31 Best Things to do in Lisbon Right Now (2024)

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Perched right by the River Tagus, Lisbon is a fascinating European city that belongs on anyone’s travel bucket list. Boasting quaint cobblestone streets, marvelous architecture, and delicious national dishes, this unique destination has plenty to offer visitors.

But if you are not sure where to start, here I share the absolute best things to do in Lisbon right now!

When I visited the Portuguese capital for the first time, I immediately understood why this place was so popular.

I found myself blown away by the perfectly maintained medieval ruins, the sprawling squares, the incredible food, and the amazing weather

Now, it may be tempting to shoehorn a short Lisbon trip into a wider European itinerary. But with so many incredible things to do in Lisbon, this enchanting city deserves a few days of your time. 

Regardless of whether you’re taking things slow on a week-long trip or are trying to barrel through the city in a couple of days, I’m here to help you create the ultimate Lisbon itinerary.

After all, the city is endlessly charming, but there are still a few classic pitfalls and tourist traps to avoid.

Oh, and before I forget – as Portugal is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe, you can easily tour this place on a limited budget!

Not only does my handy guide cover all the must-do things in Lisbon, but it should help you pin down:

1. Enjoy The Breathtaking Views At Miradouro Portas Do Sol

Miradouro Portas Do Sol is a scenic lookout point that offers gorgeous panoramas of the Alfama district, Tejo River, and the soft buildings and winding alleyways that characterize the city.

Although this area is beautiful at any time of day, I feel it’s most relaxing in the early evening.

You can sit on the sprawling terrace alongside the statue of St. Vincent (otherwise known as the city’s patron saint!) while sipping a coffee from the local quiosque and watching the riverboats gently glide by. 

Don’t leave without checking out the hidden tunnel that lies directly under the observation deck. It details Lisbon’s fascinating history through a set of colorful cartoon murals, and it’s one of the most interesting free things to do in Lisbon that few people know about.

Tip: Visiting this popular destination slightly later helps you avoid the massive crowds that gather here between 11 am and 5 pm.

View from Miradouro Portas Do Sol
A beautiful view from Miradouro Portas Do Sol
Another view from Miradouro Portas Do Sol
Another view from Miradouro Portas Do Sol
Close up view from Miradouro Portas Do Sol
Close up view from Miradouro Portas Do Sol

2. Walk Along The River And Admire Torre De Belém

When it comes to things you must do in Lisbon, exploring Torre de Belém comes at the top of most lists.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the early 16th century as a fortress for Lisbon Harbor. It’s one of the most fascinating architectural structures in the city.

At first glance, the Belem Tower looks entirely Gothic. But this building fuses elements of the Romanesque and Mudejar eras to create a formidable presence on the edge of the Tagus River.

You’ll want to snap plenty of pictures of the exterior. I also recommend heading inside and climbing to the top via the narrow staircase for the best views of Belém and the Tagus River.  

As you pass through the interior, you’ll spot mounted cannons, prison cells from the 1580s, and spacious rooms that have been used by government officials at various points over the years. 

Once you’ve had your fill of the town, take a walk along the river.

If you’re pressed for time, focus on the Belem Lighthouse and the Monument of the Discoveries, which is a remarkably detailed representation of the first Portuguese pioneers.

Tip: Traffic to reach the top of the tower is usually heavy. Only 120 people can get inside the tower at a time. To avoid the crowds, purchase a ticket in advance to sail straight through. Or try to arrive as early as possible.

Torre De Belém in Lisbon during low tide
Torre De Belém in Lisbon

3. Visit The Monastery of St. Jerome in Belém

Visiting the St. Jerome Monastery is one of the best things to do in Lisbon.

It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, alongside the Torre De Belém.

It’s best known for its intricate archways and beautiful courtyard area, and it remains a powerful symbol of Portugal’s immense power during the 16th century. 

Spend time strolling through the cloisters, which are carved with maritime motifs, before heading inside the refectory. Here, you’ll find intricate tiles with Biblical stories painstakingly etched onto them. 

The Manueline architecture is the main draw here, but you shouldn’t leave without visiting the tombs of explorer Vasco da Gama and famous national poet Luis de Camões.

Tip: The Monastery of St Jerome is close to Torre De Belém (approximately a 12-minute walk or short tram ride away). It’s worth knocking out these two attractions on the same day to save time.

Exterior view of the monastery of St. Jerome in Belém
Exterior view of the monastery of St. Jerome in Belém
Close up of one of the doors at St. Jerome Monastery
Close up of one of the doors at St.Jerome Monastery
A detailed view from the courtyard
A detailed view from the courtyard

4. Take A Stroll On Praça do Comércio

The Praça do Comércio is the city’s main town square.

It’s among the most popular things to visit in Lisbon. Considered one of the most beautiful plazas in Europe, it’s home to the Rua Augusta Arch, distinct yellow Pombaline-style buildings, and a towering statue of King Joseph I that overlooks the square. 

On an average sunny morning, you’ll find tourists milling around the Lisboa History Center, sipping wines at Vinhos de Portugal, and dining at the many cafes, restaurants, and bars dotted around the central area. 

If you walk towards the southern side of the square, you’ll spot the Cais de Colunas, which can be found at the water’s edge.

These iconic pillars mark the marble steps that Queen Elizabeth II (and various other important figures!) used to enter Lisbon back in the day.

Praça do Comércio in all its beauty
Praça do Comércio, in all its beauty
Arco da Rua Augusta in Praça do Comércio
Arco da Rua Augusta in Praça do Comércio
A Pombaline-styled building with Portugal's flag
A Pombaline-styled building with Portugal’s flag

5. Take A Ride On The Santa Justa Elevator 

When it comes to memorable things to do in Lisbon, you simply can’t beat the Santa Justa Elevator.

Housed inside an impressive 147-foot tower that opened to the public in 1902, this unique lift is a Gothic masterpiece connecting the Baixa Chiado neighborhood with Carmo Square in the Bairro Alto district. 

The lift takes you up to an incredible viewing platform that boasts panoramic vistas over downtown Lisbon. It’s open between 7 am and 10:45 pm each day.

Tip: The return cost of the lift is almost comical at ~€5.30 per person. You can bring the cost of your journey down by purchasing a 24-hour public transportation ticket or the Lisboa Card. Or you can avoid the crowds and pay only ~€1.50 to access the viewpoint on the platform by following these instructions.

Santa Justa Elevator from the bottom
Santa Justa Elevator from the bottom
The beautiful view from Santa Justa Elevator
The beautiful view from Santa Justa Elevator
The bridge that connects Santa Justa Elevator to the view platform on other side of the street
The bridge that connects Santa Justa Elevator to the view platform on other side of the street

6. Visit The Carmo Convent

Once you’ve taken a ride on the Elevador de Santa Justa, you can go to the Carmo Convent for an enlightening religious education.

This convent was constructed in the middle ages. Despite suffering a major roof collapse after the great earthquake, it’s still considered the city’s most beautiful medieval ruin.

Marvel at the convent’s magnificent Gothic arches before checking out the eclectic artwork that’s housed in the adjoining archaeological museum.

Many of the pieces you’ll find here have been donated by other Portuguese cities, including the famous “Sarcophagus of the Muses,” ornate tombs, and a few unsettling Peruvian mummies that made me do a slight double-take when I first visited.

Admission is reasonable and will set you back around €5.00. If you’re carrying a Lisboa Card, you’ll get 20% off the standard ticket price.

Tip: If you’re a true history lover, pick up the free audio tour or go around with a local guide to uncover all there is to know about this iconic ruin.

View on the apse of the Carmo Convent from Rossio Square
View on the apse of the Carmo Convent from Rossio Square
Aspect of the ruined main nave of Carmo Convent
Aspect of the ruined main nave of Carmo Convent
The gothic entrance to the Convento do Carmo in Largo Carmo in the Bairro Alto quarter
The gothic entrance to the Convento do Carmo in Largo Carmo in the Bairro Alto quarter

7. Ride Tram 28

It may sound strange, but one of the great things to do in Lisbon revolves around the public transport system.

The city is beloved for its distinctive yellow trams that first burst onto the scene in 1873, and line 28 is one of only 6 original lines that still operate

The tramway is useful for traveling between Martim Moniz, Alfama, and Baixa Chiado. But sitting on the tram for an entire journey allows you to see Lisbon’s most beautiful districts without breaking a sweat.

As you travel along the line, you’ll see the Basilica da Estrela, Rua Augusta, Portas do Sol, and the rolling hills of Graça, making this the best way to cover the city in record time.

Tip: It’s unfortunate, but the trams in Lisbon are teeming with pickpockets. If possible, leave your tram ride until the end of the day or head out before the regular commuters hit the line.

Tram 28 in a typical narrow street
Tram 28 in a typical narrow street
Tram 28 in the Alfama District
Tram 28 in the Alfama District

8. Try Pastéis De Nata

Even if the name Pastéis De Nata doesn’t sound overly familiar, you’ve probably seen these traditional Portuguese egg custard pastries in specialty bake shops.

I always feel compelled to try local delicacies when I’m in a new city. And these small pastry cups are simply incredible. 

You can find these sweet treats around every corner in Lisbon.

But Pastéis de Belém is a good place to visit for the original Pastéis De Nata. At this popular bakeshop, they use an age-old secret recipe that results in a deliciously flaky pastry with a creamy and caramelized top.

You’ll have to queue outside for a while to grab your tarts, but they’re well worth the wait.

Pastéis De Nata from Pastéis de Belém
Pastéis De Nata from Pastéis de Belém. So good!
Pastéis De Nata from Confeitaria Nacional
Pastéis De Nata from Confeitaria Nacional

9. Wander In The Alfama District

The Alfama district is one of the most picturesque parts of Lisbon. It’s best known for its charming, narrow streets and winding alleys

In my experience, you don’t necessarily need to visit Alfama with a plan.

The first time I visited Lisbon, I went with the flow and chanced upon the many scenic viewpoints, local restaurants selling grilled sardines and petiscos, and boutiques that make this area unique. 

If you prefer a structured itinerary, you can follow a self-guided walking tour. But if you’re short on time, prioritize the Feira da Ladra Flea Market, Panteão Nacional, and the Lisbon Cathedral.

Tip: As this area is known for its steep hills and occasional loose cobbles, wear sturdy walking shoes or sneakers when you visit.

Beautiful colorful buildings in the Alfama District
Beautiful colorful buildings in the Alfama District
Sardines from a gift shop
Sardines from a gift shop

10. Admire Lisbon Cathedral 

Lisbon Cathedral stands proudly in the Alfama district, and it’s one of the best things to see in Lisbon by a mile.

Originally built in 1147 by Alfonso I, this is the oldest church in Lisbon.

It has survived several earthquakes, the monarchy falling, and a handful of other major political events during its lifetime.

While you’re here, spend a few minutes admiring its Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque exterior from afar before exploring the cloisters and treasury in detail.

The cathedral is open between 9 am and 7 pm each day, and it’s free to enter. They willingly accept donations for general admission, but you’ll need to pay a small fee to access the cloister and treasury area (usually ~€2.50).

Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
Tram passing in front of Tram 28 in front of Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
Tram 28 in front of Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)

11. Climb to Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George’s Castle)

Located in the Alfama district, Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George’s Castle) has some of the most breathtaking views in the entire city.

After serving as the Royal Palace between the 13th and 15th centuries, the castle was repurposed into military barracks before opening to the public as a place of historical interest in 1940. 

There’s not much to look at inside the structure. But once you reach the top, you’ll realize that it’s one of the best viewpoints in the city. If you’d like to step back in time, walk along the ramparts or unwind in the Sao Jorge Castle gardens.

Tip: The castle is open from 10 am to 9 pm each day. An adult ticket will set you back €10. But if you’ve bought a Lisbon Card, you’ll get free access!

Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George’s Castle) towering over Lisbon
Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George’s Castle) towering over Lisbon

12. Drink Some Sweet Cherry Liqueur At A Ginjinha

Ah, Ginjinha! If you’ve never heard of this drink, it’s a sweet and tart liquor made from Morello cherries that have been soaked in alcohol.

Throw in sugar and a hefty dose of cinnamon, and you have Portugal’s signature beverage. 

There are several excellent Ginjinha bars in the city, but my favorite will always be A Ginjinha Espinheira.

Located right in the city center, this cozy bar is always teeming with locals and even sells its delicious cherry liquor by the bottle (if you want to smuggle some home).

Tip: Don’t be afraid to take your time finding the right Ginjinha bar. It’s sold practically everywhere in Lisbon, including pop-up stands and restaurants.

A typical Ginjinha bar in the city
A typical Ginjinha bar in the city
Ginjinha bottles from Espinheira
Ginjinha bottles from Espinheira
Glasses filled with Ginjinha
Glasses filled with Ginjinha

13. Visit the Mercado da Ribeira (Time Out Market)

Visiting the Mercado da Ribeira is an excellent way to try fresh produce and engage with the local food scene. This local market is split into two tiers.

There are classic market stalls selling Mediterranean goodies on one side and eclectic eateries on the other. It’s the perfect spot for a foodie bucket list.

So, whether you’ve been meaning to try Portuguese tarts, grilled sardines, or a freshly caught whole crab, you’ll find a vendor here that sells it – trust me.

Tip: If you can, visit at lunchtime and avoid weekends. Although the atmosphere is buzzing at night and on weekends, the queues are much longer, and it’s hard to find a free table!

Time Out Market at Mercado da Ribeira
Lunchtime at Time Out Market at Mercado da Ribeira

14. Walk Around Rossio Square

Lisbon is famed for delicious food and breathtaking architecture but is also known for its people-watching opportunities.

Rossio Square is a lively plaza in the Pombaline Downtown area. It’s a cool place to watch the world go by.

There aren’t any major attractions here, but I adored sitting by the fountain when I had a small gap in my itinerary. If you haven’t had your fill of Lisbon’s marvelous architecture yet, stroll down to the Rossio Train Station, artfully designed in the Neo-Manueline style.

Tip: Don’t forget to visit the Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines while you’re here. It’s completely off-the-wall, and kitsch but sells a selection of unique souvenirs that folks back home will adore.

A view from the top of Rossio Square
A view from the top of Rossio Square
Rossio Square's traditional tiles
Rossio Square’s traditional tiles
Rossio Square mermaids' fountain
Rossio Square mermaids’ fountain

15. Enjoy Some Portuguese Food Or Have A Drink In Bairro Alto

You simply can’t visit Lisbon without trying authentic Portuguese food or having a tasty tipple in Bairro Alto.

You probably won’t be able to try everything that this foodie mecca has to offer, but I recommend making room for pastel de nata (Portuguese tarts), frango assado (Peri-Peri chicken), and Portugal’s national dish bacalhau (salted cod).

For cheap drinks and buzzing bars, Bairro Alto is the right place to be.

PARK offers an incredible rooftop terrace for relaxed drinks during the afternoon, while Artis is a popular spot for wine connoisseurs 

If you’re looking for more specific restaurant recommendations, I’ll discuss places to eat in Lisbon more comprehensively later – so sit tight!

Bairro Alto District
Bairro Alto District

16. Check Out The Cool Shops At LX FACTORY

If you’re wondering what to see in Lisbon, consider straying from the city center and checking out LX FACTORY.

Known for its hipster boutiques, bars, art galleries, and top-tier restaurants, this place is a refurbished factory turned lifestyle venue that’s all the rage with Lisbon’s younger crowd. 

You can spend time perusing the shops and checking out the vibrant Christ Statue that overlooks the 25th April Bridge (which is the longest suspension bridge in Europe and looks a lot like a smaller version of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, by the way!).

But you can’t beat kicking back with a coffee or a glass of wine and enjoying the incredible waterfront views. 

Don’t miss the popular market from 11 am to 7 pm if you visit on a Sunday. Packed with stalls that sell everything from artisan goods to delicious street food, it’s a great way to kill a couple of hours.

LX factory entrance in Lisbon
LX factory entrance in Lisbon
A cool library shop at LX factory
A cool library shop at LX factory
Beautiful graffitis
Beautiful graffitis

17. Visit The National Tile Museum

This charming Portuguese city is renowned for its beautiful ceramic tile work.

This explains why the National Tile Museum has made it onto my list of the best things to do in Lisbon! You’ll spot tiles of all shapes and sizes here.

But the most impressive section is dedicated to the azure azulejos that the city is most famous for.

Don’t leave without visiting the Madre de Deus Church; decorated in the opulent baroque style, you’ll be blown away by the elegant paintings, elegant tile panels, and carved wood details that adorn the interior. 

Tip: If you need a breather after strolling through the museum, there’s a charming café in the courtyard. It’s worth stopping here.

Ancient ceramic tile in the museum Azulejo, Lisbon
Ancient ceramic tile in the museum Azulejo, Lisbon

18. Eat Peri Peri Chicken

You can’t visit Portugal without trying a portion of Peri-Peri Chicken. Considered the ultimate comfort food by Lisbon locals, you can barely turn a corner without encountering a plate of the stuff. 

This heavily spiced grilled chicken dish is typically served with rice or fries, and many restaurants offer a take-away option if you’d like to eat on the go.

For the most authentic flavor, try out Bonjardim in the Bairro Alto region (and while you are there, order a started of cod fish cakes – so good!).

Or the appropriately named Piri-Piri that’s just a stone’s throw from the Alfama district.

Peri Peri Chicken - Recipe from Cafe' Delites
Peri Peri Chicken from Cafe’ Delites
Cod fishcakes from Bonjardim
Cod fishcakes from Bonjardim

19. Admire The Modern Architecture of Gare Do Oriente 

Travelers who love finding weird and wonderful architecture on their travels will adore the Gare Do Oriente. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this fascinating structure draws influence from modern industrial styles and traditional Gothic buildings. 

In addition to being one of the most aesthetically pleasing travel hubs in Europe, this rail station is also integral to the city’s transport system.

Tip: If you can, I recommend visiting at night as the station is beautifully lit up!

Gare Do Oriente, designed by Santiago Calatrava
Gare Do Oriente, designed by Santiago Calatrava

20. Enjoy The Sun At Praia De Caxias

If you’re looking for things to do in Lisbon during the summer months, lie back on the balmy sands of Caxias Beach for the afternoon.

This beautiful beach is just 15 minutes from the center of Lisbon. Here you can get your feet wet by admiring several major attractions from afar, like the 25th of April Bridge and the Cristo Rei Statue. 

While you’re here, you can sunbathe, go swimming in the glimmering waters, and visit the nearby café for ice cream.

Or check out the Fore da Giribita on the western side of the beach. 

If you’re traveling from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré Station, hop on the Cascais train that leaves every 20 minutes to reach Caxias.

Fortress of Giribita, next to Praia De Caxias
Fortress of Giribita, next to Praia De Caxias

21. Visit The Lisbon Oceanarium

Anyone who’s even remotely interested in marine life will adore the Lisbon Oceanarium.

Tucked inside an enormous building that connects to the Tagus Estuary, the Oceanário de Lisboa is home to sharks, moray eels, untold numbers of fish species, coral, and penguins. 

Although visitors of any age will appreciate this detailed glimpse into the Deep Blue Sea, kiddos simply can’t get enough of this place!

A fish tank at Lisbon Oceanarium
A fish tank at Lisbon Oceanarium

22. Take The Elevador da Gloria to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

One of the most unique and efficient ways to reach Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara is by taking the Elevador da Gloria.

As the ascent from Baixa to Bairro Alto will leave even the fittest folks gasping for breath, it’s well worth using this funicular to get you from A to B.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be treated to a glorious view of the city from the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara lookout. 

The funicular departs every 12 minutes, and you can purchase tickets on board for €3.80. However, you can ride for free if you have a Viva Viagem card.

Tip: If you are keen to explore more of Lisbon’s cute public transport, check out the Ascensor da Bica. It’s a funicular railway line that connects Rua de São Paulo with Calçada do Combro/Rua do Loreto. There are two cars connected by a cable, each acting as a counterweight for the other.

Elevator De Gloria
Elevator De Gloria
Ascensor da Bica
Ascensor da Bica

23. Appreciate The Views From Miradouro do Graça (Calçada da Graça)

Figuring out what to see in Lisbon can be challenging, but I highly recommend adding the Miradouro da Graça to your itinerary.

This scenic lookout is perched between the Graça and Alfama districts, making it an ideal place to stop at if you’re riding Tram 28.

The stunning terrace offers a 360-degree view of both St. George’s Castle and the city center. You can also squeeze in a visit to the nearby Graça Church while you’re here, as it’s just a few minutes away.

The view from Miradouro do Graça (Calçada da Graça)
The view from Miradouro do Graça (Calçada da Graça)

24. Watch The Sunset From Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

Watching the sunset from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is one of my absolute must-dos in Lisbon.

It’s the highest point in the city, and the views are second to none. 

Keep your eyes peeled for the Tagus Estuary, the iconic rooftops of Baixa, and the glimmering lights of the Avenidas Novas while you’re here!

Evening sky from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
Evening sky from Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

25. Stroll The Bohemian Principe Real 

The Príncipe Real is one of Lisbon’s most affluent neighborhoods. It’s considered a panacea for hipsters and bohemians who love alternative fashion and global cuisine. 

If you’re here to shop, stop by the Vintage Department for old-fashioned Polaroid cameras and unique homeware. 

And don’t forget to visit the Jardim do Principe Real. There’s a 150-year-old cypress tree with an impressive 20-meter leaf span at the top!

Jardim do Principe Real
Jardim do Principe Real

26. Explore the coastal town of Cascais

Cascais is a gorgeous coastal town located just 30 minutes from central Lisbon. Not only does it boast a sandy beach and plenty of restaurants, but it’s regarded for its top-notch museums, charming villas, and historic buildings.

Once you’ve covered the Boca de Inferno sea arch, the Museum Quarter, tried some fresh seafood, and scoped out some of the area’s famous street murals, you can hop on the train to Lisbon and be back in an instant.

Tip: You can get an Uber to Cascais if you like. But I find the €2.25 train journey an affordable and pleasant alternative!

Aerial view of the town in Cascais
Aerial view of the town in Cascais
The beautiful beach in Cascais
The beautiful beach in Cascais
Farol da Guia (Guia Lighthouse) in Cascais
Farol da Guia (Guia Lighthouse) in Cascais

27. Take a day trip to Sintra

With its stunning castle ruins, local restaurants, and one-of-a-kind artisan stores, Sintra is one of the most popular day-trip destinations in Portugal.

For the ultimate fairytale experience, don’t miss The Moorish Castle, Pena Palace, and the beautiful Quinta da Regaleira.

This adorable town is very busy on the weekends and around local holidays, so visit on weekdays to avoid crowds.

A view of the colorful Pena National Palace in Sintra
A view of the colorful Pena National Palace in Sintra
Inside Pena National Palace in Sintra
Inside Pena National Palace in Sintra
The Moorish Castle in Sintra
The Moorish Castle in Sintra

28. Take A Cruise On The Tagus River

You’ll see the Tagus River from all angles as you explore the city. But if you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Lisbon, you simply can’t beat a cruise.

If you’re visiting the city on a budget, you can book a sightseeing boat tour that’ll take you past many of the city’s major attractions. 

Got cash to burn? Consider booking a private sailing tour. These tours usually run for a couple of hours. The best ones come with wine and snacks to make the experience that much sweeter.

A view of Lisbon from the river Tagus
A view of Lisbon from the river Tagus

29. Experience a Fado performance

For a truly authentic Portuguese cultural experience, you need to add a Fado performance to your list.

This traditional live music style is characterized by mournful singing, typically accompanied by string players. Dating back to the 19th century, it’s a fascinating art form that remains popular in the city today.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a Fado performance is at a bar or restaurant. The atmosphere tends to be more relaxed, and you’ll get to experience this cultural phenomenon with a delicious meal and a glass of ginjinha or two!

Tip: Look out for restaurants or bars that charge an entry fee for Fado performances. They’re usually reasonable, but you don’t want to be caught off guard.

A singer performing Fado, a typical Portuguese experience
A singer performing Fado, a typical Portuguese experience

30. Visit The Cristo Rei Statue

You’ve probably seen pictures of Christ the Redeemer in Rio, but did you know that Lisbon built its very own version back in the 1950s?

Perched high above the Tejo Estuary, the Cristo Rei Statue’s 80-meter viewing platform offers incredible panoramas over the 25th April Bridge and central Lisbon.

It’s free to visit. It can be reached by taking the ferry from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas and then hopping on bus 101. The entire journey will take you around an hour, and this scenic route offers plenty of opportunities for avid photographers.

Cristo Rei statue on the river Tagus
Cristo Rei statue on the river Tagus

31. Window Shop On Avenida da Liberdade

If you want to feel like Holly Golightly wistfully staring at Tiffany’s in NYC, consider strolling down Avenida da Liberdade for a spot of window shopping. This gorgeous boulevard only spans 1.6km, but it’s packed with bougie stores like Louis Vuitton, DIOR, Christian Louboutin, and Gucci.

If you’re looking for something more authentic, you can explore the local boutiques or look at the Monument to the Heroes of the Great War, which commemorates the 50,000 Portuguese soldiers who fought in World War I.

When you’ve had your fill of designer fashion, grab a bite to eat and a cocktail at one of the local cafés.

Shops on Avenida da Liberdade
Shops on Avenida da Liberdade

Lisbon Travel Tips

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Lisbon is during the shoulder seasons: from March to May or September to November. The off-season still offers warm weather, but accommodation tends to be cheaper and the crowds lighter.

I visited Lisbon at the beginning of November, and the weather was incredible. Sunny days and temperatures around 22 degrees Celsius (75 F): perfect for strolling around the city without sweating too much while still being able to eat outside and enjoy the sun!

If you’re trying to catch the Festas Santos Populares celebrations in June, visit during the first half of the month. This way, you’ll see the best of the festival without getting caught up in the July and August tourist crowds.

Getting around

Although true-blue Lisboetas will always use their feet first, the public transport system here is excellent. You can purchase travel cards (or the famous Lisboa Card!) for easy access to the entire network.

If you plan to use the transport system regularly, I recommend grabbing a Viva Viagem green card at any metro ticket machine. This card allows you to use the entire transport system and top up as you need. The best part? It only costs €0.50 to buy!

When I visited Lisbon, I found that loading a 24-hour ticket onto the Viva Viagem card gave me the best bang for my buck. It costs ~€6.45 per person and can be used on all trams, trains, buses, and elevators across the city.

If you’re in a pinch or are trying to reach somewhere more remote, an Uber is far cheaper than local taxis. If you have roaming enabled on your smartphone, it’s also a good idea to download CityMapper or use Google Maps to navigate across town.

How Long To Spend In Lisbon

I’d say that 3 full days is the “Goldilocks” solution for visiting Lisbon.

This gives you long enough to see the major districts and a few hidden gems while still accounting for queue times. If you’d like to take a day trip to Sintra or Cascais, tack an additional day onto your travel plan.

It’s possible to cover Lisbon in a single day. But you’ll have to forgo relaxed afternoons in the sprawling squares, exciting trips to local markets, and many of the city’s architectural highlights in favor of the top-rated attractions.

A beautiful panorama in Lisbon
A beautiful panorama in Lisbon

Best tours

Free Walking Tour of Lisbon

Starting in Praça dos Restauradores square, this free walking tour covers São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint, the charming streets of Barrio Alto, and Chiado. Taking approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete, this tour is an excellent way to introduce yourself to Lisbon with an experienced English-speaking guide.

Although it’s not technically free, you’re encouraged to pay what you think the guided tour is worth. If you’re trying to explore Lisbon on a budget, most guides will appreciate whatever you can afford.

Wine and Food Tour

If you’d like to see the city but can’t hush your inner foodie, I suggest checking out this Wine and Food Tour.

You’ll sample the famous Bifana and Balcalhau shop for specialty hams and cheeses at Manteigaria Silva, sip Portuguese port, and try a glass of Ginjinha liquor.

The tour will set you back approximately $50USD per person, but considering all the food you get to try, it’s well worth it!

Ascensor Da Bica in Lisbon
Ascensor Da Bica in Lisbon

Where to eat in Lisbon

Frade dos Mares

Known for its relaxed, contemporary setting and Portuguese fare with a modern twist, Frade dos Mares is a local favorite for a reason. As soon as I stepped into this place, I was impressed by its soft lighting, upscale menu, and top-notch service. Despite serving fresh seafood and excellent cuts of meat, the prices at Frade dos Mares are easy to swallow.


If you’re on the hunt for cheap local dishes and an unpretentious atmosphere, look no further than Crisfama. Tucked away in the Alfama district, this family-owned bistro specializes in traditional Portuguese dishes prepared the old-fashioned way.

You’ll get a plate of bread and olives to start before moving on to the main event.  I recommend trying the famous grilled sardines while you’re here (they’re a local delicacy!). Or tucking into an iconic bitoque (steak with egg), or a full-to-bursting bifana (succulent pork sandwich). 

As everything on the menu is affordable, you can easily order a selection of dishes for the ultimate Portuguese foodie extravaganza.

Meson Andaluz

Serving as a complete contrast to Crisfama, Meson Andaluz is an upscale Andalusian restaurant specializing in Spanish tapas. Aiming to rival the finest eateries in Spain, you can order everything from melt-in-your-mouth Lamb Shoulder to Garlic Prawns smothered in olive oil.

A Avo Tinha

A Avo Tinha is right in the center of Lisbon and offers a selection of local dishes at great prices. You’ll find a delicious range of classic soups and salads on the menu. But I recommend ordering the authentic Beef Cheeks or Grilled Octopus if you’re feeling up to the challenge. As the restaurant is located right by Parque das Nações, it’s the perfect place for refueling after strolling along the River Tagus.

Taberna 1300

Taberna 1300 is a trendy industrial eatery located in LX FACTORY. The restaurant focuses on Portuguese flavors with a gourmet flair. And many of the dishes are made in its enormous wood-fired oven. You can dine at the indoor communal space or head outside onto the terrace and wine bar.

Best Pastéis de Nata

As I mentioned slightly earlier, one of the best places for Pastéis de Nata is Pastéis de Belém on Rua de Belém 84-92. There’s still some speculation about how this popular place came to be, but it’s believed that monks from the Jeronimos Monastery sold pastries at this exact spot to make a living after the government closed religious institutions in 1837.

If you don’t want to face the lengthy queues at this location, visit a Manteigaria bakery. Although this chain doesn’t have the same fascinating history as Pastéis de Belém, the tarts here are just as delicious. And hey – these places are dotted all over the city, making them far easier to find!

Historic coffee shop

If you want to rest your legs after visiting the Santa Justa Lift, you can grab a seat at Confeitaria Nacional. Founded in 1829, this pastry shop was once the official confectioner to the Portuguese royal family.

This historic spot created the original King Cake recipe (which is enjoyed at Christmastime in Portugal). Plus, they sell a selection of delicious pastries and signature coffees.

If the food and drinks weren’t appealing enough, the beautiful marble counter, mirrored ceiling, and friendly service make visiting this place one of my ultimate must-do things in Lisbon.

Best Peri-Peri Chicken

For the best peri-peri chicken, I recommend checking out Bonjardim or Rio de Mel.

Bonjardim is known throughout Lisbon for its spit-roasted chicken, and it’s close to Rossio Square. The portions are large, and each dish comes with a small pot of peri-peri sauce that you can brush directly onto your meat for ultimate control.

Rio de Mel is a local steakhouse, that offers take-away service near the Alvalade metro station. You shouldn’t expect ornate décor or super-attentive service, but the food is genuinely excellent.

Best grilled sardines

You can’t leave Lisbon without trying a portion of grilled sardines: it is one of the country’s signature dishes, after all! For value and authenticity, visit Lisboa Tu e Eu near Lisbon Cathedral. It’s small and quaint but oozes local charm.

Where to stay

Lisboa Pessoa Hotel ($$$)

Lisboa Pessoa Hotel is a gorgeous choice if you’d like to stay near the city center during your Lisbon trip. Perched just 200 yards from Chiado, this hotel offers a restaurant with panoramic views, an onsite spa, and all the in-room amenities you’ll need for a comfortable stay. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s convenient, beautifully maintained, and gives you easy access to most of Lisbon’s major attractions.

Casa Balthazar ($$)

Casa Balthazar is an upmarket hotel in downtown Lisbon that offers magnificent views over the city. The décor here is minimalistic and contemporary but remains warm and inviting. Boasting top-tier amenities, extremely comfortable beds, a sprawling terrace, and a pool for summertime dips, this 4-star hotel is unlikely to disappoint.

Casas de São Bento ($)

Casas de São Bento is a clean and spacious hotel located in the Misericordia district of Lisbon. This accommodation option is slightly further away, but the neighborhood is pleasant, safe, and has excellent transport links for whizzing around the city. Despite being quiet and family-oriented, the hotel is still within walking distance of Praça da Republica, Avenida Sá da Bandeira, and several cultural points of interest.

There You Have It: The Top Things to do in Lisbon

I loved visiting Lisbon, and I believe that any visitor will find this city enchanting. 

It has a rustic charm, and the incredible weather makes it the perfect destination all year round!

If you have any questions or would like to share some of your favorite things to do in the area, drop a comment below!

And also, check out these great travel hacks for a stress-free vacation!

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