The City of Seven Hills located on the mouth of the river Tagus is the westernmost capital of Europe, and older than many of its rivals. The city is best explored by foot, hopping from the relics of the Belem Tower to the ruins of the Carmo Convent—with a pit stop for a traditional custard tart (aka Pastel de Belém) along the way. In a place so sunny, food and drink is never far away and have begun to revive once abandoned villas and palaces, giving new life and a breath of fresh air to the city.
With so much to do, see, and eat, it's hard to know how best to plan out your itinerary for optimal sightseeing—whether it's your first time visiting or your fifth. This list of the best things to do in Lisbon is a great place to start.
But remember—no list of things to do can compare to a custom-built itinerary from Journy. Leave it to the experts to build a daily travel plan from scratch just for you—complete not only with activities, but also restaurants, cafés, bars, transportation, and accommodation.
1. Grab a Bite at The Time Out Market
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira, Avenida 24 de Julho 49
If you’re in Lisbon and can’t decide where to eat, try the expansive Time Out Market.
Here, you’ll find wonderful infusions of different cuisines, innovative recipes, and local delicacies—all of which lay claim to the “best” in their category. Home to some of the city’s longest-running market vendors of meat, fish, and produce—along with new innovators in Lisbon’s food scene—the Time Out Market is bound to have something for everyone.
Try the meat croquettes, grab a local beer, and start people-watching in a food hall that welcomes a diverse crowd of locals and tourists alike.
2. Visit The Grounds of The Historic Quinta de Regaleira
2710-567 Sintra, Portugal
Located just outside central Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is a magnificent display of Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture brought to life at the end of turn of the 20th century.
Built by owner Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro and architect Luigi Manini (it's literally Luigi’s Mansion), the castle and grounds look like something out of a fairy tale. Extensive caves, grottos, and paths dot the park, making it one of the most beautiful walking tours in Sintra.
3. Enjoy a Traditional Pastry at Pastéis de Belém
Rua Belém 84/8
Specialists in the pastry of the same name, Pasteis de Belem delivers the delicious, custard-filled pastry that will make you come back for more.
Not to be confused with Portugal’s other famous pastry—the Pastel de Nata—the Pasteis de Belem is actually patented by this particular group of bakeries, and the team creates over 10,000 perfect pastries a day.
4. Visit The Jerónimos Monastery
Praça do Imperio
Built during the Age of Discovery, Jerónimos is one of the most decorative and awe-inspiring monuments in Lisbon, and is a prime example of Portugal’s late-Gothic Manueline architectural style.
The history of the monastery is told through the design of the building and the intricate carvings on the walls.
It’s located near the Tagus River in west Lisbon’s Bélem neighborhood.
5. Explore The Alfama Neighborhood
1100-345 Alfama, Portugal
Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood, but the storied narrow streets and stairways hide some very modern luxury stores, restaurants, and bars. Take a few hours to find the tiny squares, historic churches, and intimate cafes that the neighborhood is known for.
Home to Castelo de São Jorge, the famous Tile Museum, and a fantastic weekend market, Alfama has something for everyone.
6. Taste The Best Seafood in The City at Ramiro
Avenida Almirante Reis 1
Portugal boasts the world’s third highest fish consumption per capita. And at Cervejaria Ramiro, a uniquely Portuguese type of beerhouse in the capital city of Lisbon, seafood is all you CAN order. But when you do something as well as do giant tiger prawns, the side salads of the world are entirely unnecessary.
Get ready to spend hours cracking, shucking, banging, and slurping your way through a fresher-than-fresh seafood feast, washed down with refreshing beers that perfectly pair with the food.
7. Visit Torre de Belém
Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal
8. While you're there, explore the Belém neighborhood and waterfront
Belém is one of Portugal’s most laid-back neighborhoods. It’s known for its seafood restaurants and colorful houses—a throwback to Portugal’s seafaring past.
Standing tall above the town is the 16th-century Tower of Belém, which has watched over sailors for centuries. Other attractions include Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, which boasts the finest example of the Manueline architectural style, and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument to 15th-century Portuguese explorers.
Belém is also the original home of the famous Portuguese custard tart (Pastel de Belém). Head to Fábrica Pastéis de Belém to taste one for yourself.
9. Explore The Elegant Chiado Neighborhood
Chiado, 1200-445 Lisboa, Portugal
The bohemian Chiado neighborhood is the historic center of Lisbon, filled with luxury shopping, historic landmarks, theaters, and museums.
Chiado, alongside the neighboring Bairro Alto, is home to a handful of nightlife venues, making them both popular areas for tourists. During the day, be sure to visit one of the several historical convents that were founded in Chiado after the Christian reconquest of Lisbon, including the Carmo Convent, St. Francis Convent, Espírito Santo da Pedreira, and Trindade Convent.
10. Visit Saint George Castle
Costa do Castelo, Nº 55, 2º Esq.
The São Jorge Castle, or Castelo de S. Jorge, is located at the summit of Lisbon’s highest hill of the same name, which also houses two of the city’s most prominent neighborhoods: Castelo and Alfama.
Make sure to carve out half a day to properly visit the castle, including its 11 towers (with some of the best views of east Lisbon atop the fortress), small museum, bar/restaurant, and surrounding streets. You’ll also want to pop into the neighboring Lisbon Cathedral.
Although the imposing castle stands out prominently during the day, nighttime is when the castle truly shines, as its silhouette is illuminated by bright lights.
11. Dine and Shop in a Cool Industrial Space at LX Factory
R. Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300 Lisboa, Portugal
LX Factory is host to a bounty of bars, restaurants, shops, and visionaries.
Formerly a textile factory, LX Factory is now a bustling spot where Lisbon’s trendiest residents flock for fun, food, and inspiration. Whether you’re in the mood for a burger or traditional Portuguese fare, you can find a restaurant to satisfy you.
12. Shop For Portuguese products at A Vida Portuguesa
R. Anchieta 11, 1200-023 Lisboa, Portugal
13. Wander Through The Romantic Park and Pena Palace
Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal
Presiding over the hills outside Sintra is Peña Palace, built onto an existing monastery in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II. The building itself has a colorful exterior and was fashioned after German Romantic architecture. The surrounding, similarly styled park is a nature lover’s paradise, with exotic and native plants (500 species of trees!) dotting the winding paths and pavilions nestled within. Peña Palace is just one of many beautiful landmarks within Sintra National Park.
14. Visit Lisbon Cathedral
Largo da Sé, 1100-585 Lisboa, Portugal
Often simply known as the Sé, the Lisbon Cathedral is a true landmark of the city that has stood since the 12th century.
Having survived a number of earthquakes and invasions, Lisbon Cathedral remains to this day a strong icon of Gothic architecture and Lisbon’s long history. The cathedral is free to enter and open to the public everyday, with a daily evening mass held in Portuguese. If you want to delve deeper into the cloisters, there is an admission fee of €2.50 for adults and €1 for children.
15. Take a Ride on The Santa Justa Lift
R. do Ouro, 1150-060 Lisboa, Portugal
Before the inauguration of the lift in 1902, it was incredibly difficult to travel between upper and lower parts of Lisbon. This lift not only makes it easy to go from Baixa to Barrio Alto, but is also a novelty that continues to tempt tourists.
As kitsch as the retro tram cars are that travel around the city, this lift is an experience in itself, with views of the city as you travel between one distinct district to another.
16. Take a Ride on Tram 28
do 2º C, Praça Martim Moniz 43, 1100-341 Lisboa, Portugal
Tram 28 is an antique yellow train that connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique, running through the popular districts of Alfama, Baixa, Estrela, and Graca. It weaves through the narrow streets of the city and is the perfect mode of transportation to access one of the famed tourist attractions in the Moorish Quarter, Saint George Castle. You'll pass several miradouros, or lookouts, along the way, but the ultimate panorama will be atop the citadel.
17. Wander Through The Jardim de Belém
Avenida da Índia, Lisbon 1300 Portugal
When searching for some peace and quiet away from the city, the Jardim de Belém just might be the ideal locale. With a lovely view of the nearby monastery and some fascinating architecture, these gardens offer plenty for visitors to enjoy. Whether guests would like to take a nice long stroll and enjoy nature at its best, relax next to the fountains with a book, or socialize with friends and food, the Jardim de Belém is a perfect place to visit.
18. Stroll Around Príncipe Real
Príncipe Real, 1250-096 Lisboa, Portugal
Príncipe Real is an elegant neighborhood best known for its shopping (from concept stores to boutiques, and even art galleries), the Embaixada Palace, tranquil gardens with large cedar trees, 19th-century mansions, gay bars, and stellar restaurants. If you're grabbing a bite, don't miss the Peruvian-inspired A Cevicheria (sip on their Pisco Sours streetside as you wait for your table).
19. People Watch in Palace Square
Palace Square (or Praça do Comércio) is located near the Tagus river, a strategic location for it to stand as a symbolic entrance into the city for 18th-century captains and merchants arriving from Southeast Asia, India, and Brazil. The plaza, which is always bustling, is surrounded on three of its sides by bright yellow, Portuguese-style buildings (known as Pombaline). In the center sits an imposing statue of King Joseph I.
20. Browse The Flea Market at Feira da Ladra
Campo de Santa Clara, 1100-472 Lisboa, Portugal
The Feira de Ladra Flea Market in Alfama sits in the shadow of the National Pantheon every Tuesday and Saturday. This is a great place for people watching and souvenir shopping, and, of course, checking out the beautiful hilltop view. If you’re in the mood for a hike, walk up the hill from the heart of Lisbon below or take the tram up and walk back down after browsing for a scenic walk.
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