Top things to do in Lisbon

Lisbon is the stunning capital city of Portugal and is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities in Europe. It is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage, with striking modernism and progressive thinking. As a holiday destination, Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, amazing views, buzzing nightlife, beautiful beaches, and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate.

There s so much to visit and experience in Lisbon that you might find it difficult to create your to-do list. That s why we ve compiled a list of the most exciting and interesting things you must while visiting this amazing city.

Walk in Lisbon’s Historic Districts

Most of the authenticity you will find in Lisbon is while walking through the historic districts and downtown area, absorbing the city’s richness and amazing culture

There you will get the chance to know the most genuine people, taste the typical Portuguese cuisine, see the beautiful building covered in azulejo, walk through the elegant streets that lead to Praça do Comérico and Rossio squares, see the picturesque narrow streets with flowered balconies of Alfama, or take a walk along the beautiful riverside!!

Visit São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle, a hilltop castle, is one of Lisbon’s most emblematic scenes. Before the Moors built the fortress in the mid-11th century, the Visigoths settled here. Later, after Dom Afonso Henriques became Portugal’s first king in 1147, it became the domain of royalty and enjoyed a long time playing host to lavish soirees and visiting dignitaries.

It’s the view, though, that’s the star. Peering out at the city’s abundance of red rooftops and the Tagus River beyond is one of Lisbon’s most thrilling rituals.

Ride Tram 28

Riding one of Lisbon’s famous Trams is for sure the best way to explore the old city, historic heritage, and typical neighborhoods. None is more iconic than Tram 28 which has been working its way up the steep, cobbled roads and into the old Alfama district for decades.

The journey starts below the palm-spotted hills of Graça, and weaves toward the hair-pin alleys of Escolas Gerais, before pulling up to a halt beneath the gorgeous domes of the Estrela Basilica. The people-watching opportunities from the windows are second-to-none, and you’re bound to discover decades of history as you pass the various majestic palaces and castles along the route.

Eat and drink in Bairro Alto District

Apart from being one of the most famous touristic districts of Lisbon, packed with traditional and modern restaurants serving authentic Portuguese meals, lovely cafes, and charming streets, the Bairro Alto district is also the city’s top nightlife spot.

You’ll typically have to wait until early evening for the establishments to really get started, but when they do, you will see Bairro Alto gaining a new life, full of people enjoying a good time with their friends.

For people looking for the authentic Lisbon experience, you also have to try one of the many restaurants with Fado live shows.

Take a trip to Sintra

Despite being situated more than half an hour away from Lisbon by car, the glorious village of Sintra remains one of the major attractions for anyone spending a few days in Lisbon.

It sits high up amidst the mythical Mountains of the Moon, displaying elegant baroque churches, colorful mansions, and the grand palaces of former Portuguese kings and queens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site will be for sure one of the highlights of your trip to Lisbon!

If you want to book a Tour to Sintra, you can do it directly with us

Try the Famous Pastéis de Nata

You can find delicious versions of pastel de nata, Portugal’s signature confection, throughout Lisbon. But none of these cinnamon-dusted egg custard tarts are as entrenched in Portuguese history as the ones served in Bélem.

If you don’t have time to go there, you can also try to pastel de nata served in Manteigaria café in the Bairro Alto area. Buy a six-pack and reserve time to enjoy them leisurely inside the retro, blue-and-white tiled room. Sipping a coffee while watching excited visitors taking their first bite is itself a Lisbon attraction.

Visit the National Azulejo Museum

It’s impossible to leave Lisbon without being riveted by the city’s masterful displays of tiles (azulejos) brightening up buildings and streets. One of Portugal’s most important traditions, these hand-painted beauties, most common in a lovely blue and white iterations, get the spotlight at the National Azulejo Museum.

Here, one can take in such intricate works as a panorama of Lisbon, spanning two walls, that capture the city prior to the earthquake of 1755. It is a rare, well-proportioned look at a bygone Lisbon that even depicts everyday houses and activities like shopping at the market. Perhaps most strikingly, it reveals Lisbon’s close relationship to the Tagus River. This is, without a doubt, an intimate immersion into Portugal’s revered handicraft and culture.

Explore Lisbon’s best viewpoints & Rooftops

Lisbon s superb natural setting, spread across seven hills facing the Tagus River, offers a network of terraces from which to contemplate the beauty of the city. Called "miradouros" (viewpoints), they re usually located at the highest points of each hill, and all have spaces to sit and rest. Some even have cafés serving snacks and light refreshments.

    Viewpoints

  • MIRADOURO DA GRAÇA
  • MIRADOURO DE SÃO PEDRO DE ALC NTARA
  • MIRADOURO DAS PORTAS DO SOL
  • MIRADOURO DA NOSSA SENHORA DO MONTE
  • ASANTA JUSTA ELEVATOR

    Rooftops

  • Topo Martin Moniz
  • Parque Rooftop
  • Hotel Mundial Rooftop Bar
  • Topo Chiado

Visit Fátima and the nearby historical sites

Your visit to Lisbon wouldn’t be complete without visiting the remarkable Fátima Sanctuary. Visit Fátima, the most remarkable center of Catholic faith in Portugal and one of the most famous in Europe, and feel the atmosphere that leads pilgrims from all over the world to visit it.

Fátima is one of the biggest sanctuaries in the world, with over 5 million visitors a year. The most important pilgrimages happen on May 13th and October 13th. The modern sanctuary church is 125 meters in diameter and it was built in 2007. One of the main attractions is the house of the three shepherds, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared.

Along the way will get the chance to visit other impressive historical sites such as Monastery of Batalha, the largest gothic church in Portugal, or admire the pretty village of Óbidos, surrounded by medieval walls and whitewashed houses.

If you want to book a Tour to Sintra, you can do it directly with us

Embark on a Boat Tour

If you want to relax after a full day of walking and sightseeing, you can always book a private tour and discover Lisbon from the amazing Tagus River. Most of Lisbon’s historical area is facing the river, so you will get the chance to sail next to famous attractions and monuments from a different and remarkable perspective. Some Boat Tour will even get you to some lovely swimming spots in the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, beautiful beaches, and offer barbecue or open bar options if you want a complete experience.

If you want to book a Private Boat Tour, you can do it directly with us

Relax on the Beach

It might come as a surprise to many visitors who are new to Lisbon, but there are many beautiful beaches close to the city. The best beach, which is easily accessible from Lisbon, is the Praia de Carcavelos and it boasts golden sands, clean sea waters, and excellent tourist facilities.

To the west of Lisbon is the delightful resort town of Cascais, while to the south of Lisbon is the Costa da Caparica, a 15km coastline of pristine beaches and powerful surfing waves. During the summer a city break to Lisbon could also include time relaxing and sunbathing on the beaches. For those renting a car or van, there is even the option to visit the famous and award-winning beaches of Arrábida, surrounded by green mountains and calm crystalline waters.

For the more adventures, there are also plenty of Surf Schools near Lisbon that can teach you how to surf Portugal’s amazing waves.

If you want to book Surf Lessons, you can do it directly with us

Visit Bélem

Belem is the charming district to the west of Lisbon and is the setting for many of the city’s most iconic tourist attractions. Belem is one of the finest areas of Lisbon and offers outstanding tourist attractions, informative museums, and beautiful views along the Tejo Estuary. Belem is unlike the rest of Lisbon, being filled with parks, tree-lined plazas and green open spaces, and is a breath of fresh air from claustrophobic and chaotic central Lisbon.

To get there the easiest way is to get a Tram, Bus, or if you prefer you can also take an Uber. Once you get there you must see the Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, National Coach Museum, Belem Cultural Center, and of course, don’t forget to try the famous pasteis de belem!

Watch a Fado Show

If you want an authentic Portuguese experience you must go to a “Fado” show during your stay in Lisbon. For those unfamiliar with it, “Fado” music is an expressive and profoundly melancholic form of Portuguese singing that is often associated with pubs, cafés, and restaurants. This music genre officially originated in Portugal around the 1820s, though it is thought to have much earlier origins. The best places to watch “Fado” are in Lisbon’s historic districts., such as Alfama or Bairro Alto.

See Lisbon from the other side of the River

While visiting Lisbon you will eventually see a majestic giant statue with its arms opened blessing the city. That is the Sanctuary of Christ the King, a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.

The main highlight of this monument is the 80m high viewing platform and the amazing panoramic views over Lisbon and the 25 Abril suspension bridge. The journey by public transport is not difficult, requiring a scenic ferry ride and inexpensive bus. There are also plenty of nice restaurants and cafes facing Lisbon that are an excellent spot to rest and have a few drinks or meals while enjoying the beautiful view of Lisbon

Enjoy Lisbon’s Nightlife

Lisbon is a city of contrasts. Streets that are quaint and sleepy during the day become buzzing and crowded once the sun goes down. And make no mistake: Lisbon nightlife is fast making a name for itself as one of the most exciting, innovative scenes in Europe. Whether you’re looking for cocktail bars or to dance till the sun comes up, there’s something for everyone.

Like much of Southern Europe, the Portuguese tend to eat late, with dinners starting at 9 and some time at 10 pm, so don’t expect to see crowded bars before 11 pm or discos before 3 am.

The main night out areas in Lisbon are the historical Bairro Alto with its small pubs, narrow streets and people hanging out in the streets, and Cais Sodré area, with its increasingly famous Pink Street and bars all around it.

If you want to hit the discos there are plenty of offers, such as the famous LUX Frágil, Urban Beach, and the trendy BOSQ.

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