Lisbon, Portugal: Gateway to A Dream Vacation

Last September I took my family of four (including two adult sons) on the vacation of a lifetime. We flew from the west coast of the US via Air Canada to Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon served as the gateway for entire trip that included travel to Cascais, Evora and Faro while in Portugal – then across the border into Spain. In Spain, we stayed in Seville and then Tarifa. Then, we took the ferry over to Morocco for a day trip. The next day, we traveled by car all the way back to Lisbon, which took about five hours according to the clock, but we gain a time zone hour. We stayed in Lisbon for five more days.

First, let me say that the overnight flight on Air Canada was wonderful. We did not fly first class but we did upgrade to seats in the center, toward the front of the plane. They provided pillows, blankets and ample entertainment. It was far better than an international flight I took to Paris on a different airline the year before.

We arrived around 11 am Lisbon time and rented a car at the airport through Sixt. To get the best rate, I reserved the car through AutoSlash several months earlier. Everything worked as planned. Most rental cars have stick shifts, and we were prepared for that but upon arrival, Sixt upgraded us to an automatic. It’s important to note that European cars are smaller than American cars. Be prepared. We were given a European Ford model, that was great – but we barely fit all our luggage!

With this background in mind, the rest of this article will focus on Lisbon specifically. Over time, we will post separate articles to share our experiences from other segments of this trip. The information you find below combines the best of our own experiences and the information available online to give you a comprehensive look at what to expect.

Lisbon, The City of Seven Hills

Lisbon is the captivating capital of Portugal, where ancient history meets modern charm against the backdrop of seven scenic hills. When you visit Lisbon you’ll notice that it feels quite safe and quite lively. You’ll want to park your car as soon as possible and leave it for the duration of your stay. Everything downtown is within walking distance, and the Ubers are incredibly inexpensive. You may pay 20 Euros to travel all the way to the airport from downtown, but many trips around the city cost as little as 5 Euros. We were shocked! The public transportation is also very accessible. Travelling by car probably isn’t as bad as it is in Manhattan, but the downtown is quite congested and it can take a while to travel a short distance.

Many people in Lisbon speak English and the culture is friendly, so it’s pretty easy for Americans to navigate. One of the biggest differences compared to America is how the Portuguese allocate their time. In America, we tend to get up early, work hard all day, eat dinner around 6, go out between 8 and 12, and go to bed by midnight or shortly thereafter.  In fact, many restaurants in America close by 10 p.m. However, in Lisbon, most people start eating dinner around 10 p.m. Nightlife begins around 1 a.m. and continues throughout the night. It’s not unusual for young adults to stay out until 5 a.m.

Keep the nightlife in mind when you choose your lodging. We chose a VRBO in the heart of the Chiado district, with shops, restaurants and bars within a block or two. It was wonderful until 3 a.m. We could hear festivities going on all night, every night – even weekdays. It didn’t help that our apartment was close to a trolly line.

As you stroll through Lisbon’s picturesque and steep streets, you’ll encounter a blend of old-world architecture, colorful tiles, and bustling markets that reflect the city’s diverse heritage. From the imposing São Jorge Castle to the winding alleys of Alfama, each neighborhood tells a story of Lisbon’s past and present. There are countless viewpoints, where you can admire the rooftops and river below.

But Lisbon’s charm extends beyond its sights – it’s also a culinary paradise where you can sample traditional Portuguese dishes and fresh seafood in cozy taverns and cafés. Be sure to try the famous pastel de nata, custard tarts that are a local favorite. We learned that they are even better when sprinkled with cinnamon!

Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, savoring local flavors, or enjoying the vibrant street life, Lisbon offers something for every traveler to enjoy.

How to See: Exploring Lisbon with Guided Tours

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Walking Tours

On our first morning in Lisbon, we took a walking tour of the city.  I highly recommend that you do this as well, as it gives you a quick lay of the land. There are countless tours available in a  wide range of timeframes and prices. We chose a tour that was 3-4 hours long and about 25 Euros each – not free, but at a lower price point than many. It was called the Best of Lisbon Walking Tour, and it was perfect. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and showed us a lot of inside tricks – like how to access the elevator and use escalators in the public buildings to shortcut the hills.

Our guide gave us a quick overview of Lisbon’s charming streets and historic neighborhoods, narrow alleys, hidden squares, and iconic landmarks. We explored the winding streets of Alfama, the city’s oldest district with Moorish roots. We learned about the 1755 earthquake which nearly wiped out the city. We saw churches with only one wall left standing. We also ventured into the trendy neighborhoods of Chiado and Bairro Alto, where we explored trendy boutiques, art galleries, and lively cafes.

Walking tours to consider:

Tours on Wheels

While we did not take a wheeled tour in Lisbon, we did take a private van tour of Sintra, and it is true that a tour on wheels covers more ground and makes seeing Lisbon’s highlights easy – especially if you’re not up for a lot of walking. Bike and e-bike tours are quite fun, but you can also explore by tuk-tuk (which is a wheeled cart pulled by a bicycle) or van, bus or even waterbus. There’s a wheeled tour for every traveler, just keep in mind that many Lisbon streets are constructed of cobblestone, and the hills are plentiful. A tuk-tuk may be a little bouncy and a bike could require some muscle and fortitude!

Wheeled tours to consider:

Boat Tours

The fastest way to the marina is by Uber. We took a sunset cruise on a sailboat on the Tagus River that was absolutely spectacular. It lasted about two hours and cost roughly $200 Euros plus tip. The temperatures drop quite a bit around sundown so be sure to bring a jacket. The views are fantastic from the river and give you a different perspective on some of the famous landmarks. You may feel as if you’re crossing under the Golden Gate Bridge because the Tagus River Bridge was built by the American Bridge Company and very similar in design – built to withstand earthquakes. It is 2.28 miles long – one of the largest suspension bridges in Europe.

Tagus Bridge

As you glide past Lisbon’s waterfront districts, you’ll gain insight into the city’s maritime heritage and enjoy the gentle breeze of the river.

River cruises to consider:

History Tours

We did not take a history tour, but if time allots, Lisbon is a great place to explore the city’s ancient origins, medieval landmarks, and modern developments. Visit iconic sites such as the São Jorge Castle, Lisbon Cathedral, and Jerónimos Monastery, as you uncover the stories behind these historic monuments and their significance to the city’s past. Learn about Lisbon’s role in the Age of Discovery, its Moorish and Roman influences, and its resilience in the face of earthquakes and fires, as you walk in the footsteps of kings, explorers, and revolutionaries.

History tours to consider:

Food Tours

Take off on a culinary adventure through Lisbon’s vibrant food scene on a guided food tour that takes you to the city’s best eateries, markets, and hidden gems. Lisbon is known for its bacalhau (salted cod), pastéis de nata (custard tarts), and grilled sardines, which you will see everywhere! Like Spain, they are also known for their tapas, which are served at almost every restaurant.

Food tours to consider:

Private Tours

For travelers seeking a more personalized and intimate exploration of Lisbon, private tours offer the perfect solution. With a private guide at your disposal, you can tailor your itinerary to suit your interests, preferences, and schedule, ensuring a truly unforgettable experience in Portugal’s capital city. We took a private tour from Cascais to Sintra, and it was truly a fabulous experience.

Here are our recommended tours:

What to See: Lisbon’s Top Attractions

Castelo de São Jorge

things to do in Lisbon Portugal
The joy is in the journey to Castelo de São Jorge. Start at Alfama and spend the afternoon walking the streets up to the castle. There are great restaurants, graffiti, viewpoints and local crafts to explore along the way.

Perched majestically atop one of Lisbon’s seven hills, Castelo de São Jorge overlooks the city. This medieval fortress offers panoramic views of Lisbon’s picturesque skyline and the winding Tagus River. You can wander through its ancient walls, trace the footsteps of Moorish and Christian rulers, and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Lisbon’s history that unfolds within this national monument.

Within the castle grounds, visitors can explore archaeological sites, stroll through lush gardens, and marvel at centuries-old artifacts. The castle’s imposing towers and battlements offer unparalleled views of the city below, providing a perfect vantage point for capturing memorable photographs or simply soaking in the breathtaking scenery. Get your tickets here.  Note: you can also buy tickets at the door.

Tower of Saint Vincent (Belém Tower)

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belém Tower stands as a testament to Lisbon’s maritime prowess and global influence during the Age of Discovery. This iconic fortress, with its distinctive Manueline architecture, is a symbol of Portugal’s golden age of exploration and continues to captivate visitors with its grandeur and beauty.

From its strategic location at the mouth of the Tagus River, the tower commanded the entrance to the bustling harbor, serving as both a defensive stronghold and a symbol of Portugal’s ambitions on the world stage. Today, visitors can climb its narrow staircases, explore its historic chambers, and marvel at its intricate details, gaining a deeper appreciation for Lisbon’s rich maritime heritage and the indomitable spirit of exploration that defined an era.

This is also a great place to sample pastéis de nata (custard tarts). The Belém Tower is located in the marina area, so you may want to take an Uber to get there. Get your tickets here.

National Tile Museum

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

In Lisbon, exteriors of many building are clad in tile, rather than brick or wood like we have in America. The Portuguese discovered long ago that tiles can weather all types of storms, withstanding the tests of time with very little maintenance.

The National Tile Museum showcases centuries of craftsmanship in a stunning collection. From intricate patterns to vibrant motifs, each tile tells a tale of artistic expression and cultural significance, offering a window into Portugal’s heritage.

From Moorish-inspired designs to Baroque extravagance, the museum’s exhibits offer a comprehensive overview of Portugal’s tilemaking tradition. Interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and guided tours provide visitors with an immersive learning experience. Get your tickets here.

Ajuda National Palace

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

If you like history, you may also want to explore the opulent halls and regal chambers of the National Palace, a symbol of Portugal’s royal family. From the magnificent Sala dos Brasões to the elegant Sala das Pegas, each room offers a glimpse into Portugal’s rich cultural heritage and royal splendor, inviting visitors to experience the grandeur of the past.

Built over centuries and showcasing various architectural styles, the National Palace offers a fascinating glimpse into Portugal’s dynastic history. Visitors can marvel at the intricate tilework, ornate ceilings, and elaborate tapestries that adorn its rooms, each telling a story of power, prestige, and artistic excellence. Whether exploring the royal apartments, wandering through the lush gardens, or simply soaking in the ambiance of this historic treasure, the National Palace offers an unforgettable journey through Portugal’s regal past. Get your tickets here.

Cathedral of Saint Mary Major

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

As one of the oldest and most iconic landmarks in Lisbon, the Lisbon Cathedral holds a special place in the city’s heart. With its imposing facade and majestic interior, this Romanesque gem invites visitors to marvel at its architectural splendor and to reflect on centuries of history and tradition. Visitors can admire its stunning rose window, intricate carvings, and majestic vaulted ceilings, each telling a story of faith, resilience, and cultural identity. Get your tickets here.

Jerónimos Monastery

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

The Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a testament to Lisbon’s golden age of exploration and architectural grandeur. Constructed in the 16th century, this magnificent monastery exemplifies the Manueline style, characterized by intricate stone carvings, elaborate vaulted ceilings, and ornate maritime motifs. As you approach its grand façade, adorned with delicate spires and sculpted reliefs, you’ll be captivated by the monastery’s majestic presence, reflecting the wealth and power of Portugal during the Age of Discovery. Get your tickets here.

Where to Stay: The 6 Neighborhoods

things to do in Lisbon Portugal


things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood, has a long history that goes back to the time of Moorish rule. Its name comes from the Arabic word “al-hamma,” which means baths or fountains, showing its past as a busy medieval area. This was one of the only neighborhoods to survive the 1755 earthquake and features narrow streets and ancient alleys. The cobblestone streets are filled with colorful houses and the sounds of traditional Fado music in the evenings.

In Alfama, you’ll find an authentic vibe, great viewpoints, and cozy shops and restaurants as well as the Lisbon Cathedral, São Jorge Castle, and the National Pantheon. Alfama also has traditional Fado houses where you can listen to Portugal’s famous music genre. If you’re looking for a glam experience, this is not your place. However, those who value history and authenticity will find Alfama to be delightful.

Below, we’ve listed some great places to stay in this historic neighborhood.


things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Baixa, meaning downtown in Portuguese, was reborn as a commercial hub after Lisbon’s devastating earthquake in 1755. Designed by Marquis of Pombal, this area showcases neoclassical architecture and wide boulevards, a testament to Lisbon’s resilience and modernization efforts in the 18th century.

Today, Baixa is Lisbon’s vibrant city center, bustling with shops, cafes, and cultural sites. Its spacious plazas like Praça do Comércio and Rossio Square attract locals and visitors alike, while its historic buildings house government offices and trendy shops. Despite its lively atmosphere,

In Baixa, you can explore a mix of old and new, from the iconic Rua Augusta Arch to the bustling Mercado da Ribeira. The pedestrian-friendly Rua Augusta is perfect for shopping and dining, while the Elevador de Santa Justa offers a scenic ride to the higher Largo do Carmo.

Below, we’ve listed some great places to stay in this bustling district.


things to do in Lisbon Portugal
During our visit, we stayed in a 4th floor apartment just up the hill from this photo. It was a fabulous location, within walking distance of everything. As mentioned earlier, the nightlife goes on all night, so it was a little loud in wee hours.

Chiado has been the cultural and intellectual hub of Lisbon for centuries, drawing artists, writers, and thinkers since the 19th century. Named after the Portuguese poet António Ribeiro, known as “Chiado,” this neighborhood flourished as Lisbon’s literary and bohemian center during the Belle Époque. Today, Chiado is a dynamic district where historic landmarks coexist with trendy boutiques, art galleries, and cafes.

Our favorite stops In Chiado included the Bertrand Bookstore, the world’s oldest operating bookstore, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), showcasing works by Portuguese and international artists. You’ll also discover designer boutiques, artisanal shops and great restaurants and bars.

Below, we’ve listed some great places to stay in this lively area.

Bairro Alto

things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Bairro Alto, meaning “Upper District,” has roots dating back to the 16th century when it was built to accommodate Lisbon’s growing population. Perched atop a hill, it was initially a neighborhood for the city’s elite, boasting elegant mansions and palaces that reflected their wealth. Over time, it transformed into a dynamic cultural and nightlife hub, attracting artists, writers, and musicians drawn to its bohemian vibe.

Today, Bairro Alto maintains its artistic charm, with its winding streets and historic buildings that are home to a diverse mix of bars, restaurants, and galleries. After dark, Bairro Alto truly shines, as its bars and Fado houses buzz with activity.

Below, we’ve listed some fantastic places to stay in this vibrant neighborhood.


things to do in Lisbon Portugal
While Belém is a great place to visit, it’s a more challenging place to stay because it’s set apart from downtown, situated west of central Lisbon. In its heyday, Belém thrived as a bustling hub of maritime trade and prosperity, attracting ships and traders from across the globe. Today, you’ll discover iconic landmarks like the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and Monument to the Discoveries, all recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Visitors can leisurely stroll along the Tagus River, taking in views of the majestic landmarks that adorn its banks, or wander through the neighborhood’s quaint streets and squares, where cozy cafes, bakeries, and shops await with traditional Portuguese treats.

No visit to Belém would be complete without sampling the delectable Pastéis de Belém, the famous custard tarts whose secret recipe has been closely guarded since the 19th century.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of housing options to consider.

Parque das Nações

things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Parque das Nações, also known as Park of the Nations, underwent a remarkable transformation for the 1998 World Expo, commemorating Vasco da Gama’s historic sea route discovery to India. Previously an industrial area with warehouses and factories, the Expo sparked a complete redevelopment, turning it into a vibrant and modern waterfront district. Today, the neighborhood boasts futuristic architecture, green spaces, and cultural landmarks along the riverfront. Iconic structures like the Vasco da Gama Tower and Lisbon Oceanarium symbolize the area’s modern identity and global significance. Parque das Nações offers a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational facilities, including shopping malls, offices, and entertainment venues.

Below, we’ve listed a few ideas for places to stay in Parque das Nações.

Day Trips to Surrounding Regions


things to do in Lisbon Portugal
No trip to Lisbon is complete without a trip to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders. It takes roughly 30 minutes to get there by car from Lisbon.

We took an all-day private guided tour to Sintra and we were glad we did, because getting there involves narrow winding roads, with a lot of traffic. Our guide knew the back alleys and secret routes, which proved to be invaluable.

We visited the iconic Pena Palace, an enchanting masterpiece perched atop a rocky promontory. It is colorful and eclectic with a rich and entertaining history.

The true highlight of the day, however, was our visit to Quinta da Regaleira. Tucked amidst lush forests and undulating hills,  Quinta da Regaleira is an expansive and mysterious estate with a rich history of Free Mason rituals and traditions. You can explore its intricate gardens, adorned with elaborate sculptures and secret passages, or venture into the depths of its enigmatic 8-story Initiation Well, steeped in myth and symbolism. This was one of our favorite sites – well worth the visit.

Consider this day trip:


things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Cascais is swanky and breaktaking location, roughly 30 minutes from Lisbon. We spent the first two nights of our trip here. It’s truly beautiful with coastal charm, beautiful beaches and amazing restaurants. If possible, get a dinner reservation at Funas do Guincho – it’s a spectacular location with amazing food.  We had to email for a reservation, but they got back to us promptly. 7:30 is earliest seating.

Our apartment was a couple blocks away from the beach and right downstairs, we had access to an authentic local bakery/coffee shop and a very fun bar. Cascais has become a home away from home for many Americans.

Here is our recommendation for a perfect day trip:

Lisbon Wine Region

things to do in Lisbon Portugal
We did not personally explore Lisbon’s wine country, but it sounds fabulous. Nestled amidst picturesque landscapes of rolling vineyards and sun-kissed hillsides, this is known for crisp and refreshing Vinho Verde to the bold and complex reds crafted from indigenous grape varieties like Touriga Nacional and Castelão.

Consider this day trip:

Lisbon’s Culture

Fado Music

things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Fado, meaning “fate” or “destiny” in Portuguese, is Lisbon’s melancholic and soul-stirring musical genre, with roots that trace back to the early 19th century. Lisbon’s Fado houses offer visitors an authentic and immersive Fado experience, where they can listen to performances by renowned singers accompanied by skilled guitarists. These venues typically feature dimly lit interiors and intimate settings, for an evening of emotional storytelling through music.

Here are a few Fado experiences to consider in Lisbon:

Street Art

things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Lisbon’s streets serve as an open-air gallery, where vibrant murals, graffiti, and street art installations adorn walls, alleys, and buildings, transforming the cityscape into a canvas of colorful buildings. From the historic neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto to the industrial spaces of Marvila, Lisbon’s street art scene reflects a diverse range of styles, themes, and messages. Visitors can embark on self-guided walking tours or join organized street art tours to discover hidden gems, engage with local artists, and gain insight into the social, political, and cultural issues shaping contemporary Lisbon.

Here is a Lisbon street art experience to consider:


things to do in Lisbon Portugal
Azulejos, intricately designed ceramic tiles, are a hallmark of Portuguese art and architecture, adorning buildings, churches, and palaces throughout Lisbon. These exquisite tiles date back to the 15th century and showcase a mesmerizing blend of Moorish, Islamic, and European influences. You can admire azulejos at iconic landmarks like the São Jorge Castle, the National Tile Museum, and the Church of São Vicente de Fora. The Lisbon Azulejos Artwork Tour is also a good option.

Lisbon’s Sports and Recreation

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Sporting Clube de Portugal

Sporting Clube de Portugal or Sporting Lisbon, affectionately known as “Os Leões” (The Lions), is one of the two major teams in Lisbon, boasting a 117-year history of clinching domestic titles and international honors. Their iconic green and white stripes adorn the jerseys of  supporters who gather at the Estádio José Alvalade. For those seeking an authentic taste of Lisbon’s soccer culture, catching a match at the Estádio José Alvalade is highly recommended! Learn more at Sporting’s ticket website.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica

S.L. Benfica, fondly referred to as “Os Encarnados” (The Reds), stands as one of Europe’s most prestigious soccer clubs, boasting a rich history of domestic championships and European triumphs. Fans, known as “Benfiquistas,” pack the legendary Estádio da Luz, creating an electrifying atmosphere. If you love soccer, be sure to attend a match at the iconic Estádio da Luz. Learn more at Benfica’s ticket website.

Seleção das Quinas

Lisbon takes immense pride in its national soccer team, known as the Seleção das Quinas. From historic victories in major tournaments to unforgettable displays of skill, the team’s journey epitomizes Portugal’s rich soccer heritage. Here is a link to the National Team’s ticket website.

Lisbon’s Parks

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon’s diverse landscape beckons outdoor enthusiasts to explore its scenic trails and rugged terrain. Hikers can soak in panoramic views of the city and countryside while traversing lush forests, while mountain bikers revel in thrilling descents and challenging climbs. For those seeking adventure, Lisbon’s granite cliffs and limestone crags offer ample opportunities for rock climbing, catering to climbers of all skill levels.

Amidst the urban bustle, Lisbon’s parks provide tranquil havens for relaxation and recreation. Eduardo VII Park and Parque das Nações offer expansive green spaces, adorned with gardens, promenades, and cultural attractions. Meanwhile, Monsanto Forest Park offers a sprawling oasis for hiking and birdwatching amidst native flora and fauna.

Lisbon’s Hidden Gems

Campo Pequeno Bullfighting

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Campo Pequeno Bullfighting arena is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Lisbon. While bullfighting is a controversial sport, the arena itself is an architectural marvel worth exploring. Visitors can admire the intricate details of the Moorish-inspired building and learn about the history and culture of bullfighting in Portugal.

While in Lisbon, we had the opportunity to attend a bullfight. It didn’t begin until 9:45 p.m. and was still going strong around midnight when we finally departed. The stadium was packed and I would guess that 90% of the people in attendance were from Portuguese. It seems to be a very popular local event. It began with roughly one hour of ceremony and ritual,  involving horse-draw carriages, fancy costumes and people both on foot and on horseback. There were several rounds of bullfighting, which was interesting but, I personally found it hard to watch once the bull began to bleed profusely. Overall, I felt it was something worth doing once, but I probably wouldn’t do it again. Here’s a link to view the bullfighting schedule and buy tickets.

Sanctuary of Christ the King

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

If you feel like you saw this statue in Brazil, you’re almost right! Situated majestically across the river, the towering statue of Christ overlooks Lisbon with a serene presence, serving as an emblem of faith and spirituality. This statue was modeled  after the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

In Lisbon, you’ll have a great view of this landmark as you journey across the iconic bridge or enjoy a cruise on the Tagus River. Ascending to the pinnacle of the statue offers a breathtaking vantage point, allowing visitors to marvel at the sprawling beauty of Lisbon’s skyline unfolding below.

Carmo Convent

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Carmo Convent, or Convento da Ordem do Carmo, stands as a haunting yet poignant landmark in the heart of Lisbon, bearing witness to the devastating Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Originally a significant religious institution, the convent’s Gothic facade and towering arches now lay in ruin, offering visitors a striking glimpse into Lisbon’s tumultuous past. Today, Carmo Convent’s atmospheric cloisters and open-air nave serve as a captivating backdrop for contemplation, while the adjacent Carmo Archaeological Museum houses a fascinating collection of artifacts.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia Viewpoint

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Tucked away in the historic Alfama neighborhood, this scenic overlook boasts panoramic vistas of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the red-tiled roofs of Alfama and the majestic dome of the National Pantheon. Visitors can unwind on the terrace of the nearby Miradouro de Santa Luzia, sipping a glass of wine or enjoying a leisurely picnic as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm golden glow over the city.

Lisbon Flea Market

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Held every Saturday in the historic Alfama district, this bustling market offers a vibrant and eclectic shopping experience, with vendors selling everything from clothing and jewelry to furniture and handicrafts. Visitors can wander through the maze of stalls, browsing for hidden gems and one-of-a-kind treasures, while soaking up the lively atmosphere and vibrant energy of the market. Lisbon’s flea market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to uncover a piece of the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Lx Factory

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Once a sprawling complex of textile factories and warehouses, this dynamic urban space has been transformed into a vibrant cultural hub, featuring an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, galleries, and creative studios. Visitors can explore the labyrinthine corridors and open-air courtyards, discovering a diverse array of local boutiques, artisanal workshops, and innovative eateries.

Lisbon Restaurant Recommendations

Top Recommendations

things to do in Lisbon Portugal


da Rosa 321, 1200-386 Lisboa, Portugal

Leonetta is renowned for offering hands down the best Italian cuisine in Lisbon. Located in the heart of the city, this classy restaurant exudes warmth and sophistication, providing guests with a memorable dining experience and delicious food. With great service and a cozy ambiance, Leonetta is the perfect destination for a romantic dinner or special occasion. Reservations are required here due to its popularity.

Pizza Lupita

Rua de S. Paulo 79, 1200-427 Lisboa, Portugal

Pizza Lupita is a hidden gem known for serving the best pizza in Lisbon. Located near pink street, this cozy restaurant specializes in wood-fired pizzas with unique toppings and flavors. Although they don’t take reservations, the delicious pizzas are worth the wait. Our recommendation is to show up at or before the 6pm opening, as the line to sit down only gets longer throughout the night.

Java Rooftop

Praça Dom Luís I 30, 1200-275 Lisboa, Portugal

Java Rooftop offers one of the most breathtaking views in all of Lisbon, making it a must-visit destination when you are in town. Situated atop the Lisbon Five Stars 8 Building, this rooftop restaurant provides guests with stunning panoramic views of the city skyline and the Tagus River. Whether you’re enjoying brunch in the morning or sipping cocktails at night, Java Rooftop promises a memorable experience.

100 Montaditos

da Pimenta 103, 1990-254 Lisboa, Portugal

100 Montaditos is a popular tapas bar known for its lively atmosphere and extensive menu of small sandwiches. On Wednesdays, they offer a special one-euro menu where guests can choose from a selection of 100 different tapas and beer, making it a favorite spot for spending the day. However, be prepared for long lines on these days due to its popularity among locals and tourists.


Av. de Roma nº 100, 1700-352 Lisboa, Portugal

Soão offers a unique dining experience that transports guests to a traditional Asian restaurant. If you can, ask to be seated in the basement of the restaurant, where you feel like your in Japan. this Asian eatery boasts a cool and atmospheric ambiance reminiscent of a scene from a movie. With innovative cocktails and authentic Asian cuisine, Soão promises a dining experience like no other, although it can be on the pricier side.

Food Markets

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

Time Out Market Lisboa

Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisboa

Time Out Market Lisboa is an internationally renowned food market featuring a diverse collection of restaurants offering both traditional Portuguese cuisine and international food. Located near Pink Street and close to the water, this food market is known for its vibrant atmosphere and communal dining experience. While it can get crowded, the variety of delicious food options and fun environment make it a must-visit destination while you’re in Lisbon.

Belem Street Food

Praça, Lgo da Princesa, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal

These various food carts are popular destinations for sampling delicious street food offerings right outside the iconic Belem monuments. Located near a beautiful park and various market stalls, this street food hub offers a mix of traditional and international cuisine in a lively outdoor setting. Whether you’re exploring the nearby attractions or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll, this location provides convenient and tasty dining options.

Campo Pequeno Restaurants

Praça do Campo Pequeno, Lisbon 1000-082 Portugal

Campo Pequeno Restaurants are situated around the famous bullfighting arena, offering visitors a unique dining experience in a vibrant atmosphere. With a variety of restaurants to choose from, you can enjoy a delicious meal before or after attending a concert or event at the arena.

Brunch Food


Viriato 1B, 1050-233 Lisboa, Portugal

Shakar is a modern brunch spot known for its creative and delicious menu offerings. This restaurant offers a vibrant and contemporary ambiance, making it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re craving classic brunch favorites or innovative dishes, Shakar is sure to delight.

Flora and Fauna Anjos

Febo Moniz 27A, 1150-152 Lisboa, Portugal

Flora and Fauna is a charming brunch cafe located in the bustling Anjos neighborhood. One of the most trendy restaurants in the city, this cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely brunch with friends or family. With a splendid menu featuring everything from avocado toasts to gourmet coffee, Flora and Fauna Anjos offers a relaxed experience.

Simpli Coffee

Av. Fontes Pereira de Melo 41 loja C

Simpli Coffee is a cozy cafe with a clean and minimalist aesthetic, this cafe provides a welcoming atmosphere for guests to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a light snack. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to work or a place to catch up with friends, Simpli Coffee offers a relaxed setting where you can unwind and recharge.

Dear Breakfast

Largo Santo António da Sé 16, 1100-499 Lisboa, Portugal

Dear Breakfast is a popular brunch spot situated near the historic Alfama neighborhood. Known for its delicious breakfast sandwiches and cozy ambiance, this restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re craving a hearty meal to start your day or a leisurely brunch on the weekend, Dear Breakfast offers a delightful dining experience in a charming setting.

Traditional Portuguese Food

things to do in Lisbon Portugal

O Prego da Peixaria

Av. da Igreja 34, 1700-036 Lisboa, Portugal

O Prego da Peixaria is renowned for serving a traditional Portuguese sandwich known as the prego. Located in a casual and inviting environment, this restaurant offers a menu of mouthwatering sandwiches made with fresh and flavorful ingredients. O Prego da Peixaria promises a satisfying dining experience that celebrates the rich culinary heritage of Portugal.

The Bifanas of Afonso

R. da Madalena 146, 1100-340 Lisboa, Portugal

The Bifanas of Afonso is a beloved lunch spot known for its delicious bifanas, a traditional Portuguese beef sandwich. This restaurant offers a menu of flavorful sandwiches served with tender meat and savory sauces.

Pastéis de Belém

R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal

Pastéis de Belém is a renowned pastry shop in Lisbon’s Belém district, famed for its delicious custard tarts, known as pastel de nata. Established in 1837 by monks from the nearby Jerónimos Monastery, this iconic bakery has been delighting patrons for over 180 years. Visitors flock to Pastéis de Belém to savor its freshly baked pastries, crafted using a closely guarded recipe and served in a charming, old-world setting.

Exploring Lisbon: Final Remarks

As you can see, Lisbon is a city rich in history, culture, and beauty, with each neighborhood offering its own unique charm and attractions. From the ancient streets of Alfama to the vibrant charm of Chiado, there is so much to explore and discover.

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Note: Information in this guide is based on details available online and subject to change. Please verify locations and availability before booking travel.

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