Lisbon is one-of-a-kind atmosphere of Gothic architecture, mesmerising sights, and narrow alleyways. The awe-inspiring sacral architecture of Lisbon can easily rival the most popular tourist destination in the world while providing something that they lack at the same time - a certain sense of stillness and timelessness. Nothing comes close to the scenic city views from the famous terraces miradouros, like Portas do Sol, da Graça, da Nossa Senhora do Monte or Castelo de São Jorge. And yet, Lisbon is not all about peace and tranquility - once the sun sets, it turns into one of the wildest entertainment hubs you'll find all over the world, with students and adults swarming the streets, pubs, and clubs. Or maybe it is the food that you're after? Worry not, Lisbon does not disappoint on this end either, being one of the favorite destinations among the food buffs. From the traditional bacalhau to the most extravagant and brave haute cuisine restaurants, all the way to fresh seafood, nobody will leave Lisbon hungry. What are you still waiting for? Get packing!
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Lisbon
This unique cable car line in Lisbon stretches from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique and goes along a tourist-friendly route where you can spot many interesting sites. It passes through some of the beautiful neighbourhoods of the city, and even travels along St George's Castle and Alfama – all of that in an old-fashioned, WW2 tram.
Santa Justa Elevator
A great way to see Lisbon in all of its glory is to climb the Santa Just Elevator, which provides an unforgettable view of the cityscape from high above. The elevator dates back to neo-gothic architecture and was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel – the creator of the Eiffel Tower.
National Tile Museum
A visit to the National Tile Museum is a must for everyone who is intrigued by the city's unique architecture. The museum displays various patterns of the vibrant ceramic tiles used around the town, which adorn different buildings, are sold in gift shops for tourists or are used within the walls of the luxurious villas.
St George’s Castle
On the top of the highest hill of Lisbon stands this gorgeous castle, which not only provides a great view of the landscape but also offers you a lesson in the history of the town. The castle was used by Romans as a fortification, and later by the Visigoths and the Moors, who made a palace out of it which still retains some of its ancient relics.
The Gulbenkian Museum is a relatively recent addition to the long list of Lisbon’s attractions, dating only around fifty years back. The museum is a host to the world renown collection of art, created by a former oil tycoon, Calouste Gulbenkian, and holds over six thousand different works he has gathered in his lifetime.
Monastery of St Jerome
Being a prime example of Portugals’ Manueline architectural style, the Monastery of St Jerome was built during the period of exploration to honor one of the grates explorers of Portugal – Vasco da Gama – as he began his travel to India. The monastery began as a home for monks, and eventually became a school and later an orphanage.
One of the most unforgettable experiences one can find in Lisbon is to visit the Oceanarium and marvel at the unique world of sea life. The Oceanarium is Portugal's largest indoor aquarium which holds more than eight thousands different sea creatures, with four exhibits of different fish, birds, and amphibians.
Taste of Lisbon Food Tours
Lisbon is renowned for being the home of Portugal’s unique regional cuisine, which includes pastries and sweets not produced abroad. This unique food tour provides a number of demonstrations and tastings where you can not only see the process of preparing the food but can also taste the products.
Lisbon Hills Electric Bike Tour
This unique tour is a great way to actively spend your time in the city of Lisbon while exercising and staying fit. The tour takes about two and a half hour to finish and scales the seven hills of Lisbon while showcasing the beauty of the sights such as the National Pantheon and Sao Vicente Monastery.
Lisbon Wine Tasting Tour
Lisbon is not only known for its exquisite cuisine, but it is also a renowned wine producer all across the world. Take a tour along the private wine distilleries of the Setubal region with tastings at two wineries. The tour includes a convenient pickup and drop-off at many of Lisbon’s most popular hotels and city spots.
Other Things to See and Do
Being one of the most picturesque neighbourhoods of Lisbon, Alfama is a must-see place for any tourist who wishes to admire the elegant architecture of the city. Alfama is well-known for its narrow cobblestone roads with a plentiful of quaint shops, small-time restaurants, and traditional clubs, made in a historical style.
Belém is a neighbourhood placed on the waterfront of Lisbon and hosts a number of monuments and museums. Belém was also one of the most used departure points during the Age of Discoveries, and often hosts a plethora of ships in its docks, many of which are open for tourists to get on top and wander around.
The Belém Tower
Located in Belém lies the Belém Tower, which in itself looks like a miniature fortress. The Tower was meant to protect the port of Lisbon in the 16th century, which played a major role during the Age of Discoveries. Today, the structure is a monument and can be entered by visitors to look at the royal quarters.
Sintra, located near central Lisbon, is a neighbourhood with a marvellous landscape, featuring rolling hills and vibrant vegetation. Many villas of Lisbon are placed in the vicinity of Sintra, along with its cobblestone-filled alleys. The uneven terrain of Sintra may prove to be a serious workout, but it is certainly worth visiting.
The seaside city of Cascais is a short ride from Lisbon, but one sure worth the trouble. It was once a small fishing village but has now become a retreat for the rich and even royalty. Cascais is also known for its beautiful and well-maintained beaches, which are mostly free, providing a low-cost attraction to tourists.
Feira da Ladra
If you’re looking for a souvenir to take back with you from Lisbon, this place is definitely the place to go for that. The biggest flea market in Lisbon, located in the Alfama district, is a host to tens of different vendors who sell their hand-crafted goods, ranging from antique souvenirs, through azulejos tiles, to vintage goods.
Berardo Collection Museum
Being just what art-enthusiasts are looking for in foreign cities, the Berardo Collection Museum, or Coleção Berardo as called by the locals, hosts a number of original works of Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and even Mark Rothko, being one of the most famous modern galleries of Portugal.
Nucleo Arqueologico Museum
While not being like most of the other museums, this one is still a fascinating place to visit for anyone. The museum is hidden underneath a modern bank in the heart of Lisbon's Baixa district and presents antique Roman fish tanks, their burial sites as well as wooden pillars which keep the city of Lisbon from falling down on itself.
If you’re looking for a place to go shopping on a Friday afternoon or just need a place to walk along, Rua Augusta it is. It is the main shopping street of Lisbon and links the Rossio square with Praça de Comércio. The place is also visited daily by a number of street performers and musicians, providing additional entertainment.
Jardim do Príncipe Real
This famous garden is a favourite among locals, as they come in here daily to play games, relax on a porch or sunbathe in the hot Portugal weather. The middle of the park hosts an over hundred-year-old cypress tree, which provides shade over the benches. Make sure to visit on Saturday, when a biological market takes place.
Jardim da Estrela
If you're on vacation with kids, Jardim da Estrela is the perfect place to go together with your family on an afternoon. The garden holds two playgrounds, a kindergarten, daycare, and a kiosk. There is also a terrace café where you can unwind after a long day of walking and order a coffee at a reasonable price.
Placed among the most degraded neighbourhood of Lisbon lies this hidden gem, known for its immigrant communities. The square of Martim Moniz holds a number of performances and art shows displayed by the immigrants, as well as multiple regional, small-time shops where you can buy products created by the foreigners.
Belvedere of Our Lady of the Hill
Why this marvellous sightseeing spot is still one of the least visited observation points in the city is a mystery, but it is well known that it is the highest point available for anyone to look at the cityscape. You will not find a more breathtaking view anywhere in the city and, above all else, it is free to visit at any time.
Ribeira das Naus
Ribeira das Naus is the perfect place to visit when you are tired after a long day of walking from attraction to attraction and general sightseeing. The long walkway, placed along the river, provides a tranquil road to travel, as well as slanted steps where you can lay down with a book and enjoy the weather.
Centro Cultural de Belém
If you're looking for some free performances, concerts, and exhibitions, take a hike to the cultural centre of Belém, which is an impressive building which hosts a variety of different events which change on a daily basis. The Belém cultural centre also holds the Berardo Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Largo do Chafariz de Dentro
You will not find a more typical and classic neighbourhood in Lisbon than the Largo do Chafariz de Dentro. Here you can take a look at how the locals live their daily lives and engage in a conversation with them, which is sure to provide quite a bit of information, or take a sit in one of the many bars of the area and have a drink.
Church of Saint Roch
A Roman-catholic church, the earliest Jesuit church in Portugal and one of the first in the world. The church served as the home for Jesuits of Portugal for over two hundred years before they were expelled. Today, the church remains one of the few buildings which survived the earthquake of 1755 relatively undamaged.
The Prazeres Cemetery
Being the largest cemetery in Lisbon and one of the most notorious in Portugal, the Prazeres Cemetery, which translates to “pleasures,” was built in 1833 due to the outbreak of cholera. The Prazeres Cemetery is the final resting place for many renowned celebrities, including different authors, politicians, and artists.
Praia de Carcavelos
It wouldn’t be a true vacation in Lisbon if you did not visit the finest beach of all of Portugal, set conveniently near Lisbon. The beach is located approximately twenty minutes from the heart of the city and is a wonderful place to spend your free time, bathing in the warm water or sunbathing on the hot sand.
D. Dinis Wall
While a wide array of cities holds some sort of fortifications or walls in their vicinity, not many do so underground. Being one of the city’s most unusual attractions, the wall stretches for about thirty meters and dates back to the 13th century. Named after King Dinis, this monument can be freely admired in the Interpretation Centre.