8 Places to Visit in Lisbon – A Complete Lisbon Travel Guide
In case you’re planning a trip to the coastal capital of Portugal, you might be wondering about the BEST places to visit in Lisbon. I have the answer! This is the exact reason why I created this complete Lisbon guide that includes the 8 best places to visit in Lisbon, as well as precious information about accommodation, what and where to eat and how to get around the city as well.
Scroll down to find it!
There is a reason why Lisbon has earned its place on so many peoples bucket list, other than the fact that, like Rome, the city was built on seven hills. This unique capital has earned the description of being cool, quirky and alternative, making it one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations with over three million visitors each year.
As my boyfriend Guga is Portuguese, it’s a city that I have visited often! I am far from knowing all of the secrets it keeps within its winding, cobbled streets but this guide is filled with my most popular recommendations in Lisbon!
Let’s find out all there is to know about this city in my Lisbon tourist guide below:
8 Top things to do in Lisbon, Portugal
Here are the best things to add to your Lisbon itinerary, in no particular order:
1 - Visit Torre de Belém
My absolute no. 1 place if you want to do some high-quality Lisbon sightseeing is Torre de Belém! This tower should definitely be on your list of unmissable attractions in Lisbon, especially if you want to see a unique mix of architectural styles: Moorish, Mudejar, Romanesque and Gothic.
Vasco da Gama admired it and you should do the same.
2 - Visit Alfama District
Cobbled lanes wind through the neighbourhood of Alfama, also known as the oldest part of Lisbon and a “survivor” of the earthquake of 1755. This is the place to go for local Portuguese restaurants, colourful tiled houses and evening fado bars. Alfama is the perfect place to lose yourself on a stroll!
TIP: Be prepared for steep slopes as this district is set on the hills between the Tagus river and the Sao Jorge Castle! And while you’re there, don’t forget to admire Lisbon Cathedral as well, also known as the Sé, and Cristo Rei – a monument known as The Sanctuary of Christ the King.
3 - No. 28 Tram Ride
I guess you already know about the symbol of Lisbon – Tram 28! The little yellow trams that zip across the city have become such an iconic landmark of Lisbon, and Tram 28 is the one you want to catch for the best route across the capital. This iconic one travels through the most popular barrios. Not a bad way to explore the neighbourhoods of the Portuguese capital, if you ask me!
4 - Visit (at least one) Miradouro
Even though stunning viewpoints can be found all across the city (an advantage of building the capital across the hills), be prepared for some serious huffing and puffing while walking up to them in the Portuguese sun. My favourite is Miradouro de Santa Luzia for its pretty pergola and river views.
5 - Pink Street
Okay, this might not appear in a classic Lisbon city guide, but I just love it! Once Lisbon’s red-light district, Pink Street has been painted in a new light… and colour. Pink to be precise! Today, the Pink Street is the place to go for bars, restaurants and clubs. Oh, and Instagram pics with the bubble-gum pink street.
6 - LX Factory
If you’re looking for some unusual things to do in Lisbon, you’re in the right place – LX Factory! A former factory complex, this industrial space was given a make-over in 2008 to become a creative hub for Lisbon hipsters. This is the place to head for cool street art, trendy cafes, alternative fashion, crafts and trinkets, and a pop-up market which takes over every Sunday.
LX Factory nightlife is also known for holding big music events, so if you want to go ‘out-out’ in Lisbon, make sure you check out their event calendar.
7 - Visit Sintra
Sintra is another unmissable destination in the country and, luckily for travellers, it’s located less than an hour away by car (or train) from Lisbon. Sintra is a popular choice if you want to explore some Romantic 19th-century architecture, charming streets and more. In fact, this town has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you know it’s worth adding it to your bucket list!
8 - Visit Jerónimos Monastery / Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, also known as the Grand Jerónimos Monastery is simply this: grand! Lisbon is far from short on UNESCO World Heritage sites and this is just another one of them, located close to the Tagus River and built in the 12th century. Prepare to be impressed by the intricate carvings and overall architecture!
Entrance fee: 10€/person. You can buy your ticket online in advance here.
NOTE: Both the monastery and Belém Tower are located in the Belém neighbourhood (full of superb Manueline style buildings), so you can easily visit the two of them together in one day!
BONUS: Extra Lisbon attractions if you have more time
There are SO many wonderful attractions in Lisbon, I just couldn’t limit myself to only ONE list, so I made a bonus list with EXTRA places to visit in Lisbon. Isn’t that amazing? Rhetorical Question: It is.
Here are some cool spots to add to your itinerary if you want:
- Bairro Alto – THE place to go for international restaurants and cute cafes. And in the evenings you’ll find people sprawling out onto the streets from it’s thriving bar scene;
- National Tile Museum – Portugal is THE place to go if you love colourful ceramic tiles and this pretty museum in Lisbon is simply heaven for ceramic lovers;
- St George’s Castle / São Jorge Castle – one of those unmissable things to see in Lisbon, above Alfama neighbourhood. By the way, Castelo de São Jorge also offers incredible views of the city;
- Lisbon Oceanarium / Oceanário de Lisboa – where you’ll find a huge marine life exhibition, including cute sea otters;
- Mercado da Ribeira – Lisbon’s iconic food market full of fresh fruit, veggies and food stalls;
- Mercado de Alvalade Norte – an alternative to the food market above, this is a cute farmer’s market;
- Feira da Ladra – if you’re an antique lover looking for a high-quality weekend market from the 13th century;
- Santa Justa Elevator – looking for unique things to do in Lisbon? Here’s an elevator!
- Rossio Square – one of the city’s most beautiful squares, ideal for people-watching;
- Basílica da Estrela – one of the most beautiful churches in Lisbon;
- Caxias – a great nearby beach town, especially if you’re into surfing!
- Lisboa Story Centre – if you want to find out all about Lisbon’s history, go to this informative museum located in Praça do Comércio;
- Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira – superb gardens dating from the 17th century on the outskirts of the city;
- National Museum of Contemporary Art – a small but nice art museum;
- National Museum of Ancient Art – visit this museum if you’re interested in seeing some Portuguese art;
- Parque das Nações – if you like public art and green spaces, go to Parque das Nações, also known as the Park of Nations;
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos / Monument of the Discoveries – on the bank of River Tagus.
TIP: If you want to tick as many things to see in Lisbon from your bucket list, you might want to consider getting a Lisbon Card. This is basically a travel card available for 24, 48 or 72 hours that includes free entry to many Lisbon tourist attractions, as well as free use of the public transportation system. Its price starts at 20€ per person.
Best tours of Lisbon by type of traveller
I know, Lisbon is such a wonderful city offering SO many sights and attractions! If you’re not sure how to organise your itinerary in order to tick everything off your list, I recommend booking some organised tours in order to make your life easier.
Here are the best ones I could find for different types of travellers:
- Lisbon Essentials Tour – for travellers that want to see the essentials quick and easy;
- Hop On Hop Off bus tour – for tourists that want to see as much as possible over the course of 1 to 3 days using a touristic bus;
- Lisbon Food and Wine Walking tour – for all my foodies out there;
- Private 7-hour tour – for those of you that want to see the best places to visit in Lisbon with a private, exclusive guide;
- Sailing Tour on the Tagus River – for travellers that want to discover Lisbon from a different perspective, along the Tagus River, passing under the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge. I recommend opting for the sunset tour, as it offers the most beautiful views of Lisbon;
- Hills tour by electric bike – an active option for adventurous tourists;
BONUS: ORGANISED DAY TRIPS FROM LISBON
Sure, Lisbon offers a lot to see and do, but there are other cool areas to explore outside of the Portuguese capital as well! Here are the best places you can visit during your vacation, which are easily accessible with a day trip from Lisbon:
- Sintra – many visitors are going to Sintra (the most famous UNESCO World Heritage site around) during their Lisbon vacation and you should, too, at least for one day!
- Sintra and Cascais – an 8-hour guided tour;
- Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais – Why choose, after all? Here’s a full package!
- Fatima, Obidos, Batalha and Nazaré Group Tour – an 8-hour tour during which you’ll visit the 14th-century monastery at Batalha;
Where to stay in Lisbon
RELATED READ: For accommodation recommendations and a more in-depth look into which area to stay in Lisbon, I recommend checking out this article: Where To Stay in Lisbon, Portugal – 7 Best Areas and Gorgeous Hotels
Lisbon is a large city with neighbourhoods sprawled across a large, very hilly area. Even though Lisbon is pretty well connected with the Metro, some areas can be harder to reach and it can take some time to travel between the different neighbourhoods. And when it comes to the best hotels in Lisbon, rest assured that the city offers tons of options for all types of budgets and preferences.
Here’s my shortlist below:
MID-RANGE: Hotel Alif Avenidas
BUDGET: Chalet D’Avila
HOSTEL: Sunset Destination Hostel
ENTIRE APARTMENT: Residentas São Pedro
NOTE: Lisbon used to be a fairly cheap destination for travellers on a budget, but recently prices have sky-rocketed and it can be a real challenge to find a nice place to stay for a reasonable price. I’ve chosen my recommendation options to reflect a couple of different price ranges.
WHAT ABOUT THE BEST AREAS TO STAY IN LISBON?
Well, it’s important to think about the area of the city that you’d like to be based in to make sure you’re staying in the right place for you. Some neighbourhoods are more traditional, some are tailored towards nightlife and partying, and others are more alternative and bohemian.
Here are some basics to know:
- Baixa is considered the city centre, busy with shops, hotels and restaurants.
- Bairro Alto is known for its nightlife and bar scene.
- Alfama is the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon, filled with winding, cobbled streets and fado bars.
- Príncipe Real is the fanciest part of the city, with designer shops and high-end hotels.
- Chiado is trendy with a bohemian feel but be prepared for a steep incline as this area is pretty hilly.
What to eat in Lisbon & Best restaurants in the city
Portugal is well-known for its delicious cuisine and Lisbon is an amazing destination to taste and experience as many traditional dishes as possible. If you don’t want to leave Portugal feeling like you didn’t eat everything worth eating, here’s my list of Portuguese dishes to eat in Lisbon, together with some restaurant recommendations to try each of them:
PASTEL DE NATA
Pastel de Nata is by far Portugal’s most famous food! Custard tarts with a rich egg custard centre, surrounded by shatteringly crisp pastry – they are a must-try! It is said that they were created in Lisbon (in the district of Belém, to be more specific), but you’ll find them sold in practically every café across Portugal. My favourites are found in Pastelaria Batalha, an award-winning bakery situated in the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon. For those of you who become Pastel de Nata obsessed, they also hold cooking workshops where you can learn to make your own.
It’s funny how Bacalhau (salted codfish) became the national dish of Portugal, as these fish are not native to the oceans surrounding the country. This delicacy became ‘a thing’ in the 16th century when the British created a trade alliance with Portugal, allowing the Portuguese fisher boats access to fish the colder northern waters in exchange for salt (a valuable commodity at the time!). The fish were then preserved in salt for the long journey home and BAM – Bacalhau became a thing! Go to A Casa do Bacalhau to try the best bacalhau in town.
Bifana is a traditional Portuguese sandwich, prepared by stuffing thinly sliced, marinated pork cutlets into a soft bread roll. Casa das Bifanas is a tiny traditional Portuguese restaurant situated in the centre of Lisbon, and my personal favourite Bifana joint!
The Portuguese dish of the summer, grilled sardines are a must-have, especially if you are visiting in June during their peak season. This one always reminds me of my mother, they are her absolute favourite. As a child, when we visited Portugal on a family trip, I was in awe of just how many she could eat in one sitting! She loved them! Salty, crispy and with a strong fish taste, these bad boi’s are often eaten whole. I recommend going to Lisboa Tu e Eu to try some of the best ones around.
Getting around Lisbon
Luckily for visitors all over the world, Lisbon is a super tourist-friendly destination, which means it’s easy to navigate using public transportation.
Here are the best ways of getting around the Portuguese capital:
WALKING. Yes, Lisbon is easily walkable, especially if your accommodation is located in the city centre! And, if you ask me, walking is the best way of admiring the views as well.
METRO. One of the easiest and most practical means of public transportation in Lisbon. They have 4 metro lines and plenty of stops that will take you to the most popular places to see in Lisbon.
TRAM AND FUNICULAR. Yep, Tram 28 is not only a must-do in Lisbon but also a very useful way to discover the city on seven hills. In fact, there are 6 tram lines and 3 funiculars that you can use in order to get around the capital.
BUS. Although the traffic might be a bit chaotic at times, buses are still a great way of visiting places that are not covered by the metro and tram system. Or you can buy a Hop-On Hop-Off bus pass valid for one or multiple days!
TRAIN. Especially good for day trips, as there are many trains that can take you to Sintra or Cascais, for example. Alternatively, you can also rent a car, take your time and make your own way across the Portuguese lands.
TIP: I mentioned the Lisbon Card earlier, but I’ll remind you about it again here – it’s a tourist pass which includes free entry to multiple attractions and free public transportation for 1 to 3 days. Could be useful if you’re planning on using public transport a lot!
Aaand that’s it, this was my complete Lisbon city guide for all you travellers out there! In case you’re planning to travel to Lisbon, Portugal soon, this list has you covered. Why? Hear me out: Above, I have talked about the top 8 things to do in Portugal, as well as not one, but 17 extra attractions. I’ve also provided you with useful information about where to stay in Lisbon, what to eat and how to get around as a tourist. I mean… what more could you wish for?
I hope you’re ready to explore Lisbon as Vasco da Gama did and I’m sure you’ll have an excellent time there, regardless if you’re planning to munch on some pasteis de nata in the historic Bairro Alto, take a boat tour on the river Tagus or go to some museums instead.
And because Lisbon is not the only worthy destination in Portugal, I recommend checking out this section here in order to read more about my other adventures in this beautiful country.