discoveries, and the 25 de Abril Bridge from a unique vantage point.
➤ Embark on an exhilarating 2-hour Daytime/Sunset/Night City Sailboat Tour with Drinks along the River Tagus. Set sail on a comfy sailboat and marvel at iconic landmarks like the 25 of April Bridge, Belém Tower, Commerce Square, and the MAAT Museum, with live commentary from the crew. With options for daytime, sunset, or night cruises, you’ll be treated to a welcome drink and stunning views. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Set sail on a luxurious 2-Hour Sailing Tour with Champagne and admire breathtaking views of the city. Aboard the fully-equipped 15-meter yacht Mara, sip on complimentary champagne and savor delicious homemade snacks while your knowledgeable captain shares interesting stories about Lisbon’s history. You can even take the wheel and steer the yacht! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Pass By Pink Street
Everyone kept talking about Pink Street [R. Nova do Carvalho], so I had to go and check it out. To be fair, it’s nothing out of this world. It’s a pink street with a few umbrellas and restaurants.
It’s close to the Time Out Market, so pass by here on your way to the food market. Snap a couple of photos and you’re good to go!
Explore Lisbon Cafe Culture
The Portuguese love to socialize over coffee and pastries such as pasteis de nata… and I do too! So I was happy to realize that he city is dotted with a variety of cafes, ranging from historic establishments to modern, trendy spots.
Some of Lisbon’s historic cafes have been in operation for over a century, serving as important meeting places for intellectuals, artists, and writers. Over the last few years, Lisbon’s café culture has evolved to include specialty coffee shops that source high-quality beans and employ skilled baristas.
Whenever I travel through a city, I like to stop for a coffee break here and tehre, so I’ve had the chance to try quite a few cafes in Lisbon. These are my favorites:
- The Folks: Coffee Brewers and Soul Cooks [R. dos Sapateiros 111] is my favorite spot in town for specialty coffees and scrumptious brekfast/brunch plates. Try their Eggs Benedict with mushroom and their Raspberry Pancakes. I love their quirky interiors!
- Honest Greens [multiple locations]: A modern and health-conscious chain of cafes. I usually come here for their healthy bowls, but their smoothie bowls and breakfast toasts are also excellent.
- Manteigaria [Rua do Loreto 2] : A popular alternative to Pastéis de Belém, this café in the Chiado is known for its freshly baked Pastéis de Nata, served warm and accompanied by a strong bica (espresso). It might be an unpopular opinion, but their pasteis de nata might be better than Pastéis de Belém.
- Dear Breakfast [R. Gaivotas 17]: Located in the Bairro Alto district, this café specializes in breakfast and brunch. i love their white, Instagram-worthy interior and their huge pancakes and croque madame.
- Café A Brasileira [R. Garrett 122]: One of Lisbon’s oldest and most iconic cafes, located in the Chiado neighborhood. Come here for an espresso and to check out its Art Nouveau decor.
Enjoy Some Beach Time in Cascais
Head to Cascais, the most popular beach town near Lisbon, for some shopping and beach time. This popular destination on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is famous for its charming city center, with pretty, pastel-colored buildings, and its sandy beaches.
Originally a small fishing village, Cascais became a favorite destination among the aristocrats (and today the rich and famous) when the Portuguese royal family chose it as their summer retreat.
I personally enjoy walking along its waterfront boulevard all the way to the Marina and getting lost in the narrow, cobblestone streets of the Old Town.
Some other fun things to do in Cascais are lounging at the Praia da Ribeira beach and stand up paddling and cycling down to Guincho Beach (the best beach for surfing in the area) which is 8 km away. You can also walk to the Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth), a series of cliffs and caves about 20 minutes walking from the marina.
HOW TO GET TO CASCAIS
The best option to get to Cascais from Lisbon is to take the train from Cais do Sodré station. Trains depart every 20 minutes.
If you’re coming from Sintra, you can take bus 1623 to Cascais. The bus ride takes about 40 minutes.
➤ If you prefer to join a day tour, check out the Lisbon to Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca & Cascais Daytrip that includes all these must-see destinations in a full-day tour from Lisbon. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
HOW TO SAVE MONEY IN LISBON
But first, who doesn’t want to save money and time? I bet you do, and so you should check out the Lisbon Card. This discount card comes in 3 versions – 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours, and it’s highly affordable compared to many other cards for other European cities, with the 24 hours one costing as little as $21,63 at the time of writing.
But why do I think it’s a great deal? The Lisboa card includes:
- Unlimited rides on Metro, Carris, Buses, Trams (including Tram 28), Funiculars and CP trains to Cascais and SintraFree admission to 25 of the most popular museums and attractions including Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower, and Santa Justa Elevator, just to say a few.
- Discounts to another 70+ attractions.
If you make a quick calculation, you can see just how much you can save by booking in advance your Lisbon Card!
HOW TO GET AROUND LISBON
It’s very easy to get around Lisbon by public transportation. With a network of trams, buses, funicular, and metro, there’s always a way to get anywhere you’re headed.
A single ticket valid on trams, buses, and metro costs € 1,50, and a day ticket valid 24h costs € 6,40 (if you’re heading to Cacilhas too, the ticket costs € 9,50).
You can also buy the tickets on board buses and trams, but it’s more expensive – buses € 2, trams € 3.
If you’re planning to visit museums and Lisbon attractions with an entrance fee, it might make sense to buy a Lisbon Card for 1, 2, or 3 days that includes unlimited transport and free access to 25 museums + discounts for many others.
⇒ BOOK HERE the Lisbon Card: 24-, 48-, and 72-Hour Options
Another way to see the city is by using the Hop-On Hop-Off bus network,
⇒ BOOK HERE the Lisbon 72-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Tram and Boat Ticket
You’ve got multiple options when it comes to transfers from and to Lisbon airport. You can choose between a private transfer, a shared transfer to your hotel, and the AeroBus.
⇒ BOOK HERE an affordable Private Transfer to/from Lisbon Airport
⇒ BOOK HERE a Lisbon Shared Transfer To/From the Airport and from/to your hotel. Available 24/7 and affordable.
⇒ BOOK HERE the AeroBus Lisbon Airport Shuttle, that runs daily from 7.30 am to 11 pm and has multiple stops around the city. This is your cheapest option to get from the airport to the city and viceversa.
WHERE TO STAY IN LISBON
When it comes to hotels, Lisbon offers a great amount of accommodation options, for all necessities and budgets. Check out my favorite ones and book your accommodation using the map below ⬇
Luxury & Boutique Hotels
Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel: Located in the middle of the Alfama district, this 5-star hotel boasts incredible views. The stylish, bright 13 rooms and 6 suites all come with different designs and layouts. The best place in Lisbon to stay? Maybe! Check out prices and availability for Santiago de Alfama – Boutique Hotel.
Valverde Hotel: This 5-star boutique hotel features fancy vintage interiors and a small pool. Location is everything, and Valverde Hotel is located on the most exclusive Avenida de Liberdade in a heritage building, in the best district to stay in Lisbon. Check out prices and availability for Valverde Hotel.
Inspira Santa Marta Hotel & Spa: A boutique hotel, Inspira Santa Marta Hotel & Spa is a leader among sustainable hotels – “Doing the right thing” is its slogan. Book also for its Feng-shui inspired modern design and the Spa. Check out prices and availability for Inspira Santa Marta Hotel & Spa.
Luxury for Less: $100 or less
Casa do Mercado Lisboa: A charming boutique bed & breakfast. Simple, yet elegant decor with wooden floor. Its location, steps from the Bairro Alto, makes it ideal as a base to visit the city.
Check out prices and availability for Casa do Mercado Lisboa.
Lux Lisboa Park: How does a rooftop heated pool and Jacuzzi sound? Soundproof design rooms with wooden floors and a white theme. Great location in the heart of the city.
Check out prices and availability for Lux Lisboa Park.
Neya Lisboa Eco Hotel: An environmentally-friendly hotel in the heart of Lisbon. We like its commitment to sustainability and the fact they provide bicycles for you to visit the city.
Check out prices and availability for Neya Lisboa Eco Hotel.
On a Budget
House Sao Bento: Beautiful rooms that come with an incredible price tag. The self-service kitchen is a plus. Good location, a 12-minute walk from Bairro Alto.
Check out prices and availability for House Sao Bento.
Boho Guesthouse Rooms & Apartments: Gotta love the colorful and bright design of the rooms mixed with the dark wooden floors. Not what you’d expect from a budget option! Great location, 2-minutes walk to Cais do Sodrè. Check out prices and availability for Boho Guesthouse Rooms & Apartments.
Nomad 64: Cosy hostel with a homey feeling. Very modern and clean (shared) facilities in the central San Antonio neighborhood. Check out prices and availability for Nomad 64.
Not what you were looking for? Check out the best prices for Lisbon hotels.
WHAT TO DO IN LISBON, PORTUGAL FAQs
Lisbon is famous for its Alfama district and its miradoures (viewpoints), its vintage yellow tram 28, and of course the pasteis de Belem, some delicious pastries you have to try! Lisbon is also famous for the area of Belem, most importantly the Tower of Belem and the Jeronimos Monastery.
Another Lisbon must see is the castles and palaces of nearby Sintra. You definitely won’t run out of things to do and see in the city!
These are the must do in Lisbon in our opinion:
• Wander around the Alfama district
• Eat all the Portuguese food during a food tour
• Visit the Sao Jorge Castle
• Ride Tram 28
• The Belem Tower and the Belem neighborhood (hello pasteis de Belem!)
• Join a tour to Sintra and visit the palaces
• Check out he Lisbon Miradouros, especially Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Miradouro das Portas do Sol